Celebrating 15 years in backgammon games

BACKGAMMON DICTIONARY

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


A


ABT - The American Backgammon Tour. An association of Backgammon players and clubs in the United States that compete in tournaments.

Accept a Double (Take) - To accept the doubling cube from your adversary and agree to play at two times the present bet or points.

Ace Point (Guff) - The one point or first point in the home board of a player.

Ace Point Game - A scenario late in the game where a player has one or more of his checkers confined to his opponent's ace point and is waiting for a chance at a hit as the opponent comes home or begins to bear off.

Acey-Deucey - A roll of one and two (1-2) on the dice. Also, a variant of Backgammon trendy in the U.S. Navy in which a 1-2 gives the player additional turns.

Across - The movement of the checkers from one sector (quadrant) of the board to another.

Action Play - A particular type of strategy or play intended to bring about an exchange of hits. It is normally used once the rival player has fled with his runners (furthest checkers).

Active Builder - A checker that is totally free and in a position from where it can be used to make or build a point.

Advanced Anchor - A secure point made by a player in an advanced position of his rival's home board. The best point to own is your opponent's five point but his four point is also considered very good. The benefits of having this type of anchor are many; it can be used as a safe spot to land on from the bar when one of your checkers is hit; a good position from which to strike at your opponent's checkers in his outer board area; and also a useful spot to run from with big doubles such as 5-5 or 6-6.

Air Ball - A bad roll that fails to hit and is also considered counter productive in other ways, depending on the situation on the board.

Anchor - Any point that is owned by two or more checkers on their rival's side of the board.

Around the Corner - The movement of checkers from the adversary's outer board area over to the player's outer board area.

Attacking Game (Blitz) - A relentless attack on your opponent's open checkers intended to keep them on the bar while attempting to close all your home board points.

Automatic Doubles - This is an optional regulation typically used in money games or chouettes and happens when the two players roll a single die to determine the opening roll of a game. If they toss the same number the stakes are doubled; the cube is automatically turned to 2. The automatic double is normally limited to one per game but some chouette players will leave a second occurrence now, for optional use at the start of the next game.

Awkward Number - A dreadful roll of the dice that weakens a player's position.

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B


Back Game - A strategy used by a player who is far behind in the game. The idea is to own two or more of your opponent's home board points and to wait for the chance to hit one or more checkers that he/she might be forced to leave open while coming in or bearing off. Timing is very important in this type of game as you must try to maintain a strong home board of your own with your remaining stones.

Back Man (Runner) - The checker(s) furthest away from your home board.

Backgammon - The name of the game we play. A board game in which two players each use 15 checkers of different colours and the rolls of a pair of dice to move them around the board on triangle-shaped spaces called points. The first player to reach his home board quadrant and bear off all his checkers wins the game.

Backgammon - A game in which you score triple the value of the points at stake, accomplished only if you bear off all your checkers and your opponent has yet to bear off a single checker, and still has one or more checkers remaining in your home board or on the bar. (See also Gammon where one scores a double game.)

Backgammon Server - A computer network set up on the Internet by an individual or a company where people can go to play Backgammon. Players log on to the network utilizing a username and password. They may chat and play in matches or tournaments. The server provides the interface, either through downloadable software or an online application with graphical boards, and sends dice rolls to the players. The server also keeps a history of win/losses and ratings. A list of places to play on the Net can be found in our Server Profile section here on GammmonVillage.

Bar (Rail, Roof) - The middle divider of the board; a narrow strip slightly raised above the playing surface where checkers are placed when they are hit (sent back). When your checkers are hit, you have to re-enter them onto your opponent's home board before making any other moves. Note that the bar itself is not counted as a space.

Bar Point - The 7 point of either player; the point right next to the bar in your outer board. The bar point is very valuable to secure as it blocks your opponent from escaping your home board with a 6-6 roll.

Battle of Primes - A position in the game where both players have built a wall of men on consecutive points of the board in an attempt to fence in their opponent's checkers.

Bear In - To bring your remaining checkers into the home board prior to the bearing off process.

Bear Off - The final part of the game that involves taking your checkers off the board. You may only initiate this process once all your checkers have entered your home board. The stones are borne off according to the numbers tossed on the dice and are no longer re-entered in the same game.

Beavers - Term used in money games and chouettes for an optional rule that players must agree upon before the start of play. A beaver occurs when a player is doubled but believes he is a favourite to win and he may re-double or "beaver" immediately while retaining the doubling cube and the option to re-double again later. As with a normal double, the initial doubler may refuse a beaver or opt to raccoon. (See Raccoon)

Bertha - When a player accidentally moves a 6-5 roll from the 24 to the 13 point without having observed that his opponent has secured their 6 and 7 points.

BIBA - The British Isles Backgammon Association. An association of Backgammon players and clubs based in the United Kingdom that compete in tournaments.

Big Play - To go for it! To make a bold or risky play in an effort to gain a more productive position. (Also called bold or strong play.)

Binache - Same as Beaver (see above).

Black - One of the players in the game of Backgammon, the one using the darker or black checkers.

Blitz (Attacking Game) - A relentless attack on your opponent's open checkers intended to keep them on the bar while you attempt to close all your home board points.

Block - Points with two or more checkers formed in front of an opponent's men to obstruct their progress around the board.

Blockade - Consecutive points on the board created in an effort to prevent an opponent from running away with his back checkers or runners.

