Backgammon is a game that you never stop learning. There are so many facets
to the game that, no matter if you're a rank beginner or a seasoned player, you
can always improve your backgammon strategy, and there is always more to
learn. This is what makes playing such a relatively simple game something that
will provide fulfillment for a life time.
The first thing about backgammon strategy that you need to learn is
the opening moves. For each opening dice combination there is a recommended best
move, and you will need to learn these off by heart so that they become
automatic. It's all very well experimenting with different opening moves, but at
the end of the day, there are specific moves that have been proven to be the
most effective throughout centuries of backgammon play, at all levels of skill.
Any reputable backgammon book or web site will provide a list of these moves, so
just learn them. It will save you a lot of anguish and immediately make you a
better backgammon player.
Backgammon strategy can broadly be divided into three types of game that you
will inevitably find yourself having to play in every game. The trick is to
identify which type of game to adopt, and the right moments to do so. These are
the running game, the holding game and the back game. Often you will use all
three strategies in the same game.
Because backgammon is essentially a race, if you get off to a good start you
will choose to play a running game. Make as much ground on each dice throw as
possible. A medium start means you'll play a blocking game, trying to manoeuvre
your pieces as far along as possible, while simultaneously blocking your
opponent. If you fall way behind early in the game, opt for a back game, by
trying to stay as far behind as possible, with the aim of hitting your opponent
off the board later.
Backgammon is one of the only games on earth where both players' strategies
are completely transparent to each other, and this makes it even more
interesting. You can clearly see what your opponent is trying to do, and can
adapt your strategy accordingly. Of course, your opponent can also see what
you're trying to do and can make plays to frustrate your strategy. However, in
playing your strategic game, you both have to deal with the luck of the dice,
and therein lies backgammon's eternal fascination, frustration and enjoyment.
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