Backgammon – 3 General Strategies

In very general terms, there are three fundamental game plans used. You must be agile enough to hop between game plans almost instantly as the action of the match unfolds.

The Blockade

This consists of assembling a 6-thick wall of checkers, or at a minimum as thick as you are able to manage, to block in the opponent’s checkers that are located on your 1-point. This is judged to be the most adequate procedure at the start of the game. You can assemble the wall anywhere between your eleven-point and your 2-point and then shift it into your home board as the game advances.

The Blitz

This is comprised of closing your home board as fast as as you can while keeping your competitor on the bar. i.e., if your competitor tosses an early two and moves one checker from your 1-point to your three-point and you then roll a five-five, you will be able to play six/one six/one 8/3 8/3. Your competitor is then in serious trouble because they have 2 pieces on the bar and you have locked half your inner board!

The Backgame

This strategy is where you have two or more checkers in your opponent’s home board. (An anchor is a position filled by at a minimum 2 of your checkers.) It would be played when you are decidedly behind as this plan greatly improves your circumstances. The strongest areas for anchor spots are close to your competitor’s smaller points and either on adjoining points or with a single point separating them. Timing is important for an effectual backgame: at the end of the day, there is no reason having 2 nice anchor spots and a complete wall in your own home board if you are then required to dismantle this straight away, while your challenger is getting their pieces home, considering that you do not have any other extra pieces to move! In this situation, it is better to have checkers on the bar so that you are able to preserve your position up until your opponent provides you an opportunity to hit, so it may be an excellent idea to try and get your opponent to hit them in this case!

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