• 2017 - Position 58

    XGID=----BA---------------a-ab-:1:1:1:00:0:0:1:0:10

    Money Play. Should Red double? If doubled, should White take?

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  • 2017 - Position 57

    XGID=-DBC-BB-----b-----Bcccbb--:0:0:1:42:0:0:1:0:10

    Money Play. How should Red play 42?

    A minor technical problem.

    Red must move in his home board. Does he give himself bad fives next turn and move 6/4, 6/2 (which is better for the race) or save a five with 5/13, 5/1?

    I had hoped the rollout might give a clear answer but actually it is a dead-heat between the two plays as the pros and cons cancel each other out. Sometimes there just isn’t a single best move.

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  • 2017 - Position 56

    XGID=-BABBaCC----b-B-a--bcbbb--:1:-1:1:51:5:5:0:7:10

    Match Play. Double Match Point. How should Red play 51?

    For money this would be easy. 7/2, 6/5* wins a much higher percentage of gammons than 7/1 so not hitting would be a blunder.

    At DMP you are only concerned with winning the game. After hitting Red will lose most of the times that White hits from the bar and he will lose some more games when he fails to cover and White wins from there. Give White 30% wins after hitting and another 5% for later hits and/or racing.

    Does 7/1 win more often 65%? It’s very hard to estimate over the board but with a 21-pip lead after the roll and facing a winning five-point board I’d be loth to hit, especially as White will shortly have to give up his mid-point. Over the board Red did hit and won the match but not hitting is right by about 2%. Not an easy problem.

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  • 2017 - Position 55

    XGID=-bB---E-C-A-bC--abbcc---A-:0:0:1:43:0:0:3:0:10

    Money Play. How should Red play 43?

    Coming up to the edge of White’s prime is far too dangerous but what is Red’s plan? Over board Red played 13/6 but that does nothing to improve his position.

    With two White rear checkers Red should be thinking of creating his own prime. 13/10, 6/2 is OK but the dilly builder on the 2-pt is ugly. On an initial evaluation XG likes 13/10, 6/2 but it sees deeper on its rollout and prefers, by a small margin, 13/10, 8/4.

    This puts the checkers in useful positions and starts to build a counter-prime. 13/10, 6/2 is not an error but this is the time to follow Magriel’s dictum: “put them where you want them”.

    While White has only a two-point home board a play leaving a single shot is OK.

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  • Bertie's Bungle

    The sun was high in the morning sky when Bertram finally awoke to find that Jeeves had just produced the essential pot of tea and had placed it by his master’s bedside.

    “Might I enquire, sir, how the evening chouette at the Drones went?”.

    “You may well ask, Jeeves,” I replied with some asperity. “Oofy Prosser, the club millionaire, now has even more of the stuff while decent chaps, like Pongo Twistleton, become ever poorer.”

    “ I assume therefore, sir, that you did not have a winning evening?”

    “Indeed not. I also contributed to the Prosser portfolio. We just never seemed to have any luck and Oofy just rolled whatever numbers he needed. Look at this position, Jeeves. Pongo, Tuppy Glossop and I were the team facing Oofy (White) in the box.

    “We discussed our 62 and it seemed obvious to us to make our 9-pt with 11/9 and then start to get our back checkers moving by playing 24/18 with the six. Needless to say, Oofy rolled 33, playing 13/7(2)* and then we stayed on the bar with our own 33. One more roll and we had to drop his double. So you see, Jeeves, pure bad luck.”

    “Sadly, sir, I think not. Your opponent had the better home board and so this was not the moment to encourage an attack. Making your own 5-pt with 11/5, 7/5, leaving three blots would be too big a play, but I think you will find that 11/5, 9/7, slotting the key 5-pt and duplicating White’s fours, or 11/9, 10/4, creating a strong broken prime are both far superior to your team’s move.”

    “Good Lord, Jeeves, do you know I don’t think we even looked at those plays.”

    “I thought perhaps not, sir. Now, which suit shall I lay out for your lunch with your Aunt Agatha?”

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