by Walter Trice
15 May 2008
Trapping an opponent's checkers behind a prime - a compact set of blocking points - is one of backgammon's most basic winning strategies. A priming game rewards skillful checker play more consistently than other game plans. Many expert players believe that nudging the game towards a prime-building contest is one way to get better results against a weaker opponent. At the same time, some of the thorniest problems come up in these games.
A common dilemma in a priming game is whether to use a particular roll to strengthen one's own prime or to escape past the opponent's blocking points. A second is whether, and when, to switch from a priming approach to an attack. Sometimes these options pop up simultaneously, so that one faces a trilemma: escape, prime, or attack.
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