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January 1, 2012

5-Point Match by Mochy

These are notes from Mochy's excellent lecture on match play.  See for this video and others.

Basic Concepts from Mochy

Effective Scoring: ideally win exact points needed to win match (BEST), -or-, win points to get to Crawford (2nd BEST)

In money game, value of point is same for each value

In Match play, value of point is different, depending on the match score

Money                                                 Match (4 away 4 away) 

Point                     Win $                     Point                     Win %

1                              10                           1                              8

2                              20                           2                              18

4                              40                           4                              50

8                              80                           8                              50

Effective scoring is winning the exact points you need to win the whole match (ex. Win 4 points when 4 away).

Effective scoring is also winning number of points needed to get you to Crawford game (ex. Win 2 points when 3 away)

Overkill when you win more than the number of points you need to win match (ex. Win 4 points when 2 away)

Types of Game: is your position type HIGH GAMMONS or LOW GAMMONS?

1.       LOW GAMMON % game types: called “Race” by Mochy

a.       Race

b.      Holding Game

c.       High Anchor Game

2.       HIGH GAMMON % game types: called “Blitz” by Mochy

a.       Blitz

b.      Prime (high gammons for both sides)

c.       Low Anchor game

d.      Backgame

Basic Match Play Strategy:  applied to 5-point match

Note your points away and the type of game to guide doubling strategy.

1.       GOAL when 5 AWAY or 4AWAY = WIN 4 POINTS

a.       Win a doubled gammon

b.      Win a re-doubled single cube

2.       GOAL when 2 AWAY or 3 AWAY = WIN 2 POINTS

a.       Win undoubled gammon

b.      Win doubled single game


I really love this presentation.  Simple yet powerful.  Mochy provides the guts of proper match strategy, without even knowing the takepoints or gammon values.

Trying to restate in my own words. 

As leader

When you are 2 or 3 points away you want to win 2 points to either win the match or get to Crawford. The best way to do this is to win an undoubled gammon or a doubled single game. Therefore, you are reluctant to double when gammon chances are present but happy to double a low gammon game such as holding game or race where you have the advantage.

You should take extra caution when opponent sends a gammonish cube.  It may be prudent to drop and move on to the next game.  Your race take point may be lower than money since a 2 point win may win the match (or get to Crawford).

Moving the checkers you steer towards a low gammon game.  Therefore split early to try and make anchor.  Get ahead in the race and win the race is the theme.  Don't slot, avoid prime versus prime if you can.  If you fall into a blitz, hold that cube and gammon him on 1.

As Trailer

When you are 4 away or 5 away, you want to win 4 points to either win the match or get to Crawford. The best way to do this is to win a doubled gammon or a redoubled single game ("a 4 cube"). Therefore, you want to turn the cube quickly when gammons are possible. You can also take initial cubes which are gammonish for both sides (ie you can win 4 points) or where your recubes are powerful (the leader may have a high take pointon your recube to 4 depending on match score).

Moving the checkers, try to mix it up to score more gammons.  Go for it with Two down and slot plays to try and build a strong position quickly.  The biggest sin as trailer is to win a gammon with the cube on 1.  Be sure to send the cube once you have a good position with gammon possibilities.

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