Backgammon – Three General Techniques

Sunday, 1. November 2015

In extraordinarily general terms, there are three general strategies employed. You want to be able to switch game plans instantly as the course of the match unfolds.

The Blockade

This is comprised of building a 6-deep wall of pieces, or at a minimum as thick as you can achieve, to barricade in the opponent’s pieces that are on your 1-point. This is judged to be the most adequate course of action at the begining of the game. You can create the wall anywhere within your 11-point and your 2-point and then move it into your home board as the match advances.

The Blitz

This involves locking your home board as fast as as you can while keeping your competitor on the bar. For example, if your challenger rolls an early 2 and moves one piece from your 1-point to your 3-point and you then toss a 5-5, you will be able to play 6/1 6/1 8/3 8/3. Your opponent is now in big-time trouble since they have 2 pieces on the bar and you have locked half your inner board!

The Backgame

This course of action is where you have 2 or higher checkers in your opponent’s inner board. (An anchor is a position consisting of at least 2 of your checkers.) It would be employed when you are significantly behind as this strategy greatly improves your chances. The better places for anchor spots are close to your competitor’s lower points and also on adjacent points or with a single point in between. Timing is integral for an effective backgame: after all, there is no point having 2 nice anchor spots and a complete wall in your own inner board if you are then forced to break apart this straight away, while your opponent is moving their checkers home, owing to the fact that you don’t have any other spare checkers to shift! In this case, it is more favorable to have checkers on the bar so that you might maintain your position until your opponent provides you an opportunity to hit, so it may be a good idea to try and get your challenger to hit them in this situation!

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