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Backgammon – 3 General Strategies

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In extraordinarily general terms, there are 3 main tactics used. You need to be able to switch strategies almost instantly as the course of the match unfolds.

The Blockade

This comprises of building a 6-deep wall of checkers, or at a minimum as deep as you can achieve, to barricade in the competitor's checkers that are located on your 1-point. This is deemed to be the most acceptable strategy at the begining of the match. You can build the wall anywhere inbetween your 11-point and your 2-point and then shift it into your home board as the match advances.

The Blitz

This is composed of closing your home board as quickly as as you can while keeping your challenger on the bar. i.e., if your opposer rolls an early 2 and shifts one piece from your one-point to your three-point and you then roll a five-five, you can play six/one 6/1 eight/three eight/three. Your opposer is now in big-time difficulty considering that they have two checkers 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 opponent's home board. (An anchor is a position consisting of at a minimum 2 of your checkers.) It must be used when you are extremely behind as it much improves your chances. The better areas for anchors are towards your competitor's smaller points and either on adjacent points or with one point in between. Timing is critical for an effective backgame: after all, there is no point having two nice anchor spots and a solid wall in your own home board if you are then forced to break down this straight away, while your opponent is moving their pieces home, seeing that you don't have other additional pieces to shift! In this case, it is more tolerable to have checkers on the bar so that you are able to maintain your position up until your competitor provides you a chance to hit, so it can be a good idea to attempt and get your opponent to get them in this case!

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