Backgammon – Three General Strategies

by Erin on July 29th, 2018

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

The Blockade

This involves creating a 6-deep wall of checkers, or at least as thick as you might manage, to barricade in your competitor’s pieces that are located on your 1-point. This is deemed to be the most adequate procedure at the start of the game. You can create the wall anyplace inbetween your eleven-point and your 2-point and then shift it into your home board as the match advances.

The Blitz

This involves closing your home board as quickly as as you can while keeping your opponent on the bar. e.g., if your challenger tosses an early 2 and moves one checker from your 1-point to your three-point and you then roll a 5-5, you will be able to play 6/1 six/one 8/3 8/3. Your challenger is now in serious trouble since they have 2 checkers on the bar and you have locked half your inner board!

The Backgame

This plan is where you have two or higher anchors in your opponent’s home board. (An anchor is a point occupied by at a minimum two of your checkers.) It must be played when you are decidedly behind as it greatly improves your circumstances. The better areas for anchor spots are towards your opponent’s smaller points and either on adjacent points or with a single point separating them. Timing is crucial for a competent backgame: after all, there’s no point having 2 nice anchors and a complete wall in your own home board if you are then required to dismantle this straight away, while your opponent is moving their checkers home, owing to the fact that you do not have any other spare pieces to shift! In this situation, it’s more favorable to have pieces on the bar so that you can maintain your position until your opposer provides you an opportunity to hit, so it may be a good idea to try and get your challenger to hit them in this situation!

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