What is The Best Opening Roll in Backgammon?

What is Backgammon?

Backgammon is a skill and luck game in which two players compete with 15 checkers, each on a board with 24 spaces or points. Of great importance is to understand the best opening roll in backgammon. You make your moves based on dice rolls, attempting to bring your checkers home and bear them off before your opponent. 

Blocking and hitting your opponent along the way provides strategy and entertainment.

Backgammon game

How Do You Play Backgammon?

How to play backgammon has never been this simple. Each participant has fifteen checkers of their color to play with, their own dice set, and a dice cup. You track the stakes of the round using a doubling cube with the digits 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64. The board comprises 24 long triangles known as pips or points.

The triangles are color-coded and separated into four quadrants, each with six triangles. The player’s home board and outer board, as well as the opponent’s home board and exterior board, make up the four quadrants. The bar is a separator that runs along the center of the board, separating the home and outside boards.

The pieces’ beginning placements are as follows:

You number the points from 24 to 1 on the opponent’s home board and one on the player’s home board. The game’s goal is to move all of one’s checkers to the home board and then wholly remove (bear off) the pieces. In a horseshoe pattern, the players move their checkers in opposite directions.

  • The player’s checker gets moved by the number of points determined by the dice roll. The checker goes ahead in a horseshoe pattern toward the player’s home board.
  • An open point is one that two or more opposing checkers do not occupy.
  • The two dice represent two different moves when moving a checker; it can only land on an open point when moving a checker.
  • For example, if a player rolls a six and a four, they may move one checker six spaces to an open point and another four spaces to an available point. 
  • The player may move the same checker twice if both moves are to an open point.

You play the numbers on the dice twice when you roll a double. So, for example, if a player rolls two fives, they can advance their checkers five points four times in any combination, landing on open points.

If possible, a player must move both rolled numbers (four numbers if they roll a double). If you can play just one of the numbers since there is only one open point, the player must do so. If you cannot play either of the numbers, you play a more significant number.

If you can play neither of the numbers, you forfeit your turn. In the case of a double, if a player cannot play all four digits, they must play as many as feasible.

How is Backgammon Started?

Each player throws a single die to begin the game. This determines who will go first and what numbers they will play. If both players get the same number, they must roll again until they get a new number. 

The person who threw the higher number now moves their checkers following the numbers on both dice. There are fifteen alternative dice rolls because you exclude doubles from the opening roll.

What is the Best Opening Roll in Backgammon?

Backgammon opening moves are essential to winning the game. The best opening roll in backgammon include:

A three-to-one score gives you your five points. Not only do the majority of experts agree that the five points are the most critical point to make, but any other three-to-one move puts you at risk of being hit by your opponent. Why is it so difficult to avoid being attacked, especially early in the game?

One of the tenets of backgammon is that no matter how complicated the game is, it always boils down to a race to see who can move around and off the board first.

Everything that happens between the first roll and the removal of the last checker is just preparation for who gets to remove the final checker. Even games that end in a double/drop do so because the dropper is confident that they will not be the first to remove the last checker.

With six-to-one, you make your seven points (bar point) because it is the second most crucial point on the board, and any other move exposes you to hit blots. The same is valid with four-to-two you make your fourth point, which is likewise crucial, and you don’t want to leave exposed blots.

With six-to-five, you just run a back checker the entire distance because it is the best option for the race, and you won’t leave any exposed blots. A five-to-three opening; there used to be a lot of dispute regarding how to play this. In the 1970s and 1980s, some experts considered making the third point incorrect. 

Would they be better off making several different movements that would provide them more flexibility? For example, on the next move, arrange checkers in more advantageous locations. The issue with the other actions is twofold: 

It leaves the opponent vulnerable to hit blots, which, if hit, gives the opponent an immediate advantage; second, an opportunity to take the three-point has been passed up. While the three-point is not as important as the bar, five and four points, it is still an excellent position to have.

Experts in the new millennium nearly agree that making the three points with your five-to-three is correct.

