Backgammon – 3 Main Strategies

by Erin on November 10th, 2021

In astonishingly general terms, there are three chief tactics used. You must be able to hop between techniques instantly as the course of the match unfolds.

The Blockade

This consists of building a 6-deep wall of checkers, or at a minimum as deep as you can manage, to lock in the opponent’s checkers that are on your 1-point. This is judged to be the most acceptable strategy at the start of the game. You can create the wall anyplace inbetween your 11-point and your 2-point and then shift it into your home board as the game advances.

The Blitz

This consists of closing your home board as fast as possible while keeping your challenger on the bar. e.g., if your opposer tosses an early two and shifts one checker from your one-point to your 3-point and you then toss a five-five, you can play six/one six/one eight/three 8/3. Your competitor is now in big-time dire straits because they have two pieces on the bar and you have locked half your inside board!

The Backgame

This tactic 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 decidedly behind as it greatly improves your opportunities. The strongest locations for anchor spots are near your competitor’s lower points and also on adjoining points or with one point in between. Timing is crucial for a competent backgame: at the end of the day, there is no reason having two nice anchor spots and a complete wall in your own inner board if you are then forced to dismantle this straight away, while your competitor is shifting their pieces home, owing to the fact that you don’t have any other additional checkers to move! In this situation, it’s more tolerable to have checkers on the bar so that you can maintain your position up until your challenger gives you an opportunity to hit, so it will be a good idea to try and get your opponent to get them in this situation!

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