Peter Hallberg
World Backgammon Champion 2004


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February 2009

Bad cube action

Feb 19th by Peter Hallberg

As I wrote in my last blog I would search for some interesting positions over the team tournament weekend. One of my team mates helped me annotate three matches. My checker play was really well in the first two matches but my take/pass decisions sucked big time. Apparently I was unable to pass any cubes. The one 8-cube I intact did pass was a no double.

Match to 17, White leads 8-3
White to roll or double?
114
87
GNU Id: dtsQBBhnvhkAQA
GNU Match Id: AQEgAoAAGAAA

This position really got me thinking. In money game I usually pass those cubes but I've seen enough examples where it's actually a take, to try to work out if that's the case here. Finally I decided that White had too few problems getting his back checker out and Blue having too many odd rolls when entering. I decided on pass for money. Now I had to decide for the current match score. I'm trailing 3-8/17 and I can take more. If this was an initial double it would just be a little easier to take than for money, but I would still pass. Being a redouble makes it a lot easier for me to take when I'm trailing. After careful consideration I decided to pass by a small margin.

Snowie totally murdered me calling this a no double at the current match score. This really got me thinking and I will in the coming weeks make a small study of redoubles in unbalanced match scores.


Back on the horse again

Feb 4th by Peter Hallberg

My posts dried up again because I haven't been able to find the energy need to write and update my webpage. Some major problems concerning my, now ended time at the university, took up all my energy and good spirit. Now I'm trying to let the frustrations go and get back to some of the things I enjoy.

As I promised back in December I'll give my take on the positions from my last blog entry. Unfortunately the rest of the problems have been misplaced and I won't be able to give them to you. Instead there will be lots of opportunities to find new challenging problems in the coming days. Tomorrow and the coming weekend I will be playing five 17p matches in the Danish team tournament and there's no chance I will leave empty handed - at least position wise.

Answers/comments
All the positions from last blog came from an internal tournament and someone actually moved them wrong.

Position 1:
The race is fairly even and after playing bar/16 you just need to clear the 16 point. You have no weaknesses in you position and you are ahead in the race. This is the right move by a huge margin. The player in question actually played bar/20, 6/2. He augmented that it gave him more control and white would have more problems playing home safely. The problem is that white now got a lot of free tries to attack blue on the 20-point. Furthermore if white should get even more behind in the race he will surely attack the lone checker to fight back.

Position 2:
This is a somewhat tricky position. White have most of a prime in front of blues back men while blue only are trying to contain one checker of whites with an even weaker prime. A lot of people would pass this as blue but they forget that white still have a lot of work to do. He has to escape his back man and close his prime before blue get's his defensive anchor on the 20-point. That's plenty of work for white to give blue a comfortable take.

The question is now if white can double at all. He is certainly in a strong position and a lot will be decided within the next roll. If white escapes and doesn't get hit it a huge double pass. If hits one of blues blots is a huge pass. If blue doesn't get a 4 soon he will roll after roll get into more problems. This all points to a double.

Position 3:
Here white is clearly a huge favorite and has an easy double. Can blue take this one? I thought about it for a while and decided that it at best would be a marginal take. Over the board I would have passed it knowing I couldn't have made a big mistake. Answering a quiz question is a whole different story.

Basically white has a lot of work to do to get home even if he closes his 5-prime. Still it won't take blue more than an ace followed by a 6 to jump the prime. The fact that whites forces are scattered all over the board could pull for a take. Still I don't like it and have to say pass. However Snowie thinks it's an error not to take. I don't care - I'm not Snowie.

Till next time - have fun.

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