The most difficult problems in backgammon?
Posted By: Timothy Chow
Date: Sunday, 6 July 2014, at 10:15 p.m.
In Backgammon Boot Camp, Walter Trice wrote:
If one were to poll the top experts about what they consider to be the most difficult problems in backgammon, I believe there would be a consensus for prime vs. prime cube action problems, with prime vs. prime checker play also close to the top of the list.
Is this true? What do you, dear BGO reader, think are the most difficult problems in backgammon? In order to compare apples to apples as much as possible, let me suggest the following clarifications.
1. Let's focus on decisions where there is substantial equity at stake. One could of course concoct some bearoff problem where there is some microscopic difference between the top two plays that is essentially impossible to calculate OTB, but this does not seem to be in the spirit of what Trice was saying. Let's say that a decision is difficult if there is a high probability of blundering. (I'm not too concerned about the exact definition of "blunder," but the threshold should be at least 0.050 EMG, and probably more like 0.080 or 0.100.)
2. Let's exclude score-based decisions, again because I believe Trice was thinking primarily of money-game play when he made his remark.
3. The class of problems you pick should not be so narrow that it hardly ever comes up, but also not so broad that it covers vast swaths of backgammon play (e.g., "whether or not to hit" is too broad, in my book). It could be a little narrower or broader than Trice's examples but not by too much.
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