Blot - A lone or single checker on a point that is exposed to a hit is called a "blot".

Blot-Hitting Contest - Sometimes called a Blot-Hitting Fest, is when both players are attempting to gain a strategic point on the board and do so by making repeated unprotected hits on each other's checkers.

Board - The area or playing surface used to play Backgammon on. As well, a backgammon board is divided into four quadrants that are referred to as boards: player's home board, player's outer board and opponent's home board and opponent's outer board. A third use of the term is "makes one's board" which is when you have your opponent on the bar with no open points on which he can re-enter.

Book a Checker - To secure a man by making a point.

Box - In chouette play, three or more players toss one die and the player who rolls the highest number becomes the "box". The player with the second highest roll represents the rest of the players or team for the first game and is called the "captain". If the captain wins, he then becomes the box and the former box sides with the team.

Boxcars - A roll of 6-6 on the dice.

Break a Point - Moving a man off of a point you occupy with only two checkers, leaving the other as a blot.

Break Contact (No Contact) - When no further hitting or blocking is possible because both players have moved the last of their checkers passed each other's and are proceeding towards the end of the game.

Break the Board (Break Up) - To give up established points in the home board.

Builder - A checker that is in a position where it is can to be used with others to make or "build" a point. Often this is a spare checker one brings down from the midpoint to one's outer board area.

Bulletproof - An expression candidly used to describe an opponent who astonishingly evades getting hit time and again.

Bump - To hit a checker and continue moving the same checker to a point of safety, also referred to as "bump and pass".

Button Up - To make a safe play by securing one or more checkers with one more other checkers.

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C


Calcutta Auction - Usually prior to the start of a tournament, the participants can bid on who will win the event. The auction could be based on a bid for one player or sometimes a package of players. The money goes into a fund or pool that is later handed out to those that bid successfully.

Candlesticks (Railroad Tracks, Stacking) - To pile or stack up many checkers on points that you already occupy. Sometimes called "building pyramids".

Captain - When chouette play begins each participant tosses one die and the player with the highest roll becomes the "box" while the player with the second highest roll is known as the "captain" and must roll the dice and make the moves for the team. In some chouettes, the players of the team can consult with the captain and suggest moves. However, the captain always has the final say.

Cash - To double an adversary with the cube when he is in such a bad position that you know he will most likely refuse it, therefore allowing you to "cash" in your lead for money or points.

Cat's Eyes - A roll of 1-1 on the dice.

Centered Cube - The status of the doubling cube before either player has used it to double. The cube is placed in a slot midway across the board, usually on either side of the board and is available to either player.

Checkers - The round pieces or men used in the game of Backgammon. Also known as stones, counters or markers. Each player uses 15 checkers of a different colour.

Chouette - A variant of Backgammon played socially in clubs, tournaments, bars, etc. Chouette play is for three or more players. Each toss one die and the player who rolls the highest number becomes the "box". The player with the second highest roll represents the rest of the players or team for the first game and is called the "captain". The players take turns playing as the captain or the box depending on who wins.

Clean Play - A move that has been accomplished legally.

Clear a Point - Moving a man off a point you occupy with only two checkers and leaving the other as a blot.

Close Out (Shut Out) - When you have totally blocked out your opponent's checker(s) on the bar by covering all the points in your home board. The opponent must wait until a point opens before he can roll the dice again.

Closed Board - When all the six points in your home board are covered or blocked.

Closed Point - A point occupied by two or more of your opponent's checkers.

Cocked Dice - An illegal dice roll. A legal dice roll is when both dice land flat or flush on a player's right side of the board. If the dice fall outside the board's playing surface, on top of a checker or are leaning against a checker or against the inside wall of the board, they are considered "cocked" and must be picked up and tossed again.

Cock Shot - Coming down from the bar with a roll of 6-2 when only the 2 point is open and bouncing out to hit a blot on the 8 point.

Coffeehouse - When one or more players conspire to confuse an opponent's judgment or decision on a move by misleading him about the true aspect of the position at hand (often occurring in chouettes).

Comeback Shot - A dice roll that allows a checker on the bar to hit a blot.

Combination Shot - When both dice numbers are utilized collectively to form a roll greater than that of a single die.

Combination - Using both numbers on the roll of a dice to play a single checker.

Combinations of the Dice - The number of probable rolls, out of the possible 36 rolls of the dice, needed to achieve an objective in a given situation.

Come In - To re-enter or come down from the bar onto an opponent's home board.

Come Under the Gun - To advance your back checkers forward within your opponent's home board to a position where there are three or more of your opponent's builders pointing directly upon them.

Comfort Station - A nickname for your midpoint (13 point) on which checkers escaping the other side of the board may rest safely.

Communication - Maintaining checkers within 6 spaces of each other for mutual support.

Consolidate - To organize your men by reducing the number of open checkers, often just before you intend to double.

Consolation Flight - An event in a Backgammon tournament in which players eliminated in the main tournament are eligible to continue in competition for other prizes.

Contact - The act of hitting your opponent or being hit.

Contact Game - A position where hitting and blocking is still possible as opposed to "Break Contact" or a game that has become a "Race".

Control of Outside - A term used to describe a position where a player has possession of points in or bearing on the midfield (outer board areas).

