What are Backgammon Blots?

One of the things we should learn as beginners in backgammon is a blot. A blot may be good or bad news to us, depending on the situation we're in. But to be sure, backgammon games need blots to make them workable.

When a point is occupied by only one checker piece, ours or the enemy, it is called a blot. When it is unoccupied, it is an open point. The moment any checker piece stands on the point it becomes a blot. So most times, the first checkers we move in the game will become blots on the board. In the beginning of a game, if the dice results to a 3-5, for instance, and we move a checker 3 points and another 5 points forward, those checker pieces will occupy separate points that they alone will occupy. They become blots.

There is a danger to having our checkers remain as blots in backgammon games. They are easy targets for hitting. When an enemy checker lands on the same point as our lone checker is on, our checker is "hit." Being hit is not fun. The checker concerned is taken off the backgammon board and detained on the bar. The bar is the strip on the board's center. It is detained there because being hit gets penalized. Any move or advantage our checker has done on the board is nullified when it gets hit. We need to wait for the next turn to roll a dice for our hit checker to be freed and get back to work on the board.

So, why did our checker get hit? It was because it remained a blot. On the first phase of our play blots are unavoidable. But we should aim to land our checker later either on a point with an ally checker (to form a prime) or on a point with a lone enemy checker (to hit it). But of course, everything is hinged on what the dice roll results to. The dice roll determines the number of points our checker moves on.

When we have a checker on the bar, we need a blot to enter it back on the board. Actually, it's either a blot or an open point. Again, the dice roll decides which. We cannot enter our hit checker on a prime. We only have a blot or an open point to choose from—which is really decided, not by us, but by the dice result. And the best backgammon strategy is to enter our checker on a blot.

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