 
Home: Backgammon:
Glossary
A

 ABT
 American Backgammon Tour, an annual masterpoint
competition of participants in major U.S.
tournaments. Website: ABT.

Accept a Double
 To agree to continue playing a game at twice the
previous
stakes after the opponent offers a
double. Compare: Refuse
a Double.
 Ace
 A rolled die
showing the number 1.

AcePoint
 Traditional name for the
onepoint.

AcePoint Game
 A position in the late stages of a game in which a
player is
anchored on the opponent's
onepoint
trying to hit a
shot as the opponent brings his checkers home and
bears them
off.

AceyDeucey
 [Also spelled "AceyDeucy" or "AceyDucey".]
 The
roll of 1 and 2 with two
dice.
 A backgammon
variant
in which the roll of 1 and 2 gives the player extra
turns.

Acting Captain
 In a
chouette, the
crew member
who plays for the
team
against the box
after the original
captain
has
declined box's double and is no longer in the game.

Action Play
 A play designed to provoke an exchange of
hits,
typically used after the opponent has escaped his
runners.

Action Position
 A position in which one player
doubles
based upon his immediate
blothitting
chances.

Active Builder
 A
checker which is completely free to
make
another point.

Advanced Anchor

 An
anchor on the opponent's
fivepoint,
fourpoint, or sometimes
threepoint.
 An
made point on the opponent's fivepoint, fourpoint,
or
barpoint. (Many authors include the barpoint,
though it is technically not an
anchor,
because it functions much like an advanced anchor when
playing a
holdinggame.) See: Holding
Point.

Advanced Level
 A player of considerable experience and skill who has
moved beyond
intermediate level.

Ahead in the Count
 Having a lower
pip count
than your opponent; see
count (2).

Ahead in the Race
 Having a lower
pip count
than your opponent.

Air Ball
 An unexpectedly poor
roll.

Analog Clock
 A traditional
chess
clock with hands that show the time remaining for each
player. It has a flag that falls to indicate when a
player's time has expired. Analog clocks generally do not
have a
time delay feature, making them less suitable than
digital clocks for use in backgammon.
 Anchor:
 A
point (1)
occupied by two or more of your
checkers
in the opponent's
home
board.

Annotated Match
 A recorded
match with added analysis and commentary.

Annotation
 Analysis and commentary about a backgammon game written
after the game is played.

AntiJoker
 A very bad
roll; the opposite of a
joker.
 Army
 The formation of a player's
checkers
as they work together to
block
and attack
the opponent, then and come
home
safely.

Around the Corner
 A move
from the opponent's
outer
board to the player's
outer
board.
 Asset
 A feature that contributes to the strength of a
position,
such as
made points and
flexibility. Compare: Liability.

Attacking Game

Blitz (1).

Automatic Doubles
 An optional rule in
money
play: If both players
throw the
same number on the
first
roll of a game, the
stakes are
doubled. The
doubling cube is turned to 2 and stays
in the
middle. Players usually agree to limit the number of
automatic doubles to one per game.

Automatics

Automatic doubles.

Awkward Number
 A dice roll
which forces a player to leave a
shot or
break
a valuable
point (2).


B


Back Game
 [Also spelled "backgame".] A strategy employed
by a player who is substantially behind in the
race but
has two or more
anchors
in the opponent's
home
board. The player holds both anchors as long as
possible, forcing his opponent to
bear in
or bear off
awkwardly. The idea is to
hit a late
shot and
then
contain the hit checker behind a
prime. Compare: Holding
Game.

Backgammon

 A game played with
dice
and
checkers on a
board consisting of twentyfour
points (1),
in which each player tries to move his checkers
home
and
bear them off while preventing the opponent from
doing the same thing.
 A completed game of
backgammon (1) in which the losing
player has not
borne
off any
checkers
and still has one or more checkers on the
bar or
in the winner's
home
board. A backgammon is also called a
triple game because the winner receives three times
the value of the
doubling cube. Compare: Single
Game and
Gammon.

Backgammon Board

Backgammon (1) is played on a board
consisting of twentyfour narrow triangles called
points (1).
The triangles alternate in color and are grouped into four
quadrants
of six triangles each. The quadrants are referred to as a
player's
home board and
outer
board and the opponent's home board and outer board. The
home and outer boards are separated from each other by a
ridge down the center of the board called the
bar.

Backgammon Server
 A computer on the Internet which hosts games of
backgammon (1). Competitors play in real
time with opponents from around the world. The server
rolls the
dice,
communicates the
plays to
each player, keeps score, and maintains
ratings
for all players. Some servers even let you play for money.
You typically interact with a server using
client software downloaded to your computer.

Back Man

Runner;
a player's rearmost
checker.

Baffle Box
 A device through which
dice are
dropped to randomize a
roll. The
dice are deflected and jostled about as they fall through
the box.

Bakelite
 An early type of plastic, used in the 1920's and 1930's
for the creation of backgammon
playing
pieces. Many people prefer the look and feel of bakelite
to newer materials.

Banana Split
 [Because you must be "bananas" to try it.] To
hit loose
by
breaking a point in your
home
board, thereby leaving two
blots.

Bankroll
 The amount of money you have available for betting, or
the maximum amount you are willing to lose in a session. See: Money
Management.
 Bar
 The raised ridge down the center of a
backgammon board dividing the
home
board from the
outer
board. Checkers are placed on the bar after they have
been hit.

Barabino
 [Named after backgammon expert Rick Barabino.] A
roll of 54
from the bar
used to
make an
anchor on the opponent's
fivepoint.

BarPoint
 A player's sevenpoint, so named because it is
physically adjacent to the
bar.

Battle of Primes
 A position in which both players have
checkers
trapped behind an opponent's
prime. See: PrimevsPrime.

Bear In
 To move a
checker
into your
home board prior to
bearing off.

Bear Off
 To remove a
checker
from the board according to a
roll of the
dice after
all of your checkers have been brought into your
home
board.

Bearoff
 The last stage of the game during which
checkers
are borne
off.

Bearoff Database
 A computergenerated table associating each possible
bearoff
position with a value that represents the quality of that
position. The associated value is either the
equity of
the position (in a
twosided database) or a distribution of the expected
number of rolls to bear off (in a
onesided database).

Bear On
 To be within six
points (1)
of. For example, a
checker
on your 13point bears on points 7 through 12.
 Beaver
 An immediate redouble by a player who just
accepted a double. A player who beavers turns the
cube
up one level and retains
possession of the cube. See: Beavers.

Beavers
 A rule often used in
money
play (but never in
match
play) which says: A player who
accepts a double may immediately redouble (beaver)
without giving up
possession of the cube. The opponent (the player who
originally doubled) may
refuse the beaver, in which case he resigns the game and
loses the current (doubled) stakes. Otherwise, he must
accept the beaver and continue the game at quadruple the
stakes prior to the double.

Behind in the Count
 Having a higher
pip count
than your opponent; see
count (2).

Behind in the Race
 Having a higher
pip count
than your opponent.
 Bertha
 To mistakenly play the roll of 65 from the opponent's
onepoint
to your
midpoint without seeing that the opponent has made his
barpoint
and blocks your way.
 BIBA
 British Isles Backgammon Association. Website: BIBA.

Big Play
 A bold
or aggressive play when a
safer
but less constructive play is available.

Binache

Beaver.
 Blitz

 An allout attack on enemy
blots
in your
home
board aimed at
closing out your opponent.
 A quick
elimination
tournament consisting of short
matches.
 Block
 A
point (1)
occupied by two or more
checkers
held for the purpose of hindering the opponent's progress.

