Appendix:Glossary of backgammon

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The following terms are used to describe the board game Backgammon, its rules and its playing strategies.

Contents: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Acey-deucey (or acey-deucy)
A variant of backgammon in which the roll of 1 and 2 gives the player extra turns.
A point occupied in the home board by two or more of opponent's checkers.
Automatic double
Under certain rules, an automatic doubling of the value of the game, occurring when both players roll the same number when determining the first move.
Ace-point game
A game where a player has two or more checkers on his opponent's ace-point, and the player's hope of winning depends on getting a shot, hitting it, then keeping his hit checker from coming back around. If a player holds a single point in the opponent's board and it's a different point, sometimes it is possible to say it to be playing a "Deuce-point game" or "Three-point game" but these terms are less commonly used.
Advanced Anchor
A made point higher in the opponent's board than the 24-point. In general, advanced anchors are good because (a) they give a player more opportunity to hit the opponent's checkers if he brings them into the players outfield and (b) they give the player a better opportunity to escape his own checkers.
Automatic doubles
A rule, sometimes used in money play and backgammon chouette and never in match play. When automatic doubles are in effect, if the first roll (where each player rolls one dies) is a double, the cube is turned one level. Sometimes there can be a limit of, say, one or two doubles. This rule has no effect except to increase the stakes at random, which adds to the excitement of gambling for some players.


A game in which one player bears off all of his checkers while his opponent still has one or more checkers on the bar or in the winner's home board, counting for triple a normal game. Sometimes called a "triple game".
Back game
A strategy of occupying two or more points in one's opponents inner board.
The area where blots are placed after being hit, usually, a raised divider between the home boards and outer boards.
Bar point
Either of the two points in the outer board adjacent to the bar; the 7-point or the 18-point.
Bear off
To remove a checker from the home board by rolling a number that equals or exceeds the point on which the checker resides.
A point occupied by two or more checkers on the home board or the outer board.
A single checker vulnerable to being hit.
Bear-in phase
The phase of the game in which a player brings all his checkers to the opponents inner board. Usually, but not necessarily, this term would be applied when the opponent has at most one point from which he could possibly hit the player.
Beaver offer
A rule commonly used in money play and chouettes, and never in match play. If an opponent doubles and a player feels he is actually the favorite, he may say "Beaver" and turn the cube an additional level, but he keeps control of the cube. The opponent may only do this as soon as the player is doubled. Some players allow a "Raccoon" in which if a player calls Beaver, the opponent who doubled can have the cube turned yet again. Beavers are rare, because they require the players to have very different opinions of the current board position. (When the Jacoby Rule is in effect, there are some positions where both a double and a beaver can be theoretically correct.)
A game plan where a player hits the opponent aggressively in the inner board, often hitting loose, hoping that before the opponent hits back too many times he would be able to make several points and perhaps even close the opponent out.


One of the 15 playing pieces allotted to each player.
Closeout position
A position where an opponent has one or more checkers on the bar and a player has made all the points in his inner board, so the opponent can't move. A closed board is when a player has all the points in his inner board made.
Cocked die
A die that does not lie flat when it comes to rest. Sometimes also means a die or dice that comes to rest on a checker (but contrast with die on checker or outside the right hand side of the playing area.
The condition under which each player has checkers remaining which have not passed those of his opponent; while there is still contact in the game, blots may be hit.
To make a block on a single point.
Crawford game
The first game in a match wherein one player is within a single point of winning the match. It is in this game that the Crawford rule applies.
Crawford rule
A rule which forbids the doubling cube to be used for the first game after one player has reached a score exactly one point less than the objective score for a match.
Moving checkers from more useful higher points (4-, 5- and 6-points) on one's home board to less useful lower points (1-, 2- and 3-points), especially when having to dismantle a prime.
Cubeless equity
The value of a position ignoring the use of the doubling cube. This is a value between -3 and +3 that takes into account the probabilities of either side winning a single game, winning a double game or winning a triple game. If at a given point in the game neither party can make a gammon, the cubeless equity of a player simply is the probability of him/her winning the game, minus the probability of the opponent winning the game.


A slang term for failing to enter when you have pieces on the bar (fan means exactly the same).
Deep anchor
An anchor on the opponent's one-point or two-point.
Die on checker
A die that lies flat on a checker. (To speed up play, sometimes dice on checkers are not deemed cocked.)
See double match point.
To offer the doubling cube, thus doubling the stakes of the current game.
Double game
A gammon.
Double match point
Game where, for both players, the match is won if the game is won. E.g., in a 15-point match where both players have 14 points, or if the score is 11-13 and the cube is on 4.
A dice roll in which both values are identical, e.g. 1-1 or 6-6.
Doubling cube
A six-sided die which is not rolled, but is marked with powers of two and used to track the stakes of the current game.


End game
The phase of a game which starts when one of the players begins to bear off.
"Equity" is the value of ownership. In backgammon, it means either the value of a player's game, or the player's chances of winning the match.


A slang term for failing to enter when you have pieces on the bar (dance means exactly the same thing).
Full prime
A prime of six consecutive points that completely blocks the opponent from moving checkers in front of the prime to behind the prime.


A game in which one player removes all his checkers before his opponent can remove any, and counted as a double win. Sometimes called a "double game".
Golden point
One's opponent's five point, useful for preventing primes when it is occupied by two of one's own checkers.


To move onto a point occupied by an opposing blot, and move the opposing checker to the bar.
Home board
The portion of the board containing points 1-6. The checkers need to move here before they can be borne off. It is also the part of the board where the opponent's checkers are re-entered from the bar.


Inner board
Home board.


Jacoby rule
A rule which permits gammons and backgammons to count for double and triple stakes only if one or more players have doubled during the game.
A very lucky roll that immediately changes the game.


A series of games of backgammon, played until one participant reaches a predetermined score.
Mid point
Either of the two points furthest from the bar; the 12-point or the 13-point.


Normalized match score
A match score expressed in terms of the number of points needed by both sides to win the match. For instance, '2-away/4-away' (or: -2/-4) could indicate the state of seven-point match in which one party has gained five points and the other side three points.
In backgammon the common way of describing the movement of checkers involves numbering the points around the board from 24 to 1 such that the numbers diminish when the checkers move towards the home board. This implies that a reverse numbering applies when the opponent is on roll (with the 24-point now referred to as the 1-point, etc.). A move of a single checker is indicated by the start and the end number separated by a slash. If a move results in a checker being hit, this is indicated by adding an asterisk to the number on which a checker was hit.


Open point
A point a player can in principle move his checkers to. I.e. a point that is not occupied by more than one opposing checker.
Outer board
The points 7–12 (contrast with inner board).


One of the markings on the face of a die, corresponding to a movement of one point.
Pip count
The total number of remaining pips needed to bear off all checkers.
One of the twenty-four narrow triangles on the backgammon board where the players' checkers sit, or the value of a single game of backgammon before accounting for the doubling cube, or a gammon or backgammon.
Games in a match after a Crawford game. In these games doubling is permitted.
Several consecutive points blocked by a player.


A game in which there is no longer contact.
To double an additional time; after one player has doubled, a subsequent offer by the other player constitutes redoubling.


To break up two checkers which are together on a point and leave them as blots.


Timing refers to whether a player's position is likely to improve or disintegrate over time. It most commonly refers to being behind in the race when a player would like to maintain his board without crunching while waiting for a shot.
Triple game
A backgammon.