Backgammon Rules – Movement of the Checkers Part 3

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 20,169
    Vic Morawksi, expert backgammoner, teaches the basic to the game including the third part of the rules that govern checker movement in the game.

    Vic Morawski: Hi, I am Vic and we're introducing you to the game of Backgammon. Now we would like to look at some other rules that govern checker movement in the game. One thing I want to also cover here is, you will notice it's possible for the dice to land on the same number. If that happens the special rule for playing this in Backgammon is that you get not just two fives here but you get four fives and if you had four fives, you could move one checker all four of those fives. Sometimes this happens, suppose I were hidden -- sent to the bar and then I rolled double fives, I could move one five, two fives, three fives and come all the way back to the beginning. Or if you roll doubles, you can roll or you can move any other combination, that is not blocked.

    So you could move two checkers at a time down here and move these two checkers each ten and make the three point with double fives. So, doubles are particularly important because they give you more of a dice roll and that you get four number and you can also make points much better if you roll a double because you can move two checkers together. I just want to make one point about what happens when a checker is hit, if you have a checker on the bar, in this situation white has been hit and has a checker on the bar and then blue moved into this point. You cannot move any of your other checkers until you enter that checker from the bar.

    Now notice in a situation like this blue has every point made. What count as blocking points if you're moving around the board also count as blocking points, that block your entry in if you're on the bar. So, in a situation like this white is not in good shape because white needs a specific five not a three-two, not a four-one, but white has to specifically roll the number five in order to enter that checker from the bar and white can move no other checkers until this checker has been entered from the bar.

    So it's a very important point to remember in terms of what happens and the rules of Backgammon concerning being on the bar. If you were on the bar here as white and do not roll a five, roll any other number combination, you basically cannot come in and you cannot move any of the other numbers on your dice.

    So your roll for that turn is forfeited and one more thing about rolling in Backgammon, you cannot pass on your turn. So, you must roll whether or not it's to your advantage to do so and you must play all of the numbers on the dice if there is any legal way to do so. In some situations where you can only play one number legally, you must at least play that number.

    Now, there are certain odd situations where two numbers are different and you can play one number or the other but not both. In those unusual situations, there is a rule governing that where you must play the higher number whether that's the number you would wish to play or not.

    So, in the situation where you can play one or other or both, you need to play the higher number if you want to go by the rules. Next we will take a look at the rules that govern the situation of bearing off the checkers.