Effective Use of Backgame Strategy: Turning a Defensive Play into Victory in Backgammon


In the dynamic and strategic game of backgammon, being able to adapt to different positions and make the most of your resources is essential for success. One intriguing aspect of backgammon strategy is the use of backgames, a defensive approach that can transform a losing position into a winning opportunity. In this article, we’ll delve into the concept of backgame strategy in backgammon, offering insights into when and how to effectively employ this defensive play to turn the game in your favor. Mastering this skill can set you apart as a formidable backgammon player.

1. Understanding Backgames

A backgame is a strategic approach in backgammon where a player sets up a strong defensive position in their home board with the intention of trapping an opponent’s checker behind it. The goal is to establish a well-anchored position while forcing your opponent to leave blots or open points.

2. When to Use Backgame Strategy

Backgames are most effective when you find yourself in one of the following situations:

  • Trailing in the Match Score: When you’re behind in the match score and need a gammon (double win) to catch up, a backgame can create the necessary complications to increase your chances.
  • A Strong Home Board: A solid home board is essential for a backgame. If your home board is well-constructed and fortified, you’re in a good position to execute a backgame strategy.
  • Opponent’s Advanced Position: If your opponent’s checkers are significantly advanced and close to bearing off, you can use a backgame to create obstacles and slow down their progress.

3. Building a Backgame

To execute a successful backgame, follow these steps:

  • Anchor Points: Establish anchor points in your home board to give your checkers a safe haven. The most valuable anchors are the 22-point and 23-point.
  • Trap Your Opponent: Create points that are further from your home board to entice your opponent to land on them. These points should be open or only partially blocked.
  • Leave Blots: Sometimes, you’ll need to expose a blot to lure your opponent’s checkers into your home board. It’s a calculated risk and an essential part of a backgame strategy.
  • Maintain a Strong Outer Board: A strong outer board can help you keep your opponent’s checkers out, forcing them to spend additional moves entering their checkers.

4. Transitioning to the Attack

A key aspect of backgame strategy is recognizing when to transition from defense to offense. You should do this when:

  • Your Position Improves: As your opponent’s checkers get trapped in your home board, you may have opportunities to hit and establish your own offense.
  • Your Home Board Strengthens: If your home board becomes more secure and fortified, you can start moving from defense to offense.
  • Timing is Right: As the game develops, watch for opportunities to launch attacks and clear your home board of your opponent’s checkers.

Sample Scenario: A Backgame Comeback

You’re trailing in a match and have set up a strong backgame, trapping several of your opponent’s checkers in your home board. As the game progresses, your opponent makes a bold move, leaving a blot close to your home board. You seize the opportunity, hit the blot, and subsequently start bearing off your checkers. Your backgame strategy has not only defended your position but also created a winning opportunity.


Backgame strategy in backgammon is a powerful defensive approach that can transform a losing position into a winning one. Recognizing when to use a backgame and how to execute it effectively is a hallmark of an experienced player. By creating a solid home board, trapping your opponent’s checkers, and transitioning from defense to offense when the time is right, you can turn the tide of the game in your favor. As you refine your backgame skills, you’ll find that this versatile strategy can be a valuable tool in your arsenal, setting you on the path to success in the intriguing world of backgammon.

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