Basic Backgammon Strategy
Most Backgammon beginners rarely leave exposed checkers and hit as often as they can. As you will find out, this seemingly logical approach is not the best strategy. Below you can find some of the factors that should be considered while forming a winning game plan:
Distribution of Checkers
Try distributing your checkers more evenly across the board. There is rarely any need to have six or more checkers on a single point. A player with uneven checker distribution will have less flexibility to use rolls to his advantage. Try spreading your checkers in order to increase the number of 'good' rolls on the next turn. In addition, try keeping your checkers within six pips of each other: this will help in case any checker needs to be covered.
Know When to Expose Checkers
Don't be afraid to leave shots early in the game to establish a strong offense or defense. Early in the game, you can try leaving exposed checkers so they can be used as stepping stones to establish a strong offense or defense. Later on in the game and (especially if your position is weaker) consolidating your checkers is the best strategy.
To prevent the escape of the opponent's checkers from your home board, try placing your checkers without gaps directly in front of the opponent's checkers, blockading them. If you build a 'prime' blockade - six no-gaps checkers in a row -- that would make it impossible for the opponent's checkers to escape.
It is usually more valuable to hit the most advanced of enemy checkers. However, try hitting your opponent's checkers only when it is advantageous to do so. For example, try to hit checkers that your opponent would like to cover later for establishing an important point. Consider NOT hitting if your opponent already has checkers on the bar and you can establish another valuable point if you do not hit. If you decide to hit, try to cover -- in view of a possibility of a return hit. Keep your objectives in mind and don't be side-tracked. However, there is an old backgammon adage that still carries weight, "When in doubt, hit."
Try establishing defensive points (anchors) in the opponent's home board. This serves two purposes: (1) provides for a landing spot should you get hit (2) does not let your opponent to make his home board. Bar-adjacent points (20, 21) are the most valuable to occupy early in the game. If you get behind in the race, points father away from the bar (22, 23, 24) become more valuable to occupy. It is best to establish adjacent anchors. You may consider intentionally allowing your blots (uncovered checkers) to be hit so that you can establish anchors, gain time and preserve other advantages of your position.
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