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About that counting thing...

As you can see from the ExtremeGammon rollout below, it is best to move the checker all the way out.

Most people tend to move it to the bar point and play 4/2.  Why, because instead of giving your opponent two direct shots, it seems natural to only give one direct and an indirect.  With an indirect you give your opponent a 6 or 8 to hit you, and if you continue you give a 4 or 6. 

With the 6 and 8 your opponent hits you with 20 shots. If you continue you leave 27 shots.

So why continue the checker?

The answer was not obvious to me, but Matt Cohn-Geier provided the answer to me.  It is best to continue because you really don't want to lose that spare you have on the 4 point.  When that happens, you are much more likely to leave a blot later if you get hit now.  Even if you don't get hit immediately, White has a lot of work left to get that checker around the board and to safety.  There's a pretty good chance of getting hit again even if those initial 27 shots miss, so you'll always be better off with that spare on the 4 point.  Red's odds go way up if he can ever hit a second checker, and that spare will go a long way to helping prevent this from happening.


 


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