Opening Rolls

Forum Archive : Opening Rolls

Opening 65: Becker on lover's leap

From:   Jeffrey Spiegler
Date:   6 August 1991
Subject:   Re: Lover's Leap

I consider myself lucky to have found Bruce Becker's "Backgammon For Blood"
a few weeks ago at a used bookstore.  In chapter 5, "Insidious Openings",
he describes why he dislikes Lover's Leap (quoted w/o permission):

  The 6-5 move: For the 6-5 move, I bring two men from 13, one to
  8, and one to 7.

  Other authors recommend moving one man from 24-13.

  This alternative is called "lover's leap," though no one seems
  to know why.  I pondered this for a long time, and then it
  suddenly dawned on me: a lover's leap is a death jump, and
  that's exactly what this is.  Play this throw in this fashion,
  and you are virtually destined to doom.  Not only do you have
  the disadvantage of breaking up your 24 point, but the handicap
  of effectively immobilizing yourself: you have no flexibility.
  Six men on the 13 point is a hazard; the only faintly
  reasonable claim for this move is that your man is "safe."
  True, but so what?  Not only is this a game that will be
  very hard to win, but it is also going to be very dull and
  plodding, and too often you will find yourself at the bottom
  of the cliff.

  The move I recommend for this throw is surprising in its
  statistics: here, the 7 blot can be hit in the seventeen
  ways I've talked about before; six of these, you will recall,
  are at the expense of what would otherwise be a strong move
  for your opponent.  But against this, thirty of your throws
  on your next turn will make a point, and four more of them
  (5-3, 3-5, 5-4, 4-5) will even make the 3 point, if you want
  to cover it this early.  (Only the 5-2 or 2-5 throws do
  nothing.)  These are very good odds in your favor, and it's
  well worth making the move this way--even if the alternative
  was not as bad as it is.

I've been playing 6-5 this way for a while, with good results.  There
are other novel openings in "Backgammon for Blood" that are worth
examining.  Becker's book emphasizes risk vs. potential payoff, and
evaluating risk in terms of what your opponent must give up in order
to slam you.
Jeffrey D. Spiegler
Sverdrup Technology, Inc.
NASA Lewis Research Center

Elliott Winslow  writes:

Sorry, 6-5 running is a big strategical advantage.  Ever try to jump a
prime (see below) with *two* checkers?  That's why one man back is an
advantage, because it threatens to get to *NO MEN BACK*!

As for back games -- so what?  Better to think of that new checker on

Of course I'm not saying it's always right to run, especially when the
opponent threatens to clobber your other guy.  But it isn't there on
the opening roll.
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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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