Backgammon

IN THE box was the Enigmatic Englishman (EE) playing white. Facing him were Barry Bigplay (BB), the captain of the team, the Prophylactic Pole (PP) and the mercurial Quentin Quickcube (QQ). The team had a 54 to play.

"This is a simple pay me now or pay me later position," said BB.

"Indeed it is," replied PP, "so let's pay later. No sense in leaving a game winning 2-shot by playing 11/6, 11/7. We must play 6/1, 6/2."

"Not so," said QQ, entering the fray. "If we play safe with 6/1, 6/2 then EE will move his blot on our 9-point to safety on his next roll and then we will be praying for a miracle to clear our 11-point on our next roll. I say we should give him the 2-shot now. After all, even if we are hit we'll still have a chance to return hit on his 1-point."

BB had been strangely silent during this exchange but now he stirred. "I believe, QQ, that your analysis is succinct and correct. And after all 11/6, 11/7 is surely a big play and I must live up to my name." So saying, he moved 11/6, 11/7 and picked up his dice before PP could complain.

EE missed the shot but PP was still to be seen shaking his head over the play. It wasn't until he got home and analysed the position using Snowie that he discovered that his team-mates had been right by a big margin. Sometimes it is right to take a small risk now to avoid big problems later.

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