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Backgammon – Three Main Schemes

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In exceptionally general terms, there are 3 main tactics used. You need to be able to switch tactics quickly as the action of the match unfolds.

The Blockade

This is composed of creating a 6-deep wall of pieces, or at a minimum as thick as you can manage, to lock in your opponent's pieces that are on your 1-point. This is judged to be the most adequate strategy at the start of the match. You can assemble the wall anyplace within your 11-point and your 2-point and then shuffle it into your home board as the match advances.

The Blitz

This consists of closing your home board as fast as possible while keeping your competitor on the bar. e.g., if your opponent tosses an early two and shifts one piece from your one-point to your three-point and you then roll a five-five, you will be able to play six/one six/one eight/three eight/three. Your challenger is now in serious calamity because they have 2 pieces on the bar and you have locked half your inner board!

The Backgame

This strategy is where you have two or more anchors in your competitor's inner board. (An anchor is a point filled by at least two of your pieces.) It should be used when you are significantly behind as this strategy greatly improves your chances. The better locations for anchor spots are towards your opponent's smaller points and also on adjoining points or with a single point separating them. Timing is important for a competent backgame: at the end of the day, there's no point having 2 nice anchor spots and a complete wall in your own inner board if you are then forced to dismantle this right away, while your competitor is shifting their checkers home, seeing that you do not have other extra pieces to move! In this situation, it's more tolerable to have pieces on the bar so that you might maintain your position until your competitor provides you an opportunity to hit, so it can be a great idea to try and get your opposer to hit them in this situation!

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