Backgammon – 3 General Schemes

Thursday, 13. October 2022

In very general terms, there are three general plans used. You must be agile enough to switch strategies almost instantly as the course of the game unfolds.

The Blockade

This is composed of building a 6-thick wall of pieces, or at a minimum as deep as you might manage, to block in the competitor’s checkers that are on your 1-point. This is considered to be the most suitable course of action at the start of the game. You can assemble the wall anywhere inbetween your 11-point and your 2-point and then shift it into your home board as the match continues.

The Blitz

This involves locking your home board as quickly as possible while keeping your opponent on the bar. i.e., if your opposer tosses an early 2 and moves one piece from your one-point to your 3-point and you then roll a five-five, you will be able to play 6/1 six/one eight/three eight/three. Your opponent is then in serious dire straits taking into account that they have 2 pieces on the bar and you have locked half your home board!

The Backgame

This strategy is where you have two or higher pieces in your competitor’s home board. (An anchor spot is a point consisting of at least two of your checkers.) It would be played when you are decidedly behind as it greatly improves your circumstances. The better areas for anchors are close to your competitor’s smaller points and also on adjacent points or with a single point in between. Timing is integral for an effective backgame: besides, there is no point having two nice anchors and a complete wall in your own inner board if you are then forced to break apart this straight away, while your competitor is shifting their checkers home, seeing that you don’t have other additional pieces to shift! In this situation, it’s better to have pieces on the bar so that you are able to maintain your position up until your competitor provides you an opportunity to hit, so it can be a good idea to try and get your competitor to get them in this case!

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