Championship

This is a classic opening position where the 6 should always be played to 18. Then what should be done with the 4? Should it be moved from 18 to 14? No, actually there is too little contact after one of the 11 hit-numbers has been rolled. You need to secure a flexible position by playing 13 to 9.

The correct move is: 

  1. 24/18  13/9
  2. 24/14 (-0,026)
  3. 8/2 6/2 (-0,059)

Advanced

This is a brilliant position with an excellent opportunity to show “Grandmaster play”, though most players would probably find the move 13/9* 13/10. The obvious idea is to hit the blot on 9. Do it! But then what about the 3? A less experienced player would probably play on to the 6 point to minimize the contact, however, this is not the right idea. When trailing the race, it is okay to risk a little bit. 7/4 looks much better.

Why is it then correct to play both checkers from 13? By playing both checkers from 13, you ensure getting multiple hit-numbers if your opponent enters and hits one of your checkers. If your opponent enters and hits the lonely checker on the 13, you have multiple numbers that make the four-prime. Roll it out by hand and see for yourself….

The correct move is: 

  1. 13/10 13/9*
  2. 13/9* 7/4 (-0,019)
  3. 13/9* 6/3 (-0,059)
  4. 13/9* 9/6 (-0,061)

intermediate

You should ALWAYS allow yourself to spend a little extra time when you roll deuces because of the vast amount of possibilities this roll leaves. In this case, you should pursue making a strong prime and this is not done by breaking up your 7-point to make your 5-point, on the contrary that is. Instead, go “all-in” and play your checkers down from the midpoint 13/11 (2) and from there, activate even more builders with 9/7 and then a bad 6/4.

Why keep the 11-point? Just to keep the awesome 64, however it is not crucial.

The correct move is: 

  1. 13/11(2) 9/7 6/4
  2. 13/11  13/9 6/4 (-0,010)
  3. 13/11  13/7  (-0,029)
  4. 13/11(2) 7/5(2) (-0,069)

Novice

One checker is escaping; thus you must hit. 13/7* is obvious. After the hit, there are only to good options. Either making the 7-point or making the 5-point. Making the 7-point leaves your midpoint vulnerable, thus the correct move is making the 5-point despite the 13 hit-numbers. Making the 3-point looks wrong and it IS wrong, though the idea about unstacking the 6-point is quite nice.

The correct move is: 

  1. 13/7* 8/5(2)
  2. 8/5(2) 6/3(2) (-0,077)
  3. 13/7*(2) (-0,134)

Beginner

Reflex plays are dangerous in backgammon. The intuitive move in this position is to hit the lone checker in your outfield. However, take a second look and see if your opponent has any bad entries from the bar. Nope… Instead, make the 18-point and appreciate that the race is even and that your opponent needs to clean up his blots.

The correct move is: 

  1. Bar/18
  2. Bar/21 13/10 (-0,051)
  3. Bar/21 8/5* (-0,234)

Ps. Special situations as match score or the like can of course alter the situation making the hit correct. However, as a rule of thumb, do not hit.

junior

Make the 5-point. Everybody will probably see this immediately. Should you then make the 7-point? No! The value of the 8-point as a priming point is often underestimated, however, it is not worth giving up the 8-point just to make the 7-point, unless it is a hit or you are trailing the race significantly. In this case, neither of these instances apply, thus it is easy to split the back checkers. Surprisingly enough, the correct move is actually making the 23-point, which is usually a point you should try to avoid making.   

The correct move is: 

  1. 24/22 6/5(2)
  2. 24/23(2) 6/5(2) (-0,035)
  3. 24/23 6/5(3) (-0,043)
  4. 8/5 6/5 (-0,057)
  5. 8/7(2) 6/5(2) (-0,126)