Count or Count the Position (Pip Count) - The current status or tally of the pips (spaces) left for each of the players to move and bear off all of his checkers. The count enables each player to judge who is ahead in the race and is an important factor in making cube decisions.

Counter - One of the men or checkers used in the game of Backgammon. Also known as a stone, checker or marker.

Coup Classique - A position in the bear off with the defender having only one man on the 24 point and the bearer having only three remaining men to bear off from the 2 point.

Cover (Cover a Blot) - To move one checker onto a space where there is a blot thus making a point.

CPW - Cubeless Probability of Winning - The chances a player has of winning the game if no doubling cube is being used.

Crawford Rule (Crawford Game) - Invented by John R. Crawford - Used in match play, when one player reaches a score in the match where he needs just one more point for victory, his opponent may not double him during the next game. The rule was apparently invented to reduce the luck factor. If the trailing player wins the Crawford Game, the doubling cube does become available again in the next and following games.

CRBA - The Costa Rican Backgammon Association.

Crossover - The movement of a checker from one quadrant of the board to the next. Experienced players often figure how many crossovers it will take to get all their checkers home and compare this to their opponent's crossover count to evaluate if it is a good time to double, or when being doubled, to take the cube.

Crunch - When the dice rolls force you to break up a nicely built prime or home board.

Cube - The doubling cube in the game or (to cube) the act of offering a double.

Cube Action? - A term used by one player as a question when asking others for their opinion on a take or drop doubling decision in a position problem, often one posted on a discussion forum or newsgroup.

Cube Decision - To decide on cube action, whether it is to offer the cube to an opponent, or to accept or decline a double being offered to you.

Cube Equity - In a money games with the doubling cube, this is the assessment of a position from the standpoint of one player compared to the current stake being played for. Cube equity takes into consideration cube ownership and its relation to the prospect of future doubles but does not contemplate the current value of cube.

Cube Ownership - Specifies which player has the right to double. Once a player accepts a double, that player is in 'possession' of the doubling cube and only he may offer the next double.

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D


Dance - A dice roll that fails to allow a checker to re-enter from the bar. Also called Fan, Flunk, Fail, Stay Off and Stay Out.

Dead Cube - When the cube no longer has any re-doubling value. Example, in a three-point match, once the cube has reached a value of 4 it has surpassed the number of points need to win the match.

Dead Man (Deep) - A checker that has been played deep into a player's home board, usually to the one or two point, where it will most likely have no further participation in the game. Also referred to as Kill a Man.

Dead Number - A dice roll with a number or numbers that cannot be played legally.

Decline a Double - Refuse to accept a double of the stakes offered by your opponent with the doubling cube. Also called "Drop".

Deep (Dead Man) - A checker that is has been played deep into a player's home board, usually to the one or two point, where it will most likely have no further participation in the game. Also referred to as Kill a Man.

Deep - To be on a low-numbered (1 or 2) point.

Deprive - To move your stones in such a way as to be sure of your numbers legally playable.

Deuce Point - The 2 point.

Dice - Cubes with dots numbered from 1 to 6, one of the components needed to play the game. Each player takes turns tossing a pair of dice to determine the amount of spaces per move. The dots on the dice are also referred to as pips.

Dice Combinations - The number of possible rolls using two dice. There are 36 in Backgammon.

Dice Cup - A cup or cylindrical container used to shake and toss the dice.

Die - Singular for Dice.

Dilly Builder - A spare checker that will land only on a point deep into your home board.

Direct Shot - A checker within a distance of 6 points or less that is open to a hit.

Disengage (Break Contact) - When no further hitting or blocking is possible because both players have moved the last of their checkers past each other's and are proceeding towards the end of the game.

Diversification - To distribute your men in such a fashion in an effort to enhance your chances of getting good rolls on a following turn.

DMP - Double Match Point. A match situation in which the players have arrived a score where either needs just one more point to win. Also, a situation in a match where the cube has reached such a level that it will cause the match to end with the game in progress.

Dominate - The evaluation of the possible moves in a given position where one reduces the number of choices and compares the remaining possibilities to conclude how these measure up against each other and which one prevails, or is as good as the other in all respects.

Double - To offer the doubling cube and play for twice the present wager or points. A player must double before rolling the dice. His opponent may accept or refuse the cube.

Double Ducks - The roll of 2-2 on the dice.

Double Dummy - A term usually referred to in chouettes when contemplating or discussing what might have been the correct move in light of what has been rolled.

Double Game - When a game ends, if the player who lost failed to remove any checkers, the winner scores twice the value of the money or points at stake. Also called Gammon. See the term Backgammon for how a triple game is scored.

Double Hit - To hit two of your opponent's checkers in a single move.

Double Jeopardy - When there is potential for awkward rolls to come up both in the next and subsequent turn.

Double Match Point (DMP) - A match in which the players have arrived a score where either needs just one more point to win or also a situation in a match where the cube has reached such a level that it will cause the match to end with the game in progress.

Double Oneself Out - To offer a double that if taken will win the match for the person doubling if he goes on to win the present game.

Double Roll (Roll a Double or Doubles) - A dice roll that comes up with the same numbers on each cube which in Backgammon allows you to move four times the number showing, e.g. 2-2, 5-5 etc. Also known as Doublet.

Doubles - (Same as above.) A dice roll with the same number showing on both cubes such as 4-4 or 6-6.

Double Shot - An open checker that has the potential to be hit by two of an opponent's men.

