Backgammon

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The Independent Culture
CONGRATULATIONS TO Jorgen Granstedt of Sweden who won this year's World Championship in Monte Carlo. In the final he beat Gadi Carmelli by the score of 25-10. Granstedt raced away to a very commanding lead and had the luck of the dice, but Carmelli committed a number of small errors to gave Granstedt the edge.

The above position is a typical example. Trailing 0-6, Carmelli had a 61 to play as black. The game has reached a critical juncture with both sides not wanting to break their outside points unless they can do so without leaving shots. Obviously black has to break a point here and must choose between (a) 16/10, 16/15 and (b) 8/1. (a) leaves 18 shots whilst (b) leaves only 11.

In a situation where, if your opponent doesn't hit a shot his own position will deteriorate next roll, it is normally correct to leave minimum shots and this position is no exception. Carmelli was seduced by the duplication of 3s and chose play (a). He was hit and had to take the double offered by Granstedt. His second blot was subsequently hit - a variation not possible after play (b) - and he went on to lose. The equity difference between the two is big enough to classify Carmelli's choice as a blunder.

Congratulations also to two British players, Allan McLean who won the First Consolation and Dale Taylor who was runner-up in the Second Consolation. The best British results at Monte Carlo for many a year.

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