Do you want to know how to do a proper blitz in backgammon? This article continues the first article on this issue (‘The backgammon Blitz’). We recommend reading it before reading this one.
Take a look at position 3. How do you play 5-3?
Here you have plenty of ammunition…just as much as in Position 1, but the big difference is that if you get hit back you could be in big trouble, as White has an excellent board. So in this position, you do not go on an all-out attack (blitz) but play a more positional backgammon game, making points and safe tying checkers and waiting for the right opportunity to strike, or simply win a race.
Take a look at Position 4. Black has a 6-4 to play. What’s your play?
Many people make the mistake in positions like this of not hitting. They worry about getting their checkers out of White’s inner board. When they do this, they are fighting the war on two fronts, and we already know what happens when you do this. The right play is to hit with the 6 and bring another checker (ammunition) down from the 13 point. When you are blitzing, focus on one side of the table.
Clearly there will come a time when it is important to start moving those back checkers, but it’s a lot easier to get out and around the board when your opponent is in jail (on the bar).
Let’s take a look at one more position. In position 5 you have a 6-1 to play. What’s your play?
Well, by now I hope you’ve learned the lesson. The right play here is not only to hit, but bring a checker down to the open spot on your bar point so you have another builder to do more hitting and covering.
It all sounds so simple doesn’t it. There really is no great art to blitzing…keep attacking and keep bringing more checkers into play. I am sorry to say that in “real life” it’s not always so clear. Sometimes you have almost enough ammunition. Sometimes your opponent’s board is pretty good and getting hit could be risky. In match play, the position of the cube and the score, and gammon risks and win advantages both ways have to be taken into consideration. Some times when you are blitzing you get a roll where you really do need to pay some attention to your checkers on the other side of the board so as not to get trapped and have to break the board on your side.
So like just about everything else in this wonderful game, we do have a “general” strategy, and a basic rule of thumb, a standard way of playing, and it is often the way to play. But only experience and study will help you understand all about the blitz, when to blitz and when not to blitz and how to blitz when you do. I hope this article will give you some insights that will help.
Note: Phil Simborg is a playing and teaching professional from Chicago. He can be reached for questions, comments, and lessons at firstname.lastname@example.org.