Know Your Backgammon Board

The first thing any new player to backgammon should understand is the board setup.  After all, understanding the backgammon board is crucial to any strategy.  The backgammon board is composed of four sections split into two halves contained within a square board, similar in shape to a chess board.  Each section has 12 points which look like long triangles.  You will move your checkers around the backgammon board on these points.

The object of backgammon is to move your checkers from their starting spot, called the outer board, to the opposite side of the board, called your home board.  Each player starts on the same side of the board, but on opposite sections, and moves their checkers in a horseshoe like loop around the board to their home board, where their opponent is starting from.  Once you have moved all your checkers to your home board, you then begin bearing the pieces off; moving them off the board.  The first player to remove all their checkers from the backgammon board wins.

The most successful backgammon players move fast, which means you should become comfortable with knowing there are 12 points in each section and become proficient in seeing what points are open as soon as you see the numbers your dice roll produces.  It allows you to think fast and see your best strategic moves on the backgammon board rather than wasting time counting points and being confused on which points your dice roll allows you to move.  Knowing the points automatically will allow you to focus on the more important matter of preventing your opponent from running or holding important points on the backgammon board.