How to Get Off the Bar in Backgammon

Backgammon is a fascinating game that requires strategic thinking and calculated moves. One common situation players often find themselves in is having their checkers hit and sent to the bar. Getting off the bar quickly becomes crucial, as it can greatly impact your chances of winning. In this blog post, we will guide you through some effective strategies on how to get off the bar in backgammon.

Understanding the Bar

Before diving into techniques, let’s clarify what “the bar” means in backgammon. The bar refers to the middle line dividing the board into two halves – the outer board and home board. When a checker gets hit by an opponent’s checker during a move, it is placed on this bar until it re-enters play.

Tactics for Getting Off the Bar:

1. Prioritize Unbar Checkers First

When you have multiple checkers on the bar, prioritize unbar checkers over others when making your moves. Focus on getting them out first before attending to those with more hurdles along their path towards freedom.

Avoiding Repetitive Hits:

Be cautious not to leave blots (single exposed checkers) behind while moving your unbarred pieces forward since they could be vulnerable targets for repetitive hits from opponents.

Safer Re-entry Points:

Try aiming for points closer to or within your home board where there are fewer opposing checkers around. This increases your chances of smoothly re-entering without being immediately hit again.

2. Utilize Anchors Strategically

Anchoring occurs when you establish one or more points in your opponent’s home board containing at least two of your own checkers. Utilize these anchors to your advantage when trying to escape from the bar.

Building an Anchor:

If possible, try to create an anchor closer to your opponent’s home board early on in the game. This anchor acts as a blockade and provides you with more flexibility for escaping the bar later.

Utilizing Your Anchor:

When re-entering from the bar, prioritize moving towards or past your established anchor points. This adds another layer of security since it becomes harder for opponents to hit or block your advancing checkers.

3. Make Optimal Use of Duplicates

When rolling identical dice numbers (doubles), use them strategically to get off the bar swiftly and efficiently.

Moving Multiple Checkers:

If you roll doubles while some of your checkers are still on the bar, use one set of doubles’ number to move two separate pieces off simultaneously, increasing their chances of escaping quicker.

Saving Doubles:

In case all your checkers have already cleared off the bar but rolled doubles again, consider using those doubles defensively instead by splitting them across multiple points within your own home board. This reduces potential risks and maximizes flexibility during further moves.

In Conclusion

Escaping from the bar is a crucial aspect of backgammon gameplay that demands careful planning and strategic decision-making. By prioritizing unbarred checkers, strategically utilizing anchors, and making optimal use of duplicate rolls, you can enhance your chances of getting off the bar swiftly while outsmarting opponents along the way. Incorporate these strategies into your gameplay repertoire and watch as they contribute towards becoming a more formidable backgammon player!