Backgammon – 3 General Schemes

Sunday, 8. October 2023

In extraordinarily simple terms, there are 3 chief strategies employed. You need to be agile enough to hop between tactics quickly as the action of the match unfolds.

The Blockade

This involves assembling a 6-thick wall of pieces, or at least as deep 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 adequate strategy at the begining of the match. You can build the wall anyplace between your 11-point and your two-point and then shuffle it into your home board as the game progresses.

The Blitz

This is composed of locking your home board as quickly as possible while keeping your challenger on the bar. e.g., if your opposer tosses an early two and shifts one piece from your one-point to your 3-point and you then roll a 5-5, you will be able to play 6/1 six/one 8/3 8/3. Your opponent is then in serious calamity since they have 2 checkers on the bar and you have closed half your home board!

The Backgame

This plan is where you have two or more anchors in your competitor’s inner board. (An anchor spot is a position occupied by at a minimum two of your checkers.) It needs to be used when you are decidedly behind as this plan much improves your circumstances. The strongest places for anchor spots are towards your competitor’s smaller points and either on adjoining points or with one point separating them. Timing is essential for an effective backgame: at the end of the day, there is no reason having two nice anchors and a solid wall in your own inner board if you are then forced to dismantle this straight away, while your opposer is shifting their checkers home, because you don’t have any other spare checkers to shift! In this situation, it’s more favorable to have checkers on the bar so that you might preserve your position up until your opposer provides you a chance to hit, so it will be a great idea to try and get your opponent to get them in this case!

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