How to block your opponent

Apart from being a game which involves a race between the two players, one of the essential actions when playing backgammon is trying, and hopefully managing, to block your opponent, to put his checkers on the bar and to prevent him from bringing his checkers to the home board before you do.

You can block your opponent by building points, that is two or more checkers on the same space. The points in the home board make it harder for the other player to move his checkers out of your home board, or to enter your home board with a checker that is on the bar. Needless to say, the more home board points you have, the better it is. And what is even better than this, is having consecutive points, with no empty spaces between them. This is called a prime. A gap between the points is called a “broken gap”. The most effective prime is “six-prime block”, which means having six consecutive points. The opponent will not be able to move his checker, because six is the highest number shown on the dice. His checkers will remain blocked until one point from the prime is removed. In order to gain or to keep your advantage, you must maintain that prime for as long as you can.

As a conclusion, in order to block your opponent, you need to

  • Make points, preferably consecutive ones
  • Besides having points in your home board, also try to have points in the middle of the board, in order to create primes.
  • Move the checkers together. Even though they are blunts, with a little luck the opponent may not be able to hit you, and also those blunts may be used to create a point, or as a landing platform for other checkers.
  • Try to have as many points in your home board as possible. They will prevent your opponent from entering, in case he has a checker on the bar.