2010-07-18 Match 3-1/Answer

There's a great expression that can often help us identify the right play:  "The game is here."  Often, there is a battle going on for one particular area of the board, and if you can identify that area, it tells you what is critical about the position and where to muster your troops.  In this case, the game is all about that last checker of White's on Red's ace point.  If White escapes that checker, Red can pretty much kiss this game goodbye.  So what's the best way to stop White?  Making the bar point is critical.  If Red doesn't slot his bar point, it will be pretty difficult to make it next roll, so it's right to slot it now.  What if White rolls a 6?  Then Red is not very happy, but he's not very happy anyway if White rolls a 6.  By slotting, Red does have a way to become "happy," and that's when White doesn't roll a 6!