by Douglas Zare
4 October 2013
Here are two topics in the theory of backgammon which are not deep enough for their own articles.
After the Pass
Complete novices should play backgammon without the doubling cube. (It's even reasonable to play a game or two without contact.) The doubling cube asks us to assess the absolute strength of a position, and that is an unusual skill. Beginners need to get experience seeing how positions play out, to see what happens when a player dances a few times on a 4 point board, or gets primed, or leaves a shot in the bearoff. Beginners have no basis for deciding whether a position is strong enough to double, and if they decide to pass, they don't get to see how the position unfolds.
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