Forum Archive : Strategy--Backgames

Which anchors are best?

From:   Adam Stocks
Date:   18 April 2002
Subject:   Re: What are your favorite backgame points?
Google:   a9naei$v3i$

> Just curious if you could pick any two points in your opponents inner
> court to conduct a backgame strategy what would they be?

The answer, as usual, is : it depends.  If we fast-forward to the climax of
a deep backgame, then the traditional texts such as Magriel suggest that  a
13 backgame is best (and 12 coming in as second best, if my memory serves
me - I read it 20 years ago), but that is with the benefit of hindsight
after we already know that the game has turned out to be a 'deep' backgame
- i.e. the player is expecting to get a shot only after the opponent's
bearoff has begun.  In an actual game however,  the full 'depth' of the
backgame won't be known at the outset, so the player has to keep his
options open to 'morph' his position into a holding game if his position
improves earlier than expected, or go into an even deeper backgame if it
doesn't.  Given this, the best inner points to hold often vary as the game
progesses. Sometimes, the player will prepare for a deep backgame by making
12 or 13, but then a few rolls later, a higher anchor(s) becomes best when
the opponent's outfield deteriorates, and the player can begin preparing
for either a straight holding game, or to maximise his chance of an earlier
than expected shot. When the right shot(s) come, he must be in a position
to bring his men home whilst containing the opponent's hit checker(s), and
that is often easiest to do with higher anchors.  A crucial aspect of the
opponent's structure is where his outfield gaps are, and this has a major
bearing on which anchors are best at a given time in the game.  Your choice
of 15 is normally rather weak, as it falls between two stools.  If the
opponent can safely navigate the 5 anchor, which is easier to do if he has
the 2,3,4 points to land on, all you will be left with is a 'last chance'
ace-point game - not good.  I think Walter Trice mentioned recently that 23
was particularly strong.  The idea being to leave the acepoint for the
opponent to land on when he rolls big numbers, forcing him to strip his
outfield prime or semi-prime early, to thus force a shot quickly.  Apart
from the opponent's structure, you need to keep a constant eye on your own
timing, as this is a huge factor in deciding which anchors to go for.  A
bad roll combination may mean you have to switch to a less desirable
anchor(s) for that position, in order to maintain a reasonable position.
To sum up, for a 'deep' backgame, any two out of the 1,2,3 points is pretty
good (assumin you have decent timing of course), but there are a variety of
factors that determine which anchors are most effective, and you have to
balance them all on a case by case basis, and as ever, there are usually
compromises to be made at various stages.

Did you find the information in this article useful?          

Do you have any comments you'd like to add?     



After an early blitz attempt  (Daniel Murphy, Apr 1997) 
But they're so much fun!  (Laury Chizlett+, Oct 2000) 
Checker problem  (David Montgomery+, May 1995) 
Defending against a backgame  (KL Gerber+, Jan 2003)  [Long message]
Defending against a backgame  (Michael J. Zehr, Jan 1995) 
How many men back?  (Brian Sheppard, July 1997) 
Play for a backgame from the start?  (Alan Webb+, Dec 1998) 
What is a backgame?  (Daniel Murphy, Apr 2001) 
When to double  (David Montgomery, May 1995) 
Which anchor is best?  (Kit Woolsey, July 1996) 
Which anchor to break  (Brian Sheppard, May 1997) 
Which anchors are best?  (sebalotek+, Jan 2012) 
Which anchors are best?  (Adam Stocks, Apr 2002) 
Which anchors are best?  (Mary Hickey, Mar 2001) 
Which anchors are best?  (Jerry Weaver+, Apr 1998) 
Which anchors are best?  (Chuck Bower, Jan 1997) 
Which anchors are best?  (Marc Gray, Nov 1995) 

[GammOnLine forum]  From GammOnLine       [Long message]  Long message       [Recommended reading]  Recommended reading       [Recent addition]  Recent addition

  Book Suggestions
Computer Dice
Cube Handling
Cube Handling in Races
Extreme Gammon
Fun and frustration
GNU Backgammon
Luck versus Skill
Magazines & E-zines
Match Archives
Match Equities
Match Play
Match Play at 2-away/2-away
Opening Rolls
Pip Counting
Play Sites
Probability and Statistics
Source Code
Strategy--Bearing Off
Strategy--Checker play


Return to:  Backgammon Galore : Forum Archive Main Page