Deep Anchor Cubes

by Stick
2 October 2014


Stick

One advantage of teaching or giving lessons is that it really forces you to know the material. It should, in turn when talking about backgammon, make you a better player. Another upside is that you're sometimes presented with topics that you yourself haven't covered and you're forced to take an in depth look at in order to explain it to others. So this month's article I owe to a student of mine who was having troubles with deep anchor holding games cubes.



His biggest problem was that he was taking too much. Far more often than not these 23pt or 24pt cubes are drops, even dead drops. The first bit of advice I pushed after seeing some of the cubes he was taking was "drop them all". Simplistic but I do believe it was an improvement at the time. Not wanting to be blamed later for bad drops I started saving deep anchor cubes and picking apart what aspects should sway us towards taking or passing.



Here are the building blocks of what you should be considering in these positions. I will elaborate more within the problems and variants that follow. In the problems that follow assume all we're looking at is the take/pass decision.



  • Does my opponent still have checkers to extricate from my inner board?
  • Even where this/these checkers are specifically at, edge of the prime, further back, all the way back, can have a significant effect
  • How formidable is my offensive position?
  • Some offense needs to be started, even one high point assuming the opponent still any checkers to escape, makes a big difference.
  • What point(s) are yet to be made in front of my anchor and how likely and easily are they to be made?
  • This comes into play even more when the opponent has escaped all his back men from your inner/outer board grasp.
  • What anchor do I have?
  • Do I have any men on the bar or a 3rd man back? Usually bad news for me increasing my gammons.
  • Is the opponent missing his outfield landing point(s)? (8pt, 7pt)


is Player 1

score: 0
pip: 165
Unlimited Game
Jacoby Beaver
pip: 132
score: 0

is Player 2
XGID=ab--BBE-A---bD---cbcb---A-:0:0:1:00:0:0:3:0:10
on roll, cube action?

eXtreme Gammon Version: 2.19.206.pre-release



Thanks to this in depth study of deep anchor cubes, I now have a mental checklist that I run through when faced with such problems. I want to note the main details and after you have seen the variants and quite a few of these problems you will come to know the level of importance of each item. While normally the race is one of the main issues the most part of deep anchor cubes you will be down by at least 20 pips so it doesn't often weigh into my decision process. Still, take a glance, can't hurt. In this specific position here's what I see...


 
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