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I'm learning how to play Backgammon with GNU Backgammon and I noticed that the hints sometimes give better odds for a move WITHOUT a hit. Can anybody explain this for me?

1. Cubeful 2-ply    13/7                         MWC:  88.89%
   0.889 0.294 0.022 - 0.111 0.006 0.000
    2-ply cubeful prune [world class]
2. Cubeful 2-ply    13/12*/7                     MWC:  87.11% ( -1.78%)
   0.871 0.457 0.048 - 0.129 0.005 0.000
    2-ply cubeful prune [world class]
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    In your own home board it is often unwise to hit blots unless you can point on them. Leaving two blots in your home board with enemy stones on the bar approaches suicidal in all circumstances I can conceive of just now. Commented Feb 4, 2014 at 4:19
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    @PieterGeerkens That looks like a comment that could be an answer.
    – SQB
    Commented Feb 4, 2014 at 7:12

4 Answers 4

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In your own home board it is often unwise to hit blots unless you can point on them. Leaving two blots in your home board with enemy stones on the bar approaches suicidal in all circumstances I can conceive of just now.

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  • Thanks for your answer. In this particular case I already had 3 of his stones trapped in a barricade 5 deep. I thought having a 4th stone trapped would be better, but 1.78% is a small difference.
    – McPedr0
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 7:42
  • I thought the same in a Championship Game once; until opponent pointed on my blot and came back to win as my barricade crumbled. Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 12:20
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The one of the biggest difference one sees between an experienced and a novice player is that the beginners hit the checkers almost without considering the alternatives.

There are lot of positions where you're better off with not hitting. Just a tip to remember: Backgammon is not a game of hits, its a game of positions.

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The disadvantage of hitting an opposing blot is that you send it to the "bar," where it will re-enter on your home board.

That is a bad idea if you have a lot of loose checkers in your home board or coming home, meaning that your opponent will have a number of "retaliation" shots. It is these "retaliation shots" (if they exist), that make it inadvisable to hit.

Another reason might be that by sending a fourth or fifth opposing checker to your home board, you will help the opponent play a "back" game. Not a real concern if you are sending back a second or third checker.

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  • thanks! The idea of the "back" game makes things much clearer.
    – McPedr0
    Commented Feb 8, 2014 at 8:25
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Sorry if My backgammon terminology is weak.

If you hit a piece that's in the quarter of the board that you're trying to get your pieces to [your own home board], then you effectively set them back a few spaces less than 6. But at that point, they can potentially roll and hit one of your guys in the same quarter, which can set you back up to 20 spaces, which is a disadvantage to you.

and it doesn't even matter if its on that part of the board. Sometimes, to hit one of their pieces, you leave 1 or even 2 of your pieces vulnerable for them to hit(potentially in a way that doesn't leave them vulnerable)

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