Backgammon Terms

There are certain terms backgammon players need to know such as a "blot", "doubling", the "Crawford Rule" and "Rollovers". The doubling rule, in particular, adds a tremendous sense of strategy and excitement to the game, especially those played in sets, matches, or for money. Doubling can prevent many games from becoming uninteresting when a player has built a huge lead.

Here are some common backgammon definitions:

Cube - The doubling cube which starts in the center of the board and may be used by either player to increase the value of the game.

Backgammon - The win of three times the value of the cube when the opponent still has one or more checkers in your home board or on the bar and has not borne off a checker.

Point - Any of the 24 spikes on which the checkers are placed.

Blot - A single vulnerable checker of either color occupying a point.

Bar - The central dividing area between the two halves of the board on which hit checkers are placed

Barpoint - A player's seven point.

Checker (or man) - One of the 30 pieces ( usually 15 red and 15 white) used for playing backgammon.

Hit - To move a checker to a point occupied by only one of your opponent's checkers, thereby sending it to the bar.

Hit Loose - To hit a blot in your home board, giving your opponent an opportunity to hit the same checker from the bar.

Anchor - A point in the opponent's home board, or the opponent's bar point, occupied by two or more of your checkers.

Bear off - To take a checker off the board in the closing stages; the stage when one or both players have all their checkers in the home board.

Blockade - Any series of points, whether consecutive or not, which prevents the opponent from playing particular numbers.

Race - A position where all, or virtually all contact has been broken and the possibility of hitting shots is minimal or nonexistent.

Run - To move a back checker into the outer board.

Golden Point - Your 5point.

Holding game - A situation in which a player has an anchor and is waiting to get a shot or to run with a double.

Prime - A sequence of at least four consecutive points each occupied by two or more checkers of the same color.

Crawford Rule - When a player gets one point short of winning a set, the doubling cube cannot be used in the next game, but can be used again thereafter in the set. This rule is usually used in tournaments.

In tournaments, the Crawford Rule should be used all of the time because it gives the leading player a fairer chance of winning by delaying the trailing player's ability to double excessively to catch up. This provides a game in most sets that is completed by bearing off all of the winner's checkers and neither player is doubled out.

Rollover - Once during each game, both players can decide either to roll again or have his opponent roll again. Remember: a player must decide to roll again before completes his turn. You can wait until your opponent completes his turn to see how he moves before deciding to have rollover.

The opponent cannot double before rolling again. Each player starts the game with a rollover marker and removes it from the board after exercising his rollover option. The rollover was introduced to backgammon by Richard Frey in the 1960s.

More Backgammon Rules & Strategys

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