Backgammon

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The Independent Culture
WHEN SHOULD you offer an initial double? In general, you should do so when you have a threat such that your opponent will not be able to take a double on your next turn. In addition, the position should be such that you will not immediately lose the advantage whatever happens.

The position above is a classic doubling situation. Black has one man back versus five for white. He has a big lead in the race. He is threatening to hit the man on white's bar-point and/or some of the white men in his home board. If black hits two men, for example with 62 - played 24/18*, 6/4* or 33 - played 7/4(2)*, 6/3(2)*, and white fails to hit back, then black will have lost his market by a long way. He must double now to activate his gammon threat (remember the Jacoby Rule states that you cannot win a gammon unless the cube has been turned).

White has a take but it's closer than you might think. With five men back already, it will take a long time for white to establish any position of strength and he will often have to play a back game, not ideal by any means. When this position occurred in a chouette black correctly doubled. All the team players took and two of them actually beavered - a huge error of judgement but proving, once again, that the biggest errors in backgammon are made with the cube.

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