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Backgammon – Three Basic Strategies

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In extraordinarily general terms, there are three general plans employed. You want to be agile enough to switch strategies almost instantly as the course of the match unfolds.

The Blockade

This is comprised of building a 6-thick wall of pieces, or at least as deep as you are able to manage, to barricade in your opponent's pieces that are located on your 1-point. This is considered to be the most adequate strategy at the begining of the match. You can build the wall anyplace between your 11-point and your 2-point and then move it into your home board as the game advances.

The Blitz

This consists of closing your home board as quickly as possible while keeping your challenger on the bar. e.g., if your opponent tosses an early 2 and shifts one checker from your 1-point to your 3-point and you then roll a 5-5, you can play 6/1 6/1 8/3 eight/three. Your challenger is then in serious dire straits seeing that they have 2 checkers on the bar and you have locked half your inside board!

The Backgame

This strategy is where you have 2 or more anchors in your opponent's inner board. (An anchor spot is a point consisting of at least two of your pieces.) It would be employed when you are extremely behind as it greatly improves your chances. The better locations for anchors are towards your competitor's lower points and either on abutting points or with one point separating them. Timing is crucial for a competent backgame: after all, there is no point having two nice anchor spots and a solid wall in your own inner board if you are then forced to break up this straight away, while your opposer is getting their pieces home, because you do not have any other extra pieces to shift! In this case, it is more tolerable to have pieces on the bar so that you might maintain your position up till your challenger provides you a chance to hit, so it can be a great idea to try and get your challenger to get them in this situation!

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