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Backgammon – Three General Techniques

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In very simple terms, there are three main plans employed. You want to be able to switch tactics almost instantly as the action of the match unfolds.

The Blockade

This involves building a 6-deep wall of pieces, or at a minimum as thick as you can achieve, to lock in your opponent's pieces that are located on your 1-point. This is considered to be the most acceptable course of action at the begining of the match. You can create the wall anyplace between your 11-point and your two-point and then shift it into your home board as the game continues.

The Blitz

This is comprised of locking your home board as quickly as possible while keeping your competitor on the bar. For example, if your challenger rolls an early two and shifts one piece from your one-point to your 3-point and you then toss a 5-5, you are able to play six/one six/one 8/3 eight/three. Your challenger is then in serious trouble because they have 2 pieces on the bar and you have closed half your home board!

The Backgame

This course of action is where you have two or higher checkers in your competitor's home board. (An anchor is a point consisting of at least two of your pieces.) It should be used when you are significantly behind as it greatly improves your opportunities. The best areas for anchors are towards your opponent's lower points and either on abutting points or with one point in between. Timing is critical for an effective backgame: after all, there is no reason having two nice anchors and a solid wall in your own inner board if you are then required to break down this straight away, while your competitor is shifting their pieces home, seeing that you don't have any other extra checkers to move! In this situation, it is better to have pieces on the bar so that you can preserve your position up until your challenger provides you an opportunity to hit, so it can be a wonderful idea to try and get your opposer to get them in this case!

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