Backgammon – 3 General Schemes

In exceptionally simple terms, there are three chief tactics employed. You need to be able to switch strategies instantly as the course of the match unfolds.

The Blockade

This comprises of building a 6-thick wall of checkers, or at a minimum as deep as you might achieve, to lock in your opponent’s pieces that are on your 1-point. This is deemed to be the most suitable course of action at the start of the game. You can assemble the wall anyplace within your 11-point and your 2-point and then move it into your home board as the game progresses.

The Blitz

This is comprised of closing your home board as quick as possible while keeping your competitor on the bar. e.g., if your opposer tosses an early two and shifts one piece from your one-point to your 3-point and you then toss a 5-5, you will be able to play 6/1 6/1 eight/three eight/three. Your challenger is now in big-time trouble seeing that they have 2 pieces on the bar and you have locked half your home board!

The Backgame

This strategy is where you have 2 or more pieces in your opponent’s home board. (An anchor is a point consisting of at a minimum 2 of your pieces.) It must be used when you are extremely behind as this action much improves your circumstances. The better places for anchor spots are close to your opponent’s smaller points and either on adjoining points or with one point separating them. Timing is crucial for a powerful 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 required to dismantle this right away, while your opponent is shifting their pieces home, because you don’t have any other spare checkers to shift! In this case, it is more tolerable to have pieces on the bar so that you might maintain your position until your challenger gives you an opportunity to hit, so it can be an excellent idea to try and get your challenger to hit them in this situation!

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