31 October 2011
All of you are probably familiar with Phil Simborg. He has articles here on Gammonvillage, he posts on the greatest backgammon forums on the planet (no bias obviously) and maintains The Backgammon Learning Center which is a collection of donkeys, myself included, who give lessons. If you know Phil well enough you'll be part of the onslaught of backgammon emails he regularly sends out. Positions from his chouette play, positions from their weekly tournaments, positions they bet on, a quiz from Jake, etc... It never stops. I try to read everything as it comes in but often I get so far backed up on my backgammon email I just forget things are there so the other day I started combing through a lot of Phil's old emails to see if I missed anything. I went through the quizzes again, the positions, and I found a few worth talking about. One inparticular struck me as the kind of problem I like to see and that's all we're going to talk about in this article.
Some of you may think the information that follows is too easy but I assure you I've given this lesson to several students and never had anyone nail it in its entirety on the head. Good luck to you.
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Good article. The ATS "trap" you set is something I learned from Trice's book, which points out that the cube action at these short match scores is very different for last-roll positions, and this is effectively a last-roll position. The key question that one has to remember to ask is, "Am I going to drop the autorecube if I roll poorly?" If so, then one has to analyze the position as if it were the last roll of the game.
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