Current Position - what should White play here?

Position 288

 How should White play 62 here? I want to remind everybody that these positions are unlimited money game is as played in New Zealand, meaning that the Jacoby rule is not in effect. If it helps, just think of this as an 11 point match where the score is 0 to 0. Looking at this position, you immediately notice that Black has 2 inner board blots. This allows you to make a bold play. Unfortunately, you still have to decide what that bold play is. You consider running 21/13: This would be a really good move if you were significantly ahead in the race, but after this move you will still be behind in the race by 2 pips and your opponent will be on roll. What is not so obvious, is that after this play even though Black has 2 inner board blots, every roll except one has positive equity – meaning that they are still the favourite. I would suggest that you set up a backgammon board and go through all Blacks rolls below: Black’s position is so good here that they have a double. You want

Position 287

 How should White play 42 here? After the roll you will be ahead in the race by 14 pips. You could just play safe and not hit with 9/7 9/5: If you are making this play, you are hoping to roll 65 or any double (except 44) so that you can clear your 12 point immediately. If you do not roll any of those numbers, you will either be destroying your board or leaving a shot. It is far better to be proactive and hit 12/10*. If you do this you could just minimise blots by then playing 10/6: This was the move played over the board. This leaves only two blots, and you have a direct 5 to cover as well as 62, 41, 32, 44 and 22. That is a total of 19 rolls. Note that there are rolls like 43 which break another inner board point to cover, but I will exclude them from the discussion as the next alternative also has rolls that do that. The problem with this play is that if Black hits you, with any one, because they have two checkers on their 18 point, they will have a lot of time to roll a 6 and

Position 286

 How should White play 65 here? You are really glad to have rolled 65 from the bar, putting your opponent on the bar against your 4 point board. You are keen to stop your opponent from anchoring, so consider playing bar/20* 11/5: This move prepares to continue hitting your opponent’s checkers on your 2 and 1 points. Unfortunately, this is not the right idea. You want your checkers working together and by playing 11/5, you only have one checker with which to carry on hitting with direct numbers. If you leave that checker on the 11 point you will have 3 builders for both your 8 and 7 points. So, you consider bar/20* 24/18: The issue with this play, is not only have you given your opponent a good 6 but also if they hit you from the bar, they will have another checker in the attack zone to carry on attacking or making points if you do not hit them from the bar. You also have no great urgency to escape your rear most checker as your opponent has a very weak blocking structure. You con

Position 285

 How should White play 44 here? You are really glad that you rolled a 4 and were able to anchor on your 21 point. But you realise that whatever you do you will not be able to safety the checker on your 11 point.  You consider bringing more checkers into your attack zone by playing bar/21 13/9(2) 11/7: This gives you 11 checkers in the attack zone, but you have a high chance of your opponent hitting you here and even with your 9 point, you do not have much of a blocking structure. It would be really good to make another inner board point so you consider bar/21 8/4(3): I dislike saying that you have made your 4 point here, because you have switched from owning your 8 point to your 4 point. If your opponent anchors on their 20 or 18 point, you will miss having an 8 point. This move also gives your opponent a good 6. You would like to keep your 8 point, but would also like to make another inner board point so consider bar/21 6/2(2) 11/7: This does indeed make another inner board point. It

Position 284

 How should White play 65 here? You have just rolled a roll that will allow you to safety all your checkers by playing 24/18 8/3: You ask yourself, “what can be wrong with making a completely safe play?” Although this play leaves no immediate hits for your opponent, it gives up control of your outfield – the points between your 12 to 7 point. Your opponent can easily hop out into this area with any 6 or any 5. And you will have to leave at least a single shot (may be a double shot) any non-hitting 6 and 54. Let’s reconsider your position, you have a much stronger board than your opponent. You have 3 more inner board points, and would love to get into a blot hitting contest. Consider 24/13: Getting double hit with 65 or 61 is of course very bad. But on the occasions when you only have one checker hit, you will usually have returned shots and the much stronger board. Your board isn’t just strong, it is deadly. Your opponent’s board on the other hand is not that strong and if you only

Position 283

 How should White play 31 here? No matter what you do here you will play 3 by playing 5/2: Suppose you decide to be completely cautious and just play 5/4: Although this is safe for this turn, gaps in front of anchors are treacherous. Any 6 or 32 or 31 will leave your position awkward with the gap remaining. If you roll a 65 then you will be forced to leave a shot. Suppose instead you risk being hit by breaking your 8 point and giving yourself 4 builders to make your 3 point by playing 8/7: You will only be hit if your opponent rolls 52, and having 4 builders to make your 3 point is good. You still have awkward rolls, but only one roll forces you to leave an immediate shot – 55. Consider just slotting your 3 point now by playing 4/3: Your opponent can hit you with any 2 but the hitting checker will still be trapped behind a solid 5 prime. There two checkers back on your 24 point will require your opponent to roll to more 2’s followed by two more 6’s. So even if they manage to hit, they