Backgammon

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The Independent Culture
STILL WITH the Grandell vs Riskin match from Istanbul. Black (Riskin) had a 21 to play in this position.

Before looking at moves, let's look at game plans. Black is attempting to blitz white. His problem is that he doesn't have many men near the main scene of action, his home board. With four men way back in white's home board he will have to be lucky to close white out.

There are two possible plans: continue the all out blitz with 5/3* and move the 1 somewhere in white's home board (Riskin moved 21/20); lock up the 5-point with 8/5 and attack white's other blot or bring more men down from the mid-point next roll, depending on the dice.

This is obviously a matter of judgement rather than precise calculation, but I think it should be obvious to most players that the hit with 5/3* is overly ambitious as any 3 by white on the next roll will mean the end of black's attack. Taking the 5-point with 8/5 is significantly superior. The solid asset of the 5-point in this position is worth more than the outside chance of continuing the blitz.

Snowie rates the difference between the two moves at 10 per cent. This is a massive difference for a single move and is by far the largest error in the whole match. It shows that understanding the dynamics of the middle game is more important than any other area of the game and it is judgement in this type of position that separates the experts from the merely good players.

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