Tactical Features of Primes in Backgammon
An important strategic structure in backgammon is called s a blocking point. They are especially effective when they are strategically positioned early in the game, which is why point-making opening plays are really helpful to your over all strategy when you get them. Blocking points make it hard for your opponent to escape the back men and move other pieces around on the board.
A tactical formation that you can make use of is a prime. Simply put, when you make a prime in backgammon you simply place blocking points you made side by side to make an array or row of blocking points making it harder for your opponent's checkers to jump over.
Obviously the most powerful primes you can ever make are those that are six points long which is impossible to cross, unless of course you break the prime prematurely. When you are able to make use of a prime in backgammon this is called a priming game. You can say that if you are able to make one at a strategic location then you have just brought out your big guns.
A prime will be more effective in the middle game when it is about four or five points long. Basically, if your prime is only three points long an enemy checker sitting right next to it has about a 50% chance of jumping over that small prime. The idea in building primes, however, is to make it long enough so it can trap your opponent's back men and then you can move the rest of your checkers without much worries.
Obviously, you can deduce from what has been said that the bigger your prime is the better and more tactically efficient it is. The length of your prime is the determining factor of its strength and effectiveness. In games where one player has made a six-point prime, that player immediately becomes the favorite for winning that particular game.
Your opponent's defense against the prime is to position the trapped checkers right next to the prime and so getting the best possible odds of jumping over it when the opportunity comes. Your response should be that of taking risks to prevent your opponent from doing so.
Now we move on to the question of when is it right to offer a double when you have a prime in the works. First answer is that when you play a prime versus prime game (i.e. both you and your opponent have built primes) you should offer a double when your opponent's prime is four points long or less. Next, a general rule to follow is that when you have escaped one of the two of your back men you should offer to double.
These are the tactics you can apply when you have a prime. These are effective tools when mixing and matching your strategy in backgammon.