Blockade
 A series of
blocks
arranged to prevent escape of the opponent's
runners.
The ideal blockade is a
prime.

Blocking Backgammon
 A backgammon
variant
in which one
checker by itself controls a
point (1).

Blocking Game
 A game
plan where the primary strategy is to build a strong
blockade.
 Blot
 A single
checker sitting alone on a
point (1)
where it is vulnerable to being
hit.

BlotHitting Contest
 An exchange of
loose hits
in which both players try to gain a
key point.

Blue game
 A kind of collusion in a chouette. Two or more players
silently agree to share their winnigs, thus if either of
them is in the box and the other is captain, the captain
deliberately makes bad moves or wrong doubling decisions.

Blunder
 A large checker play or cube error, especially one made
out of recklessness or inattention. Compare: Whopper.
 Board

 A
backgammon board.
 One of the four
quadrants that make up the playing area: your
home
board, your
outer board, the opponent's home board, and the
opponent's outer board.
 A player's
home
board. For example: a
strong board is a home board with several
made points; an
npoint board is a home board with n
points made; to
make your board means to
close all the points in your home board.

Board Layout
 See: Starting
Position.

Board Setup
 See: Starting
Position.

Bold Play
 A play that leaves one or more
blots that
the opponent can easily
hit. Compare: Safe
Play.

BoldSafe Criteria
 See: Magriel's
SafeBold Criteria.

Book a Checker

Cover a blot.
 Bot
 [Contraction of "robot."]
 A computer program on a
backgammon server that plays and competes just as if
it were a human player.
 Any computer program that can play
backgammon (1) and analyze
positions (such as
Jellyfish,
Snowie,
or
GNU Backgammon).
 Box
 [Short for "man in the box," a person in a difficult
or trying position.] The player in a
chouette
who plays alone against all the others.

Boxcars
 A roll
of 66 (double 6's).
 Boxes
 A roll
of 66 (double 6's).
 Boys (The Boys)
 A roll
of 66 (double 6's).
 Break
 To take apart, as in
break
a point,
break
a prime, or
break one's board.

Break a Point
 To remove a
checker
from a
point (1)
that contains only two checkers, leaving the point
open.
(The opposite of
make a
point.)

Break a Prime
 To
open one or more
points (2)
in a prime.

Break Contact
 To move past the last of the opponent's
checkers,
so that no further
hitting or
blocking
is possible. The game becomes a
pure race.

Break One's Board
 To
open one or more
points (2)
in your
home board after having
made
your board.

Broken Prime
 An incomplete
prime with
a gap in it.

Bronstein Clock
 A
chess clock with a feature that allows a
time
delay with each move. See also: Fischer
Clock.

Builder
 A
checker brought into your
outer
board where it
bears
directly onto one or more
key points
that you want to
make.

Build One's Board
 To
make points in your
home
board.
 Bump

Hit a
checker.

Bump and Pass

Pick and pass.

Bump and Run

Pick and pass.

Bury a Checker
 To play a
checker
deep within
your home
board where it has no value.

Busted Back Game
 A
backgame attempt that fell apart when the backgame
player was forced to move checkers
deep into
his home
board where they could no longer
contain a
hit checker.

Button up
 To safety a
blot by bringing it together with another
checker.
 Bye
 [As in "go by".] The position of a player in a
tournament who advances to the next
round
without playing a match. Byes are often awarded in the first
round of an
elimination tournament to make the number of advancing
players a power of 2.


C


Calcutta Auction
 A lottery of entrants in a backgammon
tournament. At the start of the tournament, players are
auctioned off and the proceeds go into a pool to be
distributed later to the buyers of the successful players.
Sometimes players are grouped into fields, with each field
sold as a package. The rules usually allow a player to buy
back a portion of himself if he wants to increase his stake
in the tournament.

California Rule
 An optional rule that says the winner of the
opening
roll has the option of rerolling both dice if he also
turns the
cube
to 2. (The cube remains in the
center.)

Candlesticks
 A position in which a player's
checkers
are piled high on a few
points (1).

Captain
 In a
chouette, the leader of the
team
playing against the
box. He
rolls the dice and makes the final decisions for the team.

Cash a Game
 To offer a
double
which you believe will be
refused so you can collect the current value of the
cube;
claim a
game.
 Cast
 To throw
a pair of dice.

Catalin
 An early plastic, similar to
bakelite,
that was popular in the 1930's and 40's in the creation of
backgammon
playing pieces.

Catchers

Checkers
which have been purposely spread out to maximize the chance
of hitting
an opposing checker if it tries to escape.

Centered Cube
 The position of the
doubling cube before either player has offered a
double. A
centered doubling cube is placed halfway between the players
at the start of each game with the number 64 facing up
(representing a value of 1).

Championship Division

Open division.
 Chase
 Play dangerously, especially in
offering
or
accepting doubles, in an attempt to recover losses.

Checker
 One of the fifteen markers, all of one color, that a
player moves around the
board according to
rolls of
the dice.
Also known as
men,
pieces,
stones, or
counters.

Checker Play

 The movement of the
checkers
according to numbers on the
dice.
 The art or skill of moving the checkers. Compare: Cube
Play (2).

Chequer
 British spelling of
checker.

Chess Clock
 Two adjacent connected clocks with buttons that stop one
clock while starting the other so that the two component
clocks never run simultaneously. The purpose is to keep
track of the total time each player takes and ensure that
neither player unduly delays the game. Clocks may be
analog
or
digital. Digital clocks work best in backgammon because
they have a
time
delay

Chouette
 [Pronounced "shooETT". From the French word
for "barn owl," a bird that is often attacked by all
other birds.] A social form of backgammon for
three or more players. One player, the
box,
plays on a single
board against all the others who form a
team
led by a
captain.

CinquePoint
 Traditional name for the
fivepoint.

Claim a Game
 To offer a
double
which you believe will be
refused so that you can collect the current value of the
cube;
cash a
game.

Clean Play
 A move
completed legally.

Clear a Point
 To move
all the
checkers off of a
point (1).

Clear from the Rear
 A good general strategy to use when
bearing in
or bearing
off against opposition. You
clear
your highest
point (1) first and avoid creating
gaps.

Client Software
 Software that runs on a user's computer and communicates
with a
backgammon server to allow the user to play
backgammon (1) with others on the
Internet. The client software displays the
board and interacts with the user as he
rolls the
dice and
moves the
checkers.
 Clock

Chess clock.

Clockwise
 The direction your
checkers
move around the board when they are
set up to
bear off
to the left. When your checkers move clockwise, your
opponent's checkers move
counterclockwise.

Close a Point

Make a point; place two or more of your
checkers
on a
point (1),
and thereby prevent your opponent from landing there.

Closed Board
 A player's
home
board when all six
points (1)
are blocked.

Closed Point
 A
point (1)
containing two or more
checkers;
a block or
an anchor.

Close Out
 To
make all six of your
home
board points while the opponent has one or more
checkers
on the bar.
The opponent is then prevented from
entering
his checker or making any other move until one of the
closed
homeboard points is
opened.

Cluster Count
 A collection
pip
counting
this article.

Cocked Dice

Thrown
dice
which do not both land flat on the surface of the
half of the
board to the player s right. The
roll
is disqualified and both dice must be rethrown.

Cock Shott

Entering
from the bar
with a roll
of 62 and
hitting a
blot on the eightpoint when the only
open
point is the
twopoint.


