Backgammon

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The Independent Culture
WHILE ON holiday in Turkey a few weeks ago I reached this position as black in a game against Remzi, the multi-talented manager of the Dalyan Hotel, which is surely one of the world's most charming small hotels.

In the Eastern version of backgammon there is no doubling cube, so each game is played to the end. Playing in this manner for a few weeks is an excellent way to get a better understanding of the game, since you get to see how games develop from positions that are normally double/ drop.

Thus you can often get the chance to check your assessment of positions in a way that may not normally be available.

Your strategy also has to change a little, as it is no longer sufficient to reach a strong double. Game plans must be predicated on playing the game to a conclusion.

However it shouldn't change much; strong moves are still strong moves and good backgammon principles still apply. In this position I played 23/12, got hit when white rolled 63, played 21/15, 5/2* and was easily gammoned. It is too easy to go by results and think in retrospect that breaking a point may have been a better play.

It isn't. This is a standard prime versus prime position and 23/12 is easily the best move as it escapes a man at a moment when both sides are short of timing. Moves such as 7/1, 7/2 or 8/2, 8/3 should not be countenanced just because of White's strong board.

Just play 23/12 and trust that your prime will win the day. Sadly there are days when it doesn't - touche Remzi.

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