Game Plan Selection 4 -
What Now, and What Next?

by Mary Hickey - August 2006
Mary Hickey
This problem and the next in the series will each show what is sometimes called an “exception”. But as we asked in the first of this series, what does that mean?

Problem 1

It helps our thinking more if instead of calling something an “exception”, we look for another principle that supersedes the one we are trying to apply. Then we need to discover what features of the position make that second principle the lead concept.

Here, if we blindly followed the maxim, “Attack a single back checker”, we would make the ace point on his head with 7/1*, 6/1. If the attack were likely to succeed, that would be the best thing we could do, but unfortunately it really isn’t.

True, White has a second blot, but it will take us three jumps to reach it, since even if we split our back men soon, the forward man won’t be in direct range of it. Meanwhile, if White enters quickly, we will have very little material at hand to complete the attack, since two of our men are back, and two more are still on the midpoint, out of range. The most likely outcome will be that he enters and gets away, and we have damaged our blocking structure without gaining any benefit.

The play that primes one checker, 13/7, 13/8, still leaves Red an underdog to win, but puts his men in good position to attack or roll the prime forward later. He still has those back men to worry about, but at least White doesn’t have many crushing rolls right now. If he’s forced to play awkwardly, Red may get a chance to attack next turn. If that doesn’t happen, at least he has the home front locked down, no blots or other loose ends. This will allow him to start extricating those back men before White can get an attack of his own organized.

Here, the attack is weak because it overruns Red’s position. It’s a blitz play in a game where he’s afraid of hitting loose, and has too little ammunition to expect to complete a blitz without doing so. For these reasons, the principle of attacking one checker doesn’t apply here.

Problem 1 with rollout:

Next time, we will see a later problem from this same game, this time for the opponent.


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