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Backgammon Strategy
Introduction Dice Probability Opening Moves
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Opening Moves Backgammon


When you are a beginning backgammon player, you might be wondering what move to play for every opening roll. Well, let me tell you that you are not alone! Professional backgammon players and mathicians are searching an answer to this questions for years, and now, with the help of computers, they come to a best solution for every roll. But still, there are some rolls that leave you with more than one possibility. In this case you have to choose the move that fits best to your playing style. And please, don't be a wise ass and think that you know a better way to play then mentioned below! Believe me, these are the best possibilities and every move that is different from the ones below leave you with a negative chance of winning the game.

NB: There are no opening moves mentioned for double rolls. This is because it is impossible to begin with a double. The first roll always consist of a die thrown by each player to see who is the one to start. If both players throw the same amount of pips, then you have to throw again.

Players used to think that (24/23, 13/11) was best here, but large computer calculations showed that (13/11, 6/5) leaves you with the best chances of winning. This move however, is a bit riskier and depending on the score you can decide to play the first one.
Only one possibility: Make your 5-point (8/5, 6/5).
(24/23, 13/9) is the best move here. You don't have to leave a slot at the 5-point because the checker at the 9-point already leaves you with enough possibilities to make an important point in the next roll.
The best option here is (24/23, 13/8). It has a slight advantage to (13/8, 6/5) which is a good possibility if you are willing to take more risk in order to make a gammon.
(13/7, 8/7), no doubt about it.
The best options is (24/21, 13/11) but a good alternative is (13/11, 13/10).
(8/4, 6/4), you can't miss this chance to make your 4-point.
Computer calculations are saying that (24/22, 13/8) gives you the best chances of winning. Experts thought for years that (13/11, 13/8) is best.
(24/18, 13/11) is best. Running with your back checker (24/16) does not bring you far enough.
You can choose between (13/10, 13/9) (24/20, 13/10) (24/21, 13/9). Choose the one that fits your playing style the best.
Make your 3-point (8/3, 6/3).
Splitting (24/18, 13/10) has a slight advantage to (24/15).
Two possibilities: (24/20, 13/8) or (13/9, 13/8).
This leaves you with three possibilities. You can run (24/14) or split (24/18, 13/9). The once laughed (8/2, 6/2) is not so bad after all, according to computer calculations. Professional players however don't like the fact that you can't use these checkers in a strategic way anymore.
Easy, just run with your back checker (24/13).