Coffeehouse

Misleading talk to confuse opponent. For example, in a
chouette, when a team player advises
the captain not to double knowing full
well that the captain will double, he
tempts the box to unwisely accept (ethically borderline, at
best)
Combinationn
 The two numbers on a pair of rolled
dice
taken together; see
combinations of the dice.
 The play of a single
checker
that uses both numbers of a
roll,
such as a
combination shot.
Combination Shot
An opportunity to
hit an
opposing blot
that requires using the numbers on both
dice taken
together; an
indirect shot. Compare: Direct
Shot.
Combinations of
the Dice
The number of possible rolls out of 36 that accomplish a
specific objective.
Comeback Shot
An opportunity to
hit an
opponent's blot
immediately after being hit yourself; in particular, an
opportunity to hit from the
bar.
Come In
Enter.
Comfort Station
Midpoint.
Committed Position
A position from which there is only one reasonable
game plan
noncommitted position.
Communicate
To keep
checkers within six
pips (2)
of one another for mutual support; see
connectivity.
Compact Position
A position with several
made
points close to one another and few
gaps.
Confetti
What you sometimes get paid in if you are not careful
with whom you play.
Confidence Interval
A range of values that contain, with a certain
probability, a
rollout s
convergence value
Connected
Positionn
A position in which all fifteen of a player's
checkers
are located within a short distance of each other. A
position which is wellconnected will tend to stay
wellconnected.
Connectivity
The degree to which all of a player's
checkers
work together as a unified army without large
gaps between
them.
Connected checkers defend each other and are easily made
into
points (2).
Consolation Division
Consolation flight.
Consolation Flight
A event for players eliminated early in the
main
flight of an
elimination
tournament; sometimes called a
sympathy flight.
Consolidate
To reduce the number of
blots a
player has, frequently as a precursor to offering a
double.
Consultation
Advice offered by the
crew to the
captain
chouette.
Contact Positionn
A game where the opposing forces have not moved past
each other and where it is still possible for one player to
hit or
block the
other. Compare: Pure
Race.
Contain a Checker
To prevent an opposing
checker
from escaping to its own side of the board by
blocking
it or hitting
it and sending it back.
Control a Point
A player controls a
point (1)
if he has two or more
checkers
on that point. Only the player who controls a point may move
additional checkers to that point.
Control the Cube
Own
the cube.
Convergence Value (of a
Rollout)
The value approached by a
rollout
as more and more
trials are
performed. It is the result you would obtain if you could do
a rollout an infinite number of times.
Correspondence Games
Games played by email.
Count

Pip count.
 The relative standing of the players' pip counts.
The player with the lower pip count is said to be
ahead in the count.
Counter
Checker.
Counterclockwise
The direction your
checkers
move around the board when they are
set up to
bear off
to the right. When your checkers move counterclockwise, your
opponent's checkers move
clockwise.
Counterplay
Possibilities for retaliation, switching from a
defensive posture to an offensive posture.
Count the Position
To tabulate the players'
pip counts
to find out who is
ahead in the race
Coup Classique
A win from the seemingly unwinnable position in
which your opponent has
borne off twelve checkers and has just three
checkers remaining on his
twopoint. You bravely maintain
contact with a single checker on his
onepoint and deploy your other fourteen
checkers where they can
contain his checkers if you are able to
hit
one or, preferably, two of them. Winning a coup
classique is especially satisfying for you and
maddening for your opponent.
Cover a Blott
To add a second
checker
to a blot,
thereby
making the point
CPW
Cubeless probability of winning.
Cramped
Having little or no
mobility.
Crawford Game
The first game in a
match
after either player comes to within one
point (4)
of winning. The rules of
match
play say that the
doubling cube may not be used during the Crawford game.
See: Crawford
Rule.
Crawford Rule
[Named for John R. Crawford.] A standard rule of
match
play. After either player comes within one
point (4)
of winning the match, the following game is played without a
doubling cube. This one game without doubling is called
the
Crawford Game. After the Crawford game, the doubling
cube is back in play again.
Crew
chouette, members of the
teamm who
play with the
captain
against the box.
Crossover
The movement of a
checker
from one
quadrant of the board to an adjacent quadrant.
Crossover Count
The total number of
crossovers
needed to get all your
checkers
home
and then
borne off.
Crunch
The forced evacuation of desirable
points (2)
due to the lack of alternate plays; in particular, a
position in which you are forced to
bury
checkers deep within your
home
board.
Crunched Position
A position which has collapsed, with several
checkers
being forced to the low
points (1)
in the player's
home
board while other checkers remain in the opponent's
territory.
Crunching Position
A
priming game in which one side is about to collapse, but
has not done so yet.
Cube
Doubling cube.
Cube Action
All of the
cube
decisions associated with a given position, namely: (a)
whether the player
on roll
should double,
and (b) whether his opponent should
accept the double,
refuse the double, or possibly
beaver.
Cube Decision
The choice of whether or not to offer a
double,
or the choice of whether to
accept, or
refuse
Cubeful Equity
In
money play with the
doubling cube, the absolute value of a position
to one of the players compared to the
initial stake being played for. See: Equity.
Cubeful equity considers the current value of the
cube,
cube ownership, and the potential for future
doubles. In
match play, cubeful equity corresponds to the
probability of winning the match from the current
position. Compare: Cubeless
Equity.
Cubeful Rollout
A
rollout performed with the
doubling cube in play. All appropriate
cube
decisions are made as the position is played out. That
means some
trials will end in a
dropped
double
and others will end with the cube at 2, or 4, or even
higher. Cubeful rollouts more accurately simulate actual
games than
cubeless rollouts, but they have greater variance, so
they do not
converge as quickly. And cubeful rollouts may be more
susceptible to
systematic error because of cube misplays.
Cube Handling
The art or skill of making
cube
decisions.
Cube in the Middle
See: Centered
Cube.
Cubeless Equity
The value of a position if the game is played without a
doubling cube. This is a value between 3 and +3 and is
equal to P(W) + P(Wg) + P(Wbg)  P(L)  P(Lg)  P(Lbg),
where P(W) is the probability of winning the game, P(Wg) is
the probability of winning a gammon (or backgammon), P(Wbg)
is the probability of winning a backgammon, P(L) is the
probability of losing the game, P(Lg) is the probability of
losing a gammon (or backgammon), P(Lbg) is the probability
of losing a backgammon. Compare: Cubeful
Equity.
Cubeless
Probability of Winning
The chance of winning the game if no
doubling cube is used; also called
game winning chances.
Cubeless Rollout
A
rollout performed without using a
doubling cube. Each
trial is
played to the end of the game and scored plus or minus 1, 2,
or 3
points (4)
depending on whether gamed ended in a
single
game,
gammon, or
backgammon (2). Because cubeless rollouts
do not include
cube play,
they do not perfectly simulate a game, but cubeless rollouts
have less variance and less
systematic error than
cubeful rollouts.
Cube Ownership
Which player has the right to make the next
double.
At the start of the game, the cube is in the
middle
and either player may double. After one player accepts
another's double, he
owns
the cube, and only that player may make the next double.
Cube Play
 The act of offering a
double,
or the act of
accepting or
refusing the opponent's double.
 The art or skill of making
cube decisions. Compare: Checker
Play (2).
Cube Proxy
A player in a
chouette
who temporarily handles the
cube
for another while that player is away from the game.
Cube Reference
Position
A position for which the correct
cube
action is known which serves as a standard by which
other similar positions may be judged.
Cup
Dice
cup.
Current Stake
The
initial stake multiplied by the value of the
doubling cube.


DDD

 Dance
 [From the action a player makes as he reaches to
enter his checker, then pulls his arm back when he notices
the numbers are blocked.] To
throw
numbers which fail to
enter a
checker
from the bar.

Dead Checker
 A
spare checker
deep in the
player's
home board where it serves no useful purpose. See: Bury
a Checker.

