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Backgammon strategy: thoughts about clearing points against the ace-point anchor

A fair share of backgammon positions result in an ace point game, so its worth to take a closer look at these positions. We will analyze three reference positions, in two positions you still have all points made and a very smooth position. In the other position, you already have the six point cleared and smooth position with your remaining checkers.

When you play against an anchor your main goals are:

  • minimize shots (including sequences in the future)
  • prepare to clear your points
  • bear checkers off

Most of the times these goals conflict with each other, so it is always a difficult decision over the board and most of the players have great problems in this area. Many factors decide the right decision and, for example, if your opponent is on the verge of crushing his homeboard in the next one or two rolls it may be right to take greater risks in keeping your prime, because crippling  his homeboard will reduce his winning chances considerably.

Totally smooth position

Black has a perfect distribution with his 15 checker, three checkers on every inner board point.

You might think that the checker plays for this position are very simple and equity swings for different plays are small, you will see that this is not the case.

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Very smooth position

Black has an almost pefect smooth distribution with 15 checkers, three checkers on each inner point, except on the 3 point. This is almost the same distribution as in the previous chapter, the only difference is the checker from the two point, that we have moved to the three point. As you will see, little differences matter sometimes.

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6-point cleared - smooth

In this chapter we will analyze a posiotion, where you have already cleared the 6-point.

Part 3  differs greatly from position part 1 and 2. Black has successfully cleared his 6 point and has beard two checkers off, leaving him with a 5(3), 4(3), 3(4), 3(2) formation on his remaining points.

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