Forum Archive : Strategy--Backgames

After an early blitz attempt

From:   Daniel Murphy
Date:   7 April 1997
Subject:   Re: Modifying strategy after making the ace point early?
Google:   rlogin.860460628@shellx

> Say you tried an early blitz, with 55 perhaps.  You've made your ace, but
> things went badly.  Your opponent entered and you got slugged  in your
> outer board.  Generally speaking (since I don't have a position to show),
> how detrimental to your game would it be to try a back game.  Losing 2
> checkers hurts your timing for sure, but are there any other mitigating
> factors that might cause you to avoid a backgame (even if timing was
> decent for you) just because you've made your ace?

Once you've made your own ace point, it is almost always hopeless to later
try to develop a back game.  Timing will hardly ever be good with those 2
checkers on the ace all rested up and no place to go.  But it's not just
timing that having made the ace affects; your flexibility also suffers.
With every roll you have to move 1 or more of the other 13 checkers you
still have to play with, which makes it difficult to hold a position or
force your opponent to make difficult choices.  Combined with timing that
is tenuous at best, your chances to hold 2 back points long enough to hit
a winning shot are slim.  Additionally, with the ace point made, you're
not likely to be able to build a board that contains any blot you hit, and
even less likely to ever be able to force your opponent to leave a second
blot for you.

I believe that many sequences that include O: split, X: 55:  O: fan, X:
double are takable.  Others are close passes.  Since much of X's equity
will consist of gammons, O's winning chances may not be so bad.  Be
prepared to give up if your blitz fails and it looks like you'll be forced
to play a deep anchor holding game (on the 24, 23 or 22) yourself.

If your blitz fails, your best chance will often be a mutual advanced game
with you having the worst of the timing.  Keep in mind that you will have
a 3 or 4 point board, so hitting an outfield blot may tie up your opponent
long enough to let you scramble home.  But if that doesn't happen I'd try
very hard to make an advanced anchor on the 20, 18 or 21.  I'd try to keep
my other checkers in play (in front of my opponent and flexible).  Getting
a third or even fourth checker hit may be advantageous to you, helping
your timing and allowing you to keep your anchor longer.  Unless your
prayers to the dice trolls for big, playable doubles are answered, it's
*not* good to be well up in the race if that means being forced off your
anchor and getting pounded.  Often, since you started the game by building
a racing lead, you'll be able to afford to be hit repeatedly without
falling too far behind.

Daniel Murphy | San Francisco |
   Monthly tourneys in San Mateo: See for details
   and some excellently annotated matches. On-line: telnet 4321.
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After an early blitz attempt  (Daniel Murphy, Apr 1997) 
But they're so much fun!  (Laury Chizlett+, Oct 2000) 
Checker problem  (David Montgomery+, May 1995) 
Defending against a backgame  (KL Gerber+, Jan 2003)  [Long message]
Defending against a backgame  (Michael J. Zehr, Jan 1995) 
How many men back?  (Brian Sheppard, July 1997) 
Play for a backgame from the start?  (Alan Webb+, Dec 1998) 
What is a backgame?  (Daniel Murphy, Apr 2001) 
When to double  (David Montgomery, May 1995) 
Which anchor is best?  (Kit Woolsey, July 1996) 
Which anchor to break  (Brian Sheppard, May 1997) 
Which anchors are best?  (sebalotek+, Jan 2012) 
Which anchors are best?  (Adam Stocks, Apr 2002) 
Which anchors are best?  (Mary Hickey, Mar 2001) 
Which anchors are best?  (Jerry Weaver+, Apr 1998) 
Which anchors are best?  (Chuck Bower, Jan 1997) 
Which anchors are best?  (Marc Gray, Nov 1995) 

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