Backgammon

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The Independent Culture
WHITE, THE box, had been playing a 1-4 backgame and had hit an early shot. Black entered with 22 and this position was reached. White redoubled the team, of whom one dropped and the other two took. Who was right?

Let's take a look at game plans. To win, white must contain black's trapped man. To do this he will need to make a full prime. At the moment he has only 11 men on his side of the board so he will have to bring on reinforcements to achieve his task. For example if he rolls 61, he will play 21 15, 10 9 threatening to make a full prime next time. Black, meanwhile, will attempt to free his back man by rolling a 1 then a 6, and at the same time he will want to try to maintain the strength of his home board. This is quite easy as he cannot play fives or sixes and all his other numbers can be played comfortably. If white leaves with one man, black will attempt to attack the blot left behind and build a five-point board.

White still has a lot of work to do to win this position. Even if he builds a prime he still has to escape his back men and bring them home. One mis-timed set of double fives could spell ruin for White. In the initial position, white has very few rolls that lose his market next turn - probably only 6 6. White should wait until he is threatening to complete his prime before doubling - a double here would prove to be premature.

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