Doublet - (Doubles) A dice roll with the same number showing on both cubes which allows you to move four times the number showing, e.g. 2-2, 5-5 etc.

Doubling - The act of offering the cube to your opponent. When you are at a position in the game where you believe you are the favourite to win, you may off the doubling cube to your opponent to play on at twice the present stakes. If your opponent refuses it ends that particular game, however, if he believes his chances of winning are not so bad, he make accept the cube and continue playing. Your opponent may re-cube you if at some point in the game of he believes he now has the upper hand and so on. The doubling cube starts at 2 and then goes on at 4, 8, 16, 32 and 64.

Doubling Cube - A six-sided cube or die with the numbers 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 and 64 marked upon its faces used in Backgammon for raising the stakes in a game as well as to keep track of the current wager.

Doubling On the Come - To double in anticipation of a good roll.

Doubling Window - From the book "Cubes and Gammons near the End of the Match" by Antonio Ortega and Danny Kleinman, Editorama, 1997: "The range of winning percentages that may justify giving your opponent a cube that he should certainly take. The top of your doubling window is your cashpoint - the complement of your opponent's takepoint. The bottom of your doubling window is the minimum game-winning chance at which you are better off doubling your opponent in, than ending the game with the cube at 1. Clearly, you should double at your very last turn of the game if you have reached the bottom of your doubling window."

Drop - To refuse to take a double or a re-double of the stakes when offered the doubling cube.

Dropper - A dropper is a player on a Backgammon server that purposely leaves the match before it has concluded, usually in a losing position.

Drop Point - The maximum equity at which it is correct for a player to decline a double.

Drop-Take - A term used in chouette play where some players on the team refuse a double while others accept it and play on.

Duplicate (Duplication) - To leave your opponent the numbers that are favourable to him at different spaces on the board in an attempt to reduce his chances of tossing a good roll. Example: If you must leave two checkers open at different spots on the board, leaving them the same distance away from where your opponent's checkers are, means they can only bit hit by a certain number on the next roll.

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E


Edge of a Prime - An open point directly in front of an adversary's prime.

Efficient Double - A double offered at the point of its maximum effectiveness when it would be accurate for the player being doubled to either accept or refuse.

Eject - To desert an ace-point game to avoid losing a backgammon or gammon.

Elo - A rating system used on many Internet Backgammon servers and ranking lists based on a formula invented by Arpad Elo, a Hungarian physician.

End Game - The final part of the game after which there is no further contact and the players begin to bear off their checkers.

Enter (same as Re-Enter) - To move a checker that has been hit from the bar onto the opponent's home board according to the numbers of the roll of the dice.

Equity - Equity is the anticipated value of a backgammon position taking into consideration your chances of winning the game as well as the values and probability of the potential outcomes. Three type of equity are generally cited: Cubeless Equity, Cube Equity and Settlement Equity

Exposed Man - An open checker or blot that is within reach of a direct shot.

Extra Cubes - An optional rule in chouette play when only part of the players' team accept a double from the man in the box. Any of the team members who refused the box's double may now offer an extra cube to a player who accepted the double. Basically, this is an extra bet on the side and although extra cubes are offered at the same value of the original cube, they must go together with a payment equal to one half their value. Finally, when the game is won, the player that receives the "extra" will pay or collect in the usually method.

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F


Fan (Fail, Flunk) - A dice roll that fails to allow a checker to re-enter from the bar. Also called Dance, Stay Off or Stay Out.

Fast Board - A bear off position characterized by having numerous spares on the high points.

Field Goal - When you have the opportunity to hit two checkers that are two spaces apart and roll a number than lands between them.

Fish - A poor backgammon money manager.

Fly Shot - An indirect shot with very few combinations using both the numbers of the dice roll.

Forced Play - A dice roll that has only one legal move.

Forward Game (Running Game) - When there is no further contact to be made in the game because the players' checkers have passed each other and it has become a dash to see who will get them home and bear them off first.

Free Drop - After the Crawford rule in match play, when the player that is behind in the score has an even number of points to go, the Free Drop is an option that the leading player has in which he may refuse a double without decreasing the number of games the trailing player needs to win the match.

Freeze a Builder - To leave a checker within reach of an opponent occupying a point with only two men in an effort to restrict these checkers from being used as active builders.

Front a Prime - To make the point directly in front of an opponent's prime.

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G


Gammon (Double Game) - When a game ends, if the player who lost failed to remove any checkers, the winner scores twice the value of the money or points at stake.

Gammon Count - A method used to assess a player's chance of being gammoned.

Gammon Price - The relative value of winning a gammon in comparison to winning only a single game. Gammon Price is computed as: GP = (WG - W) / (W - L) where: WG is the value of winning a gammon; W is the value of winning a single game; and L is the value of losing a single game. In money play, the Gammon Price is calculated at 50% while in match play the Gammon Price depends on the value of the cube and the match score and can vary immensely.

Gammon Rate - The fraction of games which end in a gammon or a backgammon counting those that would end in a gammon if played to completion, but are not because a player doubles and the opponent refuses.

Gammon Vig (Gammon Vigorish) - The extra equity resulting from the possibility of a gammon which influences cube decisions

Gap - The space or empty spaces between established points.

Girls (The Girls) - Nickname for a dice roll of 5-5.

Golden Point - Your opponent's 5 point.

