Backgammon – Three Main Plans

[ English ]

In astonishingly simple terms, there are three fundamental tactics employed. You want to be able to hop between strategies quickly as the action of the match unfolds.

The Blockade

This involves creating a 6-thick wall of checkers, or at a minimum as deep as you are able to achieve, to lock in your opponent’s pieces that are on your 1-point. This is considered to be the most acceptable tactic at the start of the match. You can assemble the wall anywhere inbetween your 11-point and your 2-point and then shuffle it into your home board as the game advances.

The Blitz

This consists of closing your home board as quickly as possible while keeping your competitor on the bar. i.e., if your competitor tosses an early 2 and moves one checker from your one-point to your 3-point and you then toss a five-five, you can play 6/1 6/1 8/3 8/3. Your challenger is now 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 more pieces in your competitor’s home board. (An anchor spot is a point consisting of at least 2 of your pieces.) It needs to be used when you are significantly behind as it greatly improves your chances. The best locations for anchors are towards your competitor’s lower points and either on abutting points or with a single point in between. Timing is integral for an effective backgame: at the end of the day, there is no point having two nice anchor spots and a complete wall in your own home board if you are then required to break down this right away, while your challenger is getting their pieces home, seeing that you don’t have other extra pieces to move! In this situation, it’s better to have checkers on the bar so that you can maintain your position up till your challenger gives you an opportunity to hit, so it may be a good idea to try and get your competitor to get them in this case!

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