Cube? Are You Crazy?

Blue on roll. Cube action?






TAMI: We are behind in the race by a ton with only one checker back to pick up blots. White could easily get past us and then we are toast. There is no way this is a cube.

KIT: Very over-extended positions such as White's can lead to some interesting results. The race doesn't matter. If we can contain a White checker, we win. If we don't contain a checker, we lose. So, how do you think we will play our next roll?

TAMI: The first for certain thing is that we will stay back as far as possible unless we roll double sixes, which is the only number that allows our back man to hit. The other thing that is certain is that we will put White on the bar with any number that hits, all the while working at making our board.

KIT: Correct. We have a triple shot at the blot on our 5-point, so we are big favorites to hit. We will hit loose if we have to. We need our 5-point, and we do not want to let that checker escape. Now, let's suppose we do hit loose on our 5-point. There are two possible things which can happen. What are they?

TAMI: Well I count three. White could dance, White could come in without hitting, or White could come in and hit.

KIT: Exactly. Either White hits back, or he doesn't. And both of these things are good for us! If White doesn't hit back, we will be able to make our 5-point and continue driving White's checker back. If White does hit back, we will almost certainly be able to reenter quickly, and that solves one of your main complaints about our position. Now we will have two checkers back there waiting to pick up White's blots as they come around, which greatly increases our chances of preventing White from getting by. It is a complete win-win situation, and that is what makes our position so strong.

TAMI: BUT BUT BUT ... noooooooooooooo... I don't buy it.. it doesn't make sense.. how can we even be favorites here?

KIT: If we can contain so much as one checker, we will be almost certain to win. If we can succeed in closing out both checkers, not only will the win be virtually assured but we will have some decent gammon chances. It will be very difficult for White to scamper out and get both checkers home safely. We will be attacking on our inner board points with every roll, and if we get hit it just gives us another back checker to use for the mopping up scene when White tries to come around. We are definite favorites to succeed in this operation. The fact that White has 13 men on his ace and deuce-points means that almost all of his plays will be forced. If the dice say he has to walk into a triple shot, he won't have any choice in the matter. On the other hand, we will have complete freedom to put our checkers where we want them. We are a clear favorite to contain at least one checker, and closing out both checkers down the road is a quite likely scenario. Not only is this a powerful double; it probably isn't even a take!

TAMI: But we could miss. We could roll a 5-6 and not even be able to hit. Surely it can't hurt here to wait a roll.

KIT: We could miss, but then White would still have to jump the four-prime, and then we would still have our back checker there to pick up one of the blots. The odds are well on our side. It is vital to double now. First of all, it might already be a pass. Secondly, if we do hit then White will certainly have a pass, since even if White hits back having the extra back checker is a bonus for us. We can't let the fear of an unlucky parlay stop us from doubling when we are big favorites.

TAMI: If we miss we are still favorites to pick up a checker even though we only have one back?

KIT: Sure. If White escapes the back checker, then, yes, it will be close. I would say we would be about even money, since White will have to bring two checkers to safety and he will have no flexibility at all. However, White hasn't escaped that back checker yet. If he doesn't escape it, then we are definite favorites to contain him.

TAMI: Ok, we are on roll and there are 29 out of the 36 possible rolls that hit, many of which also cover. If we do hit loose White will either hit back or not, either of which works well for us. His moves will be largely forced from here out. Unless he gets some major joker we are favorites to hit and contain at least one of his checkers, which makes us the favorite to win this game. It may already be a pass. So, even as scary as it looks, we have a huge cube here.