Backgammon – 3 General Schemes
March 1st, 2020 by Claudia

In exceptionally general terms, there are three general strategies used. You need to be agile enough to hop between game plans instantly as the course of the game unfolds.

The Blockade

This consists of building a 6-deep wall of checkers, or at a minimum as thick as you are able to achieve, to lock in the opponent’s pieces that are on your 1-point. This is considered to be the most adequate tactic at the start of the game. You can assemble the wall anywhere within your 11-point and your two-point and then shuffle it into your home board as the game continues.

The Blitz

This is comprised of closing your home board as quickly as possible while keeping your challenger on the bar. For example, if your opponent rolls an early 2 and shifts one piece from your one-point to your three-point and you then roll a 5-5, you can play 6/1 six/one 8/3 eight/three. Your opponent is then in big-time trouble seeing that they have two checkers on the bar and you have closed half your inside board!

The Backgame

This tactic is where you have 2 or higher pieces in your competitor’s home board. (An anchor spot is a position consisting of at least 2 of your pieces.) It must be employed when you are significantly behind as it greatly improves your opportunities. The best locations for anchor spots are near your competitor’s lower points and either on abutting points or with a single point in between. Timing is critical for an effectual backgame: at the end of the day, there is no reason having two nice anchors and a solid wall in your own home board if you are then forced to break down this right away, while your opposer is getting their pieces home, taking into account that you do not have any other extra pieces to shift! In this situation, it is more favorable to have pieces on the bar so that you can maintain your position until your challenger gives you an opportunity to hit, so it can be a good idea to try and get your competitor to get them in this situation!

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