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Backgammon – Three General Strategies

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

The Blockade

This comprises of creating a 6-deep wall of checkers, or at a minimum as deep as you can achieve, to block in your competitor's pieces that are located on your 1-point. This is considered to be the most suitable strategy at the start of the match. You can assemble the wall anywhere inbetween your eleven-point and your two-point and then shift it into your home board as the game progresses.

The Blitz

This involves locking your home board as quickly as possible while keeping your opponent on the bar. e.g., if your opposer rolls an early 2 and moves one piece from your one-point to your three-point and you then roll a 5-5, you will be able to play 6/1 six/one 8/3 8/3. Your opposer is now in serious trouble due to the fact that they have 2 pieces on the bar and you have locked half your inside board!

The Backgame

This strategy is where you have two or more anchors in your competitor's home board. (An anchor is a point filled by at a minimum two of your pieces.) It should be used when you are decidedly behind as this plan much improves your opportunities. The best locations for anchor spots are towards your competitor's smaller points and either on adjoining points or with a single point in between. Timing is important for a powerful backgame: after all, there is no reason having 2 nice anchor spots and a solid wall in your own home board if you are then forced to break down this right away, while your opposer is moving their checkers home, owing to the fact that you don't have any other additional checkers to move! In this case, it's more favorable to have pieces on the bar so that you can preserve your position up until your opposer provides you a chance to hit, so it may be a wonderful idea to try and get your challenger to hit them in this situation!

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