#1. What's your move ?

Correct move is 24/17* for 2 reasons:
  1. It gains most pips in the race
  2. It escapes one of the back checkers with tempo  
The key thing in this and many other situations in BG is to focus on our own gain, not only on the bad things that might happen.   We are favorites not to get hit back after 24/17* and even if we do, it’s still not game over.     24/17* has 2 very clear gains. We should always be on a lookout for moves that do 2 good things, they are often right by a lot.   In general when deciding which blot to hit, we want to gain the most pips in the race (hitting his most advanced checker). The one very important exception to this rule that comes to mind is a situation when we get to make a homeboard point by pointing on our opponent.   
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#2. What's your move ?

The superior move is 7/3* 6/3 which does two good things: it hits and it makes a new homeboard point.

So to recap:

– focus on your own GAIN (not the less likely bad scenarios)

– look for moves that do 2 good things

– jumping primes with tempo (by hitting) is often a good idea

– try to gain most pips in the race

– the exception to the above being when we get to hit AND make a new homeboard point.

 

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#3. What's your move ?

In general, making new homeboard point is usually a good idea, even if it involves a bit of risk. The problem here is that the risk is simply way too big.

Here I would like to introduce  Magriel’s Safe vs Bold criteria.

Whenever we have a dilemma between safe and bold play this is a very useful thing to use!

(1) Do I have an advanced anchor?

If we don’t have an advanced anchor SAFE play is preferred, if we do have it we can afford to be more BOLD.

(2) Who has a stronger homeboard (more inner points)?

If opponent has a stronger board SAFE play is preferred, if we have a stronger board we can be more BOLD.

(3) Does opponent have blots in his homeboard?

If he has blots in his homeboard we can afford to play more BOLD.

(4) Who has more checkers back?

If opponent has more checkers back you prefer to play SAFE, if you have more checkers back you prefer to play more BOLD.

To this set of criteria created by Paul Magriel, I would also add RACE as an important factor.

(5) Who is ahead in the race?

If we are ahead in the race we prefer to play SAFE, if we are down in the race we prefer to play more BOLD.

Let’s use Magriel’s Safe vs Bold criteria on this position:

(1) Do we have an advanced anchor? No = SAFE

(2) Who has a stronger homeboard? Opponent (by a lot) = play SAFE

(3) Does opponent have blots in his homeboard? No = SAFE

(4) Who has more checkers back? Opponent = SAFE

(5) Who is ahead in the race? We are = SAFE

As we can see ALL five criteria clearly point in direction of playing safe. While any moves forces us to leave a direct shot, the one which is safest because it creates the least amount of blots is 17/10.

Note that Magriel’ Safe vs Bold Criteria is designed to be used in situations where we have a clear dilemma between safe and bold play.

Also note that sometimes safe play can be so detrimental to our position that we have to choose to play bold even if Magriel’s criteria say differently. As always in BG there are exceptions to the rules, but as a general guideline Magriel’s Safe vs Bold criteria should serve us well and prevent us from making some big blunders in the future!

 

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#4. What's your move ?

Let’s use Magriel’s Safe vs Bold criteria on this position:

(1) Do we have an advanced anchor? No = SAFE

(2) Who has a stronger homeboard (more inner points)? Opponent = play SAFE

(3) Does opponent have blots in his homeboard? No = SAFE

(4) Who has more checkers back? Opponent = SAFE

(5) Who is ahead in the race? We are = SAFE

Again all five criteria point in the direction of playing safe, therefore 10/6 is a correct move.

 

Lets take a look at Red’s homeboard:

 

Opponent has a 6pt and 1pt made.  

Whenever the opponent has an ace pt made he can no longer prime us! Our back checkers should have an easy time escaping.

We should always pay attention to our opponent’s homeboard structure (or order of points). If opponent has higher points made (5pt, 4pt or 7pt) we have much bigger incentive to get our back checkers moving because we are in danger of being primed.

However if opponent has deep points made (ace pt and deuce pt) his priming potential goes down significantly and it’s less urgent to get  our back checkers moving.

(Note that we didn’t mention 3pt because it’s somewhere in between being a low and high point, it’s very position dependent).

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#5. What's your move ?

Let’s call our friend Magriel for help once again:

(1) Do we have an advanced anchor? No (because we break it if you hit) = SAFE

(2) Who has a stronger homeboard (more inner points)? Opponent (by A LOT) = play SAFE

(3) Does opponent have blots in his homeboard? No = SAFE

(4) Who has more checkers back? Opponent = SAFE

(5) Who is ahead in the race? It’s about even after the roll = NEUTRAL

4 out of 5 criteria clearly point in the direction of playing safe.

As for the general rule regarding leaving the anchors, 20pt and 21pt anchors we usually never touch unless we’re up in the race significantly and alternative moves are extremely bad. 22pt anchor we tend to break bit more often. When in doubt just don’t leave neither 20pt or 21pt anchor (assuming playable alternatives exist).

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#6. What's your move ?

Double hits are often right but the problem with double hitting here is that we can hardly ever pull off a successful attack.

In order to attack/blitz successfully we need to have a stronger board.

Here we are huge underdogs in terms of board strength. Our plan should be to slowly but surely improve our position and make long-term assets which the 5 point is.

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#7. What's your move ?

Now we reach the containment game, where as the name suggest we want to contain the hit checker.

The best way to do this is to build the points in order. Problem with 10/4 8/3 is that it slots the wrong point. The point we really want to make in this position is our 5pt.

We must focus on our GAIN and the most likely scenario, not the worst possible one. Most of the time we are missed and are able to make the crucial 5pt.

 

Containment game – build points in order, consider slotting if he has blots in his homeboard.

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