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Bearing off/Answer

It is surprising how often it is right just to take checkers off when you can.  Sometimes it is because it wins you more gammons that way.  Sometimes it is because you simply have more checkers off when you get hit that you might still win the game after getting hit.  Sometimes it is because bearing off more checkers might be safer, or just as safe, as not bearing off checkers.  Sometimes it's all three!

But one thing I have learned is that when you are not sure which is right and which is safer, you're probably better off taking those checkers off.   Joe Russell, one of the best players in the world, thought about this one for a couple of minutes and then took 4 off.  That play surprised a few people watching our match and one person he was playing, but it was clearly right.