Position 30, page 97
From The Backgammon Book, by Oswald Jacoby and John R. Crawford

White to play 4-2.

The obvious play is to make your four point (moving a man each from your eight and six points). This will give you four points made in your board and a good sound position.

But if black then rolls any 2, he will bring that man in off the bar and make your two point. He can then develop his own board at his leisure while you are bringing your men around and in. He is very likely to get a shot or two at you, at a time when it will cost you the game if you are hit.

Of course, if he rolls 2-5, 2-6, 1-5, or 1-6, he will be able to come in off the bar and hit one of your blots on the bar or eight point. (He should do this with 1-5 or 1-6; it is probably better just to hold your two point if he rolls 2-5 or 2-6 and to wait for the shot or shots that may come later on. )

The play we recommend with 4-2 is to move a man from the black twelve to your eleven point, and to hit the blot on your two point with a man from your six point. Your opponent’s best roll is then double 2, which will allow him to bring both his men in, hitting your blot on the two point, and then bringing them forward to your four point. This will actually give him a very slight over-all advantage in the game. Double 1 will allow him to bring both his men in and to your two point, hitting your blot and leaving the game almost evenly matched (you’d still have a slight advantage). With double 4 he won’t hit your blot, but he will make that good advanced point in your inner board. Either 4-2 or 2-1 will allow him to bring both his men in while hitting your blot; 6-2, 5-2, and 3-2 will also enable him to hit your blot, but he’ll still have one man left on the bar.

Thus, only these thirteen rolls will give him a playable game. If he rolls any one of the nine possible combinations of 6, 5, and 3, he will be left with both men on the bar and such a bad game that you will play on to try for a “gammon”; while, in a gambling game, if he rolls any of the fourteen remaining possibilities you would double him and be very pleased if he accepted the double, since a gammon is still quite possible.

13/11, 6/2*  *
8/4, 6/4 x
XG logo
Tom Keith 2013 
Money play
Black owns 2-cube
White rolls 4-2

1296 games with VR
Checker play: 3-ply
Cube play: XG Roller

4-2: Game BG   Equity
1 8/4, 6/4 W
+0.9833 x 
2 13/7 W
+0.9414 (0.0419) 
3 13/11, 6/2* W
+0.9023 (0.0810)  *
4 8/2* W
+0.8877 (0.0956) 
5 10/8, 6/2* W
+0.8589 (0.1244) 

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No. 31, page 99

List of Positions from The Backgammon Book

The Backgammon Book (1970), by Oswald Jacoby and John R. Crawford

Backgammon Galore : Books