From The Backgammon Book, by Oswald Jacoby and John R. Crawford
||White to play 5-4.|
In Position 82 your men are placed exactly the same and black has the same two men on your four point, but his other thirteen men are all well advanced in his home board. Your count is still 93, but his is only 71, so he is ahead of you in the running game. His lead is not much since you expect to start bearing off first, but all in all he is a trifle ahead. Your game plan should be to hamper those two men on your four point as much as possible, and to hit one of them if you can.
Thus, if you roll that same 5-4, you should break your eleven point and keep the men on the ten point to block 6s. If black rolls double 6, he won’t be able to move at all; if he rolls 6-3, 6-2, or 6-1, he will not be able to play the 6, and can move only the 1, 2, or 3 uselessly in his home board. If he rolls double 5 or double 4, he will get both men out, but there is nothing you can do against either of those two rolls in any case. If he rolls 6-5, 6-4, and 5, or any 4, he will be forced to move one of those back men out, whereupon the other man left on your four point will be exposed to direct 6s, 3s, 2s, and 1s. You should hit that man even though you may have to leave a blot in the process. The odds are that he won’t hit you back, and it is essential that you delay him. Note that 5-1, 4-2, and 4-1 are “death” shots for black. He must move one man out of your board so that both those back men will be exposed. You are likely to pick both up before he can escape with either.
There is one more thing to consider here. If black rolls 5-4, his best play will be to bring both men out. He will be exposed to direct 2s and 1s, but that is only twenty numbers out of thirty-six. If he leaves a man in your board, he will be exposed to every number except double 5, double 4, or 5-4, or thirty-two shots out of thirty-six.
Tom Keith 2013
White rolls 5-4
1296 games with VR
Checker play: 3-ply
Cube play: XG Roller