Best Moves for the Opening Rolls in Backgammon

The opening rolls in backgammon, like chess openings, have been well studied by experts the world round. Playing the opening moves right gives you better odds at winning. Let's see some of the best opening moves in a backgammon game.

There are indeed differences in opinion among the experts regarding how to play each opening roll. But generally speaking there are some points of agreement on how the opening moves should be played. We'll discuss the ones where there is a general consensus.

Let's start of with an opening roll of a 3 and 1. Most experts agree that given this opening roll the odds go for you pretty well if you start to secure the 5 point. Most of the other possible moves given a 3 and 1 opening roll would tend to leave you open for hits, and at times you may get hit too early in the game.

During the opening rolls, it is a best practice to avoid getting hit in this stage. Getting hit is quite alright but getting hit too early will result in giving away good positions to your opponent. That would give a player too much to chew on at the very start.

Next opening roll that most experts agree on is a 6 and a 1 roll. Most agree that given this opportunity in the opening rolls that players ought to make a bar point at the 7 point. There are differences in opinion when it comes to rating the positions but the 7 point is considered the second best point any player ought to secure early in the game.

It is a well accepted principle that the points adjacent to the bar (i.e. 6, 7, 18, and 19) are strategic either for offensive play or for defense.

Another opening roll generally accepted by most experts is the 4 and a 2 roll. Given this opening roll it is recommended that a player ought to take the 4 point. Like the 5 point, this is also just as valuable. If you would notice the pattern is that given an opportunity to take a point in a player's inner board (home board) early in the opening rolls it is generally recommended that that point ought to be taken.

One precaution that is also equally recommended is that when you do take those points near your home board make sure you don't leave your checkers overly exposed (i.e. blots) to attack.

Lastly given an opening roll of a 6 and a 5 or a 6 and a 6, the general recommendation is to move your back men (i.e. the runners). It is quite a challenge to free these stragglers when they're caught at the rear. So given a chance to move them during the opening rolls, the advice is to get them going on a 6 and 5 or a 6 and a 6 opening roll.

The opening rolls, if played well, paves the way to strategic advantages during the mid game (not to mention the rest of the game in backgammon). Knowing the recommended moves given the well studied opening rolls gives a player the advantage from the start of the game and may even lead to a successful finish.