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Old 11-28-2010, 11:19 PM   #1
Robertie
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Problem of the Week #86: November 29

Problem of the Week #86: November 29


Cash game, Black owns the cube.





(a) Should Black double? If he doubles, should White take, drop, or beaver?

(b) Assume Black doubles and White takes. How should Black play
(1) 6-2?
(2) 6-3?
(3) 4-3?
(4) 5-4?


Note: All ‘cash game’ problems assume the Jacoby Rule is in effect. That is, you can’t win a gammon unless the cube has been turned.
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Old 11-29-2010, 12:08 AM   #2
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Re: Problem of the Week #86: November 29

This is seriously close to too good. I would probably play it as a practical too good. That said loads of stuff can go horribly wrong here but I still think this is too good to double/pass.

As for the rolls.
1) 6-2 looks like hitting the last blot. Putting one more checker behind the prime. Ruins timing for white if he enters has a lot more trouble keeping his prime.
2) 6-3 Id play 8/2 and then Im not sure about the 3. Dont really want to break my 5-prime just yet, 7-4 is just wrong so that leaves 18/15.
3) 4-3 looks like the easiest. Id play 5/1 5/2 auto.
4) 5-4 I thought about breaking the 6-point but I dont want to break that point cos Im having trouble pick and pass or make that point and if he anchors the 6 I dont like my chances anymore. I would play 7/2 and look for a proper 4. Only one that looks usefull is 18/14.

Cube: Too good to double/megadrop
1) 18/10*
2) 8/2 18/15
3) 5/2 5/1
4) 7/2 18/14
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Old 11-29-2010, 01:52 AM   #3
apkrnewb
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Re: Problem of the Week #86: November 29

(a) Should Black double? NO!
If he doubles, should White take, drop, or beaver?
White should take!

(1) 6-2? ... 24 - 18 ... 7 - 5
(2) 6-3? ... 24 - 18 ... 7 - 4
(3) 4-3? ... 8 - 1
(4) 5-4? ... 7 - 3 ... 8 -3
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Old 11-29-2010, 01:58 AM   #4
TomCowley
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Re: Problem of the Week #86: November 29

This is last week after 5/3*/2* + fan. Taking seems awful here. Black just hit part 1 of his god sequence, and his gammon and win chances just shot up. Don't really know if it's too good, but I don't think it's a huge mistake to cube here, since you still have some work to do to win or gammon, and the game can still go to hell, and when it can't be a big mistake, and you might get an awful take, ship it. Double/drop.

6-2: 18/10* If he gets in, which he probably will, you want him crunching ASAP. Escaping your last guy is nice, but you're a big favorite to get sent back again anyway, and the guy on the 10 is a few turns of timing and also some board coverage.

6-3: 7/1 18/15. Again, you can run, but with 2 loose men, you're likely to get sent back. So you should cover one of them here. 8/2 8/5, 8/2 18/15, 7/1 18/15 seems like the real choices. In a vacuum, covering the 2 is better, since if he enters on the 1, he has to roll 2-big to get out. But if you play 8/2 18/15, you leave a lot of downside with 4 loose blots, and this and 8/2 8/5 only leave a 4-prime to jump if he comes in on the 3. Burying with 7/1 and 18/15 seems like the way to go. You keep the 5 prime and you threaten to send the 3rd man back.

4-3: 5/2 5/1 seems way the best. What else? 8/1? 18/11?

5-4: Ugh. This is like a combination of 2 and 3 with an additional option thrown in. You can 6/2 6/1 like the 43 roll, you can 7/2 18/14 like the 63 roll, or you can roll forward with 8/3 7/3. I like my 5-prime, and if I'm going to keep it, then 7/2 18/14 seems like a far more productive version, cleaning up a blot and threatening another. I think it's better than cleaning up both blots (which you had to do with 43 since everything else just sucked.. here your 63 repeat doesn't suck at all and you're covering the better of the two plots).
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Old 11-29-2010, 06:21 AM   #5
loveinvain
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Re: Problem of the Week #86: November 29

Too good to double.

