Blast From the Past

by Jake Jacobs
10 March 2016

Jake Jacobs

Once upon a time when the world was young and backgammon lore was old there lived two young lads in a faraway land called Germany. At that time if advancing players wished to become proficient they went to a temple of learning such as Pat's Pub or the Mayfair Club. There weren't many of these because most things rhyming with "ub" like tub or sub are too cramped for a chouette. But these lads, Johannes and Dirk, bought a magic teacher called Jellyfishâ„¢. They were among the first acolytes of the bots to amaze the world. Then, they disappeared. First Johannes had a spell cast on him by a Swiss entrepreneur, and then Dirk washed up on a remote beach, and neither was heard from again. Until now.

Recently Dirk reappeared, not only reappeared, but played a match against the young player who might be Germany's current best, Tobias Hellwag. Their 9-point match was in the German Masters Series. Here is a look at how they played.

Black (Dirk) to play 62 tied 0-0 to 9

Dirk chose to run 22/14. If Black does that it is easy to see that the positions are nearly identical, but White is up one pip, is on roll, and is shooting at a blot. While there is no play that will give Black an advantage making an obvious concession is seldom right. The best play is to anchor on the 22pt, then slot the bar. After anchoring, nothing White can throw will be devastating. Meanwhile, if missed Black has the potential to make a new point with every number except 52.

White (Tobi) on roll trailing 0-2 to 9

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