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Quiz contest in Texas Championship 2014

Posted By: Timothy Chow
Date: Monday, 21 April 2014, at 5:55 p.m.

In Response To: Quiz contest in Texas Championship 2014 (Keene)

I was looking at this old post and saw that Keene asked:

I would really appreciate it if someone could make some commentary on position 6 - that one I totally blew, didnt see how to get to that answer at all.

The position in question is shown below. Nobody replied to Keene at the time. I found 20/15 20/14 to be natural so I will share my thoughts below.

Match to 5, Tied at 0-0
Blue to play 65


Blue's Plan A is to contain White's back checker, because once that White straggler escapes, Blue's life becomes a lot harder. Making the 2pt or the 1pt dumps those checkers too deep. White will most likely just hop into the outfield in a turn or two. We want to keep those checkers for priming purposes. That leaves 20/15 20/14, maximizing outfield coverage, as the most strategically logical play. The only question is whether 20/15 20/14 fails tactically because it hands White too much rope to hang us with. However, even if we get hit, it's not the end of the world. White has a blot in her board (2's are duplicated as a bonus) and her midpoint is stripped, so we'll probably get return shots. Even some of the unluckier exchanges still let us fall back on Plan B: an ace-point game against White's awkward forward position (with gaps and two semi-dead checkers) and a straggler that hasn't yet escaped.

I'm sure one could modify the position by strengthening White's forward position so that 20/15 20/14 becomes too dangerous. But I think the key is to first see that 20/15 20/14 is the strategically logical containment play and that we should refrain from it only if tactics forbid it.

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