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Hit or not

Posted By: Rich Munitz
Date: Monday, 30 November 2009, at 5:09 a.m.

In Response To: Hit or not (eXtreme Gammon)

White is up 18 pips after the safe play. On the surface, it looks to me like after a safe play like 4/2 3/2, white has about 7 pips of extra wastage and giving black an average 8 pip roll, white rates to be effectively ahead by about 3 pips on shake next turn. However, looking deeper, it appears worse than that for white. With two checkers outside on the 8 point, white rates to waste more when rolling high numbers as they must bear in deeply. So I'd add another pip of wastage giving an effective 2 pip lead in a 50 pip race. That is probably in the neighborhood of 68% wins. But it is probably worse than that since if black rolls small, black can stay back causing white to leave shots or waste significantly. These sequences probably cost white several more percent of winning chances, moving down to the low 60s.

Meanwhile, black retains good value holding the cube if it is a race, having a slightly higher than money takepoint on the reship meaning it will get put into play more often. On the hit however, the cube is rendered worthless since black's hits will be huge market losses and black's misses will be nearly gin for white.

Given that black will miss over 69% of the time and white will lose a few percent of the time when missed (noting that there are no numbers that leave another immediate shot), it seems very close in terms of cubeless winning chances, but with the cube value black retains in the race, it pushes me to go for the hit.


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