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Introduction to the Holding Game

Players will not always be successful in making primes in backgammon. A very usual situation you'll find yourself in will be a holding game. This backgammon strategy makes use of anchors or points made in strategic spots on the board. In a holding game both players are practically holding each other off from a quick run for victory.

A holding game is not exactly a back game where your anchor or anchors are the only points of contact with the opposing force. In a holding game there is still room for further contact between the two sides. You can say that the holding game is a strategy that usually fits into the mid-game where the action on the backgammon board is still hot.

A holding game is also characterized by the presence of anchors and/or points made on the outfield. These points serve as the holding places that keep your opponent's pieces in check. They serve as threats to any escaping backgammon checker making things quite unsafe to leave blots in the open. The outfield points are usually found on the your opponent's side and you may even have an anchor or two on your opponent's home board as well. If ever your anchors are rimmed by a four-point prime then the game turns into a priming game rather than a holding game.

In a holding game both you and your opponent are waiting either for a good chance to escape checkers or to hit escaping checkers. If you do get a chance to escape then well and good for you in backgammon. But sometimes you just can't help it but leave a blot. Fortunately the next option to leaving blots on the backgammon board in a holding game is to simply further the development of your home board.

Since it isn't healthy to leave blots strategically in this stage of a backgammon game a good strategy is to move your anchors when you roll doubles. Getting doubles is a great opportunity to step forward and gain the lead in the pip count.

If you are the player who is behind in the pip count in a holding game then your priority will be to hit blots and build points on your home board. Hitting, of course, is a tactic you can use to catch up in backgammon no matter what strategy you employ. Another tactic you should pair off with hitting is to make more points on your home board especially when you're behind.

The holding game is a backgammon strategy you'll get to use many times during the mid-game. By understanding how this strategy works you get a better edge in the game.