Lesson 20: Evaluating Early Doubles - Backgammon Blog

Lesson 20: Evaluating Early Doubles

By Bill Robertie
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When contemplating a middle game double, don’t make the mistake of looking only at your position. Remember to look just as carefully at the weaknesses in your opponent’s position. It may be his weakness, rather than your strength, that gives you a good double.

Problem 1 is a perfect case in point. Black has escaped his back checkers and built a little structure, while White has grabbed Black’s 5-point. In most positions of this general type, Black’s advantages wouldn’t even add up to an initial double. But now look at White’s position:

• His back men are split and vulnerable to potential blitzing rolls like 66, 55, and 44, both now and on subsequent rolls. If his two back checkers were anchored on the 23-point or the 22-point, the position wouldn’t be a double.

• His front position is still chaotic and will be for a couple of turns. If he had a small 4-prime or even a good board with, say, the 4-point and 5-point made, he’d have a threat to contain any checker hit on the next couple of turns, and Black wouldn’t have a double. But with both these weaknesses, White’s game is toothless enough so that Black has a very solid double. White still has a clear take of course.