Backgammon – Three Basic Plans

In very general terms, there are 3 main strategies employed. You want to be agile enough to hop between techniques quickly as the course of the match unfolds.

The Blockade

This involves creating a 6-deep wall of pieces, or at least as deep as you can manage, to barricade in your competitor’s pieces that are on your 1-point. This is judged to be the most adequate strategy at the begining of the match. You can create the wall anyplace between your eleven-point and your two-point and then shift it into your home board as the game advances.

The Blitz

This involves locking your home board as quick as as you can while keeping your challenger on the bar. e.g., if your competitor tosses an early two and moves one checker from your 1-point to your 3-point and you then toss a five-five, you are able to play six/one 6/1 eight/three eight/three. Your opponent is then in big-time dire straits because they have two checkers on the bar and you have locked half your inner board!

The Backgame

This strategy is where you have two or more pieces in your opponent’s home board. (An anchor is a point consisting of at least two of your checkers.) It would be employed when you are decidedly behind as it much improves your opportunities. The strongest places for anchors are near your competitor’s smaller points and either on adjacent points or with a single point in between. Timing is important for an effective backgame: at the end of the day, there’s no reason having two nice anchors and a solid wall in your own inner board if you are then forced to dismantle this right away, while your competitor is moving their checkers home, seeing that you don’t have other extra pieces to move! In this situation, it is more favorable to have pieces on the bar so that you can maintain your position until your challenger gives you an opportunity to hit, so it may be a great idea to try and get your challenger to hit them in this case!