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The Play of the Anchors in the Holding Game

We will be taking a slightly deeper look into the holding game. If you are unfamiliar with how a holding game works we would like to recommend that you read on it first before continuing with our discussion below. In our second look into the holding game as a backgammon strategy, we will consider the different positions of the anchors.

Other things you ought to look out for will be the presence of checkers on the mid-point and the bar point. We will also look into the positions your anchors will take. It is interesting to find out if high anchors are better than low anchors or the other way around when you play a holding game.

You will encounter a situation where your opponent has an anchor and you have control over the mid-point. This is a rather typical situation you'll find yourself in a holding game. You should expect that your opponent's anchor is on your five-point, which makes it a tough scenario. In this particular holding game you will be in the lead.

Take note that the distance between your opponent's anchor and your point in the outfield is more than six-points. At this distance you have a good probability of hitting your opponent's checker and your opponent also has a good chance of hitting yours. If the distance were shorter, meaning six points or less, then the probability of a hit decreases. Since you are in the lead you should be doubling at this point. But if the tables were turned and you're trailing behind you should still take when doubled.

Moving your opponent's anchor to the bar point, your opponent has increased his probability of winning the game. Your points are now exactly six pips apart, which would require a double roll to win. Chances of hitting blots at this distance will be up to 50%. If your opponent moves the anchor closer to your mid-point block then your chances of winning increases.

Let's move into the question of using low anchors or high anchors. A low anchor would mean that you have made anchors on your opponent's ace point, two-point, or three-point. High anchors are points made on the rest of your opponent's home board points.

The question can be settled when you compare the chances of hitting a blot when you position your checkers on low points or high points. The numbers show that if you position anchors on low points your chances of hitting decrease but when they are on high points you have better chances of hitting.

These are the play of the anchors in a holding game. Players should understand these concepts since the holding game is a backgammon strategy that is typically played.