Backgammon – Three Basic Schemes

In very general terms, there are three general plans used. You need to be able to switch strategies instantly as the course of the game unfolds.

The Blockade

This involves building a 6-thick wall of checkers, or at least as thick as you are able to achieve, to block in your opponent’s pieces that are located on your 1-point. This is considered to be the most acceptable strategy at the begining of the game. You can build the wall anyplace within your 11-point and your two-point and then shift it into your home board as the match continues.

The Blitz

This consists of locking your home board as quickly as as you can while keeping your competitor on the bar. e.g., if your opponent tosses an early two and shifts one checker from your one-point to your three-point and you then toss a 5-5, you can play 6/1 six/one eight/three eight/three. Your opponent is then in serious calamity because they have two pieces on the bar and you have locked half your home board!

The Backgame

This plan is where you have 2 or higher checkers in your competitor’s inner board. (An anchor spot is a position filled by at least two of your pieces.) It must be used when you are significantly behind as this plan much improves your chances. The better places for anchors are close to your competitor’s lower points and also on adjoining points or with a single point separating them. Timing is important for a powerful backgame: at the end of the day, there’s no reason having two nice anchor spots and a solid wall in your own inner board if you are then forced to break down this right away, while your opposer is getting their checkers home, seeing that you do not have any other spare pieces to move! In this case, it is more favorable to have checkers on the bar so that you can maintain your position until your opponent gives you a chance to hit, so it can be an excellent idea to try and get your challenger to get them in this case!

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