By Robert Wachtel
Perhaps the Swiss Backgammon Open was a bit steep for the locals. It drew only 16 entrants – though even this small field proved insurmountable for me. I had more luck in the smaller-money tournament, the official Swiss Backgammon Championship, with its 45 participants. I made it, in fact, to the finals, where I faced local favorite Serge Didisheim in a 17 point match. We seesawed back and forth in the opening stages, and then I pulled away. I led 14-11, and was I was winning the next game and holding the cube as well. We reached an “almost” two roll position:
Last chance to redouble, for surely there will be no market left for a take after most sequences. Time to put the match on the line, no?
Well, no, absolutely not! If I redouble and Didisheim passes, reaching 16-11 at the Crawford game, he will retain only about an 11% chance to win the match. And that, consequently, is his take point here, since once I redouble to 4 he will redouble to 8 on the next roll, putting the entire match on the line. Yet he has 22.5% winning chances in this position! Redoubling would be a horrible blunder.
Even in a pure two-roll position like this,