Go Out - When a player reaches the points necessary to win a match.

Guff (Guffy) - A player's 1 point, also called the Ace Point.

GWC - Abbreviation for the term Game Winning Chances.

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H


Hara-Kiri Play - A tactic ones uses that leaves blots exposed for the purpose of re-circulating the player's checkers.

Heavy Point - A point with more than three of your checkers on it.

Hit - To land on a point where there is only one checker is called a "hit". The checker is then placed on the bar and its owner must re-enter it from his opponent's home board. A hit is also called Knock Off or Send Back.

Hit and Cover - In a single play, to hit an opponent's blot and continue moving the same checker forward to cover your own blot on another space.

Hit and Pass (Pick and Pass) - To hit an opponent's checker and continue with it to safety on one of your own points.

Hit and Split - To move forward a back man while hitting your opponent's blot elsewhere on the board in one move.

Hit Loose - When you hit your opponent's blot leaving your own blots in danger of a return hit.

Holding Game - A strategy used when you are slightly behind in the race and most of your checkers have already passed your opponent's but you hold onto to one or two points on the other side of the board to hinder your opponent from getting home safely and hope to get a chance at a hit.

Holland Rule - Named after Tim Holland, this is an optional rule that is used in post-Crawford games. The rule says that neither player can double until after they have played two rolls each. Although this rule is rarely used these days, it makes the "free drop" more valuable to the leader.

Home - To bring all your remaining checkers into your home board.

Home Board (Inner Table) - The sector or quadrant of the board where you must enter all your checkers first, before you can start to bear them off. The home board consists of points 1 to 6.

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I


Inactive Builder - A checker that is presently part of a prime or a block but which has the prospect of being used later to make another point or be part of another block.

Indirect Shot - A checker that is seven or more pips away as opposed to a Direct Shot which is six pips or less away. See also Combination Shot and Fly Shot.

Inner Table (Home Board) - The sector or quadrant of the board where you must enter all your checkers first, before you can start to bear them off. The Inner Table consists of points 1 to 6.

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J


Jacoby Rule - Invented by Oswald Jacoby. This rule is used in money play and states that unless either player has accepted a double, gammons and backgammons will count only as a single game. The rule eliminates situations where a player has passed up the opportunity to double and therefore speeds up play. It actually encourages him to double at the right time.

Janowski's Formula - A formula created by Rick Janowski of England that estimates match equity at a given match score. It states that if d is the difference in match score and t is the number of points the trailing player has to go, then the likelihood of the leading player winning the match is .5 + .85d / (t+6).

Jellyfish - A computer program developed by neural networks that plays and analyzes positions and entire matches. See GammonVillage's Software section where you will also find a link to Jellyfish's website.

Jeopardy - The potential to have awkward rolls on an upcoming turn.

Joker - A very good or very bad roll that comes at a moment where it can change the outcome of the game. A joker roll is not always a lucky roll for the player tossing the dice. Example, if your opponent has one checker to bear off to win and you have four and you roll the correct double that bears them all off, this is one type of joker roll. But, if you are hit and your opponent has only two points covered in his home board and you dance, this is also called a joker roll. It is any roll that causes a considerable change in the winning chances of either player.

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K


Kauder Paradox - The fact that in money games when the Jacoby Rule is being used, a position can (in theory) be both a correct double and a correct beaver. By doubling, the trailer gets full value for his prospective gammons, thus raising his equity, however, providing that this equity remains negative, the opponent should logically beaver.

Kibitzer - A spectator of the game, often one that offers unsolicited advice or comments.

Kill a Man (Dead Man or Deep) - A checker that has been played deep into a player's home board, usually to the one or two point, where it will most likely have no further participation in the game.

Kill a Number - To create a position in the game in which certain numbers of the dice cannot be played on the next turn.

Knock Off (Hit) - To land on a point where there is only one checker is called a "hit" or "knock off". The checker is then placed on the bar and its owner must re-enter it from his opponent's home board. A hit is also called Send Back.

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L


Last Roll Position - The final position of a game in which both players still have the opportunity to win.

Lead - In the pip count, the player with fewer spaces to go is said to have the "lead".

Leave a Shot - To leave a blot exposed within reach of an opponent's men.

Loose Man - A lone checker or blot.

Lover's Leap - Nickname for the opening roll of 6-5 when a player moves a checker from the 24 point jumping over the bar to land on the 13 point.

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M


Making a Point - When a player positions two checkers on one of the triangles of the board he is said to own that point. The made point blocks his opponent's moves to that space. The opponent may not land on it nor touch down upon it when moving the numbers of his dice roll.

Man - One of the thirty checkers that are used to play the game. The checkers or "men" move around the board according to the numbers tossed on the dice. Each player uses 15 checkers of a different colour. Black and White are the traditional colours of the game but checkers can be any other two colours. Other terms used for a man in backgammon are counter, piece or stone.

Mandatory Double - This is a situation that comes up in match play in which it is correct for a player to double at the earliest opportunity based solely on the score in the match. Example, after the Crawford game, if a player is behind 4 to 1 in a five-point match, if he loses this next game, he will lose the match anyway and therefore should double the stakes now to 2 for the extra gains he will receive if he wins or gammons his opponent.

Mandatory Extras - This is an optional rule in money games that states that whenever a player doubles and the double is accepted, the player then has the license to give his adversary an extra cube at the same level. However, the extra cube must be tied in with a payment equal to one half of its value. The adversary now holds two cubes that he can use to double back with, using them both together or one at a time.

