Stationary Approach
Jeff Ward, 1982
Las Vegas Backgammon Magazine, April 1982
Jeff Ward
Jeff Ward
Black can put the finishing touch on his "blitz" by covering the blot on the three point. If Black succeeds, he paralyzes White; and since White lacks an effective blocking structure, there is little to prevent Black from bringing the rest of his men safely home. With two of White's men on the bar and seven more in the outer board, White's only real hope of saving a gammon would be the slim possibility of hitting Black during the bear-off.

Black needed a 6 or 10 but rolled 3-1 instead; and he must now find some useful way to play this roll. He can immediately reject safetying the blot on the three point or advancing his back man. With his opponent almost completely helpless, Black should concentrate on offense with the goal of completing the close-out and winning an easy gammon. Black's objective should be to arrange his men so that as many rolls as possible cover the three point if White fails to enter.

Black to play 3-1.
In the diagram, Black has 6's and 10's which cover, or eighteen rolls in all (6's plus 5-5). Obviously, moving 13/9 fails to add any rolls since Black still has only 6's and 10's.

Moving 13/10, 9/8 helps somewhat. Although Black must move the man on the nine point, now perfectly placed, and still has only one man within direct range, he does add 7's to his arsenal of good rolls, increasing his total to twenty-one.

A better play, however, is 13/10, 4/3, switching points. By moving the target from the three to the four point, Black's two nearest men are left six and five points away — the ideal arrangement. Now twenty-eight rolls hit the target, an improvement of more than fifty percent over the status quo. Black thus becomes the heavy favorite to snuff out all White resistance on the very next roll.

Black risks virtually nothing by switching points as the odds of White rolling a 4 are exactly the same as a 3. And if things go badly, and White makes a point in Black's home board, Black's chances are about the same whether White makes the three or four point.

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