Saturday 28 June 1997
In the Nineties came backgammon-playing computers. Early versions of Jellyfish recommended making your own 2-point with 8/2, 6/2. However the computers quickly realised this was too committal and put men out of play too early. Later versions of Jellyfish and other programs preferred 24/18, 13/9.
Now Jellyfish 3.0 has arrived and it marginally prefers 24/14! It clearly believes that the possibility of getting one man close to the safety of the mid-point now outweighs the tactical possibilities of 24/18, 13/9. So where does this leave us? First, remember that computers are not yet all-powerful, so Jellyfish's view is but one of many. Second, the two moves normally lead to radically different types of game, so you should choose the move that leads to one with which you are comfortable. For simple games, choose 24/14; otherwise 24/18, 13/9. If you are playing someone stronger than yourself go for 24/14; against a weaker player I would always play 24/18, 13/9.
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