Backgammon Points that Change Identity

Backgammon is a game that uses points to move checker pieces on. As squares are to chess and checkers so points are to backgammon. Backgammon points are, however, very different from chess and checkers squares. These points change in identity and function throughout a game.

A space or point where backgammon checkers move on are steep triangles consecutively arranged on a board. There are 24 triangles or points in all—12 on one side and 12 on another. When seen on the board these triangles seem like an eastern triangular design pattern. Backgammon pieces are laid out on the board in a prescribed way and then we roll the dice to determine the number of the first moves to be done.

Before any checker is placed on these points, they are termed as open points. Open points are simply unoccupied points or spaces. Once we roll the dice and start moving checkers the identity of the points alter, according to the number of checkers on them. So first they are open points. When a checker occupies a point it ceases to be open but becomes a blot. If still another checker (an ally of the first checker occupant) lands on the point, the point ceases to be a mere blot—it now becomes a prime.

When two or more checkers are on a point it becomes a prime. The presence and absence of checkers on a point affect its identity and function. We see here that backgammon points can become blots or primes and then return back to being open points. They are all points but with different functions. An open point is a free point. A blot is occupied by a lone checker. A prime is occupied by 2 or more allied checkers. On no point should two non-allied checkers be placed.

Points as open points are neutral grounds. Points as blots are susceptible to hits. Points as primes become strong fortresses owned by a player temporarily. It is very essential that we are able to identify these varying types of points on the board before we decide or make any move in backgammon. Our wise decisions are based on what these points have temporarily turned out to be. Defensively, we need open points and primes. We also need primes for our offensive.

So, backgammon points help us a lot in planning what strategy to use in a particular phase of a game. When we have identified what points are useful or harmful for us, then we can move safely.