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More Adventures in Blunderland

Posted By: Chuck Bower
Date: Sunday, 2 June 2013, at 5:59 p.m.

In Response To: More Adventures in Blunderland (David Rennie)

You need to stop apologizing for the positions you post. Think how those of us feel who subsequently get them wrong! This situation looks like something that would fit in a problem book, like Kit and Tammy's, or Robertie's 501, or Wiggins's and Kleinman's Boards, Blots, and Double Shots.

Let's first (as always) consider score and cube location. Blue is less likely to be able to use the cube at this score than White, from the get-go. And the player who trails the game (Blue) also has a legitimate bias against turning it. As far as taking, Blue needs to be careful of gammon losses on a 2-cube as those trade favorably for White (risk 35 to gain 25). But if gammons can be taken out of the picture then Blue's takepoint is deep ( [57 - 50] / [85 - 50] = 20% takepoint WITHOUT accounting for recube vig, so more like 18%). Actually the favorable score (for Blue's take) more/less offsets White's increased 2-cube gammon value, so Blue's takepoint isn't especially high with moderate gammon risk -- maybe about 'normal' ($-cube), depending upon the exact situation, of course.

Blue doesn't have many 5's to play here -- either the back checker or the spare on the midpoint. There aren't even many 2's -- 4/2 with either accompanying 5, or 8/6 option after 13/8.

OK, enough preliminaries. The main decision (IMO) is whether to keep a blot in White's board to improve hitting chances or step out the opp's barpoint and secure the timing needed to hang around on that point. (The midpoint is going to become expendable soon.) Blue's (12 - 7 + 4 =) 9 point deficit alone should make the position takeable for quite a while as long as White hasn't cleared his midpoint, and Blue isn't in gammon danger.

Suppose Blue stays back this turn. White can PoH 25% of the time and make either his 4- or 3-point another 44% (assuming I counted correcctly). That tightens the noose on White's back checker, a checker that is moderately well blocked and (almost) needs a 5 to escape... oh, maybe the 5 Blue currently is considering?

Without the gammon concerns I would stay back (and possibly be wrong) but here I'm going to play the scoreboard and safety (with the possibility that that is wrong, also). Then for the deuce I'm going to "put the checker where it belongs".

23/18, 4/2

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