A Backgammon Opening Mystery

by Walter Trice
15 September 2008

Walter Trice

At one time, like most players who took up the game before 1990, I almost always slotted my five point with opening 2-1, 4-1, and 5-1. My reasons: (a) everybody else did it, and (b) the five point was vital, so it was worth taking some risks to gain it.

In the late 1980's a few players began to play 13/9, 24/23 with opening 4-1, basing their preference on the notion that the 9 point builder produced so many point-making possibilities that a slot became less than urgent.

In the 1990's, the neural network programs Jellyfish and Snowie came along and consistently supported splitting rather than slotting with all three rolls. When players who incorporated the ‘bot concepts into their game started winning a lot of tournaments, splitting soon became almost the universal preference. I eventually adopted the split with 4-1, but continued to slot sometimes with 2-1 and usually with 5-1.

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Article text Copyright © 1999-2019 Walter Trice and GammonVillage Inc.

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