• 2018 - Position 97

    XGID=aBACBAB--Aa-----AA---bgcA-:2:1:1:00:0:0:1:0:10

    Money Play. Should Red redouble? If redoubled, should White take?

    A number of players take this redouble because they reason they cannot lose a gammon as they have a checker off and a lucky hit for White can win him a gammon.

    Both statements are true but sadly White loses 83% of the time and this is a huge drop. It is worse than a 2.5 blunder to take. Not redoubling is also a double blunder. Quite often the game is effectively over after the next roll as nearly all of Red’s numbers work well for him.

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  • Double Tiger?

    Thanks to the publication of “Opening Concepts” by Michihito Kageyama and Roland Herrera there has been a marked increase in the number of players employing the “Double Tiger” concept. This is where you hit two checkers in your home board but at the same time you expose two blots. This sort of play was very rare twenty or thirty years but has become much more commonplace in the last couple of years and the book has certainly made the technique available to a wider audience.

    One of the benefits of a Double Tiger play is that your opponent must the whole of his next roll (unless he rolls a double) to enter his checkers from the bar, thus the hitting player gets a significant gain in tempo. On the downside if either of the Double Tiger blots is hit then that can result in a loss of tempo for the original hitting player.

    Having learnt any new technique it is important not to use it just because you can. This week’s position is a good example. Black had a 41 to play and looked no further than 6/5*, 6/2*, employing his newly learnt Double Tiger technique.

    Sadly for him the position did not merit the play. The key points that Black should have taken into consideration are as follows: after the roll Black will lead in the race by 22 pips; White cannot be blitzed because he has an anchor on Black’s ace-point; although ugly, White has two home board points to Black’s one so may come out ahead in any hitting contest.

    All these factors should lead Black away from the Double Tiger. The far more prosaic 11/7, 8/7 is correct. With this play Black consolidates his racing chances. He also has four White checkers behind his 3-point prime. Meanwhile his rear checkers are not in any danger of an imminent blitz by White because white simply doesn’t have enough checkers in the attack zone.

    The Double Tiger technique is powerful when applied correctly and everybody should be aware of it. Equally well, and just as importantly, you must know when not to use it. Put White’s checker on Black’s 23-pt on the 21-pt and give Black a 21 then the Double Tiger play 6/5*, 6/4* is clearly correct as when it works it can quickly give Black a huge edge.

    As it is, in the original position black’s 6/5*, 6/2* is an error. As ever, think carefully about your game plan before you make any move in backgammon - it really does pay dividends!

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  • 2018 - Position 96

    XGID=a-A-BCBBa---aB-a-bccABc---:1:-1:1:52:0:0:3:0:10

    Money Play. Should Red redouble? If redoubled, should White take?

    Red has four fewer checkers off than White so it must be close to a redouble. The fact that White has an open 2-pt is crucial as he will miss several times once he gets his straggler home.

    Re leaves a shot on 61 and 51 but White will only win just over 1 game in 36 by hitting the exposed blot.

    The open 2-pt turns out to be much more important than the chance of the hit.

    It is a double blunder not to redouble in this highly volatile position. White can squeeze out a take but it’s closer than you might think.

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  • 2018 - Position 95

    XGID=a-A-BCBBa---aB-a-bccABc---:1:-1:1:52:0:0:3:0:10

    Money Play. How should Red play 52?

    Bring more wood as Magriel would say, so 13/8* looks clear and then give yourself a good four by playing 8/6 rather than duplicate sixes with 13/8.

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  • 2018 - Position 94

    XGID=-aIB-a------------accbbb--:1:-1:1:32:0:0:3:0:10

    Match Play. Red trails 3-4 to 7. How should Red play 32?

    For money the two plays 3/off, 2/off and 3/off, 3/1 are tied in equity.

    However, backgammon is a game of small differences and a gammon for Red gives him the match with perfect efficiency. The chance that White will fan with 22 may seem insignificant but it is enough to make the hitting play correct at this match score.

    So much so that 3/off, 2/off is a significant error. Never forget the match score!

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