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DMP 4-4/Answer

Everyone sees the hit, but the next 2 4's are harder.  Most people like to make the 4 point, thinking it is good to make an interior point, especially with a checker on the bar, but the reason it is better to bring 2 down from the 13 to the 9 is as follows:

1)  if you make the 4, you are giving up the valuable 8 point...yes, it's nice to make the 4, but you sacrifice a good point to make it, and you leave a blot in your outfield.  Most players do not recognize the value of the 8 point;
2)  when you make the 9 point, especially when you keep the 8 point, you are building somewhat of a prime.  The more points you make closely together, the better it is.  Further, when you start the game you have 5 checkers on your 6 point and 13 point, and the sooner you can get checkers off of either or both of those points, the more efficient use you have of your checkers to do more damage in the future.