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Can You Bear-in It?

How best to bring them home


Problem 80 from "Classic Backgammon Revisited" by Jeremy Bagai

XG skin design by Rain


Apologies right away for the pun. Sometimes the heat has an effect…

This is another position that had the experts of yesteryear stumped. Barclay Cooke chose 8/7 8/4, which aims to build a stronger inner board but mainly creates a static blot that could linger, while losing one of black’s landing sites. It’s a blunder, but still the second-best play available.

Now is the moment to leave one of our points in white’s outfield - while they have a blot and not many builders. And in this case 13/8 is clearly best. It maximises white’s pain if they do hit you - they lose an anchor and face several return shots - and it duplicates white’s 1’s. It also keeps our bar-point anchor - useful in case we do get hit. That safe anchor is the reason why the ‘clear from the rear’ move of 18/13 is also a blunder in this position.

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