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Backgammon – Three General Strategies

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In very general terms, there are three general techniques used. You want to be able to switch strategies quickly as the action of the game unfolds.

The Blockade

This is composed of building a 6-thick wall of pieces, or at a minimum as deep as you might manage, to lock in the opponent's checkers that are on your 1-point. This is deemed to be the most suitable strategy at the begining of the game. You can build the wall anyplace between your 11-point and your 2-point and then shift it into your home board as the match continues.

The Blitz

This consists of locking your home board as quickly as possible while keeping your opponent on the bar. i.e., if your challenger rolls an early 2 and moves one piece from your 1-point to your three-point and you then toss a five-five, you are able to play six/one six/one 8/3 eight/three. Your opponent is then in big-time difficulty seeing that they have 2 pieces on the bar and you have locked half your inner board!

The Backgame

This tactic is where you have two or more checkers in your opponent's inner board. (An anchor is a point occupied by at least 2 of your pieces.) It must be played when you are decidedly behind as this action greatly improves your circumstances. The best locations for anchors are close to your opponent's lower points and also on adjacent points or with one point in between. Timing is crucial for a powerful backgame: after all, there is no point having 2 nice anchor spots and a complete wall in your own home board if you are then required to dismantle this straight away, while your opposer is getting their pieces home, considering that you don't have any other additional checkers to move! In this situation, it's better to have checkers on the bar so that you can maintain your position until your opponent gives you an opportunity to hit, so it can be an excellent idea to try and get your challenger to get them in this case!

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