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Backgammon Problems: Holding Game

In some earlier posts we talked about doubling in high anchor games, and looked at some typical positions where White held an anchor on the 5-point and Black was trying to cash in on his racing advantage and bring his last checkers home to victory. All of those positions turned out to be takes.

From those examples, you might conclude that almost any 5-point game was a take, regardless of the race. But it’s not quite that simple. In this article we’ll look at some examples where small modifications to the position can produce big changes in the evaluation.

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Posted: July 11, 2016 | In Backgammon Problems: Holding Game

Next to races, the most common type of position in backgammon is what we call the holding game. Holding games occur when one side escapes his back checkers to the safety of the midpoint or beyond, but the other side (the “defender”) does not. Instead, the defender manages to anchor his two back checkers somewhere in his opponent’s home board.

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Posted: February 4, 2016 | In Backgammon Problems: Holding Game

Duplication is a cute tactical idea which can lead you to make the right play in a wide variety of situations. The basic idea is pretty simple. You find yourself in a vulnerable position. You roll an awkward number. No matter what move you make, your opponent will have some bad things he can do to you next turn. You want to minimize the number of his rolls that can hurt you. What do you do?

The answer? Duplication! Try to play your number in such a way that your opponent needs the same number to accomplish his goals everywhere on the board, rather than different numbers in different places. In this way, you reduce his effective numbers to a minimum, giving yourself the best possible chance to survive.

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Posted: November 4, 2015 | In Backgammon Problems: Holding Game

Backgammon is basically a race, and losing ground in a race is usually a bad idea, to be avoided if at all possible. Safe, constructive plays are generally good. Constructive plays which leave a few indirect shots aren’t bad, and are often necessary to make progress.

But sometimes there aren’t any safe plays, or even moderately risky plays, that make progress. What if the safe plays all hurt your position in some way? Then you may start looking at plays that leave a direct shot. These plays may be costly if your opponent hits, but they may improve your position if your opponent misses (which he’s generally favored to do.)

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Posted: October 14, 2015 | In Backgammon Problems: Holding Game