> Say you tried an early blitz, with 55 perhaps. You've made your ace, but
> things went badly. Your opponent entered and you got slugged in your
> outer board. Generally speaking (since I don't have a position to show),
> how detrimental to your game would it be to try a back game. Losing 2
> checkers hurts your timing for sure, but are there any other mitigating
> factors that might cause you to avoid a backgame (even if timing was
> decent for you) just because you've made your ace?
Once you've made your own ace point, it is almost always hopeless to later
try to develop a back game. Timing will hardly ever be good with those 2
checkers on the ace all rested up and no place to go. But it's not just
timing that having made the ace affects; your flexibility also suffers.
With every roll you have to move 1 or more of the other 13 checkers you
still have to play with, which makes it difficult to hold a position or
force your opponent to make difficult choices. Combined with timing that
is tenuous at best, your chances to hold 2 back points long enough to hit
a winning shot are slim. Additionally, with the ace point made, you're
not likely to be able to build a board that contains any blot you hit, and
even less likely to ever be able to force your opponent to leave a second
blot for you.
I believe that many sequences that include O: split, X: 55: O: fan, X:
double are takable. Others are close passes. Since much of X's equity
will consist of gammons, O's winning chances may not be so bad. Be
prepared to give up if your blitz fails and it looks like you'll be forced
to play a deep anchor holding game (on the 24, 23 or 22) yourself.
If your blitz fails, your best chance will often be a mutual advanced game
with you having the worst of the timing. Keep in mind that you will have
a 3 or 4 point board, so hitting an outfield blot may tie up your opponent
long enough to let you scramble home. But if that doesn't happen I'd try
very hard to make an advanced anchor on the 20, 18 or 21. I'd try to keep
my other checkers in play (in front of my opponent and flexible). Getting
a third or even fourth checker hit may be advantageous to you, helping
your timing and allowing you to keep your anchor longer. Unless your
prayers to the dice trolls for big, playable doubles are answered, it's
*not* good to be well up in the race if that means being forced off your
anchor and getting pounded. Often, since you started the game by building
a racing lead, you'll be able to afford to be hit repeatedly without
falling too far behind.
Daniel Murphy | San Francisco | firstname.lastname@example.org
Monthly tourneys in San Mateo: See www.gammon.com/bgbb/ for details
and some excellently annotated matches. On-line: telnet fibs.com 4321.