Sixteen Checkers

by Douglas Zare
11 September 2012

Douglas Zare

Any experienced backgammon player knows it is bad to have three checkers pinned back on your opponent's ace point. In the opening, it's usually right to move that third checker off the ace point as soon as you can without wasting a perfecta. However, do we know why that configuration is bad? Is it bad because of the extra checker on the ace point which is bad for the race without gaining flexibility, or bad because you now have too little ammunition on the other side of the board? It is hard to separate these because you can't have 3 checkers on the ace point and 13 checkers forward... unless you play with 16 checkers. This was the subject of a prop I played with Alex Zamanian.

Which side would you rather have at DMP?

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