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Arrow The opening roll
 
In backgammon, there is a very slight advantage in starting the game, particularly if the throw enables you to make a point.

There are fifteen possible combinations of the dice with the first roll, plus the six doubles which the second player can throw. Each player must exercise his own skill in deciding the best move for the two numbers he has just rolled. The early game is of vital importance, as it will determine the tactics you will need to adopt in later stages of the game. It is important not to commit yourself too early; however , since this is only about the opening move, there is little option but ot discuss the mere basics.

There are eleven rolls from which you can make a good point. They are: 6-1, 3-1, 4-2, 5-3 and 6-4, plus the doubles 1-1, 2-2, 3-3, 4-4, 5-5 and 6-6.

In the event of a 6-3, 6-4 or 6-5, some players prefer to drop the 6 on to the bar point and the 3, 4 or 5 on to the ten, nine or eight points respectively. This provides an excellent opportunity to make their bar point next turn, as long as they are not hit by their opponent. The remaining throws are not as straightforward. These are: 2-1, 4-1, 5-1, 5-2 and 6-2.

Remember that these options relate to the opening throw of the game, and that your opponent has not yet had the chance to move any of his men. You are therefore undecided as to whether you are going to adopt an aggressive or a defensive strategy. If you are aware of your opponent's normal manner of play it can often help you with your decision. You may often play a defensive game if you have been unable to make a point with your opener, but then may revert to aggressive play if your opponent hasn't been able to secure a good point. Normally aggression is the preferred strategy, provided that you can change tactics mid-play without jeopardizing your position too much.  

 
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