(1) 6-2?
18-10*

(2) 6-3?
24-15

(3) 4-3?
7-3 18-15

(4) 5-4?
7-3 18-13
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Old 11-29-2010, 09:31 AM   #6
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Re: Problem of the Week #86: November 29

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bjornar View Post
This is seriously close to too good. I would probably play it as a practical too good. That said loads of stuff can go horribly wrong here but I still think this is too good to double/pass.

As for the rolls.
1) 6-2 looks like hitting the last blot. Putting one more checker behind the prime. Ruins timing for white if he enters has a lot more trouble keeping his prime.
2) 6-3 Id play 8/2 and then Im not sure about the 3. Dont really want to break my 5-prime just yet, 7-4 is just wrong so that leaves 18/15.
3) 4-3 looks like the easiest. Id play 5/1 5/2 auto.
4) 5-4 I thought about breaking the 6-point but I dont want to break that point cos Im having trouble pick and pass or make that point and if he anchors the 6 I dont like my chances anymore. I would play 7/2 and look for a proper 4. Only one that looks usefull is 18/14.

Cube: Too good to double/megadrop
1) 18/10*
2) 8/2 18/15
3) 5/2 5/1
4) 7/2 18/14
I'm surprised that two out of three responders other then myself have chosen this play with 4-3. Maybe I'm missing something but IMO this play is absolutely horrible and I wouldn't even consider it.
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Old 11-29-2010, 11:39 AM   #7
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Re: Problem of the Week #86: November 29

Double/Drop

A good player playing as black will make the plays necessary to force white to crunch first. There are very few bad numbers for black as he doesn't mind getting hit because it will cause white's checkers to be stuck behind the prime.

(1) 6-2 - 24/18, 7/5. First priority is to escape a back checker. Covering a blot in the home board is not that useful.
(2) 6-3 - 24/18, 7/4
(3) 4-3 - 18/11
(4) 5-4 - 18/9
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Old 11-29-2010, 11:41 AM   #8
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Re: Problem of the Week #86: November 29

I thought you can't be too good to double in a cash game???

EDIT -
Nevermind - I forgot that black owns the cube and doesn't want to give white the chance to drop an get out of a gammon. I still think doubling is correct as there as still some things that can go wrong.
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Old 11-29-2010, 12:34 PM   #9
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Re: Problem of the Week #86: November 29

86a) This position is so borderline and there is an accident on the way to the bank possible, that i would cash for practical purposes. A perfect opponent or Colonel Whiteflag will drop in a shot, but the gain of a take by Fearless Freddie is huge. As we have seen, it is not uncommon, that some people overestimate the static view of such a position. So, there might be a few people, who will thought: “I have a 5 point board, and there are two blots to shoot, after all it is prime vs. prime and didn't even Stick said we are droppin this to often? So i will take this. And by the way, what about the recube vig?“ So i would go to the cube with hesitance, drop my hand back, ponder for the recube and after 30 seconds or so, i would slowly ship it over, with an anxious view. I think some people can be lured in with this tell. Let us consider this in another way. My estimation is: borderline drop about 0.05 and a huge blunder to take, about 0.5. So i will gain, if there is a 10:1 chance, that my opponent will take.

And suppose, you have to play this against Stick or Bill, very skillful opponents, where i think, the skill would push it under the too good to double line. A double out is even more mandatory. And i would every turn think at Kent Gouldings advice, if i would hold the cube now: never forget, every turn is a cube decision. But i would ship it over.

So: double, drop.

86b1: 62) According to Bills checklist, conflict between 1 and 2. But the timing of white after a hit is on verge to be squeezed off in the offense, so i would strongly vote for hitting in the outfield.

62: 18/10*.

