Start and middle game

Combining luck and skill

  • The first player moves his checkers and picks up the dice to end his turn.
  • The second player rolls both dice and makes his moves.
  • The players alternate turns, aiming to get their own checkers safely home while obstructing the opponent's progress as explained below.

Protecting checkers

Single checkers (blots) are vulnerable. Two or more checkers at one point are not only safe from being hit, but also a hindrance to your opponent. Any number of checkers can be added to one point.

Blocking checkers

- Outer and inner tables: made points hinder the opponent to move there.
- Own inner table: fewer open points make it harder for the opponent to re-enter checkers.
- Closed inner table (all six points are made by the opponent): hit checkers cannot re-enter. Therefore the dice are not rolled. One can only wait until this block is eventually broken.

Hitting blots

If a player moves to a point occupied by only one of his opponent's checkers, the checker is hit. Hit checkers are forced to re-enter. This slows their owner down. The opponent proceeds - and a player ahead in the race home is more likely to win.

  • Keep an eye on points occupied by a single checker, since these checkers are blots and can be hit.
  • Hit when you can, but weigh the risk of thereby leaving a blot yourself.
  • Opt for a two-stage move to throw out two blots at once or hit one and move on to a safe place.
  • Place the hit blots on the bar.

Re-entering hit checkers

A player with any checker on the bar cannot move any other checker until all 15 are back on the board.

  • When it's your turn roll the dice.
    Exception: If all six points are made by the opponent (closed board), do not roll the dice. Wait patiently. While bearing off the opponent may be forced to leave a blot. That is your chance to hit it and turn the game.
  • Re-enter the checker(s) in the opponent's inner table on a point corresponding to a rolled number; e.g.: roll-1 on 1, roll-2 on 2 and so on.
  • Re-entering with the chance to hit a blot:
    In case of a mixed roll and just one checker to re-enter, try to hit and carry on to a safe place.
    In case of a double and more than one checker to re-enter, hit with at least two to be safe.
  • Re-entering is impossible, if a landing or an intermediate point is made by the opponent.
    Example: points 1 and 2 are made, point 3 is open:
    - Roll 1/2: The corresponding points 1 and 2 cannot be used.
    - Roll 1/2: The open point 3 cannot be used either, since the intermediate points 1 and 2 are made.
    In both cases, the player cannot move. The opponent rolls the dice.
  • After the last checker has been re-entered, a remaining number may be used to move any checker. This applies to doubles and mixed rolls. In the following example, roll-3 is used to re-enter, roll-4 to move the 5-point checker.
Backgammon double roll
Next -> End game
  1. Backgammon rules
  2. Moves
  3. Start and middle game
  4. End game
  5. Doubling and gambling
  6. Glossary

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