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Backgammon Problems: Early Game

In the last blog post we looked at some hitting problems in the early game. In this post we’ll look at a couple of more examples where hitting is one possibility.

When you have a chance to hit on your opponent’s side of the board in the early game, it’s usually a pretty easy choice. Gaining a lot of ground in the race, advancing your back checkers, and taking away at least half your opponent’s roll are so important that such hits are usually routinely correct, and even when wrong are rarely wrong by much.

Hitting on your own side of the board is more problematic. Merely hitting is no longer enough of a rationale. Here are some of the other questions you need to ask:

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Posted: December 26, 2016 | In Backgammon Problems: Early Game

Many backgammon problems boil down to a simple question: hit, or don’t hit. In essence, backgammon is a pretty simple game. In general, you want to make points, and in general, you want to hit.

When you can hit a checker on the other side of the board, gaining both time and racing equity, you almost always want to do so. (The only exceptions occur when the alternative is to make a very strong priming or blocking point on your side.) But when the only possible hit is to hit a blot in your inner board, the choice is more difficult. Now you’re risking a significant loss of race equity if you get hit back, so the hit is rarely automatic. For a hit in your inner board to be correct, one of these two reasons usually applies:

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Posted: November 2, 2016 | In Backgammon Problems: Early Game

Although the first roll of the game is pretty well understood, backgammon gets much more complicated as we get a little deeper into the game and positions get more complex. Both positions in this article occur at the third move, after Black wins the opening roll and White responds. Try your hand at these commonplace and apparently simple situations, and see how you do.

 
Position 1.

White – Pips 161

Black – Pips 162
Black to Play 4-3
 

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Posted: October 6, 2016 | In Backgammon Problems: Early Game