Strategy--Checker play

Forum Archive : Strategy--Checker play

Coming under the gun

From:   Kit Woolsey
Date:   24 July 1996
Subject:   Re: come under the gun?

Peter Fankhauser wrote:
> +24-23-22-21-20-19-+---+18-17-16-15-14-13-+
>   | O     X        X |   |    X  X  X     O |
>   | O     X        X |   |    X           O |
>   |                X |   |    X           O |
>   |                  |   |                O |
>   |                  |   |                  | +---+
>   |                  |   |                  | | 1 |
>   |                O |   |                  | +---+
>   |                O |   |                  |
>   |                O |   |                X |
>   |          X     O |   | O  O           X |
>   |          X     O |   | O  O           X |
>   +-1--2--3--4--5--6-+---+-7--8--9-10-11-12-+
> O: 2-away, X: 5-away
> O to play 3-2:
> Options are:
> 6/3, 13/11
> 24/21, 13/11
> 13/8
> The correct play here may be automatic for experts, but it surprised me.
> O, one of my favorite opponents on fibs, did choose the correct play - at
> least for moneygame. I have done jellyfish level 6 rollouts, which I will
> post in a couple of days.
> What do you think? Split and come under the gun, or wait and see?
> Does the score have an influence here? Does X have a double after
> any of the plays?

Coming under the gun of four builders when the bad guy has the stronger
board looks pretty scary.  However, I believe it is the correct play.
When your opponent has an advanced anchor and the timing is otherwise
about even, it is very important for you to attempt to get an advanced
anchor of your own or free one of your back men.  If you sit on the 24
point, you eventually get crushed in the timing battle.  O won't like it
if he is pointed on, but otherwise he has a fighting chance.  If O doesn't
split, X has a lot of good rolls which make the four, five, or bar
points, and it will then be harder for O to do anything.  After the
split, X's only really good rolls are those which point on the blot.

Note the critical conditions which must exist for such a play to be

1) X must have an advanced anchor.  If X's back men were back on O's ace
point, then splitting would be folly.  That would just play into X's
strength -- the stronger board and the builders.  Instead O should
concentrate on building up the offense and winning a priming battle.

2) The overall timing must be about even.  If X were well ahead in the
race, O would have a better chance by staying back, building up the
offense, and hoping to pounce when X is forced off the anchor.  In this
position, if O stays back the timing figures to go against him.

As for the cube:  At the match score, X clearly has a HUGE double after
any play.  I would double any play for money, although admittedly this
might be a bit premature.  O has a trivial take for money, but at the
match score with no recube vig and gammons counting against but not for
him the take looks marginal at best -- I think it is a very close call.

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Strategy--Checker play

Avoiding major oversights  (Chuck Bower+, Mar 2008) 
Bearing off with contact  (Walter Trice, Dec 1999) 
Bearing off with contact  (Daniel Murphy, Mar 1998)  [Long message]
Blitzing strategy  (Michael J. Zehr, July 1997) 
Blitzing strategy  (Fredrik Dahl, July 1997) 
Blitzing technique  (Albert Silver+, July 2003)  [GammOnLine forum]
Breaking anchor  (abc, Mar 2004) 
Breaking contact  (Alan Webb+, Oct 1999) 
Coming under the gun  (Kit Woolsey, July 1996) 
Common errors  (David Levy, Oct 2009) 
Containment positions  (Brian Sheppard, July 1998) 
Coup Classique  (Paul Epstein+, Dec 2006) 
Cube ownership considerations  (Kit Woolsey, Apr 1996) 
Cube-influenced checker play  (Rew Francis+, Apr 2003)  [GammOnLine forum]
Defending against a blitz  (Michael J. Zehr, Jan 1995) 
Estimating in volatile situations  (Kit Woolsey, Mar 1997) 
Gammonish positions  (Michael Manolios, Nov 1999) 
Golden point  (Henry Logan+, Nov 2002) 
Hitting loose in your home board  (Douglas Zare, June 2000) 
Holding games  (Casual_Observer, Jan 1999)  [Long message]
How to trap an anchor  (Timothy Chow+, Apr 2010) 
Jacoby rule consideration  (Ron Karr, Nov 1996) 
Kamikaze plays  (christian munk-christensen+, Nov 2010) 
Kleinman Count for bringing checkers home  (Øystein Johansen, Feb 2001) 
Late loose hits  (Douglas Zare+, Aug 2007)  [GammOnLine forum]
Mutual holding game  (Ron Karr, Dec 1996) 
Pay now or pay later?  (Stuart Katz, MD, Nov 1997) 
Pay now or pay later?  (Stephen Turner, Mar 1997) 
Pay now or play later?  (Hank Youngerman+, Sept 1998) 
Play versus a novice  (Courtney S Foster+, Apr 2004)  [GammOnLine forum]
Playing doublets  (Grunty, Jan 2008) 
Playing when opponent has one man back  (Kit Woolsey, May 1995) 
Prime versus prime  (Albert Silver+, Aug 2006)  [GammOnLine forum]
Prime versus prime  (Michael J. Zehr, Mar 1996) 
Saving gammon  (Bill Riles, Oct 2009) 
Saving gammon  (Ron Karr, Dec 1997) 
Splitting your back men  (KL Gerber+, Nov 2002) 
Splitting your back men  (David Montgomery, June 1995) 
Trap play problem  (Brian Sheppard, Feb 1997) 
When in doubt  (Stick+, Apr 2011) 
When to run the last checker  (Stick Rice+, Jan 2009) 
When you can't decide  (John O'Hagan, Oct 2009) 

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