Saturday 12 June 1999
Black is a big favourite whichever play he chooses, but it is important in situations like this consistently to make the best play, otherwise the odd "certain" win slips away.
Play (a) puts two men behind black's 4-prime and threatens to close them out if things go well. The down side is if white enters with a 1 and then scrambles one or both men to safety while black languishes on the bar.
Play (b) attempts to close out the man on black's 2-point and then pick up the second blot later. The down side here is that if white enters immediately with a 2 he may well get the blot on black's 11-point to safety. Even if he stays out, black does not have that much time to pick up the second blot.
Over the board the team all liked play (b), and this was the move played. In fact play (a) leads to more wins and is the stronger move, as it leads to more wins. The reason is that it is much more difficult for white to escape two men from black's home board, than to escape just one.
The rule of thumb in positions like this is to get the second back and then worry about the close-out, rather than vice versa.
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