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It’s Tricky

Back to Boot Camp


Position 2-11 from ‘Backgammon Boot Camp’ by Walter Trice


For the first time in our Study Corner we have a trick question.

There are two possible moves here that eXtremeGammon ranks as essentially the same for money play. They are 24/18 6/5 (the positional play) and 8/2*/1* (the attacking play). As long as you chose one of those two you’re doing fine.

If you wanted to move 13/7 and 8/7 or 7/6 or 6/5, then you need to revisit your understanding of the early game. It’s tough to get the balance right between moving your back checkers, keeping connection between checkers, creating obstacles for your opponent’s back checkers, attacking where possible, and not sacrificing too much in the race. Moving 13/7 doesn’t get you enough for what you sacrifice to move it (you either leave a direct blot, or end up with an awkward stacked structure). 24/18 has the real value of keeping connection between all your checkers, and risks less in the race if you’re hit.

The two best moves aren’t identical though. 24/18 6/5 wins a few more games - it’s the best move if you’re protecting a lead, or looking to get into quiet, low volatility games. But 8/2*/1* gets you significantly more gammons. It’s definitely the best move if you’re at a ‘Gammon Go’ score and/or trailing heavily in a match.

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