Position 71, page 153
From The Backgammon Book, by Oswald Jacoby and John R. Crawford

White to play 2-1.

We roll another 2-1. Strangely enough, this is now a good roll. We have any number of ways to play it, and there is no absolutely best way. There is one worst way to play it, which is to bring that man on the bar up to the black three point. This gains nothing for us and leaves a man exposed to all sorts of deadly combination rolls. The only “advantage” of this play is that black is likely to double us, and if we like to gamble with the worst of it, we can take the double and may be lucky enough to pull out. We will be more likely to wind up being gammoned, but some players who don’t care about money don’t seem to mind that.

Another bad way to play it is to come in on the one point and move a man from our eight point to our six point. This play merely serves to hurt our forward-game position.

The good plays at our disposal are: (a) make the black two point; (b) come in on the black two point and hit the blot on our five point; (c) make the black one point and move a man to our four point; and (d) make the black one point and expose a blot on our eleven point.

We wouldn’t quarrel will any of these four moves. In a chouette, if the captain suggested one of them, we would say something like, “Don’t care in the slightest.” However, we do have our own order of merit here. The poorest of the four we feel, is play (a): we would rather hold the one point than the two point.

Play (b) is best for the purpose of getting a fifth man back and thereby delaying our forward movement some more: black may be forced to hit that blot on our five point. The play’s weakness is that we have left too many blots scattered around our home board and have not established our second back-game point yet.

Play (c) does give us that valuable extra back-game point that we need, but dropping a man on our four point does not help us accomplish our other objective of slowing up our forward movement.

Play (d) gives us that important one point, and also may accomplish our second objective; we want to get another man back in the black inner board and work our way into a real back game. We aren’t quite in one now because, unless we roll very small numbers, we won’t be able to hold our two points in the black board. But give us a fifth man back and we will simply put him into position to be hit again, we will then be able to hold our back position.

So we select (d).

(a) bar/23, 24/23
(b) bar/23, 6/5* x
(c) bar/24, 6/4
(d) bar/24, 13/11
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White rolls 2-1

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2-1: Game BG   Equity
1 bar/23, 6/5* W
−0.5808 x  (b)
2 bar/23, 24/23 W
−0.6413 (0.0605)  (a)
3 bar/24, 6/4 W
−0.6626 (0.0818)  (c)
4 bar/24, 13/11 W
−0.7220 (0.1412)  (d)

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No. 70b, page 152
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No. 72, page 154

List of Positions from The Backgammon Book

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

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