Backgammon – Three General Techniques

by Erin on April 27th, 2020

In very general terms, there are 3 basic game plans employed. You want to be agile enough to switch techniques instantly as the course of the game unfolds.

The Blockade

This involves creating a 6-deep wall of pieces, or at least as deep as you can achieve, to barricade in the opponent’s checkers that are located on your 1-point. This is judged to be the most adequate strategy at the start of the game. You can build the wall anywhere within your eleven-point and your 2-point and then move it into your home board as the match continues.

The Blitz

This is comprised of closing your home board as fast as as you can while keeping your challenger on the bar. e.g., if your opponent rolls an early two and moves one checker from your 1-point to your three-point and you then toss a 5-5, you can play six/one six/one 8/3 8/3. Your competitor is then in big-time difficulty taking into account that they have two checkers on the bar and you have closed half your inside board!

The Backgame

This plan is where you have two or higher pieces in your competitor’s home board. (An anchor is a point filled by at least 2 of your checkers.) It must be played when you are significantly behind as this strategy much improves your chances. The best places for anchors are near your competitor’s lower points and either on abutting points or with one point in between. Timing is critical for an effective backgame: at the end of the day, there’s no reason having two 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 moving their pieces home, taking into account that you don’t have other additional pieces to shift! In this case, it’s better to have pieces on the bar so that you might preserve your position up until your opponent provides you a chance to hit, so it will be an excellent idea to attempt and get your challenger to hit them in this case!

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