• 2019 - Position 161


    Match Play. 5-5 to 7. How should Red play 21?

    I got pinged by XG for playing 24/23, 13/11 here.

    For money that is the correct play but at this match score this play is an error. This will be the last game of the match and Red should play the natural but more aggressive 13/11, 6/5, retaining his ace-point anchor for the time being. As it will be the last game of the match gammons and the cube won’t be relevant after White doubles next turn. Therefore the slotting play becomes correct.

    This one surprised me but I learnt something by studying the rollouts.



  • 2019 - Positioin 160


    Match Play. Red trail 0-3 to 7. Should Red double? If doubled, should White take?

    The match score doesn’t change the fundamentals of the position.

    White already has five checkers off and until that last checker is at least primed Red won’t have a double and White will still have a take. So, the position is not yet volatile.

    Red is in the doubling window but not close enough to the top of that window to warrant a double here. Perhaps surprisingly White will win a gammon 7.5% of the time from here as Red still has a lot of work to do to bring the position home.

    No double and easy take. For money it would be a blunder to double this position.


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  • 2019 - Position 159


    Match Play. 2-2 to 7. Should Red redouble? If redoubled, should White take?

    Only a timid player would redouble this position and only a true optimist would accept the redouble!

    Red should play on for the gammon that he will win over 25% of the time.

    Redoubling is a double blunder.



  • 2019 - Position 158


    Match Play. 2-2 to 7. How should Red play 43?

    8/5, 8/4 prepares for a shot that may never come.

    22/15* is the right idea, despite the four blots. Red has the long-term security of the 5-pt anchor so he can afford some risk here. Surprisingly 8/5, 8/4 is nearly a double blunder. Once again, the age-old adage of “when in doubt, hit” provides the right answer.

    I must say I was surprised by the equity loss in playing 8/5, 8/4.

    I have got better at hitting in situations like this but I got this one wrong – I played, 8/5, 8/4!



  • 2019 - Position 157


    Match Play. Red trails 4-5 to 7. Should Red double? If doubled, should White take?

    For money this would be a terrible double as Red has very few market-losing sequences.

    At the match score it is only just a double and that is only because the percentage of gammons that Red wins (thus winning the match for him) is just sufficient to push this into doubling territory.

    White’s position is structurally poor, but he does have a huge racing lead and all of Red’s outer board points are stripped – something will have to give on the next roll.

    Dropping this double would be a quintuple blunder!



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