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Does the box have an advantage?

Posted By: phil simborg
Date: Saturday, 30 November 2013, at 3:26 p.m.

In Response To: Does the box have an advantage? (Rod)

There is some circular reasoning and semantic problems in this debate. If you are the box, and it is right to take because it is a complex position that your inferior opponent is going to screw up, or because he is not likely to handle the recube properly, then, as you say, it is right to take. I agree that it is right to take that cube. I was not saying that you drop a cube because XG says it is a drop and take the cube because XG says it is a take--of course you must play your opponents. That is why I say you need two kinds of skill to be successful in a chouette: backgammon skill and chouette skill.

Now, any argument that says you should take for the box in a situation where you would drop that same cube against that same opponent if the box were not at stake, is, in my opinion, a mistake.

I know that people argue, and it is implied in your argument, that if you are the best player you have a big advantage in maintaining the box, and that is precisely the argument that I believe is false for two reasons:

1) if you take bad cubes to keep the box, even if it is one bad cube, you are diluting and possibly even erasing any advantage you had by keeping the box;

2) you are ignoring the fact that the best player also has a big advantage when he is not in the box. as much as the best players seem to hate being dropped so often, they forget that every time they are dropped when it is a clear take they are gaining equity, and at the end of the day this can really add up.

Rod, I will "pull rank" on you here. I have been playing in chouettes an average of 3 to 4 times a week for the past 35 years. Mostly in Chicago, but also a lot in New York, LA, Florida and Dallas, and of course at tournaments. I have studied this, written articles on it, interviewed and discussed these issues with many of the best chouette and money players in the world, and I am quite confident, from experience and from expert testimony, that anything you do "wrong" to keep the box is, in a word, wrong. (And taking a technical pass in some situations against an inferior player is not "wrong.")

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