Backgammon – Three Basic Strategies

In very general terms, there are 3 basic strategies employed. 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 can manage, to block in the opponent’s checkers that are on your 1-point. This is considered to be the most suitable strategy at the start of the game. You can build the wall anywhere between your 11-point and your 2-point and then shuffle it into your home board as the game progresses.

The Blitz
This involves closing your home board as quick as possible while keeping your opponent on the bar. For example, if your opponent rolls an early 2 and moves one checker from your 1-point to your 3-point and you then roll a 5-5, you can play 6/1 6/1 8/3 8/3. Your opponent is now in serious trouble because they have 2 checkers on the bar and you have closed half your inner board!

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The Backgame
This where you have 2 or more anchors in your opponent’s home board. (An anchor is a point occupied by at least 2 of your checkers.) It should be used when you are significantly behind as it much improves your chances. The best places for anchors are towards your opponent’s lower point and either on adjacent points or with a single point in between.

Timing is crucial for an effective backgame: after all, there’s no point having 2 nice anchors and a solid wall in your own home board if you are then forced to dismantle this straight away, while your opponent is getting their checkers home, because you don’t have other spare checkers to move!
In this case, it’s better to have checkers on the bar so that you can preserve your position until your opponent gives you a chance to hit, so it can be a good idea to try and get your opponent to hit them in this case!
Some people go for a backgame from the outset, but this is a mistake. The backgame is a losing strategy: it’s just that this strategy makes you less likely to lose if you are already losing!

For more on Online Backgammon visit the Backgammon Guide backgammon-guide.com

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