Celebrating 15 years in backgammon games

A Backgammon Concept

by Tom Suzanski
30 April 2000

The following position occurred in a recent match that I was playing and I thought the readers of GammonVillage might enjoy looking at it.

It's a two-point match and the cube has not been turned. White is on roll and rolls a 2-1. How should he/she play it?

White to play 2-1

Rather than starting to move checkers around and looking at the resulting positions, you should ask yourself, what are my objectives? Clearly, you would like to make the two point and ultimately get everyone home and start breaking from the back, letting your opponent in behind you (after perhaps spending some time on the bar), bear off safely, and win a gammon (and the match).

The thing to note here is that your opponent has three checkers on the bar. This is a contact position and if you are hit in the bearoff, red has a reasonable and pure checker position and you could potentially lose the game if he can contain you, or perhaps even pick up a second checker.

Often, you will see strong players who have a number of checkers closed out, break the six point before they get their last checker or two home and start letting their opponent in behind them
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Celebrating 15 years in backgammon games