Backgammon

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The Independent Culture
DESPITE THE high stakes for which backgammon is played it is rare to come across a "knocker" - the man who disappears into the night without paying his debts. It is a tactic that you can only employ once or twice before you are blackballed from the backgammon community.

Once the knocker has gone beyond the point where he is willing to pay his losses, you can get some outrageous takes, none more so than that told by Lewis Deyong in his book Backgammon - Learning to win (out of print). In a 1970s game at $100 a point, black was playing a gentleman known as "Drummer" and was ahead 252 points. Realising that he would probably never get paid, he agreed to one last game. The cube was started on 16 and Drummer soon doubled. After a while the position above was reached. Wanting only to finish the game, black elected to double rather than play on for the gammon. Drummer not only took the double but beavered it to 128! Black rolled 63, playing 6/off, 6/3. Drummer rolled 55 playing bar/20(3), 20/15. Black then rolled 61, playing 6/off, 1/off and leaving a shot. Drummer redoubled to 256. Fearing the worst, black merely took instead of beavering. Drummer rolled 21, hit the blot and went on to win the game. For this sequence of outrageous actions he ended up being paid $400. You can imagine how black felt.

So beware the knocker. It's a rare animal, but very dangerous when cornered.

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