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Early Bear-In

Prevention and preparation…


Problem 88 (modified) from "Classic Backgammon Revisited" by Jeremy Bagai

XG skin design by Rain


White is ready to start bearing in - they’ve escaped their back checkers but not yet built their inner board. You want to frustrate their bear-in, while strengthening your own board. How best to use this roll to do that?

Yet another position from Bagai’s ‘Classic Backgammon Revisited’ - this time one that two of the classic giants (Dwek and Magriel) got wrong. Hopefully most of us choose bar/20 for the 5, so that just leaves a 2 to move. I guess that the majority would then focus on the back checkers rather than move 13/11 or 6/4 (both blunders). But which back checker? The wrong one is the biggest blunder of all. Again my guess is that many of us would leave a goalkeeper on the acepoint, and move 22/20.

It turns out that that creates almost no extra problems for White, and the goalkeeper will need to be tidied up eventually. 24/22 by contrast makes it much tougher in the long term for White to come home safely. Crucially you have enough timing with your remaining 11 checkers to be able to build your board and wait.

Bar/20 24/22 is the only right move.

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