When playing backgammon, the objective of backgammon is to bring all your checkers, white or black, into your own home board so that you can begin to remove them from the board (the bear-off game phase). The winner of the game is the first player to bear off all of his checkers.
Starting to play
In order for the game of backgammon to begin (start to play backgammon), each player throws a single die and the player that rolls the highest number plays first. If equal numbers come up, then both players keep rolling their die until they roll distinct numbers.
Commonly, the first player uses the joint numbers on the already-thrown dice to start, although this rule is not harshly followed today. After the initial turn, the players alternate turns and roll two dice each time.
In some matches, the winner of the last game plays first in the next backgammon game, although this us a backgammon rule that not always put into effect.
Moving the Checkers
The roll of the dice indicates how many points, or pips (a unit of distance on a backgammon board) the player is to move his checkers. Backgammon checkers can by no means move backwards, they only move forward towards their own home boards, meaning the white and black pieces are always moving in opposite directions around the backgammon board, one player moving his checkers clockwise while the other counter-clockwise. There are few rules when considering the movement of checkers:
The numbers on the two dice represent separate moves. For instance, if a player rolls 4 and 2, he may move one checker four spaces to an open point and another checker two spaces to an open point, or he may move a single checker a total of six spaces to an open point.
A checker can be moved to any point that is vacant, to one that is occupied by your own checkers or to a point that has no more then one of your opponent's checkers on it. In other words, two or more checkers that are occupied by your opponent are considered a block for you.
If you roll the dice and the same number comes up (a double), you can move the pieces twice as many times. For example, with a role of 2-2, you may move 2 points 4 times in any given combination (one piece 8 points, two pieces 4 points each, one piece 6 points and the other 2, two pieces 2 points and a third piece of 4 points, four pieces 2 points each ). Usually, the more doubles a player rolls, the greater his chances of winning the game.
Hitting a blot
People who play backgammon know that a single checker on a point is called a blot and that it may be attacked by the opponent. Checkers of different colors may not inhabit the same point. Thus, a blot is removed by landing on it with one of the opponent pieces, which is also named a hit. The blot is taken off the board and moved to the bar, and stays out of play until the checker is entered in your opponent's inner board. You can re-enter your checker from the bar only if one of the numbers appear on the rolled dice match a point which is not occupied by two or more of your opponent's checkers. If none of the points is open, the player loses his roll. If a player is capable of entering several but not all of his checkers, he is obliged to enter as many as he can and then give up the rest of his turn.
The doubling cube is a dice with the numbers 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 and 64 written on it which is used for raising the stakes at backgammon matches and tournaments.
Using the doubling cube can be done at any stage of the game:
A player who feels he has an advantage on his opponent may suggest doubling the stakes. He may do this when it is his turn and he has not yet rolled the dice. To double, the player simply places the doubling cube with the numbers 2 facing up. The opponent may refuse the offer by resigning (and thus losing the game) or may accept it.
The opponent who accepts the offer is now the owner of the doubling cube, meaning he's the only one who can double the stakes again (this time by placing the doubling cube with the number 4 facing up).
Bearing off is the final stage of the game - removing your pieces from the home board. In order to start this action all of your 15 checkers should be in the home board. The same as with normal moves, you bear off according to the roll of the dice, always from the highest occupied point in your home table. During the bear off process there might be a situation when there is no checker on the point indicated by the roll. In this situation the player must make a legal move by using a checker on a higher point. If there aren't any checkers on higher points, the player is allowed to remove a checker from his highest occupied point. However, you have no obligation of bearing off if you have another legal move to make.
Winning the Game of Backgammon
The winner of the game is the first player to bear off all of his checkers. If your rival has not been able to bear off neither of his checkers you score a gammon, a double victory, which counts twice a normal win. Triple victory or a backgammon, counts three times a normal win and is scored when your opponent hasn't succeeded in bearing off any of his checkers and still has checkers on the bar or in the winner's home board.