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Backgammon – 3 General Techniques

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In very general terms, there are 3 main strategies used. You want to be agile enough to hop between techniques quickly as the course 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 achieve, to block in the competitor's checkers that are located on your 1-point. This is considered to be the most acceptable tactic at the start of the game. You can assemble the wall anyplace between your eleven-point and your 2-point and then shuffle it into your home board as the game continues.

The Blitz

This consists of closing your home board as quick as possible while keeping your opposer on the bar. e.g., if your opponent tosses an early two and moves one piece from your 1-point to your three-point and you then toss a 5-5, you can play 6/1 6/1 8/3 eight/three. Your competitor is now in serious dire straits seeing that they have two checkers on the bar and you have locked half your inner board!

The Backgame

This tactic is where you have two or higher anchors in your opponent's inner board. (An anchor spot is a point consisting of at least two of your checkers.) It must be used when you are significantly behind as this strategy much improves your chances. The strongest places for anchors are towards your opponent's smaller points and also on adjacent points or with a single point separating them. Timing is essential for an effective backgame: at the end of the day, there's no point having 2 nice anchors and a complete wall in your own home board if you are then required to dismantle this straight away, while your opponent is getting their pieces home, considering that you don't have other spare checkers to shift! In this case, it is more favorable to have checkers on the bar so that you are able to maintain your position up until your competitor gives you a chance to hit, so it can be a good idea to attempt and get your competitor to get them in this situation!

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