Backgammon Terms and Definitions

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This is an optional condition of play that occurs when player accepts an offer to play for double stakes.

Ace Point
Your 1 point. The last point a player's checkers can make before leaving play, i. e. bearing off.

Acey Deucey
A variation of backgammon. When playing Acey Deucey, when you roll 1-2 you may move 1-2, then move any set of doubles you choose, then roll again.

Advanced Anchor
An anchor on your opponent's 4 or 5 point.

Active Builder
A checker free to move to make another point.
Also see: Builder

Advanced Anchor
Also known as a Forward Anchor.
An anchor on one’s opponent’s 4-point or 5-point.

A point you hold in your opponent's board with two or more checkers. You start the game with an anchor on your opponent's 1 point.

Attacking Game
Also known as a Blitz or a Wipeout

Automatic Doubles
Also known as Automatics.
This is an optional rule. If both players roll the same number on the opening rolls, the stakes are automatically doubled and the doubling cube is turned to "2".

Awkward Numbers
A dice roll that forces a player to break a point or abandon a shot.

Back Game
A game strategy in which you hold two or more points in your opponent's inner board and try to use these points to hit your opponent and send them back. Often used when you are considerably behind in the race.

Back Man
Also known as Back Runner.
Name given to a checker in one’s opponent’s inner board.

You can score a backgammon if you remove all your checkers and your opponent still has a checker in your home board or on the bar. A backgammon scores double or triple the value of the doubling cube, depending on the rules you are playing.

The partition between the boards. When you hit your opponent's checker, that checker is then placed on the bar. Sometimes called the rail.

Bar Point
The 7 point and 18 point. These are the points beside the bar, but outside both players' home boards.

Bear Off
To remove a checker from your home board. After you have moved all your checkers into your home board, you begin to bear them off.

An optional rule. After a player doubles the stakes, the other player may immediately redouble, and still keep posession of the cube.

A single checker on a point. When you hit a blot, that checker goes to the bar.

Backgammon is played on a board consisting of 4 quadrants. Each quadrant has 6 points.

General term for a computer program that plays backgammon.

Double sixes on the dice.

Break Contact
To bypass all your opponent's checkers. After you break contact, the game becomes a race.

A checker that is in position to be used to make certain points on upcoming rolls.

See Hit.

A point that has a lot of checkers. Sometimes called a tower.

Centered Cube
The doubling cube starts the game centered in the game board. At this point in the game, neither player has possession of the cube, and either may double at the start of their turn.

Each players starts the game with 15 checkers. Sometimes called counters or men.

A way of playing backgammon with more than two players. One player "in the box" plays against a team of two or more players. The team has a captain who has final say on where to move and when to double. If the team wins, the captain becomes the player in the box. If the team loses, the player in the box continues playing against the team and the team gets a new captain. If the team doubles, it does so as a unit. If the player in the box doubles, each team member may decide individually whether to accept or pass.

Close Out
When you make all 6 points in your home board, you have a closed board. Your opponent will not be able to re-enter if they have a checker on the bar. They are closed out.

Cocked Die
A die that does not land flat. For example, it might be cocked on a checker or the edge of the board. When rolls a cocked die, the player must re-roll both dice.

Control the Cube
See Own the Cube.

Control a Point
To have at least two checkers on a point. When you control a point, your opponent cannot land on that point.

See Doubling Cube.

Crawford Rule
A rule that prohibits doubling for one game when a player is within one point of winning the match.

See Pass.

When both dice show the same number. When you roll doubles you are allowed to move twice the amount shown on the dice. For example, if you roll double fours, you may move four points, four times (not just twice).

See Doubles.

Doubling Cube
A die used for doubling the stakes during a game. The doubling cube has the numbers 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 and 64.

Susceptible to being hit. For example, a blot is an exposed checker.

First Internet Backgammon Server ( A popular place on the Internet for players to compete against one another in friendly matches. FIBS debuted in 1993.

You can score a gammon if you remove all your checkers and your opponent still has not removed any checkers from the board. A gammon scores double the value of the doubling cube.

Golden Point
Your opponent's 5 point (your 20 point).

A free, open-source computer program that plays backgammon.

Golden Point
Your opponent's 5 point.

To land on your opponent's blot. When you hit a blot, that checker is sent to the bar.

Home Board
See Inner Board.

Inner Board
The quadrant of the board that contains a player's 1 to 6 points.

Jacoby Rule
An optional rule. Under the Jacoby Rule, gammons and backgammons only count as 1 point if the cube is not doubled during the game.

A computer program that plays backgammon at the level of top professionals. Can be used for training or analyzing matches.

Key Point
An important stategic point on the board. For example, the 5 point, 4 point, bar point and golden point are considered key points.

Make a Point
To place two or more checkers on a point. When you have at least two checkers on a point, your opponent cannot land on that point.

A series of games played until someone reaches a certain number of points.

Your 13 point. Each player starts the game with 5 checkers on their midpoint.

Opening Roll
To start the game, each player rolls one die. The player with the higher roll uses both dice for their opening move.

Outer Board
The quadrant of the board adjacent to a player's inner board, that contains a player's 7 to 12 points.

Own the Cube
To have possession of the doubling cube. If your opponent offers to double, and you accept, you will then own the cube. That means you have the next option of doubling the stakes and your opponent does not.

A version of backgammon that starts with the checkers in slightly different positions. Each player takes two checkers off their midpoint (13 point) and places them on their 23 point (in the opponent's home board).

To decline your opponent's offer to double. When you pass, the game ends, you lose, and you give up the current number of points indicated by the doubling cube.

Peel Off
See Bear Off.

Each move from one point to the next is known as a pip. For example, if you roll 5, 2 you can move 7 pips. When the game begins, you will need to move 167 pips to get your checkers into your home board and bear them off. That is your starting pip count.

There are 24 points on the board where you can move your checkers. Also used for scoring. For example, each game is initially worth one point but you can score more points if someone has doubled or if you score a gammon or a backgammon.

Possess the Cube
See Own the Cube.

Six closed points in a row. A player cannot move past a prime. They are blocked.

A backgammon board consists of four quadrants. Each quadrant has 6 points.

After all your checkers have bypassed all your opponent's checkers, the game becomes a race to see whoe can bear off all their checkers first.

See Bar.

The two checkers that begin the game on your opponent's 1 point.

Running Game
The strategy of trying to get your checkers into your home board as quickly as possible.

A computer network where players can play backgammon. FIBS (First Internet Backgammon Server) is an example of a backgammon server.

Shut Out
See Close Out.

To leave a single checker (a blot) on a point with the intention of adding another checker later to make that point.

A computer program that plays backgammon at a world class level. Can be used as a practice partner or to analyze matches.

See Accept.

A French version of backgammon.
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