Match Play

Forum Archive : Match Play

When to free drop

From:   Chuck Bower
Date:   15 January 1998
Subject:   Re: why does JF reject?
Google:   69llns$hqf$

> In a 9 point mach against JF, JF was leading 8:3.  The next game
> started with a 5,1 for me (13-8 / 24-23), JF rolled a 5,3 and
> moved 17-22 / 19-22.  JF had 8 points so I doubled -- and JF rejected.
> Why? Was his following 5,3 really so bad?

     Yes!  What Jellyfish did here was exercise its "free drop".  To
understand this, note that you need six points to win the match, and
that your points will always come in multiples of two (assuming you
double ASAP and JF takes) with one exception--a case similar to what
JF faced here.

     If the score were 8:4 post Crawford, you would need five points
to win, BUT you only get points in multiples of 2, so that means you
really need six points.  Hey, that is the case at 8:3!  So at 8:3, JF
can pass "for free" and you haven't gained anything--you started that
game needing six points and after JF drops you still need six points
to win the match.

     So, should JF ALWAYS pass at this score?  No, only when things
start poorly.  But "poorly" needs to be defined.  Now I have a dilemma
because I'm in the midst of writing an Inside Backgammon article
which describes free drops in detail.  But, I guess I could give
an "enticing" preview...

     Here is a simple rule of thumb, which isn't 100% accurate (that
you must read the article to get) but isn't far off and is easy to

Playing an equal opponent (and we're in trouble already!), the leader
in a post Crawford game whose opponent is at an even-away score and
who is presented with a cube at the FIRST AVAILABLE OPPORTUNITY
should perform as follows:

1) If leader wins the opening roll (and trailer then doubles), take.
2) If trailer wins the opening roll, leader will have a take under
   the following conditions:

    a) leader hits anywhere on his/her 9-23 points,
    b) leader rolls any doublet or 31.
    c) point on your opponent's head ANYWHERE (then take).

Otherwise, pass.

    If newsgroup readers choose to go after the "exceptions" to these
"rules", I welcome it.  But I'm saving the rest for my article!

    c_ray on FIBS
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Match Play

1-away/1-away: advice from Bernhard Kaiser  (Darse Billings, July 1995)  [Long message] [Recommended reading]
1-away/1-away: advice from Stick  (Stick+, Mar 2007)  [GammOnLine forum]
1-away/1-away: and similar scores  (Lou Poppler, Aug 1995) 
2-away/3-away: playing for gammon  (Tom Keith, Feb 1996) 
2-away/4-away: Neil's rule of 80  (Neil Kazaross, June 2004)  [GammOnLine forum]
2-away/4-away: cube strategy  (Tom Keith, Dec 1996) 
2-away/4-away: practical issues  (Mark Damish, Jan 1996) 
2-away/4-away: trailer's initial double  (Kit Woolsey, Jan 1996) 
3-away/4-away: opponent's recube  (William C. Bitting+, Feb 1997)  [Long message]
3-away/4-away: racing cube  (Bill Calton+, Nov 2012) 
3-away/4-away: tricky cube decision  (Kit Woolsey+, July 1994) 
3-away/4-away: what's the correct equity?  (Tom Keith, Sept 1997) 
4-away/4-away: take/drop point  (Gary Wong, Oct 1997) 
5-away/11-away: redouble to 8  (Gavin Anderson, Oct 1998) 
7-away/11-away: volatile recube decision  (Kit Woolsey, May 1997) 
Both too good and not good enough to double  (Paul Epstein+, Sept 2007) 
Comparing 2-away/3-away and 2-away/4-away  (Douglas Zare, Mar 2002) 
Crawford rule  (Chuck Bower, May 1998) 
Crawford rule  (Kit Woolsey, Mar 1997) 
Crawford rule--Why just one game?  (Walter Trice, Jan 2000) 
Crawford rule--history  (Michael Strato, Jan 2001) 
Delayed mandatory double  (tem_sat+, Oct 2010) 
Delayed mandatory double  (Donald Kahn+, Dec 1997)  [Recommended reading]
Doubling when facing a gammon loss  (Kit Woolsey, Jan 1999) 
Doubling when opponent is 2-away  (David Montgomery, Dec 1997) 
Doubling when you're an underdog  (Stein Kulseth, Dec 1997) 
Doubling window with gammons  (Jason Lee+, Jan 2009) 
Free drop  (Ian Shaw, May 1999) 
Free drop  (Willis Elias+, Oct 1994) 
Gammonless takepoint formula  (Adam Stocks, June 2002) 
Going for gammon when opp has free drop  (Kit Woolsey, Jan 1998) 
Going for gammon when opp has free drop  (Kit Woolsey, Apr 1995) 
Holland rule  (Neil Kazaross, Apr 2010) 
Holland rule  (Kit Woolsey, Dec 1994) 
Leading 2-away with good gammon chances  (Douglas Zare, Feb 2004)  [GammOnLine forum]
Match play 101  (Max Urban+, Oct 2009) 
Matches to a set number of games  (Tom Keith+, Oct 1998) 
Playing when opponent has free drop  (Gilles Baudrillard+, Dec 1996) 
Post-crawford doubling  (Scott Steiner+, Feb 2004) 
Post-crawford doubling  (Maik Stiebler+, Dec 2002) 
Post-crawford doubling  (Gus+, Sept 2002) 
Post-crawford mistakes  (Rob Adams, Sept 2007)  [GammOnLine forum]
Post-crawford/2-away: too good to double  (Robert-Jan Veldhuizen, July 2004) 
Slotting when opponent has free drop  (onur alan+, Apr 2013) 
Take points  (fiore+, Feb 2005)  [GammOnLine forum]
Tips to improve cube handling  (Lucky Jim+, Jan 2010) 
When to free drop  (Dan Pelton+, Oct 2006) 
When to free drop  (Tom Keith+, July 2005)  [GammOnLine forum]
When to free drop  (Gregg Cattanach, Dec 2004)  [GammOnLine forum]
When to free drop  (Kit Woolsey, Feb 1998) 
When to free drop  (Chuck Bower, Jan 1998) 
Which format most favors the favorite?  (Daniel Murphy+, Jan 2006)  [GammOnLine forum]

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