86b2: 63) Escaping is Number 1 goal, but what with the ugly 3? Marching on in the outfield? I don't know. Two blots to shoot on in the process, with two blots in the home board. Will be to much time for white to buy. 7/4? I am hesitant even to semikill my chekkers. What about button up? 7/1 18/15? Cut down to two blots, 5 prime at work. Shooting on the last blot in the outfield. If we are not hit, what is now likely, we are suddenly in blitz mode. Getting out is to loose for my blood, so:

63: 7/1 18/15.

86b3: 43) This is an old turd and if i wouldn't have doubled, this is pipcelots revenge. I'll make a virtue out of necessity and switch into blitz mode. Maybe one of the worst throws.

43: 5/2 5/1.

86b4: 54) With 54 we can also switch in blitz mode, but if i recognize the blot clean up with 63 for good, then making the 2 must even better. A working 5 prime must be better as to commit to a blitz. There is also a better chance to eat on 10, so:

54: 7/2 18/14.
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Old 11-29-2010, 05:10 PM   #10
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Re: Problem of the Week #86: November 29

Double/Drop
24/18 7/5
8/2 8/5
5/1 5/2
7/2 18/14
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Old 11-30-2010, 05:25 AM   #11
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Re: Problem of the Week #86: November 29

I think there is far too mush crunching here for white to take. I don´t think its too good, but even if I knew it was, I´m shipping the cube anyways. Some players will take in a second.

As for the checker plays I love that beautiful 5-prime and I am not gonna break it almost no matter what. Converting the game to a blitz just makes white a favorite any time he hits something or comes in on a high point.

(1) 6-2?
24/18 7/5. With the hit in the outfield we might be the one to crash first. Getting the back man out gains a lot of timing even though we will probably get another guy sent back.
(2) 6-3?
24/18 7/4. I don´t want to break my 8-point and make it easier for him to escape.
(3) 4-3?
18/14 7/4. I don´t want to break the prime.
(4) 5-4?
8/3 7/3. Seems like the hardest one to me. I´m not in a hurry to make my 3-point, but I really want to make the points in order here and I just cant find a good alternative.
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Old 11-30-2010, 03:46 PM   #12
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Re: Problem of the Week #86: November 29

Too Good I think. Disaster scenario involves leaving the blots exposed and then getting hit, but...that's not even that bad. Playing prime v. prime if we're off for some rolls, while white has to roll combos to get out from behind our 5-prime, he may crunch pretty quickly. Probably a double against any person though because the takes outweigh the drops, I think.

1) 24/18 7/5. Didn't Robertie list the #1 priority in the previous problem as "getting your back checkers out? Yes white hits a 1 or a 2 20 times in 36, but we're guaranteed to have one back there if we don't play 24/18. Again, if we do get hit, it's not the end of the world to be off when we're playing prime v. prime in terms of timing.

2) 24/18 7/4. Essentially the same as the last one.

3) 4-3 really is an ugh. I probably just play 18/11 in order to maintain my prime, reduce number of shots while doing so. as to 5/1 5/2 I don't think it's nearly as awful as some are saying above, because if our opponent comes in on the 5 or 3 we can hit and slot most likely, and we'll keep him off entirely a bunch of the time. I just like keeping the 5 prime because of how likely he is to crunch if we do.

4) Initial instinct was definitely just 7/2 18/14, seeing no reason not to just make the point/play safer. However, 8/3 7/3, upon further review, is quite nice. It maintains the 5 prime while making dance followed by a 6 a full prime. Mostly I have no idea here. I'd probably just play it safe.
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Old 12-01-2010, 01:08 PM   #13
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Re: Problem of the Week #86: November 29

One only needs to know two words for all of these problems:

Blitz! Gammon!

That is all (with 54 one should keep the prime, though, and it's D/P).
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Old 12-02-2010, 02:05 AM   #14
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Re: Problem of the Week #86: November 29

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flaccus View Post
One only needs to know two words for all of these problems:

Blitz! Gammon!

That is all (with 54 one should keep the prime, though, and it's D/P).
There are several ways of performing that in this position IMO. Would be nice to hear more defined what you would want to do here.
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Old 12-02-2010, 12:11 PM   #15
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Re: Problem of the Week #86: November 29

Okay, I have the time to respond properly.

