How to Bear Off Checkers in Backgammon

What are the steps in bearing off backgammon checkers from the board? Here are the things we must remember in this phase of a backgammon game.

Check first if we don't have any checker left on the enemy home board. All of our checkers should be transferred to our home board before we can begin to bear them off. Second, we have to make sure that none of our checkers are on the bar waiting for re-entry on the enemy board. When these conditions are met then we are ready for bearing off.

Bearing off is taking out our checkers from the board one by one. We do this by rolling the dice. The dice decides which of our checkers are to be borne off first. For instance, we roll the dice and 3-5 come out. If we happen to have checkers located on 3 point and 5 point we may take them out of the board. While bearing off we must remember that the enemy may hit one of our blots. If this happens our bearing off is staved off for a while because we have to deal with the hit checker first before we can proceed with bearing off.

Primes are good defenses against being hit in a bearing off phase, but there will come moments in bearing off when some points we occupy would become blots and may be hit. It may be ideal to have our checkers on many points, and if possible, a checker on a point. This would make bearing off backgammon checkers easier as dice rolls would surely correspond to a checker on a point. But this arrangement would create a lot of blots the enemy can hit very easily.

If the dice are rolled and a number result does not correspond to a checker on a point we may opt to use the number result to move a checker piece onto our home board. In case we rolled a high result that corresponds to a point on the board we don't have any checkers on, we may use that result to bear off a piece from a point nearest in value to the number result. If we rolled a 6 and we have no checkers on 6 point but on 5 point, then we may bear off a checker from 5 point.

Bearing off backgammon checkers should be done with caution. We should watch out for our checkers susceptible to hits and be aware of other favorable options.