Beaver in Backgammon: The Double Move

Some players have introduced a risky yet intriguing variation to the doubling cube in backgammon. Although this rule is not played in tournaments, if agreed upon, a player who is offered a double can opt to “beaver”. This means that they can immediately redouble before the doubler has made their move, while still keeping the cube on their side of the board. For example, if the original double was from 1 to 2, the player can accept it and redouble to 4, while still retaining the normal right to offer a double (which would now be to 8) in the usual way.

Of course, a player who is doubled should only choose to beaver if they believe that the doubler made a mistake in doubling. Otherwise, voluntarily doubling the stakes is pointless. However, it is important to note that just because a double was a bad move to give, it does not mean it is a good move to beaver.


Examining the position on the diagram, Black may consider doubling, given that he is the favorite and likely to win more games than he loses. However, this would be a mistake, as Black is prone to throw a 2 and then be unable to accept a subsequent redouble. This would lead to losing several games that could have been won later with a double. Black should not give the double, as it is more advantageous to play on undoubled, and double the opponent on the next turn, unless something significant occurs. It would be foolish to beaver. Since this is a game in which players usually lose money, doubling the amount of expected losses is pointless. Nonetheless, some players make poor doubling decisions, justifying a beaver, so if you can handle the significant swings in this type of game, you should enjoy playing it.


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