Double, drop - I see sequences where White's winning chances improve and we can't use the cube. It's not like we are crushing white completely while we have four blots and he has a stronger five point board, but we are a solid favorite having the initiative, better timing and lots of gammons.

62: 18/10* - We are not about to crash soon but we can increase White's chances of cracking and improve our gammon chances. I'm not worried about being hit here and this seems better than covering in this position. We simply kill the crucial timing represented by that white checker on the outfield. White needs to roll very well soon.

63: 7/1 18/15 - Preserving a five prime and getting a four point board seems pretty good to me. White must roll well. Other plays seem more dangerous and leave more counterplay. Escaping is still not a priority here, we should have enough timing for that (with this play). I don't want to leave three or four blots when we can do better.

43: 5/2 5/1 - There's nothing better to do with his roll. You do make a four-point board against two checkers on the bar while white has another vulnerable checker on the outfield. You can win a gammon without the five pt. You'll have numbers to at least pick and pass and should have enough rolls to pop that six, although it's no fun when he's able to anchor quickly.
Moving the outfield checker leave us with a loose position and diminishes our timing and I'm not destroying our five prime without covering both inner blots.

54: 7/2 18/14 - We can preserve a five prime, get a four point board and aim at the outfield checker. This is probably better than switching and avoids the nasty variations when white enters quickly.
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Old 12-02-2010, 12:38 PM   #16
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Re: Problem of the Week #86: November 29

A) Double/drop

B3) 5/2, 5/1- I dont mind breaking the priming game for a strong blitzing game where we still have a blot to attack.

B4) 7/2, 18/14 - With white's strong home board, it seems like things can go downhill pretty quickly if we make the 3 and leave blots on the 1,2, and 8. We give white the opportunity to hit AND come in on the edge of our prime with a single 2, which is bad. Before if he wanted be at the edge, he wouldnt be hitting and vice versa. Seems like too much risk for not enough gain. 7/2, 18/14 covers a blot and puts whites blot in the range of a direct shot.


I have to give the 6-x's some more thought.
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Old 12-02-2010, 12:48 PM   #17
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Re: Problem of the Week #86: November 29

(a) In that prime vs prime battle, White seems to have the worst of it. He has 2 men on the bar, he's not at the edge of Black's prime yet and he has the worse timing. The only thing going for him is that his prime is all rolled in his inner board, giving him a stronger board, but right now it could be more a liability than an asset.

As White, I would drop that. As Black, I would hesitate between cashing now and waiting a little, trying to go for the gammon if White crunches, and double later if things go worse. In the end, I think I would double.

(b)
(1) I don't want to break my 5-prime to make my 2-pt, so I hesitate between running the back man and hitting. Hitting would hurt White's timing, but Black's as well. Escaping seems the hardest thing to do and it would help my timing, so I go with that. Now with the deuce, I'll keep running to the 16-pt, since it gives me better hitting chances next roll and 7/5 doesn't do anything constructive anyway.

(2) Same as (1), one pip farther.

(3) I don't think slotting the 3-pt is the right strategy because it's not that easy to cover it next roll without giving away the 8-pt, so I go with 18/11.

(4) Even if 8/3 8/4 is tempting, I don't want to give White the opportunity to enter at the edge of our prime AND hit us at the same time since we might be on the bar for a while. Therefore, I play 18/9.

(a) Double / Drop
(b)
(1) 24/16
(2) 24/15
(3) 18/11
(4) 18/9
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Old 12-02-2010, 02:51 PM   #18
Aaron W.
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Re: Problem of the Week #86: November 29

Last week, I thought it was too good, and I still think it's too good. If it's not too good, it's because white's spare on the 10 point gives him enough time to escape his back checkers if they come in on the 1/2 points. And if moving that spare up to white home board doesn't make it too good, then I guess I don't really understand this at all.

