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Timing: An Element of Backgammon Strategy

There are many strategy elements involved when we play backgammon. Positioning our checkers, doubling, hitting, and maintaining a flexible position are only some of the elements of strategy in backgammon. We'll discuss timing as an essential element that may well help us with our strategy in backgammon.

Timing is related to properly positioning checkers. We all know that the backgammon player who is able to take a better position on the board is on better ground. That player can easily implement a desired strategy during the course of a backgammon game.

Basically, when we talk about timing we refer to how long can a backgammon player maintain a current position in the game. Any strategy that will involve building a prime or maintaining anchors will definitely require timing as an element of that strategy.

In our example, when we have a prime versus prime situation in a game of backgammon, usually the player who gives up his position first would very well lose the game. This also works the same way when we have a back game or a holding game where we may need to maintain strategic anchors.

The backgammon player with better timing when it comes down to these situations has the advantage. One consideration we need to make is that before we worry about timing is that we ought to have built up our position. Set up our primes or our anchors first, then worry about timing.

How do we count backgammon timing? It's simply pip counting but with a little twist depending on your strategy. In a back game, you count your timing by counting how many pips you have to move. You don't include the checkers on your anchors of course because that's the position we want to maintain.

The same goes for priming games in backgammon. You count your timing by doing a pip count of your checkers except for the checkers on the position you want to maintain. Good timing will change from strategy to strategy. As a rule, 20 pips will be an average borderline for good timing. If your timing drops way below this count then the situation isn't that good.

If your timing is bad you better be hitting a checker pretty soon if your doing a back game or holding game. Be prepared to switch to a different strategy if you're about to break your prime.

Timing at times becomes really crucial for a certain strategy in backgammon. When both backgammon players have set up primes or anchors, the player who gets to give up the strategic position usually pays for the loss. If your current backgammon strategy requires keeping a certain position, then timing is one element of your strategy that you may need to keep an eye on.


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