Position 43a, page 60
From Backgammon, the Cruelest Game, by Barclay Cooke and Jon Bradshaw

Black to play 5-2.

Should black break on this roll? — that is, should he move one man from his opponent’s bar point to his opponent’s 12 point and the other man to his opponent’s 9 point?

Certain experts have suggested that in the relatively early stages of the game this is a sound and acceptable risk. But this is not entirely true. To begin with, in the early development of the game, your opponent’s bar point is extremely valuable. But there are other considerations. If black is ahead in a race and — more importantly — is the weaker player, it would be sensible to run. Black is a distinct favorite not to be hit (approximately 2¼ to 1 if he rolled a 5-4, 9 to 5 with a 5-3, and 8 to 5 with a 5-2), and should he escape, he has negated white’s superior skill. If black is ahead and escapes, he should double or, in a similar position much later in the game, redouble if the doubling block is on his side.

Every opportunity of this kind should be grasped. White may, in fact, be a very slight underdog in this position, but this is relatively unimportant when the game becomes a straightforward game of dice. To fight the superior opponent on his own ground will probably entail complicated technical decisions in which the enemy has had more experience and hence a better chance to win.

If black is the superior player in the above position, and even if he is ahead in a race, it would be folly to move his men from white’s bar point. With the 5-2, black should bring a man from white’s 12 point to his own 8 point with the 5, and start his 4 point with the 2.

Alt: 18/13, 18/16 x
13/8, 6/4  *
XG logo
Tom Keith 2013 
Money play
Centered cube
Black rolls 5-2

1296 games with VR
Checker play: 3-ply
Cube play: XG Roller

5-2: Game BG   Equity
1 18/16, 18/13 W
+0.3463 x  Alt
2 13/6 W
+0.3019 (0.0444) 
3 13/11, 13/8 W
+0.2964 (0.0499) 
4 13/8, 6/4 W
+0.2851 (0.0612)  *
5 13/11, 8/3 W
+0.1719 (0.1744) 

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List of Positions from Backgammon, the Cruelest Game

Backgammon, the Cruelest Game (1974), by Barclay Cooke and Jon Bradshaw

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