by Jake Jacobs
27 June 2017
We took a break last month to talk about the Japan Open. Now, back to the match.
For those who missed the last installment, or can't recall where things stood, I lead 6-1 to 23.
And for those who came in late, and don't know which match this is, it is the semifinals of the US Open 1998, where I faced Sweden's formidable player, Jerry Grandell.
I opened this game with a 63: 24/18, 13/10. Jerry rolled 11 and made his bar and 5pt, and I fanned with 65. His double was thin but proper at the score. Not much interesting happened after that, until he broke and I redoubled. My redouble and his take were both clear. I rolled 42, and brought it home to lead 10-1. This was the way I liked my matches to go!
The next two games were dull. We played a flawless game where he was forced to hit loose, and when I fanned had huge cash. Then I doubled him in a straight race and won two points to lead 12-2, without either of us making an error larger than .36.
Finally, a blunder! How would you play this? I opted to hit, but it is better to safety the blot on the 9pt, then split to his bar. Hitting leaves 17 shots, plus 55 which runs home, and 65 that runs nearly home. Meanwhile, if White is courteous enough to fan, I haven't gained all that much. Certainly I am far from a double. It is all risk, little gain. But splitting, when it succeeds, does more to advance my cause, with comparatively small risk.
It proved moot. He rolled 61, and I fanned with 62. He erred then by doubling me out, instead of playing on.
After Jerry ran with 65 as his opener, I rolled 53 and split. I used to think that was the right way to play that, but it isn't. I felt vindicated after his 31 and my 21. Then he rolled 52, and here we were. The right play is the quiet 13/8, but I had an advanced anchor and back then we hated “candlesticks.” So I played 13/9, 6/5, a whopper with cheese. I got away with it, but my follow up 64 was also misplayed. I slotted the bar instead of playing 8/2.
You lead 12-3 to 23, and trail 142-123; do you take?
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