Backgammon – 3 General Techniques

In extraordinarily simple terms, there are 3 main strategies used. You want to be able to hop between techniques instantly as the action of the match unfolds.

The Blockade

This is composed of creating a 6-thick wall of pieces, or at a minimum as thick as you are able to manage, to barricade in the opponent’s pieces that are on your 1-point. This is deemed to be the most suitable procedure at the start of the match. You can build the wall anywhere inbetween your eleven-point and your two-point and then move it into your home board as the game advances.

The Blitz

This is comprised of closing your home board as quick as as you can while keeping your opposer on the bar. i.e., if your challenger tosses an early two and moves one piece from your one-point to your 3-point and you then roll a five-five, you will be able to play six/one 6/1 8/3 8/3. Your opposer is now in serious dire straits because they have 2 checkers on the bar and you have locked half your inner board!

The Backgame

This strategy is where you have 2 or higher anchors in your opponent’s home board. (An anchor is a position occupied by at a minimum 2 of your checkers.) It needs to be played when you are significantly behind as it much improves your chances. The strongest places for anchor spots are towards your opponent’s lower points and also on abutting points or with one point in between. Timing is crucial for a competent backgame: after all, there’s no reason having 2 nice anchor spots and a complete wall in your own inner board if you are then forced to dismantle this straight away, while your opposer is getting their checkers home, considering that you do not have other extra pieces to move! In this case, it’s more tolerable to have checkers on the bar so that you might preserve your position up till your challenger provides you a chance to hit, so it will be a good idea to try and get your opponent to hit them in this situation!

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