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Backgammon is a race game for 2 players. The game takes place on a board consisting of 24 slim triangles referred to as "points". The board is divided in the middle by a bar.
The points interchange in color and are grouped into four quadrants of 6 points each. The two right quadrants of the board are called the "home board". The lower quadrant (respectively to the player's position) is the player's home board while his opponent's home board is the upper-quadrant. The two quadrants left are considered as "outer boards" following the above rules.
The points are numbered from 1 to 24. The first point is the extreme point in the player's home board; the next points are numbered from 2 to 6, when the 6th point is near the bar.
The numbering continues in a clockwise order up to 24. The 24th point is in the opponent's home board, opposite to the 1st point.
The initial display of the checkers on the board are according to the following backgammon rules:
The object of the backgammon game is to remove all of a player's checkers before his opponent manages to do so, in order to do so a player must move all his checkers to his home board. This is called "bearing off" and it is the final and most important stage of the game.
The movement of the checkers upon the backgammon board can be made in only one direction following the strict backgammon rules: From one point to a lower-numbered point. This means that a checker present at the 13th point may only move to the 12th-1st point. The movement is in a clockwise order from the 24th point to the 1st point.
As mentioned before a player may move his checker to a point where there's only one checker present, this is called "hitting" and the opponent's checker which is in a position to be hit is called "blot".
When a player is being hit he must place his checker on the bar. He may enter the checker back into the game only by following these backgammon rules:
In order to bear off and to win a backgammon game a player must first bring all of his 15 checkers into his home board, in no other circumstances do the backgammon rules allow you to bear off.
Them he may begin to bear them off the board. If at any point one of his checkers is hit he must stop and enter that checker back into the board before starting the process over again.
A player may bear off a checker by rolling a number that matches to the point on which the checker is located, and then bearing that checker off the backgammon board. Therefore, rolling a 6 allows the player to take away a checker from the 6th point.
If no checker match the number rolled by the dice then the player have to make a legal move with a checker on a higher-numbered point, or he may bear off one checker from other high-numbered point. For example, by rolling a 5-1 a player may bear off checkers from the 1st and 4th/3rd/2nd points if there's no checkers on the 5th and 6th point.
Josh Wilson, Editorial Staff 14/2/06