Fundamental Backgammon Strategies: Holding Game

One very usual situation you'll find yourself in when you play backgammon is called the holding game. You either play the holding game or both you and your opponent play this fundamental strategy. This makes understanding the ideas behind the holding game a necessity and makes it part of backgammon basics.

Now, there are a few variations of holding games that you'll encounter as you go along but don't worry about them all. You'll get to know these variations as you gain experience in backgammon. But what's important is that you can reduce all holding games down to two things - running when you make a double roll or hitting when a shot is open.

Let's go over a few details to help you recognize a holding game when you see it happening on a backgammon board. The first characteristic of a holding game is the presence of at least one anchor on your opponent's home board or on the outer table. The anchors should not be blocked by a prime, which means you and your opponent are playing a priming game. One last characteristic is that you or your opponent still has a chance to hit any incoming checkers moving along the outfield, which clearly shows the purpose of the anchors.

Since both you and your opponent still pose a threat of being able to hit any crossing checker neither of you should leave a blot anywhere within range of opposing checkers. A good tip will be to move your anchors when you make a double roll. Make moving your anchors a priority when you roll a double in a holding game. If ever you do choose to break and move your anchors you should know that you are taking certain risks.

As mentioned earlier, one of the ideas behind a holding game is to hit an incoming enemy checker. Now that doesn't mean that you should hit every single incoming opposing checker that comes your way. There is a certain timing you should live by. You should be desperate to hit and should hit any opposing checker that is open if you are really behind in the pip count.

But if you aren't that far behind in the pip count then you should put a little emphasis on building your home board first. This is in case you hit you can contain the entering checker. A strong home board is a power compliment to a well-played holding game.

Learning backgammon basics will require you to understand the ideas behind the behind the holding game. This is one fundamental backgammon strategy you'll be seeing a lot.