Backgammon – 3 General Techniques

In very general terms, there are 3 chief tactics employed. You need to be agile enough to switch techniques almost instantly as the action of the game unfolds.

The Blockade

This consists of creating a 6-deep wall of checkers, or at a minimum as thick as you can achieve, to lock in the opponent’s checkers that are on your 1-point. This is deemed to be the most adequate strategy at the start of the game. You can create the wall anywhere inbetween your 11-point and your 2-point and then shift it into your home board as the match continues.

The Blitz

This consists of locking your home board as quickly as possible while keeping your opposer on the bar. i.e., if your opposer rolls an early two and moves one piece from your one-point to your 3-point and you then roll a 5-5, you can play 6/1 six/one eight/three 8/3. Your opponent is then in big-time calamity due to the fact that they have two pieces on the bar and you have locked half your home board!

The Backgame

This plan is where you have two or more checkers in your opponent’s home board. (An anchor is a position filled by at least 2 of your pieces.) It needs to be played when you are extremely behind as it greatly improves your chances. The strongest areas for anchors are close to your opponent’s smaller points and also on adjacent points or with one point separating them. Timing is critical for a competent backgame: besides, there’s no reason having 2 nice anchors and a solid wall in your own home board if you are then required to break up this right away, while your opposer is getting their checkers home, seeing that you do not have any other additional checkers to shift! In this situation, it’s more tolerable to have checkers on the bar so that you can maintain your position up till your opposer gives you an opportunity to hit, so it may be a great idea to try and get your challenger to get them in this situation!

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