Backgammon – 3 Basic Strategies

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In astonishingly general terms, there are 3 chief plans used. You want to be able to switch techniques quickly as the action of the game unfolds.

The Blockade

This is composed of assembling a 6-deep wall of checkers, or at a minimum as thick as you might manage, to block in the opponent’s checkers that are on your 1-point. This is considered to be the most acceptable strategy at the start of the match. You can build the wall anyplace within your 11-point and your 2-point and then shift it into your home board as the game continues.

The Blitz

This is comprised of closing your home board as fast as as you can while keeping your opposer on the bar. i.e., if your opponent tosses an early two and shifts one checker from your 1-point to your three-point and you then roll a five-five, you can play 6/1 6/1 eight/three eight/three. Your opponent is now in big-time dire straits seeing that they have two checkers on the bar and you have closed half your inner board!

The Backgame

This tactic is where you have 2 or higher anchors in your opponent’s home board. (An anchor spot is a point consisting of at least two of your checkers.) It would be employed when you are extremely behind as this strategy much improves your circumstances. The strongest areas for anchor spots are towards your competitor’s smaller points and also on abutting points or with a single point separating them. Timing is important for an effectual backgame: after all, there is no point having 2 nice anchor spots and a complete wall in your own home board if you are then forced to break up this straight away, while your opposer is shifting their checkers home, because you don’t have any other extra checkers to move! In this situation, it is better to have pieces on the bar so that you can maintain your position until your challenger gives you an opportunity to hit, so it will be a good idea to attempt and get your competitor to hit them in this situation!

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