Backgammon – Three Basic Techniques

Friday, 25. August 2023

In exceptionally general terms, there are three general strategies used. You want to be able to hop between strategies almost instantly as the course of the match unfolds.

The Blockade

This consists of assembling a 6-deep wall of pieces, or at least as thick as you can achieve, to lock in the opponent’s checkers that are located on your 1-point. This is considered to be the most suitable course of action at the start of the match. You can create the wall anywhere between your 11-point and your two-point and then move it into your home board as the match continues.

The Blitz

This involves locking your home board as quickly as possible while keeping your competitor on the bar. e.g., if your opponent rolls an early 2 and moves one piece from your one-point to your three-point and you then roll a 5-5, you can play six/one six/one 8/3 eight/three. Your opposer is then in big-time trouble considering that they have two checkers on the bar and you have locked half your home board!

The Backgame

This plan is where you have two or more pieces in your competitor’s home board. (An anchor spot is a point occupied by at a minimum two of your checkers.) It needs to be employed when you are decidedly behind as it greatly improves your chances. The best areas for anchors are towards your opponent’s smaller points and either on adjoining points or with one point in between. Timing is critical for a competent backgame: at the end of the day, there’s no reason having two nice anchor spots and a solid wall in your own inner board if you are then forced to break up this right away, while your challenger is getting their pieces home, considering that you don’t have any other extra pieces to move! In this situation, it is better to have pieces on the bar so that you might preserve your position until your opposer gives you a chance to hit, so it may be a great idea to attempt and get your competitor to hit them in this situation!

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