2019 - Position 130
By Chris Bray, Jul 19 2019 04:00PM
Match Play. Red trails 3-4 to 11. How should Red play 21?
This problem is taken from the 2018 Othello Quiz. The Quiz is set annually and is generally reckoned to be the most difficult quiz in the world. From time to time I will include some Othello problems from previous years.
This is a question of technique and it is helpful if you have seen a problem like this before, which in my case I had, and so I got this one correct.
Amy play other than 9/7, 8/7 is a double blunder or far worse. Red needs to play this position as a prime-versus-prime game. If he is not hit on White’s first roll, he will hope that White will crash by rolling large numbers. He must hold his ace-point anchor and stick to the p-v-p game plan.
9/7, 8/7 makes him a favourite to win the game. Any other play loses at least 5% game winning chances.
Interestingly, I had a position very similar to this recently. The temptation to hit is extremely high and this is what I did. This was flagged as a blunder. The hitting play led to many more gammon losses - better is to try winning by blocking white's back checker. 9/7,8/7 could be a good way to do this. If white doesn't immediately hit (11 shots), red has good chances to constrain white's back checker whilst his front position collapses.
The suggested play here leaves 16 shots. All 2's(11) plus double aces(1) plus 6/1 & 6/2. 24/22*; 10/9 for me.
9/7, 8/7. Priming seems to be the right game plan.