Backgammon – Indirect vs Direct Shot

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 20,197
    Vic Morawksi, expert backgammoner, teaches the basic to the game including the difference between an indirect and a direct shot in the game.

    Vic Morawski: Hi, I am Vic and we are introducing you to the game of Backgammon. What we would like to look at next is the difference between an indirect and a direct shot in the game. Let's change the play slightly and let's suppose that you are fortunate enough to roll an opening 6-5 and you take the Lovers Leap there and your opponent rolled something like a 5-4. Now what would you then do if you rolled a number like 4-1 that doesn't enable you to immediately make a landing point. Well, what a lot of beginning players would do is they would play the super safe way which is only safe in the beginning. They would play the four down there and they would play the one up here.

    Now in a running game you do want to play a bit more safe than in some other game plans because you have a racing lead that you would like to preserve. But if you are going to play with the odds, one thing you need to do is to take small risks. That will enable you in the long run to be safer than if you just play things super safe and a checker that bears on other points, that is six away from other points is called a builder and the more builders you have for a given point the better off you are going to be in terms of rolling numbers that make that point.

    So, what you would like to do is you would like to make points that give yourself some safe spots to land on. So a better way to play a 4-1 would be to leave the four there and maybe just play the one there. You don't want to take a big chance and drop a blot there because that's a direct shot and let me talk just briefly about what are called direct shots and indirect shots. A direct shot that you leave for your opponent is any shot that is six or less away that can be hit with the number on a single die.

    Now, those are much more likely to be hit, they are what are called indirect shots. Shots seven through twelve that require the total of two dice in order to hit them. So just briefly if you leave a one shot for your opponent, there are 11 chances that your opponents has to hit that. If you leave a two shot, it's 12 and the numbers go up. It would be 11, 12, 14, 15, 15 and 17 chances to hit a six, if there were no points blocked in between. So direct shots are more likely to be hit, but there are times when you leave them. But in a running game you would like avoid leaving direct shots and leave what are called indirect shots. Now, the number seven through 12 there likelihood of being hit are six for a seven, that is six chances to hit it and they go up six, six, five, three, two, three. So there are only two chances to hit an 11 and three chances to hit a blot, 12 spaces away. So the way that good players do even in a running game is to give themselves chances to make points by leaving indirect shots not by playing super safe, but by taking minimal chances, leaving indirect shots out in their outer board hoping to make other points or even if I roll a four again, I can cover this point. So, that is the part of the strategy in the middle of a running game. You want to build yourself some safe spots to land in your outer board and in your inner board. Next, we will look at some middle game strategy for the running game.

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