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In backgammon, substantial value is placed on making consecutive points in your home board. So much so, that some players would use say, an opening 6-2 to place a lone, exposed, man on the five point, slotting it, and hoping to cover it on the next turn.

Suppose you got an opening 3-1 and "made" your five point. Would you then slot the four point with a 6-3 or 5-4, the way one might have slotted the five point with a 6-2?

I like to play an early 5-3 to the three point, because it increases the value of slots to the five and four points. Would many authorities recommend this play? Would they use 5-3 to slot the five point (like a 6-2)? Or would they play "safe" by taking two builders from the midpoint and putting them on the eight and ten points.

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I'm not an authority, but I think this would depend very heavily on a few other factors: where are your opponents checkers- are there any blots? has he escaped both of his runners (on his 24 point)? what's the score in the match? has the cube been turned? who is the stronger player (hardest to answer)? So many things to consider :) – cmhughes Mar 8 '13 at 0:03
@cmhughes: Beginning of the game (no cube turned, opponent's checkers on the 24 point). In my case, I would slot the five point with an opening 6-2. But not the four point with a 6-3 or 5-4 (unless I had made the five point (3-1) or three point (5-3) on a previous turn). I would play 5-3 to the three point to improve the value of a subsequent slot to the four or five points. – Tom Au Mar 9 '13 at 16:40

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This depends heavily on what the opponent has done so far with his runners. If both runners are still on your 1 point, or if only one runner remains in your home board, slotting forward from your 6 point often has a good risk reward. If two split runners exist in your home board (or one runner and one or more opposing men on the bar), you must be much more cautious slotting in your home board.

Additionally, the thickness of your wall to date allows more aggressive play moving it forward. If you have pointed on 5-6-7-8 already, slotting on 4 might be considered even against split runners, but the shape of your opponents home board is important also.

Weighing all these factors is good judgement, which comes only form the experience of having made decisions with bad judgement and learning form it.

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