Stick No. 18 Answer

DMP, supposed to be one of my specialties. 

I had this gem come up online also and was momentarily disappointed when I put it in to XG and XG though I should anchor and play from there.  At the time and now still I really dislike anchoring up with bar/21 24/21.  The merit I see behind it is being able to grab a second anchor, the 23pt, sometime in the near future as my opponent will not be attacking that deep.  Then, once I get the 23-21 backgame going which I have no time for, I will try desperately to spring my back checker and fill in my board in order eventually releasing my 21pt anchor to maintain my timing.  That's my multi-ply analysis of what is likely to occur in that variation.  There are many other things that can happen of course from me never getting the second anchor to me lucking out and somehow maintaining my timing for the backgame.  Still, I try to look at what is most likely to occur and go from there.

The hitting play looks to mix things up a bit.  I wish I was hitting with an ace instead of a three as it would leave a better forward distribution but if I had my druthers I wouldn't be in this position in the first place.  (hitting with 41 instead of 43 would be a crystal clear play) Hitting allows this game to go in few different directions also but I think it's my best chance at winning.  I hope to get another man (or more?) sent back, make a double anchor and release checkers into the outfield to maintain my timing.  The problem is of course none of that is a sure thing. 

I could get wiped off the board rather quickly or I could get two checkers thrown in the air and end up in a 24-23 backgame.  I could even totally luckbox and end up making my 4 prime and have that cause my opponent some issues.  I wouldn't have thought the two plays as close as they are according to the bot which means I should probably study the second best play and all its merits.