Backgammon

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The Independent Culture
ONE OF THE THINGS that our silicon friends, Snowie and Jellyfish, have taught us is never to underestimate the power of the blitz. In the position above, white has just had the misfortune to roll 66 and stay on the bar with both men. Black doubles, should white take?

Five years ago, I know, a lot of players would have taken reasoning that black has as yet no board, whereas white has a good three-point home board. Once white anchors, his board could become a real threat.

The fallacy with this reasoning is that white may never anchor, and if he does it could well be on the one-point. His home board could collapse if he cannot maintain his timing. White should recognise that he has five blots, two of which are already on the bar, and that black has a very powerful attack. A simple roll such as 52, played 9/4*, 6/4 gives black an overwhelming position. White should pass and be glad to lose only the one point.

In a tournament, where the Jacoby rule doesn't exist, the doubling decision depends on the match score. In the early stages of a match, the correct cube actions would still be double/pass. This position actually occurred in this year's world championship final, when Granstedt led Carmelli 21- 10 in a match to 25. With such a huge lead Granstedt correctly played on, rather than double. His decision was vindicated when he went on to win a backgammon, giving him a lead of 24-10. He won the Crawford game to become this year's champion.

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