Dead Cube
 A
doubling cube with no further
doubling
value. In
match play, the cube is said to be dead when the player
owning the cube has no reason to double. For example, a
player who owns a 2cube when he is two
points (4)
away from winning the
match will
never double because he can win the match with the cube at
its current level.

Dead Man

Dead checker.

Dead Number
 A specific number on the
dice which
cannot be played in the current position; see
kill a
number.

Decline a Double

Refuse a double.
 Deep
 On a lownumbered
point (1),
usually the
onepoint
or
twopoint.

Deep Anchor
 An anchor
on the opponent's
onepoint
or
twopoint.
 Deuce
 A rolled die
showing the number 2.

DeucePoint
 Traditional name for the
twopoint.
 Dice
 [Plural of
die.]
Two small cubes, each with faces marked with spots (pips (1))
representing the numbers 1 to 6. Dice for backgammon usually
have rounded corners so they roll more easily. You
throw a
pair of dice at the start of each
turn, and
move your
checkers
according to the numbers thrown.

Dice Combination
 One of the 36 possible
rolls using
two dice.

Dice Cup
 A container, often of leather or plastic, used for
shaking and rolling
dice. Dice
cups often have a ridge around the inside of the open end
designed to "trip up" the dice as they leave the cup. Dice
cups make
dice manipulation harder and help ensure randomness of
the rolls.

Dice Manipulation
 Any unfair means used to influence the
roll of the
dice.

Dice Mechanic
 A person skillful in the use of unfair means to control
the dice.
 Die
 Singular of
dice.

Digital Clock
 An electronic
chess
clock with digital displays showing the time remaining
for each player. A display shows 00:00 when a player has run
out of time. Digital clocks typically have a
time
delay feature which makes them particularly well suited
for backgammon. Compare: Analog
Clock.

Dilly Builder
 A
spare checker which
bears
only on points
deep in a player's
home
board.

Direct Hit
 A hit
using the number on just one
die. You
must be within six points of a
blot to be
able to hit it directly. Compare: Indirect
Hit.

Direct Range
 Reachable using a single number from one
die. For
example, a blot
is in direct range of being
hit if it is
six points or less away from an opposing
checker.

Direct Shot
 A chance to
hit a blot
six points or less away using a single number from one
die.

Disengage
 To
break all contact and turn the game into a
pure race.

Disjointed Position
 A position that is poorly
connected, in which a player's
army is
divided into two or more groups with large
gaps between
them.

Diversification
 The spreading out of your
checkers
to increase the number of good
rolls on your
next turn. Compare: Duplication.

Division
 One of the sections in a tournament into which players
are divided according to their ability and experience. For
example, a tournament might have a
novice division, an
intermediate division, and an
open
division.
 DMP

Double match point.
 Double
 An offer made by one player to his opponent during the
course of a game (just before the player
rolls the
dice) to
continue the game at twice the current
stakes.
The opponent may
refuse the double, in which case he resigns the game and
loses the current (undoubled) stakes. Otherwise, he must
accept the double and the game continues at double the
previous stakes. A player who accepts a double becomes
owner of the cube and only he may make the next double
in the same game.

Double Bump

Double hit.

Double Direct Shot

Double shot.

Double Ducks
 The roll
of 22 on the
dice (double 2's).

Double Elimination
 A
tournament format in which a competitor continues
playing until he has lost twice. Compare: Single
Elimination.

Double Game

Gammon.

Double Hit
 To hit
two opposing
blots on one
turn.

Double Jeopardy
 Potential for
awkward rolls both next turn and the turn after.

Double Match Point

 A
match in which both players need just one more
point (4)
to win.
 A game in which the
doubling cube has reached a high enough level that a
win by either player also wins the match.

Double Oneself Out
 To offer a
double
which, if
accepted, will win the
match for
that player if he goes on to win the game.

Doubler

Doubling cube.

Doubles
 Two thrown
dice with identical numbers on their upper faces.

Double Shot
 One blot
which can be
directly
hit two different ways, or two blots each of which can
be directly hit one way. Compare: Single
Shot.

Doublets

Doubles.

Doubling Block

Doubling cube.

Doubling Cube
 A cubical block, slightly larger than a regular
die, with
the numbers 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, and 64 marked on its faces. It
is used for keeping track of the increase in
stakes of
the game and the player who next has the right to
double.
The cube starts in the
middle
with the number 64 facing up (representing a value of 1).
When you offer a double, you turn the cube to its next
higher value and pass it to your opponent. If he
accepts your double, he places the cube on his side of
the board and becomes the
owner of the cube.

Doubling on the Come
 Offering a
double in
anticipation of a good roll.

Doubling Window

 The range of
game winning chances which are both a proper
double
and a proper
take.
 The range of
game winning chances which would be a proper
double
and a proper
take if
neither player could use the
cube
again.
 Draw
 The random pairing of competitors in a
tournament to determine who will play whom or who will
get byes.
 Drop

Refuse a double.

Dropper
 [From the server message:
Player xxx drops
connection.] A player on a
backgammon server who avoids a reduction to his
rating by
intentionally leaving a
match he
is about to lose before the result recorded.

Drop Point
 The maximum
game winning chances at which it is correct for a player
to
refuse a double; the point at which a player is equally
well off
accepting a double or refusing a double;
take
point.

DropTake
 In a
chouette, an agreement between two players after a
double by
the box that
one player will
accept the double, the other will
refuse, and they will share their combined earnings or
loss.
 Ducks

Double ducks.

Duplicate Backgammon
 A form of
tournament play in which in which multiple pairs of
competitors play with the same dice rolls in separate games
and compare their results.

Duplicate Dice
 Using the same sequence of random
rolls to
roll out
two or more
positions being compared. The idea is that lucky rolls
for one position will also tend to be lucky for the other
position, so when the results are compared less of the
difference will be due to luck.

Duplicate Tournament
 See: Duplicate
Backgammon.

Duplication
 A position in which the same number can be used in more
than one way. For example, when your opponent can use a 5 to
hit either
of two blots,
his 5's are said to be duplicated. All else being
equal, a position which duplicates the opponent's good
numbers is better than one which does not because it means
the opponent has fewer good
rolls in
total.

Dutch Backgammon
 A backgammon variant in which the players start with all
their checkers off the board.

Dyscommunication
 The negative impact on
flexibility of having spare checkers exactly six pips apart.


E


Early Game
 The first few moves of a game, before the players have
settled on a particular
game plan.

EarlyLate Ratio
 A comparison of the cost of
doubling
slightly before opponent's
drop
point versus doubling slightly past opponent's drop
point. This number varies depending on the score of the
match, the level of the cube, and the chance of gammon in
the current game. It is useful in determining how
aggressively a player should double to avoid
losing his market.

Edge of a Prime
 The
open point directly in front of a
prime.

Effective Pip Count
 The average number of
rolls
required to
bear off all your checkers multiplied by the average pip
value of a roll (49/6 pips). A player's
EPC is equal
to his actual
pip count
plus the
wastage of the position.

Efficient Double
 A double
made at its point of maximum effectiveness, when the
opponent would be correct to either
accept or
refuse.
 Eject
 To abandon an
acepoint game to avoid losing a
backgammon (2) or a
gammon.

Elimination Format
 A
tournament event in which half the competitors are
eliminated each
round
until just one player remains. Compare: Round
Robin Format.

Elo Ratings System
 A method of rating players devised by Arpad Elo for the
U.S. Chess Federation in 1960. Most backgammon ratings
systems are based on Elo's method; for example, see
FIBS rating formula.

EMG Equity

Equivalenttomoneygame equity.

