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2-1 Answer

The right play is to make the 5 point.  I have to admit, not only was that not my play, but I had difficulty understanding why it was the right play.  When that happens to me, I turn to Perry to help, and his explanation makes a lot of sense:

As you know 20 numbers can hit at least one of the blots.   But, because 3’s and 4’s play so well on the other side, Black only hits 6 of the 20, although 3-1 and 4-3 are double hits.  These 4 numbers that double hit “are good anyway” so the price you pay extra is not quite as bad.   6 of 20 doesn’t make this a dangerous play at all.    Having the 5 point exacts a potentially larger penalty for hitting you now, and  later as well.   When the checkers on your bar and 8 are not hit you can possibly make one of these on the next roll, 5,6,s and 1,s.  and you could possibly split at the same time.    It still might not be necessary to prioritize making both blots  on your 7 and 8  safe from any hit on your next roll.  

 Splitting now improves your chances of hitting a blot, but if you do your game has a long way to go with his anchor on your 4, a stack on the 6 and the 5 open.  The checker you might manage to hit after splitting  might make matter worse for you as it re-circulates from within your puny structure.  Since you are not a favorite to hit anything, you rate to be facing a stronger board after splitting, which you probably will be compelled to do,  and these checkers could be under a lot more pressure than if you had your 5 made.  If you play the split and then manage to escape one into the outfield, you still may find your self back inside your opponents inner board with one or two checkers back and no  5 point to show for it.




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