Backgammon – Three General Strategies

In very simple terms, there are 3 chief strategies employed. You need to be able to switch techniques quickly as the course of the match unfolds.

The Blockade

This comprises of creating a 6-deep wall of checkers, or at least as deep as you might manage, to barricade in your opponent’s pieces that are on your 1-point. This is considered to be the most adequate procedure at the start of the game. You can assemble the wall anyplace within your 11-point and your 2-point and then shuffle it into your home board as the game continues.

The Blitz

This involves closing your home board as quickly as possible while keeping your opposer on the bar. e.g., if your competitor tosses an early two and shifts one piece from your 1-point to your three-point and you then toss a 5-5, you will be able to play six/one 6/1 eight/three eight/three. Your competitor is then in big-time trouble because 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 higher pieces in your competitor’s home board. (An anchor is a position consisting of at least 2 of your checkers.) It should be played when you are extremely behind as it greatly improves your opportunities. The better locations for anchor spots are towards your opponent’s smaller points and either on abutting points or with one point in between. Timing is crucial for a competent backgame: besides, there’s no reason having two nice anchors and a complete wall in your own home board if you are then required to break down this right away, while your opposer is shifting their pieces home, considering that you don’t have any other extra pieces to shift! In this case, it is more favorable to have checkers on the bar so that you can maintain your position until your competitor gives you a chance to hit, so it may be an excellent idea to try and get your opposer to hit them in this case!

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