Strategic Use of the Bar Point: A Key Element in Advanced Backgammon Play


In the game of backgammon, mastering the strategic use of key points on the board is essential for advanced players seeking to gain an advantage. The bar point, located on the 7-point for the player playing white and the 18-point for the player playing black, is a critical feature that holds immense strategic significance. In this article, we will delve into the advanced strategies involving the bar point, exploring its roles in both offensive and defensive plays. Understanding how to utilize the bar point effectively can be a game-changer in your backgammon journey.

1. The Significance of the Bar Point

The bar point is strategically positioned at a pivotal location on the backgammon board. Its roles in both offense and defense are essential to understand.

  • Defensive Importance: The bar point plays a crucial role in blocking your opponent’s checkers and creating prime points. Building a strong bar point can hinder your opponent’s progress and secure your home board.
  • Offensive Potential: On the offensive front, the bar point can serve as a launching pad for your blitz or attack. A well-established bar point can help you hit and trap your opponent’s checkers, creating prime opportunities for gammons (double wins).

2. Defensive Use of the Bar Point

In defensive play, the bar point is instrumental in containing and blocking your opponent’s checkers. Some strategies include:

  • Early Development: Work on establishing the bar point as early as possible, usually within your first few rolls. This can hinder your opponent’s progress and force them to enter from the bar, losing valuable moves.
  • Priming: The bar point is an essential component of a prime, which is a consecutive row of points blocked by your checkers. Building a prime that includes the bar point can significantly limit your opponent’s options.
  • Blocking Strategies: Consider placing two or more checkers on the bar point to create a formidable obstacle for your opponent. This can force them to make less desirable moves.

3. Offensive Use of the Bar Point

In offensive play, the bar point serves as a launching pad for aggressive strategies. Here are some key tactics:

  • Blitzing: Use the bar point as the anchor of your blitz strategy. Advance your checkers aggressively, targeting your opponent’s checkers and hitting them whenever possible. This can create gammon opportunities.
  • Trap Your Opponent: The bar point is strategically placed to trap your opponent’s straggling checkers. Force them to hit your blots, which can slow down their progress and give you a chance to create a prime.
  • Gammon Potential: The bar point is instrumental in creating gammons. When you have a strong bar point, you can put your opponent on the defensive and potentially secure a double win.

4. Timing and Risk Assessment

Advanced players must also consider the timing and risk associated with the bar point strategy. Here are some considerations:

  • Match Score: The match score can influence your decision to focus on the bar point. In a long match, you might be more cautious, while in a short match, you may be more aggressive.
  • Risk Management: Be aware of the risks involved in establishing and maintaining the bar point. It can be resource-intensive, so assess whether the potential benefits outweigh the risks.

Sample Scenario: The Bar-Point Blitz

You’re playing aggressively and have a well-established bar point, among other key points in your home board. Your opponent is trailing in the race and is struggling to enter their checkers. You seize the opportunity, blitzing your opponent and hitting their straggling checkers as they try to escape. Your well-constructed bar point plays a central role in this effective blitz strategy.


The bar point is a key element in advanced backgammon play, with roles in both offensive and defensive strategies. Understanding how to utilize this point effectively can significantly enhance your gameplay. Whether you’re blocking your opponent’s progress, creating a prime, or launching a blitz, the bar point is a versatile tool that can help you secure victory and achieve success in the complex and strategic world of backgammon. Advanced players should continue to explore and refine their use of the bar point, as it’s a fundamental element in mastering the game.

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