ARTICLE #8 [First published in August 1987 Chicagoland Backgammon Newsletter]

Effective Use of the Cube
(Maximum Profit On Acceptance With Minimum Loss On Recube)

Since matches end on odd numbers, the jeopardy of offering the cube to an opponent who has an even match score is lessened. A more aggressive cube style can be adopted when you are “on the odd” and your opponent is on an even number. If your opponent has an odd number, a more passive approach to accepting cubes is recommended.

If you have heard of a “free take” (barring gammon jeopardy), you should also know about the “free drop.” This principle is commonly exercised when you are one point away from winning the match and your opponent is two points away and offers a double. Under this circumstance, you should drop positions with a minimal disadvantage—positions you would never consider dropping at other scores.

During a match, you should consider how the match score effects the play of the cube. If your opponent takes your cube, what will he do with it? If he has very little chance to recube, you have probably offered an effective double. When making cube decisions, you must ask yourself, “If I take or drop, what will I have to do to win the match in either case?” If taking and recubing gives you the best chance, you should give it serious thought. If dropping gives you a better chance (with future gammon prospects), you may make that decision.

When offering doubles, consider the effect of the cube on plays that may inhibit or strengthen your opponent with regard to gammon jeopardy or the lack of it.

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