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December 13, 2011

Stick on DMP

I start a project on match play with DMP.  What follows are the highlights from Stick's excellent Gammon Village article on DMP from 2009.



1.      Applies to other scores like -2 -2 once cube is turned and odd away Crawford (-1 -3 C or -1 -5 C)

2.      It's important to remember gammons won and gammons lost are no different than winning or losing a single game.

3.      Blitzing derives a lot of its appeal in general to the gammons it produces. Since gammons have no extra value at dmp you should cast a stern eye over all candidates before committing to a blitz oriented play

4.      Getting ahead in the race and bringing it home quietly is an excellent route to take if it presents itself. You will often have decisions that for money play you'd fight for a point or hit a checker but if sufficiently ahead in the race at dmp it may be correct to pass on hitting and try to sneak home quietly.

5.      Backgames, which I avoid at almost all costs where gammons and backgammons lost matters, become a viable option. With the right combination of a backgame and good timing you can actually be a favorite in the match!

6.      Anchors are devalued. Part of the appeal of anchors comes from their protection against losing a gammon and at dmp gammon losses are no more costly than single game losses.

Opening - General

1.      Don’t make deep points; keep checkers in play

2.      Priming more attractive than normal; Blitzing less attractive than normal

Opening - Examples

1.      64 Opening roll. 64R is best;  64S is close; 64P is wrong b/c of points 1&2 above

2.      31P 33.  Run 24/18(2) is best.  ‘When ahead in the race, race – especially at DMP”

3.      41S 21.  21$ is best.  Down in the race, “put your checkers where you want them.”  Prime is best game plan here.

4.      51S 55.  13/3(2) is best.  Don’t blitz.  Idea – don’t overextend yourself.  Also, opponent’s offense is relatively weak.

5.      41S 55 and 21S 55.  13/3(2) and blitzing are very close.  Here opponent’s offense is more potent than after 51S.

Middle Game Themes

1.      When ahead in the race, your goal is simply to play safe and win a clean race.

a.       Automatic plays like hitting loose on a key point may be wrong at DMP. 

b.      Often it is right to play safe and wait for a natural point making roll, or hope you never leave a shot

2.      Make the advanced anchor or stay back on the ace point?

a.       Ask yourself if this is really the best way to win

b.      Remember your anchor is your last line of defense

Late Game Themes

1.      Play to win at all costs

a.       Banana split plays (breaking your home board to hit) are often correct at DMP. 

                                                              i.      Once again you are looking for the best chance to win the game, and the gammon losses don’t matter

2.      Leaving the anchor in a holding game.  (running off the anchor with 1 checker to maintain contact and coverage, typically keeping midpoint in process)

a.       One reason to do this is that you're close in the race, you don't want to waste any pips and you don't fear being attacked or gammoned because it is dmp.

b.      Another reason, as shown below, is to keep contact. You're way behind in the race but holding on to the midpoint not only for this turn but also the next is important to generate extra shots. Also, even if you are hit you may enter on a lower point, which would be better in this situation than being more advanced as you currently stand.

3.      Bear-in with multiple checkers on bar.  Pre-clearing often right at DMP (almost always wrong for money). Reasons…

a.       leave yourself no immediate blot numbers

b.      hope your opponent comes in with one (if not all!) of his checkers. The only way you can really lose this game is to get hit in the bearoff so opening up points and allowing your opponent to come in is the way to go

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