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Basic squads explained with proper diagrams
Posted By: Nack Ballard
Date: Wednesday, 13 January 2010, at 9:35 p.m.
In Response To: Naccel pip numbering diagram test 2 (Matt Ryder)
Thanks, Matt. I find your explanation and information immensely helpful.
To show that I'm paying attention, I'll discuss two basic squads with the help of your finely designed Naccel pointnumbered diagrams below. [Please let me know if I made any diagramming errors.]
Point numbers are labeled in white, Super (Superpoint) numbers in black.
A "triplet" can appear on any evennumbered point. To count a triplet, simply divide its point number by 2.
Triplet (two examples) 7 and 1
Above, the farside triplet is on the (Naccel) 14pt and therefore counts 7. The nearside triplet is on the (Naccel) 2pt and therefore counts 1.
(By dividing by 2, you are in essence counting the number of thirdquadrant (twopoint) steps to the Naccel 0pt. The 14pt triplet counts 7 because it takes 14/2 = 7 thirdquadrant steps to journey it to the 0pt.)
[Scholarly note: A more obscure method is to count the nearest Super twice and the secondnearest Super once. Hence, in the above cases, 2 + 2 + 3 = 7, and 0 + 0 + 1 = 1. In essence, you are shifting two checkers 2 pips each and the other checker 4 pips in the opposite direction and counting the occupied Supers.]
A "pair" can appear on any third point of the board; either on a Super (though then it is commonly counted as twice the Super) or, as here, in the middle of any field. A "field," or sometimes called "squad field," is the fivepoint area composed of all the points in a quadrant minus its Super.
Pair (two examples) 5 and 1
There are two ways you can count a pair. The first way (similar to the dividetripletbytwo logic) is: Divide the point number by 3. Above, the farside pair sits on the (Naccel) 15pt and therefore counts 5. The nearside pair sits on the 3pt (read as the "minus 3 point") and therefore counts 1.
(By dividing by 3, you are in essence counting the number of halfquadrants to the Naccel 0pt. The 15pt pair counts 5 because it takes 15/3 = 5 half quadrants to journey it to the 0pt.)
The second way to count a pair you may find even easier: Sum the Supers flanking it (because if you want to you can equally shift one checker to each). The farside pair sits between S2 and S3 and it therefore counts 2 + 3 = 5. The nearside pair sits between S1 (the minus 1 Super, the bearoff tray) and S0 and it therefore counts 1 + 0 = 1.
While these methods are great for helping you to build and remember counts for larger groups, you will no longer need to apply a method at all to pairs and triplets (and other squads) for which you've already learned the count. That is, once you know that the above pairs are 5 and 1, and the triplets (shown in the previous diagram) are 7 and 1, respectively, a counting method is academic. Nothing beats an instant count.
In this position, White has opened with 42 and Blue has replied with double 5s. Both players made an inside point.
11(5)
9(3)
Blue has a basic squad in each of her nearside quadrants. His pair counts 1 and his triplet counts +1. These two squads offset/reflect around n0, and this nearside formation (no matter how many checkers are on the irrelevant 0pt) is a standard poof; i.e., count of zero.
Blue's entire count is 6 (for two on S3), plus 3(3) for the midpoint checkers, making 9(3).
Let's repeat the diagram, and this time count for White:
White has an even more basic poof on her near side (if you haven't seen it before, review the explanation of the fourth diagram here). The points with two checkers on either side of her 0pt are symmetrical. So, White's entire count is 6 (for two on S3), plus 5(5) for five on her midpoint, making 11(5).
11(5)
9(3)
The difference between White's 11(5) and Blue's 9(3) is 2(2). That's how far Blue is ahead in the race after playing his double 5s.
Nack

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