End game

Removing checkers (bearing off) or playing up

All 15 checkers have to be in one's inner table. If that happens at the first part of a two-stage move, bearing off may start with the second.

Borne off checkers are placed beside the board.

If a blot is hit while bearing off it must be re-entered and moved around again before the bearing off can continue.

There is no obligation to bear off, if a player rather moves a checker closer to the exit. This so called playing up is mandatory, if a point higher than the roll is occupied.

If a rolled number corresponds to an occupied point
- A checker can be removed from the corresponding point (for example: 2 and 4) or else

remove checkers from occupied points

- Moved inside the inner table to place it on a lower point (for example: roll-3, the checker on point 6 is played up to 3).

move up a checker
If a rolled number corresponds to an unoccupied point
- If there is no checker on a higher point, bear off the checkers on the next lower number.
- If a checker is on a higher point, bearing off is not allowed. Move the checker towards the exit (play up).
  • Roll the dice and play up and/or bear off

The winner is ...

The first player to bear off all his checkers.


State of loser's checkers Kind of win Value
The loser has removed at least one checker Simple win Original stakes
The loser has not removed any checker Gammon Double stakes
The loser has not removed any checker from the board and has one or more checkers in the winner's inner table or on the bar Backgammon Triple stakes

Tactics / strategies

  • Protect your own checkers: avoid blots (only one of your checkers on a point), make points (two or more of your checkers on one point) and build blocks (consecutive made points).
  • Make points and blocks to hinder your opponent's progress:
    He cannot land on your points which might hinder his moves altogether. In your inner table, points and blocks serve well to make re-entering checkers difficult.
  • Hit your opponent's checkers, considering your own risk.
  • It's a race: the faster one has the advantage.
  • The holding game: If you are not ahead, maintain control of a point on the opponent's side of the board (anchor) in the hope to hit a blot and roll large doubles for a fast escape.
  • The back game: When hopelessly behind, opt for building two or more anchors in the opponent's inner table plus a wall of checkers (prime) to obstruct the opposing checkers behind it.
  • Blitz: Cover your entire inner table as quickly as possible to render the opponent's re-entering and escaping very difficult.
Next -> Doubling and Gambling
  1. Backgammon rules
  2. Moves
  3. Start and middle game
  4. End game
  5. Doubling and gambling
  6. Glossary

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