Market Gainer - Any two rolls in sequence, one by each player, that leads to a position in the game where an opponent would be willing to accept if he were offered a double. Recognizing the number of market gainers can help a player decide whether he should double now or play on for a gammon.

Market Loser - Any two rolls in sequence, one by each player, that leads to a position in the game where an opponent would no longer be willing to accept if he were offered a double. If your opponent would have accepted the cube prior to this sequence it is said that you have "lost your market" for not doubling beforehand. It is a matter of recognizing positions where your opponent has many bad rolls that could come up on his next toss of the dice.

Match - A series of games between two players for a previously assigned number of points to be won by the player who accumulates the required number of points first. Also called Match Play.

Match Equity - A player's probability of winning a match at a certain match score

Match Equity Table - A table that shows a player's probability of winning a match from different match scores.

Match Play - The competition system used in tournaments and most online Backgammon servers where two players take the part in a series of games for a previously assigned number of points. The match is won by the player who accumulates the required number of points first.

Match Point - The point in time in of a match when the leading player requires only one more point to win.

Middle Game - The stage of the game after the opening moves and before bear off; the main body of the game.

Mid Point - A player's 13 point.

Mixed Roll - A dice roll with different numbers showing as compared to a double roll.

Mix Up - When both players are attempting to gain a strategic point on the board and do so by making repeated unprotected hits on each others checker. Also called Blot-Hitting Contest

Modern Game - The introduction of two modern inventions to the game:
1) Doubling {but not necessarily with the cube}.
2) Chouette play.
The former was characterized by optional rules whereby backgammons counted only as 2 point wins. The first literary reference to the Modern Game is Grosvenor Nichols, 1928.

Money Play - The style of competition in which games are played individually and the participants wager on the result. The players agree on the stakes and the winner collects that amount multiplied by the value of the doubling cube. The loser pays double the amount if he/she loses a gammon and triple for a backgammon.

Move - The progress or traffic of the checkers on the Backgammon board. There are three legal ways to move your checkers: Advancing them according to the roll of the dice; entering a checker from the bar; and bearing off a checker.

Mutual Holding Game - A situation in the game where both players are maintaining points on their opponent's side of the board to hinder the other from bringing their checkers home safely.

MWC - Match Winning Chances.

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N


No Brainer (Break Contact) - A stage of the game where there is no further contact and the winner will be determined by the luck of the rolls.

No Contact (Break Contact) - When no further hitting or blocking is possible because both players have most the last of their checkers passed each other's, and are proceeding towards the end of the game.

Normalized Match Score - A match score conveyed in terms of the quantity of points each player still needs to win the match, as opposed to the amount of points they have won so far.

Nullo - A play that cannot be advantageous for any possible sequence of future rolls.

Number of Shots - The amount of possible hits.

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O


One Point Game (Ace Point Game) - A scenario late in the game where a player has one or more of his checkers confined to his opponent's ace point and is waiting for a chance at a hit as the opponent comes home or while his opponent begin to bear off his stones.

On Roll - The player whose turn it is now.

On the Bar - A checker that has been hit and is waiting to re-enter the game.

Opening Roll - The first roll of the game determined by the two players tossing one die each and the player with the higher number uses both numbers to make the first move.

Open Point - Any point that is not occupied by two or more opposing checkers.

Otter - An instant re-double (while preserving ownership of the cube) by the player who just accepted a Raccoon.

Outer Board (Outer Table, Outfield) - From points 7 to 12 points for either player, and also the area where the dice should be cast by each player.

Outfield - The Outer Board but in particular points 9, 10 and 11.

Outside Prime - A series of blocked points with most of them in the outer board area.

Own the Cube - The player that accepted the last double is said to " own the cube". Only he may offer the next double.

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P


Partner for the Box - When chouettes have eight players or more it is often permitted that the box takes on a partner. This partnership rotates, beginning with the captain and on down the list of players. If no one volunteers to be the box's partner, the team members can choose to assign one, but cannot choose the captain.

Pass - Drop or refuse to accept a double.

Pick and Pass (Bump and Pass) - To hit an opponent's checker and continue with it to safety on one of your own points.

Pick Up - To hit a checker.

Pip - One of the dots on a die. The pips of the dice are units of distance on a Backgammon board. For example, a checker on the 24 can travel 11 pips to the 13 point with a roll of 6-5.

Pip Count - The total number of points (or pips) that a player has to move to bring all his checkers into the home board and bear them off. Each player has 167 pips to go at the start of the game. As the game progresses, it is important to use a method to know what your pip count is as this can affect double and take situations with the cube. Two methods of counting pips can be found in the Tutorial section on GammonVillage.

Play - The moves of the checkers according to the rolls of the dice.

Point - Each of the 24 narrow triangles on a backgammon board is called a "point". As well, a point is the unit of scoring in match play.

Point on a Blot - To hit an opponent's blot with two men simultaneously thus making the point.

Possession of the Doubling Cube (Own the Cube) - The player that accepted the last double is said to own or possess the cube. Only he may offer the next double.

PRAT - Position Race And Threats: a mnemonic device to guide in cube decisions (Reference: Paul Lamford, 1999)

Pressure - To position one of your checkers where it threatens an opponent's blot by directly bearing upon it and thus obliging the opponent to move it, make a point with it or be hit.

