Backgammon – 3 Basic Schemes

by Erin on November 9th, 2009

In very general terms, there are three main techniques used. You must be able to hop between strategies quickly as the action of the match unfolds.

The Blockade

This involves building a 6-thick wall of pieces, or at a minimum as thick as you might achieve, to lock in your opponent’s pieces that are on your 1-point. This is considered to be the most adequate course of action at the start of the match. You can assemble the wall anywhere inbetween your 11-point and your two-point and then move it into your home board as the match progresses.

The Blitz

This consists of locking your home board as quickly as possible while keeping your challenger on the bar. For example, if your competitor tosses an early two and shifts one piece from your 1-point to your three-point and you then toss a five-five, you can play 6/1 6/1 8/3 8/3. Your competitor is then in big-time difficulty since they have two checkers on the bar and you have locked half your inner board!

The Backgame

This plan is where you have two or more checkers in your opponent’s home board. (An anchor spot is a position filled by at least 2 of your checkers.) It should be used when you are significantly behind as this action greatly improves your circumstances. The better locations for anchors are close to your opponent’s lower points and also on adjacent points or with a single point separating them. Timing is important for an effective backgame: after all, there is no reason having 2 nice anchors and a complete wall in your own inner board if you are then required to break down this straight away, while your challenger is getting their checkers home, because you don’t have any other additional checkers to shift! In this case, it is more favorable to have checkers on the bar so that you can maintain your position until your opponent gives you a chance to hit, so it can be a wonderful idea to attempt and get your opponent to get them in this situation!

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