As the game winds down, you and your opponent might find yourselves in a race bearing off your checkers until you have fewer and fewer of them. At some point, it will be clear that each of you only has a handful of rolls available, with no real options for play except to bear off checkers.

The position above is an example of one of these positions. In this case, it’s a 4-roll position, because both players are 4 rolls from winning, despite having a different number of checkers on the board. Whoever rolls first is the favorite, and the trailer can only catch up if they roll a doublet. What is the cube action for the player on roll?

You could do some math and work out the odds of rolling a double within the next 3 shakes, and figure out the variances and all that… but why? Just memorize the following table:

N-roll positions | Cube action |
---|---|

1-roll | Double / Pass |

2-roll | Double / Pass |

3-roll | Double / Pass |

4-roll | Double Take |

5+ roll | Double Take (No Redouble!) |

Consulting this table, we now know that the 4-roll position above is a double/take, which is confirmed by the analysis.

This table will get you 80% of the way there. Note that this table doesn’t apply if you have any gaps in your structure. For example, the position below doesn’t qualify as a 4-roll position, despite having the same number of checkers as above:

The gap makes this one a **No double**. At the end of the day, there is no substitute for math and experience. But you’ve gotta start somewhere.

Next lesson: Doubling in holding games

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