• 2018 - Position 36

    XGID=-a---BEBB---bB-b-bce-AA---:0:0:1:51:0:0:3:0:10

    Money play. How should Red play 51?

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  • 2018 - Position 35

    XGID=---a-BCAD-B--A---ccdbb-AA-:1:1:1:22:5:5:0:7:10

    Match Play. Double Match Point. How should Red play 22?

    For money the correct strategy here is to play the position as a prime versus prime game. The best move is 13/7, 8/6 which builds the partial prime and also limits the gammon losses when things go awry.

    At DMP Red can take more risks and can attempt to win the game by going forward or steering for a back game. There are several moves that play to this idea and there is very little in equity terms between them.

    The three best moves all involve stepping up 24/22 with one of the twos and hitting with two of them, 7/3*. After that you can choose between 13/11, 8/6 and 6/4 for the final 2.

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  • 2018 - Position 34

    XGID=--a-ABD-----dC-a-cCd--bB--:0:0:1:62:0:0:3:0:10

    Money Play. How should Red play 62?

    This can be classified as a debate between purity, 13/7, 6/4, and brute force, 23/15*.

    Red need not fear White's board and he does need to catch up in the race. With the cube in the centre there is no real risk to hitting whilst 13/7, 6/4 forces Red towards a back game.

    The winner, by some way, is 23/15*. 13/7, 6/4 is a bad error.

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  • The Lemming Principle

    This position comes from the Battersea chouette. White had just rolled 61 and had to leave a shot after playing 11/5, 6/5. The box (Black) then pondered for some time but finally doubled all five of the team members.

    In what is a very volatile position the double is perfectly correct and not doubling would be a massive blunder. Black has fourteen hitting numbers and when he hits he will be about even money to win a gammon. There ensued a long discussion between the team which lead to the weakest player present dropping because of the gammon threat.

    Instead of analysing the position calmly three more of the team acted like lemmings by following the first dropper over the cliff and each handed the box a point. Worse was to follow.

    The fifth team member, immune from the lemming principle, analysed calmly and collectively and came to the very reasonable conclusion that position was actually a very comfortable take. In this he was entirely correct. After all, there are 22 numbers where Black doesn't hit, the race is equal and Black has bad numbers of his own as soon as his next turn. The fifth player took.

    There is a rule in the chouette that if only one player takes then he must give the other droppers the option of an 'extra'. This means that each player pays the taker an extra point to accept the cube on 2 - the idea being that if the position truly is a drop then those who dropped have a chance to get their money back.

    The lemmings compounded their original error by all offering an extra which the fifth play then accepted. He now held five cubes (his own plus the four extras) on two and had already been paid four points.

    The box now rolled one of his worst numbers, 63, which he had to play 18/9. The fifth player was beginning to look good value for his takes! He rolled 64, played 13/7*, 11/7, putting Black on the bar. Black came in immediately with a 41, which he played bar/24, 9/5.

    How it was White's turn to ponder. Holding five cubes on two he took his time but decided his position was strong enough to redouble, which is precisely what he did. XG has this position as a borderline double or no double and an easy take but our fifth player is no shrinking violet and so the cubes came across on four.

    Everybody took and despite Black rolling an early 65 to escape his rear checker he could not catch up in the race and so the lemmings paid a heavy price for dropping the original double. Meanwhile the fifth player calmly banked twenty-four points - five each from the lemmings and four from the Box.

    By sticking to his principles and calmly analysing the position the fifth player was handsomely rewarded for his play. Meanwhile, the lemmings each lost six points - don't forget they had already given the box one point each before erroneously embarking on the extras. An expensive lesson indeed.

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  • 2018 - Position 33

    XGID=---BbaD-B---aC---bacabb-BB:1:1:1:11:0:0:3:0:10

    Money Play. How should Red play 11?

    This is an instance where making the 5-pt Is a very bad mistake - in fact, a double blunder.

    Red needs time to attack the White blots on his bar-point and 5-pt. He needs to play bar/24(2), 13/12*, 6/5* and hope that White does not roll a 5.

    Bar/24(2), 6/5(2)* allows White too many rolls to clean up his position.

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