Backgammon – Three Basic Strategies

In very simple terms, there are three fundamental techniques employed. You need to be able to hop between techniques instantly as the action of the match unfolds.

The Blockade

This involves creating a 6-deep wall of checkers, or at least as deep as you can manage, to block in your opponent’s pieces that are on your 1-point. This is considered to be the most adequate course of action at the begining of the match. You can assemble the wall anyplace between your 11-point and your 2-point and then shuffle it into your home board as the game advances.

The Blitz

This consists of closing your home board as quick as possible while keeping your opposer on the bar. For example, if your challenger rolls an early 2 and moves one checker 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 8/3. Your challenger is now in serious trouble because they have two checkers on the bar and you have closed half your inner board!

The Backgame

This course of action is where you have two or more anchors in your opponent’s inner board. (An anchor is a position occupied by at a minimum 2 of your checkers.) It needs to be played when you are decidedly behind as it much improves your circumstances. The best areas for anchors are close to your opponent’s lower points and either on adjoining points or with a single point separating them. Timing is integral for a competent backgame: after all, there’s no point having 2 nice anchor spots and a solid wall in your own home board if you are then forced to break down this straight away, while your competitor is moving their pieces home, owing to the fact that you don’t have any other extra pieces to shift! In this situation, it’s more tolerable to have checkers on the bar so that you are able to maintain your position up until your competitor gives you a chance to hit, so it will be a good idea to attempt and get your opposer to hit them in this situation!

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