Backgammon – 3 General Schemes

In very general terms, there are three fundamental tactics used. You need to be able to hop between tactics quickly as the action of the game unfolds.

The Blockade

This is composed of creating a 6-deep wall of checkers, or at a minimum as thick as you might achieve, to barricade in your opponent’s pieces that are on your 1-point. This is considered to be the most suitable procedure at the begining of the game. You can build the wall anyplace within your eleven-point and your 2-point and then shuffle it into your home board as the game progresses.

The Blitz

This involves locking your home board as fast as as you can while keeping your competitor on the bar. e.g., if your challenger rolls an early two and moves one piece from your 1-point to your three-point and you then roll a five-five, you will be able to play 6/1 six/one eight/three 8/3. Your competitor is then in serious calamity considering that they have 2 checkers on the bar and you have locked half your inside board!

The Backgame

This tactic is where you have 2 or more anchors in your competitor’s home board. (An anchor is a point consisting of at least 2 of your pieces.) It must be employed when you are decidedly behind as this plan greatly improves your circumstances. The better locations for anchor spots are close to your opponent’s lower points and either on adjoining points or with one point in between. Timing is essential for a competent backgame: besides, there is no reason having 2 nice anchors and a solid wall in your own home board if you are then required to break down this right away, while your competitor is shifting their pieces home, because you do not have any other spare checkers to shift! In this situation, it’s more tolerable to have checkers on the bar so that you can preserve your position up till your opponent provides you a chance to hit, so it may be a good idea to try and get your competitor to hit them in this case!

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