End Game
 The phase of a game which starts when either player
begins to
bear off.
 Enter
 To move a
checker
from the bar
to an
open point in the opponent's
home
board according to a
roll of the
dice. When
a player has a checker on the bar, this is his only legal
move.
 EPC

Effective pip count.
 Equity
 The value of a
position
to one of the players. Equity is the sum of the
values of the possible outcomes from a given position with
each value multiplied by its probability of occurrence. It
is the same as the fair
settlement value of the position. Your equity is the
negative of your opponent's equity. See: Cubeless
Equity,
Cubeful Equity,
Match
Equity, and
EMG
Equity.

EquivalenttoMoneyGame Equity

Cubeful equity normalized by transforming it linearly so
that winning a
single
game at the current value of the
cube
is reported as +1 and losing a single game at the current
value of the cube is reported as −1. EMG equity is commonly
used in
match play to compare the size of errors in different
games. See the
Snowie Support FAQ for a further description and an
example.

Error Rate
 A measure of the average
equity
lost per move
due to errors in play. The lost equity can be measured
either in
matchwinning chances or
EMG
equity. Different programs compute error rate
differently:
Snowie divides by the total number of moves and reports
the rate in "millipoints per move."
Gnu
Backgammon divides by the number of unforced
plays.
 Escape
 To advance a
runner to
safety or past the opponent's
blockade.

Establish a Point

Make a point.
 Eureka
 [Also spelled "Eureika".] Simplified backgammon,
in which each player starts with two
checkers
on his one,
two,
and
threepoint, and three checkers on his
four,
five,
and
sixpoint.

Exposed Checker
 A blot
within range of a
direct
hit.
 Extras
 See: Mandatory
Extras.


G


Gain a Tempo

Hit the
opponent and thereby deprive him of
half a
roll.

Game Plan
 A
strategy for winning the game. The three major game
plans are
run,
block,
and
attack.

Gamesmanship
 The use of ethically
dubious means to obtain an advantage in a game. This
includes intentionally distracting, confusing, or generally
duping an opponent.

Game Winning Chances
 The probability of winning the current game if it is
played to conclusion without a
doubling cube; also called
cubeless probability of winning.
 Gammon
 A completed game of backgammon in which the losing
player has not
borne off
any checkers.
A gammon is also called a
double
game because the winner receives twice the value of the
doubling cube. Compare: Single
Game and
Backgammon (2).

Gammon Count
 The minimum number of pips a player needs to roll to
bring all his checkers home and bear off his first checker,
thereby avoiding losing a gammon. Compare: Pip
Count.

Gammon Cube

Jacoby rule.

GammonGo
 A situation in
match
play where losing a
gammon
has no cost, but winning a gammon is particularly valuable.
Examples: (a) you trail 4away/2away and opponent
owns the cube at 2; or (b) you trail 2away/1away in
the
Crawford game; or (c) you trail 3away/1away after the
Crawford game and the cube is at 2. Gammongo for you
is
gammonsave for your opponent.

Gammonish
 A position that has a higher than normal
gammon
rate.

Gammon Price
 The relative value of winning a
gammon
compared with the value of winning a
single
game. Gammon price is computed as GP = (WG  W) / (W 
L), where WG = value of winning a gammon, W = value of
winning a single game, and L = value of losing a single
game. In
money play, the gammon price is 50%. In
match
play, the gammon price depends on the score of the match
and the level of the
doubling cube.

Gammon Rate
 The chance of a game ending in a
gammon or
a
backgammon (2) if played to completion
(i.e., without a
doubling cube). Gammon rate may refer to a
particular game in progress or to backgammon games in
general. An individual player's gammon rate is the fraction
of his wins which are gammons or backgammons.

GammonSave
 A situation in
match
play where winning a
gammon
has no value, but losing a gammon is particularly costly.
Examples: (a) you lead 2away/4away and
own the
cube at 2; or (b) you lead 1away/2away in the
Crawford game; or (c) you lead 1away/3away after the
Crawford game and the cube is at 2. Gammonsave for
you is
gammongo for your opponent.

Gammon Vigorish (Vig)
 The additional
equity
resulting from the possibility of winning a
gammon.
 Gap
 The space or spaces between
made
points.
 GG

Gammongo.

Gin Position
 A
position from which a player cannot lose.
 Gioul
 A Middle Eastern game in which a single
checker
controls a
point (1) and
doubles
are very powerful.
 Girls (The Girls)
 A roll
of 55 (double 5's).

Give a Little
Present to

Double.

Giving for Game
 A statement made by a player in a
chouette
that he is willing to pay the
captain
or any other
team member the
full
stake at which the game currently stands for the right
to take over their games. The player making this offer does
so because he wishes to
double
the box when
the other players to do not.

GNU Backgammon
 A
neuralnet computer program that plays
backgammon (1) and analyzes positions and
matches. GNU Backgammon is a cooperative effort of many
volunteers. It is "free" software as defined by the
GNU General
Public License. Website: GNU
Backgammon.

Golden Point
 The opponent's
fivepoint, the best place to build an
anchor.
 Go Out
 To achieve the
points (4)
necessary to win a
match.

Greedy Bearoff
 A mode in some computer programs and on some
backgammon servers where the computer will automatically
bear off
the maximum number of checkers possible.

Greek Backgammon

Tavli.
 GS

Gammonsave.
 Guff (Guffy)
 A player's
onepoint.

Gul Bara
 A Middle Eastern game in which a single
checker
controls a
point (1) and
doubles
are very powerful.
 GWC

Game winning chances.


H

 Half a Roll
 One of the two numbers on a pair of
thrown
dice.
 HalfCrossover Method
 A pip
counting method devised by Douglas Zare.
 Handicap
 An artificial advantage given to a weaker player in an
effort to equalize the chances of winning. Some popular
handicaps are: (a) the weaker player gets to go first; (b)
once during the game the weaker player gets to
reroll
if he doesn't like his roll; (c) the weaker player gets to
start the game
owning
the cube; (d) the weaker player gets to start the game
with a strong roll such as 53, 42, 65, or 31.
 HaraKiri Play
 A play which exposes
blots for
the purpose of
recirculating the player's checkers; also known as a
suicide
play.
 HeadtoHead
 One player against another player for
money.
 Heavy Point
 A
point (1)
with more than three
checkers
on it.
 Hedge
 A side bet between two players prior to competing in the
final rounds of a
tournament designed to protect the loser from going away
empty handed. For example, two players competing for a
$10,000 prize might agree beforehand that the winner will
pay the loser $2,500.
 Hit
 To land on a
point (1)
occupied by an opposing
blot and
put the blot on the
bar.
 Hit and Cover
 To hit
an opposing
blot and then continue on with the same
checker
to
cover your own blot.
 Hit and Pass

Pick and pass.
 Hit and Run

Pick and pass.
 Hit and Split
 To hit a
blot with
one number while
splitting
your runners
with the other number. The hit provides protection for the
advanced split checker, making it less likely the opponent
will be able to
point on it.
 Hit Loose
 To hit
an opposing
blot and while leaving your own blots in danger of a
return hit.
 Hit Off the
Edge of a Prime
 To hit
an opposing
blot sitting on the front
edge
of a
partial prime to keep the blot from
escaping.
 Holding Game
 A strategy used when you are
behind in the race and your opponent has escaped his
runners.
You make an
advanced anchor on the opponent's side of the board and
hold on to it as long as you can with the idea of hindering
the opponent from
bearing in
safely. Compare: Back
Game.
 Holding Point
 The defensive
point (2)
you control when playing a
holding
game, usually the opponent's
fourpoint,
fivepoint, or
barpoint.
 Holland Rule
 [Named after Tim Holland, who proposed the rule.]
An optional rule in
match
play that was popular in the 1980's but is now rarely
used. After the
Crawford game a player may not
double
until at least two
rolls have been
played by each side.
 Home
 Home
board.
 Home Board
 The
quadrant containing your
onepoint
through
sixpoint. It is the last quadrant your
checkers
move to before they are
borne off.
It is also the quadrant your opponent must use to
enter any
of his checkers sitting on the
bar. Your
home board is also called your
inner
board or
inner
table.
 Horizon
 The number of
plies played
in each trial
of a
truncated rollout. A rollout that is truncated after 10
plies has a 10ply horizon.
 Hustler
 A player who, by charm or other means, persuades another
player to take part in game where the other player is at a
disadvantage.
 HyperBackgammon
 A backgammon
variant
where each player has just three
checkers.


