Backgammon – Three General Strategies

Friday, 15. December 2023

In exceptionally general terms, there are 3 chief techniques used. You want to be agile enough to switch strategies quickly as the course of the match unfolds.

The Blockade

This is comprised of assembling a 6-deep wall of checkers, or at least as thick as you can manage, to block in your opponent’s checkers that are located on your 1-point. This is judged to be the most acceptable strategy at the begining of the match. You can build the wall anywhere between your eleven-point and your 2-point and then move it into your home board as the game continues.

The Blitz

This involves closing your home board as fast as possible while keeping your opponent on the bar. i.e., if your competitor rolls an early two and shifts one piece from your one-point to your three-point and you then roll a 5-5, you can play 6/1 6/1 eight/three eight/three. Your challenger is now in serious calamity considering that they have 2 pieces on the bar and you have locked half your home board!

The Backgame

This course of action is where you have two or more pieces in your competitor’s home board. (An anchor is a point filled by at least two of your pieces.) It must be played when you are decidedly behind as this strategy much improves your opportunities. The best areas for anchors are towards your opponent’s lower points and also on adjoining points or with one point separating them. Timing is crucial for an effective backgame: after all, there’s no reason having 2 nice anchors and a complete wall in your own inner board if you are then required to break apart this straight away, while your challenger is shifting their checkers home, because you do not have any other additional pieces to move! In this case, it is more favorable to have pieces on the bar so that you might maintain your position up till your opponent provides you an opportunity to hit, so it may be a good idea to try and get your challenger to get them in this situation!

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