Prime - A row of points made on consecutive triangles of the board that form a wall to block your opponent's moves. The six-prime is the best of course as it traps the opponent. However, four-point and five-point primes can be very strong.

Prop (Proposition) - When two players do not agree on the correction action for a move or cube decision in a certain position, they agree to play out the position (usually for money) a numerous amount of times in order to see who was right.

Pseudo Prime - A four or five point prime.

Pure Play - The strategy of slotting your checkers to use them as builders either to make key points or to build a prime.

Pure Race - When there is no further contact to be made in the game because the players' checkers have passed each other and it has become a dash to see who will get them home and bear them off first.

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Q


Quacks (Double Ducks) - A roll of 2 -2 on the dice.

Quadrant - One of the four segments or sectors of the board each containing six triangles or points and called Player's Home Board, Opponent's Home Board, Player's Outer Board and Opponent's Outer Board.

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R


Raccoon - An instantaneous re-double by the player who just accepted a Beaver.

Race - When there is no further contact to be made in the game because the players' checkers have passed each other and it has become a dash to see who will get them home and bear them off first.

Racing Position (Break Contact or No Contact) - When no further hitting or blocking is possible because both players have move the last of their checkers passed each other's are proceeding towards the end of the game.

Rail (Bar, Roof) - The middle divider of the board; a narrow strip slightly raised above the playing surface where checkers are placed when they are hit (sent back). When your checkers are hit, you have to re-enter them onto your opponent's home board before making any other moves. Note that the bar itself is not counted as a space.

Railroad Tracks (Candlesticks or Stacking) - To pile or stack up many checkers on points that you already occupy. Sometimes called "building pyramids".

Re-Circulate - To purposely leave blots so that they are hit and are required to re-enter. This tactic prevents you from breaking up a prime or established point that you want to keep, and is part of the concept of Timing.

Recube Vig (or Re-cube Vigorish) - This is the value of the cube ownership by the player who is being offered the cube, for if he/she calculates the position merits a take, then this player could have a strong re-double at a later stage in the game.

Re-Double - After the cube has been offered and accepted, a further cube action is called a re-double.

Re-Enter (Enter) - To play a man from the bar point into the home board of the opponent according to the dice roll.

Reference Position - A position where the value is known and is used in helping to evaluate comparable positions.

Refuse a Double (Drop) - To resign the present game at the current wager by refusing to take a double from your opponent who is offering to play on at twice the stakes.

Return Shot - When hitting an opponent and leaving checkers open, the possibility that exists for him to hit you back on his next roll of the dice.

Roll Out - To estimate the equity of a position by collecting the results of playing it out many times using different random dice rolls.

Rolling Prime - Advancing the prime forward by use the men from the rear.

Roof (Rail, Bar) - The middle divider of the board; a narrow strip slightly raised above the playing surface where checkers are placed when they are hit (sent back). When your checkers are hit, you have to re-enter them onto your opponent's home board before making any other moves. Note that the bar itself is not counted as a space.

Root Number - A specific roll of the dice that causes a position to crunch.

Run - To flee or escape with your checker(s) from your opponent's home board.

Runner (Back Man) - The checker(s) furthest away from your home board. Also, a checker on the bar or in the opponent's home board.

Runners - The two checkers that are situated on the opponent's 1-point (your 24 point) at the start of a game.

Running Game (Forward Game) - When there is no further contact to be made in the game because the players' checkers have passed each other and it has become a dash to see who will get them home and bear them off first.

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S


Safe (Safety a Man) - To make a move that puts your checkers out of danger of being hit.

Safety Play - A move that may not be the most offensive or constructive choice, but instead one that leaves the opponent with a minimum of good moves on his next roll.

Save a Gammon - To bear off at least one checker on time to avoid losing a gammon or double game.

Save a Number - Play in such a way as to make sure that certain dice rolls will not be forced, and that checkers can move elsewhere.

Semi-Active Builder - A checker that might or might not be available to make another point depending on the roll to come.

Semi-Back Game - When one is behind in the race but maintains checkers on either the four or five point with the hope of getting a shot while running his other checkers home.

Send Back (Hit, Knock Off) - When a checker is hit, it is sent to the bar and must then re-enter the game from the opponent's home board.

Settlement (Equity) - An agreement between the players on a fair payment of points determined by placing a value on the position in the game rather than to play it out.

Settlement Equity - In a money game, the value of a position to one of the competitors and the fair value, as a factor of the original stake, that should change hands instead of finishing the game. Settlement equity is equal to cube equity multiplied by the current value of the cube.

Setup - The arrangement of the checkers on the board at the start of a game of Backgammon.

Shesh Besh - A Middle Eastern variant of the game of Backgammon.

Shift Points - To move from one point to another often carried out in order to make a better point and to steer clear of leaving blots.

Shoka - Australian expression to describe a really bad roll.

Shot - A chance to hit a blot. A direct shot can be accomplished with the number on a single die while an indirect shot requires the combination of the numbers on both.

Shut Out (Close Out) - When you have totally blocked out your opponent's checker(s) on the bar by covering all the points in your home board. The opponent must wait until a point opens before he can roll the dice again.

Single Game - Any game that is completed and is not a gammon or backgammon.

Single Shot - A blot open to hits from one of an opponent's checkers.

