# In Backgammon, why is the match length almost always odd? And why are 9-point matches twelve times less popular than 7-point matches?

I was wondering what was the ideal match length, and I came across those statistics:

Matchlength : Total Matches
1 : 350
2 : 59
3 : 634
4 : 12
5 : 1184
6 : 1
7 : 492
8 : 1
9 : 42
11 : 31
Total : 2806

The match length is almost always odd. Why is that? What's wrong with an even match length?

Also, 9-point matches are 12 times less popular than 7-point matches (a difference way too big to be explained by the fact that 9-point matches take slightly more time than 7-point matches). So why are 9-point matches relatively rare?

• Maybe this is some Backgammon terminology that I don't know, but is the "matchlength" the number of games per match? If so, then an odd number seems obvious; because with an even number, you could end with a tie. 9 and 11 would be less common simply because that's a large number of games to play. – GendoIkari Mar 8 '15 at 19:34
• In K-O tournament formats, later matches are typically longer than earlier matches. In Swiss tournament formats a primary goal is to maximize number of matches, and thus number of opponents, so individual matches are shorter. – Forget I was ever here Mar 8 '15 at 20:25
• @GendoIkari: Check out the Doubling Cube in Backgammon - It is unusual for an individual game to be worth only 1 stake by the time it terminates; more normally the cube will have been turned and accepted once or twice for a stake of 2 or 4 for the game. Seven-point matches can usually be concluded in an hour. – Forget I was ever here Mar 8 '15 at 20:29
• @GendoIkari: Also check out this answer for an example of why well-timed doubles are usually accepted rather than declined: boardgames.stackexchange.com/questions/23237/… – Forget I was ever here Mar 8 '15 at 20:33
• @freevkd It's the number of points required to win the match (gammons, backgammons and doubling cube included). – Julia Hayward Mar 9 '15 at 10:23