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An Opening Double Gives the Second Player in Backgammon an Edge

Author: Neha Agrawal

The opening move of the game of backgammon is based on the two dice which were rolled by the two players to determine who goes first. That means there can be no doubles on the first roll because if both players roll the same number, they need to roll again.

But after the first move, the second player to play can roll a double and though it’s not the opening move, it is his first move. The strategy, however, is not the same as the opening move of the first player. It needs to take into account what the opponent did. But if you do roll a double, it should be a great advantage because you have the opportunity to create a new point and usually two new points.

There are two main opportunities if you open with a double. You can create a point in your opponent’s half of the board and you can also move your checkers that are a long way from home.

If you roll two sixes, you can move your two checkers furthest from home on point 24 all the way to point 18. You could also move two checkers from point 12 to point 7, creating another point. You don’t want to move two pieces from 8 to 2, even though you would create a point deep in your opponent’s home board, you’d also be leaving a blot on point 8.

Two fives create easier opening backgammon moves. It’s unlikely your opponent has moved his chips from his point1 to point 3, so move two of your chips on point 13 to that spot. This will create an anchor deep in your opponent’s home board.

Two fours can lead to the checkers creating a point at 5 when they move from point 13. If you roll two threes on the second move of the game, you can create two more anchor positions. Move two pieces from points 8 to 5 and two from 6 to 3.

For a 2-2 roll, there are valuable points that can be made on both point 4 and point 20. Finally, a 1-1 roll should let you create two strong points at 7 and 5.

All these double strategies in Backgammon are contingent on the opening moves that your opponent made. However, the basic strategies remain the same. You want to create strong points for yourself. You also want to block your opponent from getting onto his home board and you also want to prevent his pieces on the bar from re-entering.