ADVANCED BACKGAMMON STRATEGY
Advanced Level refers to a point from where you can start winning. The basic winning strategy depends upon three factors:
1) Running Game
2) Blocking Game and
3) Back Game
You need to use various permutations and combinations of these three techniques for your success. Millard Hopper has revealed his championship secrets for moving, blocking and back games in his popular book 'Win at Backgammon'.
The strategy includes blocking the opponent from hitting your checkers and blocking the escape route of the opponent. To block the opponentís escape route, you are to block the 24th row, one of the most strategically important rows of your home board. You must try to block your opponentís checkers on your home board only. Experienced players advise to block the rows in combinations like 6+1, 3+1, 4+2, 5+3, and 6+5.
In the earlier level of strategies we have seen how to block the opponent from one particular point. But the skill lies in deciding, when to hit and being hit. Experts advise only to hit when you feel itís advantageous. Never attempt unnecessary hitting. A generic solution is to hit the most advanced checker of the opponentís or the potential checker, which may be used to block you as per your reading of the game. The experience players prefer hitting a checker in the opponentís home board. Donít unnecessary panic of being hit. You may lure your opponent to hit your checkers while exposing his other checkers for attack.
At this stage letís establish how we can further restrain the moves of the opponentís checkers. Creating a Prime does this. If you can occupy six points in a row then it is called a prime. The advantage of prime is that your opponent cannot move out from behind a prime. So, if you can set a prime in your opponentís home board, it will restrain the opponentís movement to a great extent. Experts advise you to start a prime either from your 5th point or from your bar point. But the caution message for you is the attempt for formation of a prime may even lead to leave the blots, risking your checkers for being hit. So, always keep balance and keep watching the progress of the game.
The most important factor is, if you lag; donít be panic-stricken to leave shots. Instead, focus on placing checkers as per your convenience.
Now after the preliminary knowledge of double and redouble at this stage lets delve into the issue. First of all letís say clearly that this double and redouble does not have any limit. Only exclusive rights of the doubling cube swing between the two players as well as the value of the stake increases following the arithmetic rules. The double and redouble actually make the game more attractive by increasing its speed.
Now lets discuss one very relevant term over here, which is 'Beavers'. In the normal course of the game, when a double is announced and the opponent accepts the double, then the first one looses the exclusive right of the doubling cube. Now, if the first one does not want to loose the possession of the doubling cube, he immediately announces the redouble. A beaver pushes the ball to the opponentís court for accepting or conceding a defeat of that game by refusal. But this rule is applied mostly in money play, not in matches or tournaments.
At this point you must be aware of two distinct stages, Gammon and Backgammon. If one has completed to bearing off all his 15 checkers, while the other has not been able to bear off even one of his 15 checkers, then the winner is rewarded gammon, which doubles the points. If the situation becomes like one has been able to accomplish bearing off completely, while the other has got his checker or checkers on the bar or in his outer board (essentially being the winnerís home board), the winner is rewarded backgammon, which has got triple effect.
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