• 2019 - Position 47


    Match Play. Double Match Point. How should Red play 54?


    1 comment

  • 2019 - Position 46


    Match Play. Red trails 3-5 to 7. How should Red play 54?

    For money it is clear that the correct play is 21/16, 13/9, playing to prime the two rear White checkers. However, at this score, gammons are very valuable to Red as they win the match for him. That means that 7/2*, 6/2 must be given serious consideration.

    Over the board I would choose the hitting play. The rollout has 21/16, 13/9 as better by 0.005. With that sort of difference, I am definitely hitting. How about you?



  • 2019 - Position 45


    Money Play. How should Red play 43?

    While White has only nine checkers in the attack zone Red must step up from the back and the right way to do so is with 24/21, 24/20.

    If one checker is hit loose Red hopes to make an anchor using the other one. The move also gives Red some command of White’s outer board.

    24/20, 8/5 is a bad error while 13/9, 8/5 is a blunder. Red is running out of time and must get those rear checkers moving now!

    Note that if you take a checker from Red’s 6-pt and put it on his mid-point then 13/9, 8/5 ties with 24/20, 24/21 because 13/9, 8/5 doesn’t strip the last spare off the mid-point and Red’s timing is better. As I may have mentioned before backgammon is a tricky game!



  • 2019 - Position 44


    Money Play. How should Red play 33?

    A key strategy in such positions is to keep the checkers in front of your opponent’s anchor so you can block his large doubles for as long as possible.

    Over the board 7/4(2), 6/3(2) was played but the 10-pt should have been made. Either 13/10(2), 13/7 or 13/10(3), 6/3 is correct. The rollouts have the latter move as the technically correct play by a tiny margin but either moves is perfectly OK.

    The key learning point is block big doubles in such positions.



  • 2019 - Position 43


    Money Play. How should Red play 33?

    It is too early to give up the 15-pt, this game has a long way to go.

    There are three reasonable plays: 13/7(2), 13/10(3), 8/5 and 13/10(2), 13/7 (did you even consider that play?)

    XG initially flagged my play of 13/7(2) as an error but on a long rollout it changes its opinion and 13/7(2) comes out first albeit by the tiniest margin ahead of 13/10(2), 13/7. 13/10(3), 8/5 trying to make the key 5-pt is third but is not even an error.

    This is the type of play decision that only a computer is likely to get completely right but whichever of the three moves you chose you would be fine. Only if you decided to give up the 15-pt would you be in error/blunder territory. Red needs that point as a link point for any checkers that get hit and recirculated and there will be a lot of hitting before this game is finished.



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