The 24/22 13/8 Opening Play in Backgammon

One interesting play that has come up just about a decade ago is the 24/22 13/8 opening play for the five-two backgammon opening roll. This play is relatively new for this opening roll in backgammon. Most backgammon players a couple of decades back would never think of using this play for an opening roll. Today, this has actually become one of the popular plays for the five-two opening roll.

Back in the day, a lot of backgammon players will never use this play for the five-two opening roll. Other than having your best moves duplicated, most players then thought that if your opponent would get a two fives on the dice you'll be in a total catastrophe early in the game.

This would mean that you will immediately have two checkers on the bar at the very start of the game. Adding insult to injury, your opponent will have three home board points made after hitting your two back checkers early in the backgammon game. This is not a pretty picture since your opponent has a tremendous positional advantage.

If that was the case why was there a change of heart among backgammon players? The answer lies in statistics. Today, we have computers to aid us in our analysis. One fact remains that there is a one out of 36 possibility that both blots will be hit after the opening roll.

The chances of that ever happening when you play 24/22 13/8 is very slim. Another surprising bit of detail is that the 24/22 13/8 play for this opening roll has an equity of about +.0032 topping the favorite play for the five-two backgammon opening roll.

These numbers indicate that the opinions of the previous decades were quite mistaken about this play for this backgammon opening roll. Though a lot of backgammon players have veered away from playing 24/22 13/8, today's numbers prove otherwise.

The play is quite safe for your two blots since your opponent can only hit them with a roll of five-five, five-three, and three-three. And, just in case one checker gets hit early in the backgammon game you have a good chance to hit right back.

The only other weakness you need to check when you play 24/22 13/8 in backgammon is duplication. Your back checkers and your two forward stacks are both two pips apart. If you roll a three-one in the next turn you have to choose between making the 21-point or the five-point on the backgammon board.

A roll of four-two gives you a choice between the 20-point or the four-point on the backgammon board. A roll of six-four after the opening roll gives you either the 18-point or the two-point. You don't want that happening with your good backgammon rolls.

In the end, it's all up to you to weigh if the consequences of playing 24/22 13/8 in the backgammon opening roll are worth the benefits.