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Backgammon – 3 General Strategies

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In exceptionally general terms, there are 3 main techniques employed. You need to be able to hop between tactics quickly as the action of the match unfolds.

The Blockade

This is comprised of building a 6-deep wall of pieces, or at a minimum as deep as you are able to achieve, to block in the opponent's checkers that are on your 1-point. This is deemed to be the most adequate course of action at the start of the match. You can assemble the wall anywhere within your eleven-point and your 2-point and then shift it into your home board as the match continues.

The Blitz

This is comprised of closing your home board as quickly as as you can while keeping your challenger on the bar. e.g., if your competitor rolls an early two and moves one checker from your one-point to your 3-point and you then toss a 5-5, you can play 6/1 six/one eight/three eight/three. Your opposer is now in big-time dire straits since they have two pieces on the bar and you have locked half your home board!

The Backgame

This tactic is where you have two or more pieces in your opponent's home board. (An anchor spot is a point consisting of at a minimum two of your pieces.) It should be employed when you are significantly behind as it much improves your chances. The strongest areas for anchors are near your opponent's smaller points and either on adjacent points or with one point in between. Timing is critical for a competent backgame: at the end of the day, there's no point having 2 nice anchors and a solid wall in your own home board if you are then required to break down this straight away, while your opposer is getting their checkers home, because you do not have other extra checkers to shift! In this situation, it's better to have checkers on the bar so that you are able to preserve your position until your opposer gives you an opportunity to hit, so it will be a great idea to try and get your opponent to get them in this situation!

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