Below, is a brief list of some of the most popular advanced tactics employed by experienced backgammon players. Read over the descriptions and instructions and during your next friendly game or match, try out a few and see if you have any luck. Who knows . . . perhaps one or more of these popular strategies may already be perfectly suited to your style of play and provide you that ‘missing link’ you’ve been looking for…
Popular Advanced Strategies
Plan or Perish – You always need a plan! Without one, you might as well throw in the towel from the start. Even if your plan changes 3 or 4 times in a match, you should always be aware of what you need to do in order to win the game. The most rapid examination of the pieces will even tell you what’s likely to give you trouble and where your advantage(s) can be found. Backgammon is similar to chess in the way that players are often thinking about moves 5 or 6 turns away. It’s a good idea to trust your instincts and play with your gut, but discipline and awareness is also a major part of the game and must not be overlooked or put aside.
Match Equity Tables – The match equity tables can help you make the correct doubling decisions, including when to offer. Learn how to use them and you will know what to do in those difficult situations. Since most online players play relatively short matches, there are a limited number of distinct situations that will arise. A mastery of the correct doubling strategy for each score can make a big difference in your win-loss record.
Options and Alternatives – Too many good players get cocky and rush into what they think they know is the only move. You should never make a move until you have identified at least one or two viable alternatives. The worst checker play mistakes are not made by choosing the second or third best option but rather by not even seeing the best move.
Focus on Winning Matches – One of the most common questions asked is: “How do I increase my rating?” Most players want to know some special trick for identifying which opponents to play or at what match lengths, however it’s must better to just win more matches. Winning just 5% more of your 3-point matches will increase your rating about 100 points!
Remember Woolsey’s Words – “Put yourself in your opponent’s shoes. If you would even think of dropping if doubled, then it must be a good double.” Try not to worry that your opponent will take, even when you’re not confident with your decision. Remember you have the advantage, and the majority of the time you will go on to win the game. Also, remember the corollary to Woolsey’s Law: “If you never turn the cube, you never give your opponent a chance to make a mistake.” Backgammon is not won by making consistently brilliant plays, but rather, and slightly less glamorous, by the player who makes the fewest mistakes.
While some of these strategies may seem a bit basic to some of you, they remain relevant and as much as this can be said – proven. If you’re in doubt, go ahead and try to play employing CONTRASTING strategies to those presented above and you’ll quickly discover which side offers a quicker route to success.