• 2019 - Position 136

    XGID=--BBDAC-A---b----c-dcBa-b-:1:-1:1:65:0:0:3:0:10

    Money Play. How should Red play 65?

    Clearly Red must escape one checker but should he escape both with 21/16, 21/15 and create some duplication of threes?

    Running both checkers turns out to be a bad error but not quite a blunder – it triples Red’s gammon losses. So Red should run with 21/10.

    If you make White’s 3-pt by using a checker from his 6-pt then 21/10 and 8/2, 6/1 are tied for the better play. If you put a White checker from his 6-pt on to the bar then 21/16, 21/15 and 21/10 are tied for first place. Tricky game, backgammon.

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  • 2019 - Position 135

    XGID=aB-bCBE-C---c----c-b-b-b--:1:-1:1:63:0:0:3:0:10

    Money Play. How should Red play 63?

    After the forced 8/2 Red can choose between 8/5, 5/2 or 4/1.

    The worst of these by a long way is 5/2. The play does leave only one blot, but it creates a potential gap in front of White’s anchor. It will also subsequently leave bad fives for Red which will reduce the gammon win percentage. That play is a double blunder.

    4/1 is merely an error. Red’s 5s are still potentially bad.

    Red should accelerate his bear-in with 8/5, 8/2. White’s board is not particularly threatening if Red his hit. Even if White had a five-point prime on the other side of the board 8/5, 8/2 would still be the correct play by a long, long way.

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  • 2019 - Position 134

    XGID=-BBBBAB-----A-b-Ab-b-Bdda-:1:-1:1:65:0:0:3:0:10

    Money Play. How should Red play 65?

    The age-old question: should I make a closed board or should I directly challenge both of my opponent’s outer board points?

    The answer is very clear – make the closed board with 16/5.

    The problem with 21/16, 12/6 is that a parlay is required to win – hit a shot and then contain the hit blot. After 16/5 any hit blot is automatically contained by the fully closed board. 21/16, 12/6 is not quite a blunder but is very close.

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  • 2019 - Position 133

    XGID=-B-BBBC--A-Aa-bb-bcdB--a--:1:-1:1:42:0:2:0:7:10

    Match Play. Red trails 0-2 to 7. How should Red play 42?

    Red must take his chances and go now because o the tactical opportunity afforded to him by the blot on White’s 2-pt. When ahead in the race, race.

    Put that blot back on White’s 8-pt and running would be a huge mistake. However, Red must leverage the strength of his home board. Unless White can hit and cover the blot on the 2-pt he won’t be hitting because he still has a broken five point prime against Red’s rear checker.

    After 20/16 with the 2 can be played 11/9, 9/7 or 6/4. Any move that doesn’t include 20/16 is a blunder.

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  • 2019 - Position 132

    XGID=--BBaBCB----cB---b-cBaabb-:1:-1:1:11:2:4:0:7:10

    Match Play. Red trails 2-4 to 7. How should Red play 11?

    After you reject the super-safe 7/4*/3 and then also reject 7/6, 7/4* as still being too safe it seems obvious to play 7/4*, 6/5.

    However, that play is a bad error due to technical inaccuracy. The play leaves 22 cover numbers next turn while 7/4*, 5/4 gives 24 cover numbers and in addition it makes 1s and 2s good for Red, those numbers being ones that don’t enter in White’s board if Red does get hit.

    Those differences are enough to make 7/4*, 6/5 a 0.06 error. A surprising result maybe but you can’t fault XG’s technical accuracy.

    Always take more time when you roll a small double as it is surprising just how many ways it can be played.

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