I

 Illegal Move
 A move
that does not conform to the
roll of the
dice as
defined by the rules of backgammon. An illegal move must be corrected
if requested by the opponent before the opponent
rolls the
dice to
begin his own
turn. See: Illegal
Moves Rule.
 Illegal Moves Rule
 The standard rule in backgammon which says: If a player
makes an
illegal
play, the opponent has the option of allowing the error
to stand or requesting that it be corrected. He must make
this request before
rolling the
dice to
begin his own
turn. Once a correction is requested, the illegal mover
is free to make any legal play he chooses. Compare: Legal
Moves Rule.
 Illegal Play
 A play
that does not conform to the
roll of the
dice as
defined by the rules of backgammon. An illegal play must be corrected
if requested by the opponent before the opponent
rolls the
dice to
begin his own
turn. See: Illegal
Moves Rule.
 Illegal Position
 A position which cannot be reached through any sequence
of
legally played
rolls. For
example, both players
closed out
with
checkers on the
bar is an
illegal position. Illegal positions are not allowed under
the rules, and any misplay that creates an illegal position
must be corrected.
 Inactive Builder
 A
checker that is presently part of a
prime or a
block but
which has the prospect of being used later to
make
another point.
 Indirect Hit
 A hit
that uses the numbers on both
dice taken
together. Compare: Direct
Hit.
 Indirect Shot
 An opportunity to
hit an
opposing blot
using the numbers on both
dice taken
together; a
combination shot. Compare: Direct
Shot.
 Initial Double
 A double
offered while the
cube
is still in the
center,
as opposed to a
redouble
where the player making the double has
possession of the cube.
 Initial Stake
 The amount initially wagered in a game of
backgammon (1). At the end of the game,
this amount is multiplied by the final value of the doubling
cube, and further multiplied by 2 if the win is a
gammon or
3 if the win is a
backgammon (2).
 Initiative
 A term used to describe a situation where one player has
relative freedom to build his position or attack the
opponent as he chooses, while the other player is reduced to
making
forced plays and trying to stave off disaster. The first
player is said to have the initiative.
 Inner Board
 Home
board.
 Inner Table
 Home
board.
 Intermediate Division
 A
division of a
tournament designed for players too strong for the
novice division and who do not wish to compete in the
open
division.
 Intermediate Level
 A player of some experience who has begun to hone his
skills; the level of play between
novice
and
advanced.
 In the Air
 On the bar.
 Irish
 A sixteenthcentury game popular in England and other
European countries, and probably
backgammon (1)'s direct ancestor. Rolls
of doubles
are played just like any other roll, and there are no
gammons
or
backgammons (2).


K

 Kamikaze Play

Breaking points in your
home
board in hopes of getting the
checkers
recirculated, a
back game
strategy.
 Kauder Paradox
 A position which is both a proper
double
and a correct
beaver. This can happen only in
money
play with the
Jacoby
rule. By doubling, the
underdog
gets full value for his potential
gammons,
thus raising his
equity;
however, as long as this equity remains negative, the
opponent should beaver.
 Key Point
 A
point (1)
required to complete a
prime in
front of the opponent's
runners;
the
fourpoint,
fivepoint, and
barpoint
are usually key points.
 Kibitz

 To watch a game or
match.
 To make a comment during the game within hearing
distance of the players (undesirable behavior in a
tournament).
 Kibitzer
 Spectator to a game. Good etiquette dictates that
kibitzers not discuss the game within earshot of the
players.
 Kill a Checker
 To move an extra
checker
deep within your
home
board where it serves no useful purpose. See: Dead
Checker.
 Kill a Number
 To create a position in which a specific number on the
dice cannot
be played on the following
turn.
Killing 6's, for example, is a way to preserve your
timing in
a
priming battle or when defending against a
back game.
Compare: Save
a Number.
 Kleinman Doubling
Formula
 [Proposed by Danny Kleinman.] A guideline for
cube
handling in
pure race
positions. Compute K = (D+4)*(D+4) / (S4), where D is the
player's
pip count minus the opponent's count, and S is the sum
of the pip counts. Kleinman says a player should make an
initial double if K > 0.44, or
redouble
if K > 0.61, and the opponent should
accept a double or redouble if K < 1.2.
 Knock Off
 Hit a
checker.
 Knockout Tournament
 A type of
tournament where you continue to play until you lose; an
elimination tournament.


L

 Ladder

 An ongoing competition in which players are ranked
in approximate order of ability. Any player may
challenge another player higher on the ladder, up to a
given number of steps away. If the challenger wins, he
moves up the ladder and his opponent moves down.

Flight.
 Last Call for
Breakfast
 A player's last
opportunity to make a throw which will give him a chance of
winning the game or saving a gammon.
 Last Chance Event
 A
tournament for players who lose in the first rounds of
the
consolation flight or later rounds in the
main
flight.
 Last Roll Position
 A
position in which the next
roll will
decide the game. In a last roll position, you should
double if
you have greater than 50%
game winning chances and your opponent should
accept your double if he has greater than 25% game
winning chances.
 Latto Paradox
 [Named after Andy Latto, who suggested the
possibility in an Inside Backgammon article, (Vol. 2, No.
3).] A position which is a correct
redouble
but not a correct
initial double.
 Layout
 See: Starting
Position.
 Leader
 The player who is ahead in a
match or
ahead in the
race (2). Compare: Trailer.
 Legal Move
 A move
that conforms to the
roll of the
dice as
defined by the rules of backgammon.
 Legal Moves Rule
 A rule that says that an
illegal
play must be pointed out by the opponent if he notices
it, and then the play must be corrected. This is different
from the
usual rule giving the opponent the option of allowing an
illegal play to stand.
 Legal Play
 A play
that conforms to the
roll of the
dice as
defined by the rules of backgammon.
 Liability
 An feature that contributes to the weakness of a
position, such as too many
blots,
buried checkers, or
inflexibility. Compare: Asset.
 Liby's Rule
 A rule of thumb that says: in a
welltimed
acepoint game, the defending player has about a 17%
chance of winning the game.
 Lipped Cup
 A dice
cup that has a ridge around the inside open end,
designed to trip up the dice as they exit the cup and make
it more difficult for a
dice
mechanic to control the
roll.
 LiveCube Rollout

Cubeful rollout.
 Loaded Dice
 Dice
weighted or shaped so that the distribution of
rolled
numbers is not even.
 Lock Up a Point

Make a point.
 Long Backgammon

LongGammon.
 LongGammon
 A backgammon
variant
in which each player starts with fifteen
checkers
on the opponent's
onepoint.
 Loose Checker
 Blot.
 Loose Hit
 A hit
which leaves a
blot in the player's
home
board where it is exposed to a
direct
return shot.
 Loose Play
 A play
that leaves one or more
blots in a
dangerous position.
 Lose One's Market
 To go from a position in which your opponent would
accept your double to a position in which your opponent
would
refuse your double. See: Market
Loser.
 Lover's Leap
 [Sometimes spelled "lovers' leap".] An
opening
roll of 65 played from the opponent's
onepoint
to the player's
midpoint.
 Luck Factor
 Equity
gained or lost through the
rolls of
the dice
during the course of a game or
match. The luck
associated with a roll is the difference in equity of the
position before the roll and the (properly played) position
after the roll.
 Luck Reduction

Variance reduction (2).


