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The Independent Online
Given any backgammon position how can one tell the likely outcome - how often will Black win, how often will White win; how many of those wins will be gammons and how many single games? Without this information it is difficult to know when to double, and if doubled, whether to take or pass.

Consider for example this position (Black is on roll). Would you double? If doubled would you take or pass? You develop your skill at backgammon by building a mental reference model. The beginner understands how to make points and how to hit shots, but may not understand deeper concepts. Each player's model will contain a number of reference positions. A beginner's model may have no such positions, an expert's model contains many hundreds. These reference positions assist players to make decisions about any new position they meet. One of the key skills in evaluating positions using these methods is in deciding which factors in the position under consideration are different from the known reference position and judging the impact of those differences.

The position shown is a standard reference position. Black should double and White should take. If Black and White both had six checkers on their 1 points, Black should double and White should pass - another reference position. But what if the position doesn't match any reference? That will be answered next time.