Two Checker Races

by Douglas Zare
3 October 2011

Douglas Zare

Backgammon is too complicated to solve in the near future, but pieces of the game can be analyzed completely. If you have two checkers to race home, you have a few decisions. What should you try to accomplish? Should you be trying to advance one checker to a good position in your home board, and then bring thee other around? Should you cater to particular high doubles? Should you try to keep your checkers on different points but close together? How much does it matter?

I had no idea what the most efficient way is to race two checkers home. I have been following some of Walter Trice's work on backgammon databases, and it occurred to me that two checker races are easy to solve by database. In this column, we'll look at racing for the win. Later, we will look at racing off the gammon.

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