Backgammon Strategy

As a general rule, there are three basic strategies employed in most games. You need to be alert to the demands of your opponent and his strategy and be ready to switch tactics to suit the particular game at in hand.

The Blocade

This involves building a 6-thick wall of checkers, or at least as thick as you can manage, to block in the opponents checkers which are on your
1-point. This is a favourite strategy at the start of the game and can have very telling effects in your favour if you manage to immobilise your opponent’s checkers for a critical period of time.  You can also build a wall anywhere between your 11-point and your 2-point and then progressively shuffle it into your home board as the game unfolds.

The Blitz

This involves occupying your home board as quickly as possible while keeping your opponent at the bar. For example if your opponent throws an early 2 and decides to move one of his two checkers at your 1-point to your 3-point, and your next roll is a 5-5, then you can play 6-1, 6-1, and 8-3, 8-3 and consign his two checkers to the bar, while occupying half your home board! This will no doubt block his entry into play with a bit of luck.

The Backgame

This is where you have 2 or more anchors in your opponent’s home board (An anchor is a point occupied by at least 2 of your checkers). The best places for anchors are towards your opponent’s lower points  and either on adjacent points or with a single point in between. This strategy should be used only when you are measurably behind in the game as it really can improve your chances. Timing is crucial in employing a backgame; there is little point in having 2 effective anchors and a solid wall in your own home board, if you are then forced to dismantle this straightaway, while your opponent is busily getting his checkers home, since you don’t have any other spare checkers to move! In this case, it might even be better to get your opponent to hit you, consigning you to the bar, until he provides you with the chance to hit him back, sending him to the bar at a time when you can race home and win.

However, never employ the backgame strategy from the outset. It is a losing strategy. It can only be considered as a desperate measure to be used in a desperate situation which occasionally allows you to scrape through to a win.

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