Checker Problem

# Anticipate Your Opponent's ProblemsAn Intermediate Level Problem Jerry Nathan, 1983

 From Backgammon Times, Volume 3, Number 3, Fall 1983.

 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 (CR) 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
 Black (4 away) Black to play 6-1. White (1 away)
White was leading 4 to 1 in a 5-point match. This was the Crawford game in which the cube could not be used. For his 6-1, Black would like to have played one checker 7 pips from the mid-point to his 6-point, but his conscience would not allow him to make this illegal play—both the 1 and 6 were blocked. Instead, Black came out to White's bar point with the 6, slotting on the 2-point with the 1.
 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 (CR) 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
After 24/18, 3/2.
Sometimes a play like this is made expecting to be hit, deliberately stirring things up with the hope of a return hit. But this was not a position calling for an action play. Black should have realized how difficult it would be for White to clear these isolated pairs of men in the outer boards.

### Helping Your Opponent

By advancing to the bar point Black facilitated his opponent's next move. Likely to hit with a 6 or 1. White would have a chance to begin extricating his men from Black's outer board while Black was handicapped by having to reenter from the bar.

Even if Black escaped being hit, White would be able to play troublesome numbers by dropping on his 1, 2, or 4 point with no immediate threat from Black—not so if Black had remained on the 24 point.

Black's best move would have been from his 8 and 3 points, blocking his 2 point. A board with 4 points closed would be valuable if there were an exchange of hits.
 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 (CR) 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
After 8/2, 3/2.
The blot on the 8-point would be vulnerable only to the 11 throws containing a 1. It could be hit with complete safety just with 1-1. Only 1-5 could hit two men. 1-4 and 1-6 would leave a blot white 1-2 and 1-3 would leave two blots. These unprotected men would provide Black with return shots as he reentered.

And finally, if White failed to hit with a 1, many of his throws would be difficult to handle. Black's defensive position would hold for several throws, while White's play would be hampered by his inflexibility with each turn.

 More articles by Jerry Nathan More checker problems Return to:  Backgammon Galore