by Walter Trice
15 August 2008
A backgammon holding game often becomes a waiting game in which each player tries to do nothing longer than his opponent. Outfield points stare each other down, and when one of them blinks the other may get a blot to shoot at. The essential resource in a waiting game is spare checkers to do nothing with, playing otherwise awkward rolls without having to break a key point or leave a vulnerable blot.
Sixes must be played from the outfield before the bearoff, so rolls with a six are most likely to be troublesome. Most of us learn, at some point, to pay attention to spare outfield checkers that can be used to play sixes safely, and not to give them up without a good reason. But any simple tactical trick can get played at the wrong time. Sometimes one can find reasons to "save a six" and miss more important reasons why it is better to just play the last outfield spare home.
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