I have decided to give myself the hard luck story of the year award for the position above. Playing at the Double Fives against Barry "Bigplay" MacAdam, I was Black and looking forward to ending Barry's run in the box with a well-deserved gammon.

I rolled 2-1. No excitement there as I moved 10/7. I rolled again and out popped another 2-1. I carefully played 7/5, 6/5, laughingly pointing out to my partner that this was better than 7/4 as it protected against me breaking my board if I next rolled double 2.

My partner laughed at the joke and I rolled again. Guess what - 2-2! I calmly played 5/1(2) and decided that the fates were being mildly amusing but that one could have too much of a good thing. I shook the dice long and hard, threw them through the baffle box and out popped - you'll never guess - 2-2! With a forced grin, I played 6/2(2). Barry rolled 6-4 which he naturally played bar/19, 13/9. After one of the longest dice shakes ever recorded at the Double Fives, I rolled once more - you will never believe it but, yes, both of those little cubes came to rest with the number `2' uppermost. Now Barry sensed a chance of victory. There are no prizes for guessing his roll. It was 2-2! He played this 9/7(2)*, 7/5(2). I stayed on the bar, he redoubled and my partner and I had to drop.

The odds of not being able to get past a two-point block in five rolls are 59,049 to 1. In the original position, Black will win 97 per cent of the time, 60 per cent of which will be gammons. However, note that White wins 3 per cent (normally as he hits a blot in the bear-off), so remember, until you can definitely hear the fat lady singing, never give up!