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Backgammon – Three Basic Techniques

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In very general terms, there are three fundamental game plans employed. You want to be agile enough to hop between techniques instantly as the action of the game unfolds.

The Blockade

This is composed of assembling a 6-thick wall of pieces, or at a minimum as thick as you are able to manage, to block in the opponent's pieces that are located on your 1-point. This is judged to be the most suitable tactic at the begining of the match. You can assemble the wall anywhere within your eleven-point and your two-point and then shuffle it into your home board as the match continues.

The Blitz

This is comprised of locking your home board as fast as as you can while keeping your challenger on the bar. i.e., if your challenger tosses an early 2 and shifts one piece from your one-point to your 3-point and you then toss a five-five, you will be able to play six/one six/one eight/three eight/three. Your opposer is now in serious trouble taking into account that they have 2 checkers on the bar and you have locked half your inside board!

The Backgame

This strategy is where you have two or higher pieces in your opponent's inner board. (An anchor is a point filled by at a minimum 2 of your pieces.) It should be played when you are significantly behind as it greatly improves your chances. The strongest places for anchors are close to your opponent's lower points and also on adjoining points or with a single point in between. Timing is important for a competent backgame: besides, there is no point having two nice anchor spots and a complete wall in your own inner board if you are then forced to dismantle this right away, while your opponent is shifting their pieces home, owing to the fact that you do not have any other spare checkers to shift! In this situation, it's more tolerable to have checkers on the bar so that you can maintain your position up until your opposer gives you an opportunity to hit, so it may be a good idea to try and get your opponent to get them in this case!

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