Position 61, page 98
From Backgammon, the Cruelest Game, by Barclay Cooke and Jon Bradshaw

White to play 2-1.

White has three options, the most advantageous of which is to bring one man from black’s 1 point to black’s 3 point, and to move the outside man from the 10 to the 11 point.

It would be unwise to hit the blot on black’s 2 point, thereby following the general rule for back games of not hitting, but maintaining a strong defensive position. If white did hit, however, which many players would tend to do, he should then, rather than moving the outside man, move a man from his own 3 point to his 1 point — giving black 3’s 2’s, and 1’s on which to come in and hit.

In this position, white prefers to be hit. But should black then roll 4’s, 5’s, 6’s, white’s campaign strategy will have been thwarted and he will probably not be able to save his board because he is much too far advanced. Even should black roll his worst possible number, a 1-5, he would remain in a formidable position. The whole theory and practice of the back game is illustrated here.

However, if white played correctly — that is, not hitting black’s blot on the 2 point — he is hardly worse than even money to win the game. White’s tactic is to force black to play. By hitting, he is sabotaging himself.

Incidentally, having four points in his own inner board is a complete illusion of strength at this stage, and white should not place much faith in it for the moment.

24/22, 15/14
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Tom Keith 2013 
Money play
Centered cube
White rolls 2-1

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Checker play: 3-ply
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2-1: Game BG   Equity
1 24/22, 15/14 W
−0.7228 x  *
2 24/22, 3/2 W
−0.7473 (0.0245) 

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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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