Forum Archive : Variations


From:   Ilia Guzei
Date:   31 March 2004
Subject:   Cancelgammon strategy
Forum:   GammOnLine

Last night our club ran an experimental tournament of cancelgammon. The
starting position was as in Diagram 1 and during each game each opponent
could cancel one opponent's roll. When a roll is cancelled the person
whose roll was cancelled rerolls. Cube actions cannot be cancelled.

In general I found this game more mentally demanding than normal BG - more
variables to think about.

    24  23  22  21  20  19      18  17  16  15  14  13
   | X   X               O |   |     O               X |
   |     X               O |   |     O               X |
   |                     O |   |     O               X |
   |                     O |   |                     X |
   |                       |   |                     X |
   |                       |   |                       |
   |                       |   |                       |
   |                       |   |                     O |
   |                     X |   |                     O |
   |                     X |   |     X               O |
   |     O               X |   |     X               O |
   | O   O               X |   |     X               O |
     1   2   3   4   5   6       7   8   9  10  11  12

During one of my matches I was X in the position below. No roll has been
cancelled in this particular game. Question: Should I double? If I double
and hit, my roll will be cancelled and I would have to try to hit with the
cube on 2. If I do not double and hit my roll will be cancelled as well
and then I can double. Thus in both situations I would have to hit with
the cube on 2. But! If I do not double, hit and have the roll cancelled,
do I have the right to double before rerolling? In normal BG if one takes
a shake and his dice pop out cocked s/he must reroll, but s/he cannot
double instead of rerolling. Does the "cancel" part of cancelgammon
require a modification to this rule?

   Match to 5, tied at 0
   X on roll. Cube Action?

    24  23  22  21  20  19      18  17  16  15  14  13
   |     O   O       O   O |   |     O               X |
   |     O   O       O   O |   |                     X |
   |     O   O       O   O |   |                       |
   |     O                 |   |                       |
   |                       |   |                       |
   |                       |   |                       |
   |                       |   |                       |
   |                       |   |                       |
   |                       |   |                       |
   |         X       X   X |   |                       |
   | X   X   X       X   X |   |                       |
   | X   X   X       X   X |   | O                     |
     1   2   3   4   5   6       7   8   9  10  11  12


Gary O  writes:

Interesting variant! I would allow cube action after a cancel (SLIGHT
amount of vig to the person with a cancel left) I think the double, roll,
cancel should include notching the cube back (still allowing another cube
action on that turn - increases intropy for the uninitiated.) the cancel
option looks to have implications for checker play. (ie. you hit he
canceled, how would you play a 63 with or without your cancel option ---
if you still had cancel 13/7*, 13/10 but without the option you might
rather play 13/7*, 6/3 halving the chance of the fly shot.

This position looks like double/take.

Perhaps another rule change would allow each player to cancel one of their
own rolls (I've had WAY to many rolls that I'd like to reroll)

Happy Juggler  writes:

What would normally be a cube in volatile positions will usually not be a
cube if your opponent has not used his cancel yet. In this position I
would not cube here with those rules. If I do not roll well the roll will
stand. If I do roll well the roll gets canceled. Therefore the bad rolls
for X will come up more often. I would roll here. If I rolled poorly I
would be glad I did not cube. If I rolled well then white would cancel,
and then I would cube.

Tom Ewall  writes:

I think it makes more sense to allow doubling after a cancel than to
proscribe it.

I think this position is a double even with the cancel. It's true you lose
some of your equity because your opponent's cancel, but you also have a
cancel available, which mitigates that somewhat.
Did you find the information in this article useful?          

Do you have any comments you'd like to add?     



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