Slot - Play a single checker to an empty point with the intention of covering it next turn.

Slot and Split - Play a checker onto an open point in your home board while moving a back man.

Slow Board - A bear off position characterized by no spares on the high points and therefore requiring a lengthy or slower bear off.

Snowie - A computer program developed by neural networks that plays and analyzes positions and entire matches. See GammonVillage's Software section where you will also find a link to Snowie's website.

Spare (Spare Checker, Spare Man) - An extra checker on a point that may be used for hitting or making a point without leaving behind a blot.

Split - To separate two checkers that are together on a point (usually in your opponent's home board) and leave them as blots with the intention of either securing an advanced anchor or in an effort to escape them.

Squeeze - To take advantage of the adversary's impulse to move any playable roll.

Stacking (Candlesticks or Railroad Tracks) - To pile or stack up many checkers on points that you already occupy. Sometimes called "building pyramids".

Stake - The amount of the bet or wager by the participants of the game. The stake is multiplied when the cube has been offered and accepted.

Stay Back - To linger in an opponent's home board.

Stay Off, Stay Out - To fail to come in from the bar. Also called Dance, Fan, Flunk and Fail.

Steam (Steaming) - When a player starts to lose control and takes risks or play recklessly, often initiated by a series of unlucky rolls that make him believe the dice are against him. The steaming can get worse when his bad plays result in even worse board positions that he must cope with.

Steaming (Steam) - When a player starts to lose control and takes risks or play recklessly, often initiated by a series of unlucky rolls that make him believe the dice are against him. The steaming can get worse when his bad plays result in even worse board positions that he must cope with.

Straggler - The last checker heading for the home board, one that often encounters opposing checkers on the way.

Stretched (Stripped) - A position with few or no spare men that can be used as builders and thus prone to leaving awkward number or direct shots.

Strip a Point - Leaving only two men on a point that previously had more.

Stripped (Stretched) - A position with few or no spare men that can be used as builders and thus prone to leaving awkward number or direct shots.

Switch Points - To relinquish one point in order to make another in the same move.

Sydney - The roll of 1 and 6 to escape a prime, often from the bar, and frequently hitting a blot along the way.

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T


Tailgate - To roll prematurely, before your opponent has picked up their dice.

Take (Accept a Double) - To accept a double and continue playing for twice the stakes.

Take/Drop Decision - The option of whether to take or drop a double.

TD-Gammon - A computer program written by Gerald Tesauro that plays backgammon.

Tempo - A unit of time in positional development equivalent to half a roll.

Tempo Move - A hit intended to hinder the opponent by robbing him of half a roll when he is in a position that is threatening to hit a blot or create an important point.

Thorp Count - A formula invented by Edward O. Thorp for making doubling decisions in games that are a pure race. It is a modification of the basic pip count but takes into account some elements of the distribution of the checkers. Each player's Thorp Count is the pip count, plus two for each of his checkers still on the board, minus one for each of his occupied home board points, plus one for each checker on his one point. The player whose turn it is to roll then increases his count by 10% if it is more than 30. Thorp says: "Double any time your count does not exceed the opponent's by more than 2. Re-double any time your count does not exceed opponent's by more than 1. Accept if your count does not exceed the doubler's by more than 2."

Timing - The general rate of progress of a player's and the opponent's checkers observed in terms of their likely position at a future decisive point in the game. Timing can be controlled either by leaving checkers open to be hit, and by calculating if you should hit your opponent's blots or not. Timing is often used when you want to avoid your board from crunching.

Too Good to Double - A position in which a player should not offer a double because his chances of scoring a gammon are very high. He should therefore play on for the extra points rather than allow his opponent to get off easy now, at the present stakes.

Trailer - A player who has fallen behind in the race to the home board or is behind or losing in the score of the match.

Trap Play - A tactic in which the player endeavors to force an opponent off his anchor in an effort to expose blots and increase the possibility of gammons.

Tric-Trac - The name of Backgammon in France also used in some other countries.

Triple Game (Backgammon) - A game in which you score triple (three times) the value of the points at stake, accomplished only if you bear off all your checkers and your opponent has yet to bear off a single checker and still has one or more checkers remaining in your home board or on the bar. (See also Gammon where one scores a double game.)

Triple Shot - A checker that is exposed to the possible hits from three of the opponent's men.

Turn - The alternate actions of each player in the game. Players rotate or take turns rolling the dice, playing the moves, doubling with the cube and picking up the dice.

Turn the Cube, Turn the Crank or Twist - To offer a double.

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U


Under the Gun - To advance your back checkers forward within your opponent's home board to a position where there are three or more of your opponent's builders pointing directly upon them.

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V


Vig (or Vigorish) - The extra equity resulting from the possibility of a gammon, which influences cube decisions

Volatility - The irregularity of the equity of a position. One of high volatility would probably see a significant alteration in equity as a result of the upcoming rolls of the players. A position's volatility is one of the factors a player must contemplate when deciding to double.

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W


Wash - A blitzing method that entails breaking a higher home board point so as to hit a blot on a lower home board point.

Wastage - The projected loss in pips from dice rolls that are not totally used during bear off.

WBF - The Worldwide Backgammon Federation.

Weaver - A tactic in which one player deliberately misplays a move, hoping that a weaker opponent will accept his double on the next turn.

White - One of players in the game of Backgammon, the one using the lighter or white checkers.

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