M

 Magriel's
SafeBold Criteria
 Six criteria for determining whether a
situation requires a
safe play
or a bold
play. They are: (a) opponent's
home
board strength; (b) presence of an
anchor in
opponent's home board; (c) your
home
board strength; (d)
blots in
opponent's home board; (e) number of checkers you have back;
and (f) number of checkers opponent has back. Criteria (a)
and (f) call for making a safe play; the others point
towards making a bold play.
 Main Division
 Main
flight.
 Main Flight
 In an
elimination
tournament, the group in which players start and compete
in until they lose, and which offers the largest prize. Compare: Consolation
Flight.
 Major Split
 Moving one of your two
runners
from the opponent's
onepoint
to the opponent's
fourpoint or
fivepoint. Compare: Minor
Split.
 Make a Point
 To place two
checkers
together on one
point (1)
so they form a
block or an
anchor.
Your opponent may not land or touch down on that point as
long as the two checkers remain there.
 Make One's Board
 To
close all the
points (1)
in your
home board.
 Man
 Checker.
 Mandatory Beavers
 An optional
chouette
rule which says: when only one player
accepts box's
initial double, that player must also
beaver;
otherwise, he must
refuse the double along with everyone else. Compare: Mandatory
Extras (1).
 Mandatory Double
 A game in
match
play where the
doubling cube has reached a highenough level that it
represents sufficient
points (4)
for the
leader to win the match; the
trailer
has nothing to lose by
doubling
at this point. This includes any
postCrawford game, where the trailing player should
double at his first opportunity.
 Mandatory Extras

 An optional rule for
chouette play which says when only one player on the
team
accepts the
box's
initial
double that player is obliged to accept an extra
2cube from any other team member that wishes to pay him
one
point (4).
 An optional rule for
money
play which says whenever a
double
is offered and
accepted the doubler has the right to give his
opponent an extra
cube at the same level accompanied by a payment
equal to one half of its value. The receiver of an extra
now has two cubes which he may use together or
separately for making future doubles.
 Mandatory Take
 In
postCrawford
match
play, if the
leader is
offered a
double when the
trailing
player has an odd number of
points (4)
to go, the leader should almost always
accept the double. For example, as leader against an
opponent who is 5away, taking and losing two points means
the opponent still needs two games (or one
gammon)
to win the match.
 Man in the Box
 See: Box.
 Manny Wong
Proposition
 The player
on roll
has two checkers on each of his lower three
home
board points, and three checkers on each of upper three
home board points. The opponent has one checker on the
bar, six
checkers borne off, and the remainder on his
onepoint
and
twopoint. Should the player
double?
Should his opponent
accept the double?
 Market (for a Double)
 An opportunity to offer a
double
while it will be
accepted by the opponent.
 Market Gainer
 [By analogy to
market
loser.] A sequence of two
rolls (one
for you and one for your opponent) which takes a game from a
position in which your opponent would
refuse a double to a position in which your opponent
would
accept a double.
 Market Loser
 A sequence of two
rolls (one
for you and one for your opponent) which takes a game from a
position in which your opponent would
accept a double to a position in which your opponent
would
refuse a double. Knowing the number and size of your
market losers is an important consideration in whether or
not to double.
 Market Losing
Sequence

Market loser.
 Match
 A series of games between two players which ends when
one player acquires a predetermined number of
points (4).
Traditionally, matches are played to an odd number of
points (3, 5, 7, etc.). See: Match
Play.
 Match Equity

 A player's probability of winning a
match
from a given score.
 The value of a position in the context of the
current match score and
cube
level, usually given in terms of
match winning chances.
 Match Equity Table
 A chart showing the probability of winning a
match from
various scores. Example: The
WoolseyHeinrich match equity table. Match equity tables
are laid out according to the number of points each player
still needs to win the match. The first column and row
represent the
Crawford game.
 Match Play
 The method of competition used in tournaments and on
many backgammon
play sites.
Two competitors play a series of games until one of them
acquires a predetermined number of
points (4).
The
doubling cube may be used except in the
Crawford game. Unlike
money
play, you do not use
automatic doubles, the
Jacoby
rule, or
beavers in match play.
 Match Winning Chances
 A player's probability of winning a
match. Compare: EMG
Equity.
 Material
 Builders.
 Mechanic
 See: Dice
Mechanic.
 Mechanical Play
 A move made with little thought because it seems to be
obvious.
 MET

Match equity table.
 Mexican Backgammon
 A backgammon
variant
similar to
AceyDeucey (2) in which a
roll of 1
and 2, called a Mexican, gives the player extra
turns.
 Middle Game
 The main body of the game, which begins after the
players have settled on their initial
game plan.
Compare: Opening
Game and
End Game.
 MidPoint
 Your thirteenpoint (the opponent's twelvepoint), where
you have five
checkers
at the beginning of the game.
 Minor Split
 Moving one of your two
runners
from the opponent's
onepoint
to the opponent's
twopoint
or
threepoint. Compare: Major
Split.
 Misere
 A backgammon
variant
in which the object is to be the last player to
bear off
all of your
checkers.
 Mixed Roll
 Two thrown
dice with
different numbers on their upper faces. Compare: Doubles.
 Mobility
 The degree to which a position permits dice
rolls to be
played freely while maintaining the position's key features.
A mobile position strikes a balance between the
made
points and
spare
checkers.
 Modern Backgammon

 A term used in the late 1920's and early 1930's for
the new rules of the time, including the use of the
doubling cube and
chouette play.
 A term used in the late 1990's and early 2000's for
a style of play inspired by computer analysis.
 Money Management
 Choosing appropriate
stakes to
play for so that you do not exceed your
bankroll.
Money management has two goals: to ensure that your bankroll
lasts the entire session and to make playing more fun by
removing some of the stress involved in dealing with money.
 Money Play
 The style of competition in which games are played
individually and the participants wager on the result. At
the end of each game, the loser pays the winner the agreed
initial stake multiplied by the value of the
doubling cube and further multiplied by 2 for a
gammon or
3 for a
backgammon (2). Money play backgammon is
usually played with
Jacoby
rule, and participants may also agree to play
automatic doubles and
beavers.
Compare: Match
Play.
 Monte Carlo
 Location of the annual World Championship of backgammon.
 Motif
 A Java applet that plays backgammon.
 Moultezim
 A Turkish game in which players start at diagonally
opposite corners and move around the board in the same
direction. There is no
hitting and
one checker
by itself controls a
point (1).
 Move
 The advancement of a
checker
according to the number showing on one of the
rolled
dice. There
are three types of legal moves you may make: (a) to
enter a
checker from the
bar (your only legal move when you have a checker
on the bar); (b) to move a checker forward the given number
of
pips (2)
to an
open point, possibly
hitting an
opposing blot;
or (c) to
bear off a checker, when all of your checkers are in
their
home board.
 Move Around the
Corner
 A move
from the opponent's
outer
board to the player's outer board.
 Move Down

Move around the corner.
 Move In

 A move
from the bar
to the opponent's
home
board.
 A move
from your
outer board to your
home
board.
 Move Off
 Bear
off.
 Move Out
 A move
from the opponent's
home
board to the opponent's
outer
board.
 Move Up
 A move
forward within the opponent's
home
board.
 Mutual Holding Game
 A game in which both players hold
advanced anchors on the opponent's side of the board in
an attempt to hinder the opponent as he tries to bring his
checkers
home.
 MWC

Match winning chances.


