Match Play at 2-away/2-away

Forum Archive : Match Play at 2-away/2-away

Practical strategy

From:   Albert Steg
Date:   28 February 1995
Subject:   Re: 2-away, 2-away doubling strategy

Sometimes I think I understand and agree with this doubling strategy and at
other times I am not so sure about it.  Kit Woolsey's conclusion on page 11
of _How to Play Tournament BG_ is "If you are playing a perfect opponent,
it is always correct to double at this match score if there is any way you
can lose your market on the next exchange."

It is the notion of a "perfect opponent" that gets me a little perplexed.
In this context do I rightly take this expression to mean "a player who
follows this policy"?  If I were playing a BG program which had this policy
built-in, I see that I should follow the Woolsey rule....

But I take it that if I am playing an opponent who has never considered
this match score closely, and who therefore may double much more
conservatively, OR a player who has (genuinely?) expressed his disagreement
with the strategy, it doesn't seem to me that I am well-served by following
Woolsey's rule by doubling in positions where my market-losing sequences
are remote, especially if I am actually an underdog in the game.

So does that make me an "imperfect" player, and so should my opponents take
the Woolsey rule with a grain of salt when -2/-2 against me? --and are they
then imperfect players, too?

In practice, reading Woolsey's argument on this score has made me
hyper-aware of the danger of losing my market at -2/-2, and so I do double
with quite slender provocation at that score --but my trigger-finger is
much itchier against a strong opponent who has considered this rule and is
likely to follow its spirit than against a less experienced player who is
morelikely to lose his own market over the next few rolls due to a lack of
understanding of this match score situation.

A general policy that occurs to me is that, if I am less likely to lose my
market on the next parlay than my opponent is to lose _his_ market on his
next turn, taking into consideration both the current position and my
opponent's skills, then I should refrain from doubling.  Is this sensible?

Please make follow-up posting relevant to practical tournament play if


Kit Woolsey  writes:

Albert's explanation is a very accurate summary of what I do in
practice.  If I am playing against someone who I know understands the
proper strategy at this match score I will double if any market loser is
possible (which essentially means one of us will be doubling almost
immediately).  However if I am playing against an unknown opponent or an
opponent whom I do not think understands the proper strategy, then I will
often fail to make theoretically correct doubles with a tiny chance of
losing my market, since I expect he will be more likely to make even
larger errors.  Of course when an opponent fails to double virtually
instantly, this is a good indication that he does not understand the
strategy fully.

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Match Play at 2-away/2-away

Basic strategy  (Darse Billings, Feb 1995) 
Counterexample?  (Jim Williams+, Mar 1998) 
Do you need an advantage to cube?  (Keene Marin+, Feb 2006) 
Double immediately?  (Chuck Bower, Oct 1998) 
Ever too good to double?  (Kit Woolsey, July 1995) 
Minimum game winning chances to double  (Walter Trice, Mar 1999) 
Practical strategy  (Walter Trice, July 1995) 
Practical strategy  (Albert Steg+, Feb 1995) 
Proof for doubling immediately  (Robert Koca+, May 1994) 
Proof of doubling with market losers  (Walter Trice+, July 2001) 
Sample game  (Ron Karr, Dec 1996) 

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