62 - Hit white's checker at steal away his timing.
63 - 7/1 to cover the ace point, the 18/15 to bring the third checker into a direct shot.
43 - Trading one point for two with two on the bar. This does open up 55 as a joker, and that's a huge price to pay. It's not as if that will be a short term joker, but it's a long term one. Because of that, I play 18/11.
54 - 7/2 18/14. Cover one of the points and move into range to pick off the third checker.
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Old 12-06-2010, 01:54 AM   #19
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Talking Re: Problem of the Week #86: November 29

If volatility is what forces or restrains a double, then this position is a dream. Whoever wins is going to pocket a passel of gammons. Owning the cube in this sort of double-edged position is a huge asset, and often it is correct to keep it if you have it. Doubling your opponent out – rather than in – is the winning line in a prime-versus-prime game.

So, if the rule is to hold onto the cube in a timing battle, is Problem 86 an exception? My first instinct was emphatically, “No!” After a second look, however, I began to see how strong Black’s position is. Any roll with a 1 will allow him to clean up both home board blots, and there are a few others that will do the same job even better. In fact, there are only 17 rolls that force Black to leave an exposed checker in his inner board. And there are no rolls that force him to leave two, although he might choose to voluntarily. When it comes to the blitz, Black can add at least one point to his inner board on this turn. With 5 rolls, he can add two.

Without addressing the issue of voluntary expose, let’s assume for the moment that Black decides to “play safely,” covering as many inner board blots and points as he can. Then the numbers work out like this:
  • Black makes a four-point board with 31 rolls, and a five-point board with the other 5.
  • Black has 17 rolls that leave a blot in his home board. The other 19 do not.
  • White can enter both checkers against a four-point board with 4 rolls. He can enter exactly one with 16 rolls. He dances on the other 16 rolls.
  • Similarly, against a five-point board, White enters both checkers with just 1 roll, he enters exactly one with 10 rolls, and he fans with the other 25.
  • Combining these chances, we have these odds in 1296 rolls: White enters both checkers 10% of the time (129/1296), he enters exactly one 42% of the time (546/1296), and he fans a whopping 48% of the time (621/1296).
  • White’s chance of hitting in 1296 rolls is only 14% (187/1296).
Is this sounding like a pass to you? It sure does to me. The real issue is whether Black is too good to double. The only thing that might induce Black to cash now is the two-way gammon threat. Everything could change in one roll. Perhaps this situation fits the the prime-versus-prime rule given above after all. If Black wants to, he can double his opponent out, just as the rule advises.

The rolls with a six present Black with an interesting choice. Should he cover one of his blots (usually on the one point), or should he escape his rear checker? With 6-1 and 6-6, of course, he gets to do both. On a 6-5, he should cover twice inside, making a five-point board. The alternative, 24/18, 5/2 is not bad either, but why leave a shot against White’s five-point board? That leaves the rolls of 6-4, 6-3 and 6-2.
  • Black rolls 6-4: The “safe” play, referred to above, is 7/1, 18/14. Black risks 11 shots by White, keeps his five-point prime, adds an inner board point, and moves into position to hit a third White checker. If Black chooses to escape instead, he will probably open up outside, playing 24/14. This leaves four blots around the board, and gives White a double direct shot. Not much of an alternative. The other sixes are harder.

  • Black rolls 6-3: Once again, the safe play covers on the one point, 7/1, 18/15. Black again risks 11 shots, keeps his five-point prime, adds an inner board point, and moves into position to hit a third White checker. All the same good things as before! Against this, Black has the alternative of escape. He can play 24/18, 7/4, which leaves only the two inner board blots. Even in the worst case, when White hits Black and closes him out, White very well may crack before he escapes his own rear checkers. It’s a close call.

