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Using Defensive Tactics in Backgammon

The fast pace of Backgammon can rattle even the best players, and for new players, getting low rolls or being hit early could lead to confusion and panic, with disastrous results. No one wants to trail in Backgammon, but it happens, hence the necessity for defensive measures.

There are several defensive Backgammon strategies that you can employ, but the one you should use depends on the game situation, and how many checkers you still have remaining. If you are behind, but still with a sufficient number of checkers, one Backgammon strategy you can resort to is the holding game.

The holding game involves placing a checker on the opposing home board, called an anchor. This can serve two purposes; number one, it can hinder the progress of your opponent, as the nearer they come the greater the chances of being hit. At the same time it will also make your opponent think carefully about his movement, thus buying time until you get the big rolls.

Ideally, for the holding game to be utilized to its maximum potential, the checker should be anchored on the 5 or 6 point.

If you cannot anchor a checker, another Backgammon strategy you can try is to use your rolls to construct a prime. A prime consists of 5 or 6 checkers lined up together in your outer board (if you can continue the line into your home board, the better). This can be an effective Backgammon strategy for trapping the opposing checkers or hitting them.

A variation of the prime game is to have four checkers aligned, and use the other pieces to attack the opponent. If you succeed in trapping or hitting a checker, this defensive posture can quickly turn into offense.

The back game is not necessarily a strategy but more of a contingency measure should a blitz fail. The principles of the back game involve anchoring at least two checkers on the opposing home board. With these two checkers the hope is to hit the opponent, and use your remaining checkers to trap. What the back game is actually doing is to buy you time for the big roll.

The importance of learning the proper defensive measures in Backgammon cannot be overstressed. Part of being a good player means knowing how to take advantage of opportunities, and also not giving up. New players tend to surrender after getting a couple of low rolls and getting a few checkers on the bar.

That is the reason why so many would-be Backgammon players fail; they do not take the time to learn the proper strategies, and instead blame everything on bad luck. Armed with the knowledge of proper defensive countermeasures, you will be able to compete and save a seemingly lost game.