Backgammon – Three General Strategies

Monday, 2. August 2021

In very simple terms, there are 3 basic tactics employed. You need to be agile enough to switch techniques almost instantly as the course of the match unfolds.

The Blockade

This involves assembling a 6-thick wall of pieces, or at least as thick as you can achieve, to lock in the competitor’s pieces that are on your 1-point. This is judged to be the most adequate strategy at the start of the match. You can build the wall anyplace between your 11-point and your 2-point and then shift it into your home board as the match continues.

The Blitz

This consists of locking your home board as quick as possible while keeping your opponent on the bar. For example, if your challenger rolls an early two and moves one checker from your 1-point to your 3-point and you then toss a 5-5, you will be able to play six/one six/one 8/3 eight/three. Your competitor is then in serious calamity considering that they have 2 checkers on the bar and you have closed half your inner board!

The Backgame

This plan is where you have 2 or higher checkers in your opponent’s home board. (An anchor is a point consisting of at least two of your pieces.) It should be employed when you are decidedly behind as this plan much improves your opportunities. The strongest areas for anchors are towards your opponent’s smaller points and also on adjacent points or with a single point separating them. Timing is essential for a powerful backgame: at the end of the day, there’s no reason having two nice anchors and a complete wall in your own home board if you are then required to break down this straight away, while your competitor is moving their checkers home, seeing that you do not have any other spare checkers to move! In this situation, it’s more favorable to have pieces on the bar so that you can maintain your position up till your opponent gives you a chance to hit, so it can be a great idea to attempt and get your opposer to hit them in this situation!

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