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Avoid gammonish positions at 2a3a?

Posted By: Timothy Chow
Date: Friday, 25 July 2014, at 5:26 p.m.

In Kit's article on the five-point match, he says that the leader at 2a3a should strive to avoid gammonish positions, and he says similar things about 2a4a and 2a5a. One thing about Kit's excellent article that confused me a lot, especially when I first read it, is that he often used the word "gammonish" without bothering to clarify which side was winning the gammons. As I gained more experience, I realized that part of the explanation is that plays that win more gammons often lose more gammons (this observation is part of what underlies Stick's rule to "just make the DMP play"ógammon wins and losses have a tendency to cancel each other out).

Nevertheless, there are situations where the 2a player should make the gammonish play. We saw one not long ago in the Donkey Corner. Now consider the position below, which I encountered recently OTB. Should Blue make the gammonish play?





White is Player 2

score: 4
pip: 158
7 point match
pip: 145
score: 5

Blue is Player 1
XGID=-aa--BE-B---dE--ab-db---A-:0:0:1:64:5:4:0:7:10
Blue to play 64

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