Doubling Cube Tactics: Mastering the Art of Cube Ownership


In the game of backgammon, the doubling cube adds an extra layer of strategy and complexity. Mastering the art of cube ownership is crucial for advanced players looking to gain an advantage in a match. In this article, we will dive deeper into the concept of owning the doubling cube and explore strategies for seizing and maintaining control of it throughout a match. Understanding when to double, take, or drop the cube can significantly impact the outcome of a game.

1. The Significance of the Doubling Cube

The doubling cube is a distinctive feature of backgammon that allows players to increase the stakes during a match. It’s a powerful tool that can be used to gain an advantage or to test your opponent’s mettle. Ownership of the cube can give you an upper hand in dictating the terms of the match.

2. When to Double: Timing is Key

Knowing when to initiate a double is a critical aspect of cube ownership. Some key considerations include:

  • Positional Advantage: Double when you have a strong position, a good pip count, or your checkers are well-advanced. A solid position can make it challenging for your opponent to accept.
  • Gammon Potential: If your position is highly favorable, and there’s a good chance of winning a gammon (a double win with your opponent having a checker in your home board), doubling can be advantageous.
  • **Blot-Hitting: Double if your opponent leaves a blot (a single checker) on an exposed point, making them vulnerable to being hit.
  • Match Score: The match score can influence your doubling decisions. In a long match, you might be more cautious about doubling early. In a short match, being aggressive can pay off.

3. When to Take or Drop the Cube

Understanding when to accept a double or drop it is just as vital as initiating one. Here’s what to consider:

  • Equity: Evaluate the equity of the position. If you believe you have a good chance of winning, accepting the double can be the right choice. If not, dropping the cube may limit your losses.
  • Risk Tolerance: Consider your risk tolerance and the match score. If you’re behind, you might be more willing to take calculated risks. In contrast, if you’re ahead, playing conservatively can protect your lead.
  • **Beaver: The Beaver rule allows you to redouble your opponent immediately after taking the cube. Use this option wisely, especially when you have a strong position and want to put more pressure on your opponent.

4. Maintaining Cube Control

Once you gain ownership of the doubling cube, you’ll want to maintain control by making well-informed doubling decisions. Strategies for maintaining cube control include:

  • Reading Your Opponent: Pay attention to your opponent’s playing style and tendencies. If you sense they are uncomfortable with aggressive doubling, exploit this by doubling strategically.
  • Bluffing: Occasionally, bluffing with the cube can be effective. Threaten a double even when the position may not warrant it to pressure your opponent into making suboptimal moves.
  • Positional Awareness: Continuously evaluate the positional advantage. When you have the upper hand, be prepared to double, and when you sense your advantage waning, consider dropping the cube to minimize losses.

Sample Scenario: A Tactical Double

You’re in a match with a favorable position, and your pip count is significantly better than your opponent’s. You decide to double, confident that your position is strong. Your opponent, recognizing the disadvantage, accepts the cube, and you secure a significant win. Your timing and assessment of the position led to a successful double.


The doubling cube is a game-changing element in backgammon that demands a thorough understanding of when to double, take, or drop the cube. Mastering the art of cube ownership can give you a significant advantage in a match, allowing you to dictate the terms and pressure your opponent. Whether it’s seizing opportunities, bluffing with the cube, or maintaining positional awareness, the strategies outlined in this article will help you become a more formidable backgammon player. Cube ownership is not just a matter of chance but a skill that can be honed and leveraged to enhance your success in this intricate and thrilling game of strategy.

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