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Backgammon – 3 Basic Plans

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In very simple terms, there are 3 fundamental strategies used. You need to be able to switch techniques instantly as the action of the match unfolds.

The Blockade

This consists of assembling a 6-deep wall of pieces, or at a minimum as deep as you might achieve, to block in the opponent's pieces that are located on your 1-point. This is judged to be the most adequate procedure at the start of the match. You can assemble the wall anywhere within your eleven-point and your 2-point and then shuffle it into your home board as the game advances.

The Blitz

This involves locking your home board as quick as possible while keeping your challenger on the bar. e.g., if your opposer tosses an early 2 and shifts one checker from your one-point to your three-point and you then toss a 5-5, you can play six/one six/one 8/3 8/3. Your opposer is now in serious difficulty due to the fact that they have two pieces on the bar and you have locked half your home board!

The Backgame

This strategy is where you have two or higher checkers in your opponent's home board. (An anchor is a position consisting of at least two of your pieces.) It must be used when you are significantly behind as it much improves your opportunities. The strongest areas for anchors are close to your opponent's lower points and either on abutting points or with one point in between. Timing is essential for a competent backgame: after all, there's no reason having two nice anchors and a complete wall in your own home board if you are then required to dismantle this right away, while your opponent is moving their checkers home, taking into account that you don't have any other spare pieces to shift! In this situation, it is more tolerable to have checkers on the bar so that you can preserve your position up till your challenger gives you a chance to hit, so it will be an excellent idea to attempt and get your opposer to get them in this situation!

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