Opening Rolls

Forum Archive : Opening Rolls

Opening 63: Slot the four point?

From:   Dennis Cartwright
Date:   31 March 2002
Subject:   6 3 opener

What do you folks think of playing an opening 6 3 by slotting 13-4,
it slots a valuable point, it only leaves one blot, and it doesn't commit
you to a running game, but I never see anyone but me do it.


Chase  writes:

This play is quite a bit worse than 24/18 13/10 or even 24/15. The
reason is that it costs so much when the checker is hit (almost 40% of
the time). Getting hit costs you 30 pips in the race--the 9 you
started with, plus 21 more--and robs you of half your next roll. So
unless you enter with doubles, you're now way behind in the race, and
you're behind two rolls in development. That's not much to show after
winning the advantage of the opening roll. And even when it works it
doesn't always work. When the blot is missed, you fail to cover it 25%
of the time--double jeopardy.


Walter Trice  writes:

The main flaw in the idea is that you are slotting with a checker that
might otherwise have had a productive future in your outfield. The more
common opening slots pull a man off the 6 onto a point that it was already
destined for.

Other objections are more 'typical': the usual objections to slotting
(possible loss in the race, loss of tempo), the fact that there is a nice
alternative (24/18, 13/10) that does two good things instead of just one,
the importance of activating the back men in the opening...

13/4 was never popular (though it has been played by lots of people,
including me) but 13/5 with an opening 6-2 used to be almost standard (and
for a while Bill Robertie was even playing 13/5 with 5-3.) The reasons why
all the top players gradually turned against it are basically the same as
the things I don't like about 13/4 with 6-3.

-- Walter Trice

Ryan Long  writes:

13/4 does have the advantages you mention.  But:

1. It leaves a direct shot on a point your opponent wants.

2. It slots the 4 with the wrong checker.  Use the checkers on the 13 to
build outer board points first.  Using it immediately on the inner board
leaves you with less builders for your outer board.  This isn't always
true (5-5 exception), but i think it's true when you're talking about
slotting on your opening roll.

3. When you get hit, you have literally nothing left to show for your
opener.  You haven't split, you haven't brought down any builders.

4. When the opponent hits you, unless you roll 4-4 or 2-2 (2/36) there are
no good rolls that hit him back; hitting him leaves yet another direct
shot.  This is not the case when you play 6-3 24/18 13/10; you have much
more appealing rolls to hit him back from that position.
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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) 

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