Gaps and Wastage

by Douglas Zare
1 October 2008

Douglas Zare

When a backgammon game becomes an even race, you should aim for the 7-5-3 position, with 7 checkers on the 6 point, 5 checkers on the 5 point, and 3 checkers on the 4 point. You have little control over your pip count, but Walter Trice found that among all 15 checker bearoffs, this wastes the fewest pips on average, 7.07 pips. Getting anywhere close to the 753 position is almost as good, e.g., the 7-4-4 position wastes 7.14 pips, and the 5532 position wastes 7.24 pips.

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