Opening Rolls

Forum Archive : Opening Rolls

Opening 64: Make the two point?

From:   Darse Billings
Date:   7 February 1995
Subject:   Re: Opening 6-4
Google:   3h8ath$

> I tried that 6-4 opening (making the 2-point) in a recent FIBS match
> against a world-class player.  (I will omit the guy's name to prevent
> embarrassing him) I won the game, and the match.  Which proves nothing.

I suspect that making the 2-point with an opening 64 is one of the most
overstated "errors" in backgammon (along with splitting the back men to
the 22-point because of the risk of 55).  At worst, making the 2-point
is a small error; and for certain players (like those who much prefer
complicated fighting positions over running games) it may even be the
best move, given there unbalanced style of play.

When is making the 2-point correct as a *response* to the opening move?

Suppose your opponent opens 64 or 63 by running out a back man, and we
roll 64.  Now the usual running play (24-14) leaves us exposed to a
double shot, so it isn't nearly as much fun as with the opening roll.

I would have to think making the 2-point is better here, since it is
safer, unstacks the 6-point, and makes an inner board point when we may
hit next roll (the opponent's position is considerably looser than when
we play 64 as the opening roll).  The only other consideration seems to
be 24-18 and 13-9, so perhaps a strong player could comment on the
relative merits of each?

Are there any other examples where making the 2-point is a correct
response?  And could it be that TD_Gammon was occasionally observed
playing 64 to make the 2-point on the *second* move of the game?

> Once, many years ago, a friend of mine won a tournament chess match
> against Joel Benjamin by playing the "polish" opening (b4, P-QN4).  My
> friend won, even though he was the lower rated player.  Which proves, of
> course, that b4 is the best opening as white in chess :-).  Just for fun,
> I'll try making the 2 point more often.  i remember when I was first
> learning the game, I made the 2-point, and a more advanced beginner tried
> to explain to me why it was bad.  i won that game, too.  I've had a few
> annoying games in which my opponent opened with a 6-4, making the 2
> point, and i lost.  Therefore...  nothing.  There is no way to prove or
> disprove whether the 2-point with a 6-4 is best, or if 6-4 is just such a
> good number it generally tends to give an advantage no matter how it's
> played.

In chess, it is fairly common to play a known "inferior" move, just to
rattle one's opponent.  If the move leads to positions you know well,
and if they feel they must punish you for your insolence, then they can
be in for a very rude awakening.  In fact, I've often said something
like "this strange move has the distinct advantage of not being nearly
as terrible as it looks".  :-)

But the psychological benefits of such a move are not as great in
backgammon, I would think, since the opponent's follow-up is largely
governed by the dice rolls, making it less likely that they will
over-react to the perceived weakness of your play.

BTW, if someone tries to freak you out with the Polish opening, respond
with d5 and Qd6! intending e5 (due to Uhlmann).  It is a sound plan, and
they'll likely be counter-flabbergasted. :-)
      Cheers,  - Darse.
Did you find the information in this article useful?          

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


Opening Rolls

At different match scores  (Louis Nardy Pillards, July 2002) 
Average advantage of winning opening roll  (Chuck Bower, Oct 1998) 
Choosing a strategy  (Daniel Murphy, June 2001) 
Early game rule of thumb  (Rich Munitz, Feb 2009) 
Factors to consider  (Kit Woolsey, July 1994) 
How computers play  (Kit Woolsey, Mar 1995)  [Recommended reading]
Magriel's Chapter 5  (Hayden Alfano+, May 2006)  [Long message]
Mloner vs Jellyfish  (Kit Woolsey, Dec 1995) 
Nactating a whole game  (Nack Ballard+, Jan 2011)  [Long message]
Nactation  (Jim Stutz+, June 2010) 
Nactation overview  (Nack Ballard, Oct 2009) 
Nactation--Why use it?  (leobueno+, Jan 2011) 
Opening 1's: Split or slot?  (Douglas Zare, Dec 2003) 
Opening 21: Rollout  (Stick, Mar 2006)  [GammOnLine forum]
Opening 21: Split or slot?  (Dick Adams+, Dec 2003) 
Opening 32: Rollout  (Stick, Feb 2006)  [GammOnLine forum]
Opening 43: In GOL online match  (Raccoon+, Feb 2004)  [GammOnLine forum]
Opening 43: Pros and cons  (Stick+, Jan 2006)  [GammOnLine forum]
Opening 43: Which split is better?  (Peter Backgren+, Aug 2000) 
Opening 43: Which split is better?  (Michael J. Zehr+, Mar 1996) 
Opening 51: Rollout  (Stick, Feb 2006)  [GammOnLine forum]
Opening 52: Merits of splitting  (Peter Bell, Apr 1995) 
Opening 53: Magriel's recommendation  (George Parker+, July 1997)  [Long message]
Opening 53: Split to 21?  (Alex Zamanian, Aug 2000) 
Opening 53: Why make the three point?  (Kit Woolsey+, Feb 1996) 
Opening 6's: Slot the bar point?  (Chuck Bower+, Feb 2000) 
Opening 6's: Slot the bar point?  (David Montgomery, June 1995) 
Opening 62: Could running be best?  (Gary Wong, Sept 1997) 
Opening 62: Split, run, or slot?  (Chuck Bower, May 1997) 
Opening 63: Middle Eastern split?  (Mark+, Apr 2002) 
Opening 63: Slot the four point?  (Dennis Cartwright+, Mar 2002) 
Opening 64: Make the two point?  (William Hill+, Jan 1998) 
Opening 64: Make the two point?  (Darse Billings, Feb 1995) 
Opening 64: Rollout  (Peter Grotrian, Jan 2006)  [GammOnLine forum]
Opening 64: Split to 20?  (Peter Bell, June 1995) 
Opening 64: Three choices  (Brian Sheppard, July 1997) 
Opening 65: Becker on lover's leap  (Jeffrey Spiegler+, Aug 1991) 
Opening 65: Computer rankings  (Chuck Bower, Jan 1997) 
Opening rolls ranked  (Arthur+, Apr 2005) 
Rollouts of opening 21 and replies  (Alexander Nitschke, Oct 1997) 
Rollouts of openings  (Tom Keith+, Jan 2006) 
Rollouts: Expert Backgammon  (Tom Fahland, Aug 1994) 
Rollouts: Jellyfish 3.0  (Midas+, Sept 1997) 
Rollouts: Jellyfish 3.0 level 6  (Chuck Bower, Feb 1999)  [Recommended reading]
Rollouts: Snowie 4.1  (Rene Cerutti, Apr 2004) 
Slotting the four point  (Joe Loria+, Oct 1999) 
Snowie's openers and replies  (rcerutti, Feb 1999)  [Long message]
Splitting versus building  (Dave Slayton+, Aug 2000) 
Splitting versus slotting  (Daniel Murphy, Apr 2001) 
Splitting versus slotting  (Daniel Murphy, Sept 1997) 
Trice's rankings  (Marty Storer, Feb 1992) 

[GammOnLine forum]  From GammOnLine       [Long message]  Long message       [Recommended reading]  Recommended reading       [Recent addition]  Recent addition

  Book Suggestions
Computer Dice
Cube Handling
Cube Handling in Races
Extreme Gammon
Fun and frustration
GNU Backgammon
Luck versus Skill
Magazines & E-zines
Match Archives
Match Equities
Match Play
Match Play at 2-away/2-away
Opening Rolls
Pip Counting
Play Sites
Probability and Statistics
Source Code
Strategy--Bearing Off
Strategy--Checker play


Return to:  Backgammon Galore : Forum Archive Main Page