  • Black rolls 6-2: Here, Black has three choices. Thematically, making the one point, 7/1, 18/16, has the same advantages as with 6-4 and 6-3. The outside blot, however, duplicates Black’s own escape number. He needs a six to escape, and he’s giving himself a six to hit the third checker. The second alternative, 24/18, 7/5, also repeats the theme from above. Black escapes, while leaving only the two blots. The third alternative, 13/10*, is an entirely different animal. When Black hits the third checker, he gives himself two winning game plans. First, White might miss the shot from the bar, and be closed out in the ensuing blitz. Second, when White hits, Black may not care. White seems certain to crack before he can escape three checkers. In fact, hitting hurts White in a way, because in many cases White’s checker will be primed on the one or two point after a hit. White might prefer to enter on the three point.
With 6-4 and 6-3, my inclination is to cover inside, but with the 6-2, the immediate chance of White cracking makes me tend toward the timing play. One final note on these rolls with a six: Black should avoid breaking the eight point to cover on the the two. He needs his prime in case he is hit.

Of the other rolls Black might get, only 4-3 and 5-4 present any real choices. Both can be used to cover inside, by abandoning Black’s prime. With 4-3, Black can play two checkers off the five point. On a roll of 5-4, he can do the same thing from the six.
  • Black rolls 4-3: Here, the choice is not hard. The alternative is to play 8/1, giving up the five-point prime, while still leaving an inside blot. Black should play safe instead.

  • Black rolls 5-4: The alternative with this roll, 7/2, 18/14, is not as weak. Black can cover on the two point, while keeping his outside blockade. A third possibility, making the three point, should be quickly discarded. It leaves a double direct shot, while giving White the chance to both hit and position himself for escape on the same shot.
In these cases, I am attracted to the safe play. White’s five point board inspires a certain respect (if no real fear), and his third checker waiting to be hit outside gives me just the bait I need to justify a pick-and-pass strategy. Besides, look how good the numbers are when Black plays safe!

My Solution

Part (a) Double/pass

Part (b)
(1) 6-2: 18/10*
(2) 6-3: 7/1, 18/15
(3) 4-3: 5/1, 5/2
(4) 5-4: 6/1, 6/2

For the Record
I am so often wrong that I like to post my record in these messages. It's kind of a truth-in-advertising thing. Grunch: I have been answering these problems without the use of a bot, and before checking the excellent solutions of others, since Problem 28. My record at this writing is 50%.

Last edited by Taper_Mike; 12-06-2010 at 02:06 AM.
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Old 12-06-2010, 10:19 AM   #20
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Re: Problem of the Week #86: November 29

Just fixing a couple of typos...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Taper_Mike View Post
On a 6-5, he should cover twice inside, making a five-point board. The alternative, 24/18, 5/2 is not bad either, [...]
I guess you meant 24/18 7/2.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Taper_Mike View Post
The third alternative, 13/10*, [...]
I guess you meant 18/10*.
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Old 12-06-2010, 10:43 AM   #21
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Re: Problem of the Week #86: November 29

Looking forward to seeing the solution to this one. I guess I'm way off with my answers since not one person seems to be on the same wavelength as me re. the answers.

I am still surprised how many are answering:

(3) 4-3: 5/1, 5/2

I just can't believe this is correct.
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Old 12-06-2010, 06:10 PM   #22
Taper_Mike
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Talking Re: Problem of the Week #86: November 29

Quote:
Originally Posted by loveinvain View Post
I am still surprised how many are answering:

(3) 4-3: 5/1, 5/2

I just can't believe this is correct.
It may be the best of a bad lot. When there is a reasonable alternative, as with the 5-4, those who are posting prefer not to abandon the prime. My guess is they are right (and I am wrong!).

BTW: Thanks, Uberkuber, for the fixes.

Last edited by Taper_Mike; 12-06-2010 at 06:18 PM.
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Old 12-07-2010, 04:19 AM   #23
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Re: Problem of the Week #86: November 29

I am trying to use the rules according to problem 85

b1) 18x10 (the second rule since its harder than rule 1, see rule 5)
2)24/18/15 (the first rule)
3) 7/3 18/15 (the third rule)
4) 8/3 7/3 (the third rule)

a) DP although it seems there are a lot of gammons, there are also lots of situations where
white hits and gets an anchor. So it doesnt seem to good to double to me.
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