Learning how to play backgammon successfully is probably easier to do today than in any other period of the backgammon game’s five thousand year history. We can imagine in the Ancient world the game was taught from father to son, or people learned the game by watching others play. There were no books of backgammon rules, not least because printing had not yet been invented, but also very few people could read. Closer to our own times, the game has been, and still is learned by many schoolchildren from their friends, and backgammon clubs have become quite popular.
Since the first backgammon regulations were published in the 1740’s there has been a gradual increase in the literature available about the game, and the last seventy years have seen many more guides to good play and tactics published. However, the introduction of the free backgammon game on the Web has dramatically increased the opportunities for both learning and playing the game far beyond those available previously.
The Internet backgammon sites host free practice games, where you can take on a powerful backgammon computer at various skill levels. In addition they bring together a wide range of information covering everything from basic moves and layout, to advanced backgammon tactics, backgammon gambling tips and stories of some of the most famous backgammon champions.
With all these new opportunities to learn to play backgammon via the Internet, in which areas should a new player concentrate their study? First of all, it is important to point out that this board game is widely recognized as one of the easiest to learn and so you need not fear a long period of studies awaits you. Nevertheless, there are certain areas that repay a little time investment.
For the novice player, becoming familiar with how to navigate their checkers around the twenty-four narrow triangular divisions (points) of the backgammon board must be a priority. The starting position for the checkers is soon memorized and how to move them in accordance to the dice throws is also quickly learned.
Once these basics of the game are mastered, the new learner is urged to take full advantage of all the practice opportunities online backgammon offers. The key areas the novice player needs to pay particular attention to are learning the opening moves, and the subjects of hitting and building primes.
In addition to the material available on the backgammon online sites, it is recommended to buy or borrow some of the many excellent backgammon books that give more comprehensive information on these principal areas of backgammon strategy.
From these sources the reader learns, for example, that it is a good idea to try and occupy the second and third points in your home board area at the start of the play – this blocks in the two checkers that your opponent has positioned in your home board. In addition, the backgammon literature explains where best to hit the opponent’s blots – in the opponent’s home area where these hits are the most effective.
There is much more information besides available online and offline for players keen on becoming backgammon winners.