Backgammon game and with two dice

A List of Backgammon Opening Moves

  • Two-to-one: Bring one checker down (13-11) and split your back checkers (24-23). If you want to take a chance, it’s not a bad idea to slot your five points and bring one down.
  • Three-to-one: You get your five points.
  • Three-to-two: There are several alternatives for this play, but most experts believe that putting your back checker up three (24-21) and bringing a two from the midway (13-11) down is the best option.
  • Four-to-one: Normally, it’s better to divide the back checker and bring one down (24-23, 13-9), but bringing one down and slotting your five points isn’t a terrible gamble.
  • Four-to-two: Making your four points is the most excellent option.
  • Four-to-three: The most conceivable variations are in this move, depending on the score, although it is correct moving up three off your back point (24-21) and bringing down the four (13-9) is the best.
  • Five-to-one: In most cases, splitting the back checker and bringing one checker down (24-23, 13-8) is the best move. You might pull one down and slot your five-point on the next move (13-8, 6-5) if you’re behind in the game and a gammon win is a big boost.
  • Five-to-two (two plays): Take a back checker two (24-22) and bring one down, or bring two checkers down (13-8), (13-8, 13-11).
  • Five-to-three: Clearly, make your three points.
  • Five-to-four (there are two options): Move one back checker up (24-20) and bring one down (13-8) or move checkers down from the midway (13-8, 13-9).
  • Six-to-one: Make your bar.
  • Six-to-two (you have two options): Run all the way or run to the bar and bring one checker down.
  • Six-to-three (there are two options): Either run a checker from your 24 points to your opponent’s bar and take one down from your midpoint or run to your opponent’s bar and take one down from your midpoint.
  • Six-to-four (there are three options): Run a back checker all the way out to your 14 points; make your two-point, or run a back checker all the way out to your opponent’s bar (24-18) and bring down one checker off your midpoint (13-9).
  • Six-to-five (there’s only one thing you can do): Run a back checker.

How to Win Backgammon

To win, you will require a good backgammon strategy to employ. A blot is a point occupied by a single checker of any color. The opposing checker gets hit and placed on the bar if it lands on the blot. When a player has one or more checkers on the bar, their first and primary responsibility is to enter those checkers into the home board of the other team. 

You can enter a checker by dragging it to an open point corresponding to one of the thrown dice numbers. For example, if a player rolls a three and a five, they may place a checker on either the opponent’s three or five points, as long as that point doesn’t have two or more of the opponent’s checkers.

The player loses their turn if neither of the points is open. If players can only enter some of their checkers, they must enter as many as possible before forfeiting the rest of their turn. 

Any new numbers on the dice must get cast after the last of the player’s checkers have been withdrawn from the bar—or entered. You can do this by shifting a previously inputted checker or another checker on the board.

What is Backgammon’s History?

Backgammon’s history dates back up to 2500 B.C.You can find illustrations of people playing board games in several Egyptian temples and tombs. The images are from approximately 2500 B.C. The game of Sen’t or Senat is one such game that is similar to the present physical version of backgammon.

Actual game boards and other gaming memorabilia are in Egyptian tombs spanning from the First to the Twelfth Dynasties (3000-1788 B.C.) For example, the Game of Nard was played in Persia on a board similar to Alea’s, except for using two dice to control checker movement. 

The current game is set up similarly to backgammon, with play starting with a predetermined arrangement of checkers on the board. 

In 1926, a joint expedition led by British archaeologist Sir Leonard Woolley of the British Museum and the University of Pennsylvania Museum uncovered four wooden gaming boards among the treasures of Ur al Chaldees, Sumer’s ancient cultural center. 

Two board games made up of a grid of twelve squares have date back to Circa 2600 B.C. Checker sets and two sets of three tetrahedral dice were also at the site. The Royal Games of Ur are solid contenders for being the forerunners of contemporary backgammon, while the game’s exact rules are unknown.

The generic title Tabula, which means board, became widespread as the game grew in popularity, though the two names coexisted well into the new millennium. Alea is a strong candidate for being the first authentic forerunner of backgammon due to the reformation of the game board to 24 points. 

Documentary evidence shows that the game began with players rolling dice to place their checkers on the board. This feature may be available in the rules of many modern backgammon variants such as Acey-Deucy and Puff.

However, when the game spread throughout Asia and Europe, there were noticeable differences in the game’s initial beginning places. The material format of the games, on the other hand, was less susceptible to unintentional change because gaming boards typically consist of sturdy and easily duplicated materials like stone, wood, or leather.

These elements are responsible for the wide range of backgammon variants that share the same physical board format divided into four quadrants, each with six pips and two sets of 15 checkers.

Recreational game development and metamorphosis is a typical cultural phenomenon; for example, while the modern chess game differs significantly from the contemporary game of Japanese chess, both variations share the same ancestral foundations in the ancient Chinese chess game.

How to Bear Off in Backgammon

When all of a player’s checkers are in their home board, they can begin bearing off, which is the process of withdrawing them. You will accomplish this by rolling a number corresponding to a point where you locate a checker.

If no checker can bear off with the number(s) rolled, the player must make a valid move(s) with a higher point checker(s). If there are no checkers on a higher number of points, the player moves to the next highest point with a checker.

Backgammon board game

Play Away!

The backgammon opening moves are only 15 of them, so it is easy for you to memorize them all to improve your chance of winning in backgammon.  You will require the best backgammon strategy to play with ease. We believe this article provides you with all the information you need to succeed in playing backgammon.

Furthermore, you are now fully equipped with the most vital tips to always give you a win and succeed. All you need to do is stick to the instructions for backgammon, and you are good to go.

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