by Douglas Zare
1 June 2012
One frontier of backgammon theory is the study of positions which are too good to double. Most of the time, we study positions between the take points, but it is still important to play well when we are too good to double. Here is a specific question: What is the gammon price when we are too good to double? My bet is that the vast majority of serious backgammon players don't know.
To compute the gammon price, we assume that each position is worth some number of wins and gammons. The gammon price says how many wins we can accept turning into losses for each single win we promote to a gammon win. In cubeless money play, the gammon price is 0.5, since the difference between a win and a loss is 2 points, while the difference between a normal win and a gammon win is 1 point, 0.5 times as much. With the cube in play, the gammon price seems to be about 0.43 when we aren't too good to double, a little lower since wins let us use the doubling cube more efficiently than gammons do.
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