Backgammon – Three Basic Techniques

by Erin on July 2nd, 2018

In astonishingly simple terms, there are three basic techniques employed. You must be able to hop between techniques quickly as the course of the game unfolds.

The Blockade

This comprises of building a 6-deep wall of pieces, or at least as deep as you are able to manage, to barricade in your opponent’s checkers that are on your 1-point. This is judged to be the most acceptable strategy at the start of the match. You can create the wall anyplace between your 11-point and your two-point and then shuffle it into your home board as the match advances.

The Blitz

This is comprised of closing your home board as quickly as as you can while keeping your opposer on the bar. e.g., if your opposer rolls an early 2 and moves one checker from your 1-point to your three-point and you then toss a five-five, you can play six/one six/one eight/three eight/three. Your opponent is then in serious trouble since they have two pieces on the bar and you have locked half your inner board!

The Backgame

This strategy is where you have 2 or more anchors in your opponent’s home board. (An anchor spot is a point occupied by at a minimum 2 of your pieces.) It needs to be used when you are decidedly behind as this action greatly improves your opportunities. The better locations for anchor spots are near your opponent’s lower points and either on adjoining points or with a single point in between. Timing is critical for a competent backgame: besides, there’s no point having two nice anchor spots and a solid wall in your own home board if you are then forced to break down this right away, while your opponent is shifting their checkers home, because you do not have any other spare checkers to shift! In this situation, it is more tolerable to have checkers on the bar so that you can preserve your position up till your opponent provides you an opportunity to hit, so it may be a good idea to attempt and get your opponent to get them in this case!

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