ARTICLE #6 [First published in June 1987 Chicagoland Backgammon Newsletter]
|What is the Advantage Cube?
With the score tied 5 to 5 in a 7-point match, one side gains a slight positional advantage. At other match scores, a double would not even be considered. But using the “advantage cube” approach, the favorite will turn the cube to put the game at double match-point and the underdog will have an easy take. The justification for offering the advantage cube seems to be that putting the match on the line when you are a slight favorite is proper from a match equity standpoint.
Let’s look at another type of double: the “gammon cube.” Many players trailing in the score will reach a position where they become fearful of getting gammoned for the match. To counter their fear, they remove their opponent’s gammon-winning chances by offering an early double. Later on, they hit a last shot, or roll a few large doubles, both of which would be enough to save the gammon, but not the game. In effect, the early double costs them any further chances of winning the match.
The fallacy of the gammon cube focuses my attention toward the advantage cube fallacy. Eliminating the gammon threat against your opponent frees him to make stronger winning plays. You can increase your game-winning chances by waiting to use the cube until after the gammon chances have faded and there is little that your opponent can do to achieve a winning position.