Backgammon – Three General Schemes

by Erin on March 6th, 2019

In very general terms, there are three general tactics employed. You need to be agile enough to hop between strategies quickly as the course of the game unfolds.

The Blockade

This is composed of creating a 6-deep wall of checkers, or at least as thick as you can achieve, to barricade in your opponent’s checkers that are located on your 1-point. This is considered to be the most suitable tactic at the start of the match. You can assemble the wall anyplace between your eleven-point and your two-point and then move it into your home board as the match advances.

The Blitz

This consists of locking your home board as quick as as you can while keeping your opponent on the bar. e.g., if your competitor tosses an early 2 and shifts one piece from your 1-point to your three-point and you then toss a five-five, you can play six/one six/one eight/three 8/3. Your competitor is then in big-time difficulty taking into account that they have 2 checkers on the bar and you have closed half your inner board!

The Backgame

This strategy is where you have two or higher checkers in your opponent’s inner board. (An anchor is a position consisting of at a minimum 2 of your checkers.) It would be played when you are significantly behind as it greatly improves your chances. The better locations for anchors are towards your opponent’s smaller points and also on abutting points or with a single point in between. Timing is crucial for a competent backgame: at the end of the day, there’s no point having two nice anchor spots and a solid wall in your own inner board if you are then required to break up this straight away, while your competitor is moving their checkers home, because you don’t have any other spare pieces to shift! In this situation, it’s more favorable to have checkers on the bar so that you can preserve your position until your opponent gives you an opportunity to hit, so it will be an excellent idea to try and get your challenger to hit them in this situation!

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