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Playing Guide: 10 Intermediate Backgammon Tips

Last updated on October 9, 2021

Beginner’s guide. How to play backgammon.

Here are 10 quick Deluxe Backgammon tips you can apply to your next game. These are general guidelines that can be considered during most match play situations. These tips are targeted at Intermediate level players. A more complete list of Playing Guides is available on this link.

Races.

  • If you are certain you are ahead in the race, take advantage of your superior position, break contact and run. If you are significantly ahead, most of the time you will win. There is always the chance that a few lucky doubles will bring your opponent back in touch, but disregard this and take the risk, it will pay-off more often than not. Use the rule of 8 to determine who has the lead in the race.
  • In contrast, if you are behind in a race it is usually a mistake to abandon an anchor or a holding point in your opponent’s home board. Staying back and waiting for that shot may be your only chance to regain the lead. Be patient and wait for your opponent to leave a shot.

Back games.

  • If you are playing a back game and waiting patiently for the chance to hit your opponent, use your time wisely. Secure the key points (5, 4 & 7) on your home side of the board. This means that when you have the chance to hit you have an effective barrier to re-entry in place.
  • When you are playing a back game, it is often wise to allow your checkers to re-circulate (be hit). Getting hit may improve your timing. It may also help you to avoid crunching your board, where you are forced to make unwanted moves.
  • If playing a back game, holding anchors deep (1, 2 & 3 points in your opponent’s home board will give you the best chance to win. These points are deep enough to offer the most chances of hitting loose blots.

Hit when in doubt.

  • When you are in doubt, take the opportunity to hit. In most cases, hitting will be your best option, particularly if the checker is on your opponent’s side of the board. Hitting on your opponent’s side of the board means the checker has further to travel once re-entered. When hitting there is also the chance that your opponent may get stuck on the bar for several rolls.

Bearing off.

  • When bearing off, use all your numbers to take checkers off. Don’t waste pips by trying to smooth out your distribution by filling gaps. The winner is the first person to bear off, not the one with the most even distribution.

Patience.

  • Remain relaxed as the game’s fortunes change. The balance of power in a game of backgammon can change several times throughout a match. The next swing may be in your favour. Remain calm so that in tense situations you make a sensible move rather than a nervous mistake.
  • Consider all moves before picking up the dice. Apart from the opening moves, sometimes the best move is not obvious. Take as much time as you are allowed according to the match rules and make a calculated move.

A complete list of Playing Guides is available on this link.

Backgammon rules are available on this link.

Backgammon cheat sheet.

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