Fun and frustration

Forum Archive : Fun and frustration

Lonely checker's lament

From:   Luvrhino
Date:   27 August 2001
Subject:   lonely checker's lament
Google:   3b8a4bee$

OK, last night on FIBS i had what was by far my most
frustrating match of backgammon in the month-and-a-half
that i've been playing this infernal game, even though i
won  It was a 5 pt. match and i quickly took the lead 4-0.
My opponent proceeds to beat me in 4 straight games to tie
the match 4-4, since chose not to double me post-Crawford.
He had a ~1440 rating with several thousand games
experience, so one would think he'd know to double.  These
games were rather frustrating since i had a commanding
racing lead in three of the four games, only to be
victimized by a flurry of opponent doubles at the end to
lose by one roll.

Now that was plenty exasperating, but it was but a mere
pinprick compared to the concrete enema of annoyance that
was the last game.  I was kicking major booty and beared-
off all but two checkers on the 2-pt., when an unfortunate
5-1 gave my opponent a chance to hit me.  He did, of

At that point, Opp. had a three-point (2-4-6) home board
with a spare on the 6.  The other 8 checkers were strewn
across the outfield like extras from 'Gone with the Wind.'
I then spent the next 10 minutes attempting to extradite my
sole checker, without luck.  I wouldn't have minded so
much, except that Opp. wasn't making the moves that might
allow him to eventually win the game.  He didn't slot any
of the three missing points in his home board in order to
close me out, excepting one time when he hit me on his 5-
pt..  Moreover, he had several opportunities to prevent me
from escaping in one roll with a 5-5 by making the 10-pt.
or the 15-pt., but he didn't do that either.  Instead, he
stubbornly followed the 'Gone with the Wind' strategy,
which only had the effect of lengthening an already
ludicrously long match.  After 10+ minutes i finally rolled
boxcars and escaped.

Naturally, he refused to resign when i asked him politely
if he would be so kind to do so.  This game made me curious
about a scenario, which hopefully one of you
Snowie/Jellyfish people can answer for me.  What is X's
chance of winning if he only has one checker left against a
closed-off board?

           | O  O  O  O  O  O |   |                   |
           | O  O  O  O  O  O |   |                   |
           |                  |   |                   |
           |                  |   |                   |
           |                  |   |                   |
           |                  |BAR|                   |
           |                  | X |                   |
           |                  |   |                   |
           |                  |   |                   |
           |                  |   |                   |
           |                  |   |                   |

And how do these odds change if O still has the three spare
checkers on, say, his 24-pt. instead of being born-off?

My best WAG is that X would win just under 80% of the time
in the first position and maybe 83% if those three checkers
still need to be brought all the way around the board.


Gregg Cattanach  writes:

Your story is funny (maybe not so much for you!), especially with your
opponent's misunderstanding of post-Crawford doubling.  A similar
story I heard was a club match in Florida where the 'expert' was up
8-0 in a 9 point match, then proceeded to lose 9 straight SINGLE games
(no cubes or gammons) to a rather elderly lady that neither understood
the cube post-Crawford, nor apparantly much about how to move the
checkers.  The story concludes that the expert was never seen or heard
from again at the club.

Snowie evaluates your position, (12 checkers, full prime against 1 on
the roof: the only checker to get home) as the person with 12 checkers
winning 12% of the time.  If he has all 15 checkers to bearoff with
the spares on the 4, 5, and 6 points (which is his best setup of all
15 checkers), he only wins 8%.  The number is less because he
generally doesn't get the chance to get 3 checkers off cleanly without
opening up a point or leaving a blot.  (These are based on short/full
2-ply rollouts).
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Fun and frustration

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"Good roll!"  (jfk+, Jan 1998) 
Hard luck story contest  (Einar Tryggvason, Apr 1996) 
"I resign"  (neilkaz, June 2011) 
Lonely checker's lament  (Luvrhino+, Aug 2001) 
Losing streaks  (Stanley E. Richards+, June 2006)  [GammOnLine forum]
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