N

 Nack Blitz
 A
tournament of 1point
Nackgammon
matches.
 Nackgammon
 [Named after Nack Ballard, who popularized the game.]
A backgammon
variant played using the same rules as
regular backgammon
except for the starting position. Players start with 2
checkers on each of the opponent's
onepoint
and
twopoint, 4 checkers on the
midpoint,
3 checkers on the eightpoint, and 4 checkers on the
sixpoint. With fewer checkers up front for
attacking,
and more checkers back for
anchoring
and maneuvering, games tend to be longer and more
positional.
 Narde
 [Also spelled "Nardi" and "Nardy".] A Russian
game similar to
Moultezim.
 Neil's Numbers
 [Devised by backgammon expert Neil Kazaross.] A
mnemonic device for estimating
match
equity (1) based on the current match
score. The
leader's percent probability of winning the match is 50,
plus his
point (4)
lead in the match multiplied by the appropriate Neil's
number. Compare: Janowski's
Formula and
Turner's Formula.
 Neural Network (Neural Net)
 The architecture used in many of the strongest
backgammon programs such as
Jellyfish,
Snowie,
and
GNU Backgammon. A neural network consists of many
simple processors connected by unidirectional paths carrying
numeric data. The network is "trained" by adjusting the
weights of the connections until desired outputs are
achieved for given inputs.
 NN

Neural network.
 NoBrainer


Pure race.
 An easy decision.
 No Dice

Cocked dice.
 Noncommitted Position
 A position with a flexible
game plan;
a game where there is more than one reasonable strategy for
winning, such as
racing,
priming,
or
blitzing (1).
 Nonprogressive
Consolation
 A
consolation tournament for losers of the first
round of
the main
tournament. Losers in later rounds of the main event do not
get to enter the consolation event. Compare: Progressive
Consolation.
 Normal Game

Single game.
 Normalized Match
Score
 A match
score expressed in terms of the number of
points (4)
needed to win the match rather than the number of points won
so far. For example, a score of 51 in a match to 7 would be
"2away/6away". Normalized scores are used in
match equity tables.
 Notation
 The method of representing the moves of a game.
 Novice Division
 The
tournament
division
for the weakest players, particularly those who do not
desire the stronger competition and higher entrance fees of
the other divisions. Compare: Intermediate
Division and
Open
Division.
 Novice Level
 A player who is new to backgammon. Compare: Intermediate
and
Advanced level.
 NPoint Board
 A
home board with n
made
points.
 NRoll Position
 A
position in which you will
bear off
all of your
checkers in n
rolls or
less. For example, having ten checkers left on your
acepoint
is a "5roll position."
 Nullo Play
 A play which cannot be profitable for any possible
sequence of future rolls.


O

 Odds
 The ratio of the probability of an event happening to
that of its not happening, or vice versa. Usually the higher
number is given first. For example, the odds of rolling
double 6's are "35 to 1 against".
 Off (the Board)
 Said of
checkers which have been
borne off.
 OneChecker Model
 A model for estimating
winning chances in a
pure race
based on the players'
pip counts.
In this model, all of a player's pips are represented by
just one
checker on a infinitelylong backgammon board. The
onechecker model overestimates winning chances in positions
where one side has more
wastage
than the other.
 OnePoint
 The deepest
point (1)
in a player's
home
board, the point farthest from the
bar and
closest to being
borne off;
also called the
acepoint.
 OnePoint Match
 A backgammon
variant
where the goal is to be the first player to
bear off
all of your checkers. There is no
doubling cube and no bonus for
gammons
or
backgammons (2). Since you never lose
more than one
point (4),
back games
are more of an option in this variant than in regular
backgammon.
 OneSided
Bearoff Database
 A
bearoff database where the arrangement of
checkers
on only one player's side is considered. The values in the
database are calculated assuming the goal at each turn is to
minimize the average number of
rolls
required to
bear off. Compare: TwoSided
Bearoff Database.
 Online Backgammon
 This refers to playing backgammon over the Internet.
Online backgammon allows players all over the world to
compete against one another. You can play for
rating
points or for real money. See: Backgammon
Server.
 On Roll
 The player whose
turn it is.
You are on roll as soon as your opponent picks up his
dice to end
his turn,
and before you
throw the
dice to begin your own turn. For example, the only time
you may
double is when you are on roll.
 On the Bar
 Where a
checker is placed after it is
hit. When
you have a checker on the
bar, you may
not move any of your other checkers until that checker has
been entered
back onto the board.
 On Tilt
 Steaming.
 Open Division
 The main division of a
tournament; the division that any player may enter. Also
called the
championship division, it generally has the highest
entry fee, the largest prizes, and attracts the strongest
players. Compare: Novice
Division and
Intermediate Division.
 Opening Game
 The first phase of a backgammon game where the players
have yet to establish their initial
game plans.
Compare: Middle
Game and
End Game.
 Opening Roll
 The first
roll of the game in which both players simultaneously
roll one die.
This roll determines both the player to go first and the
numbers to be played.
 Open Point
 A position on the board not occupied by two or more of
the opponent's
checkers.
 Open Tournament
 A tournament open to any player regardless of strength
or experience. See: Open
Division.
 Optional Reroll Rule

California rule.
 OTB

Over the board.
 Otter
 [Another furry rodent, by analogy to
beaver
and raccoon.]
An immediate redouble (while retaining
ownership of the cube) by the player who just accepted a
raccoon.
 Outer Board
 The side of the
board away from where the players
bear off
their
checkers. Each player's outer board comprises that
player's points seven through twelve. Compare: Home
Board.
 Outer Table

Outer board.
 Outfield
 The
outer board, particularly points nine, ten, and eleven.
 Outside Prime
 A contiguous sequence of
blocked
points in which the majority of those points are in the
outer
board.
 Overage

Points (4)
won in excess of those needed to win a
match. For
example, if you win a game worth 4 points in a match in
which you are 2 points away from winning, the surplus 2
points are overage.
 Overplay
 Make an unnecessarily
big play.
 Over the Board
 Games played facetoface, as opposed to on the
Internet or by
correspondence.
 Own a Point
 To have two or more
checkers
on a
point (1)
so that the opponent is
blocked
from landing or
touching
down there.
 Owner of the Cube
 The player who last
accepted a
double in
the game. He places the cube on his side of the board to
indicate that only he may make the next double. See: Cube
Ownership.
 Own the Cube
 The player who last
accepted a
double is
said to own the
doubling cube. He places the cube on his side of the
board. Only the
owner of the cube may offer the next double in the same
game. Compare: Centered
Cube.


P

 Parlay
 A succession of events, each of which depends on the
preceding event. The probability of the entire parlay is
equal to the product of the probabilities of the individual
events.
 Partial Prime
 A prime
of fewer than six consecutive
points (2).
Compare: Full
Prime.
 Partner for the Box

Chouettes with a large number of players often permit
the box to
take a partner. The partnership is offered in rotation,
starting with the
captain
and moving on down the line. If no one offers to be the
box's partner, a partner may be chosen by lot from among the
team
members other than the captain.
 Pass

Refuse a double.
 Pay Later
 To
play safe in the current position but risk greater
danger later in the game. Compare: Pay
Now. See: PayNoworPayLater
Decision.
 Pay Now
 To take an immediate risk (such as leaving a shot) to
avoid the prospect of a more serious risk later in the game.
Compare: Pay
Later. See: PayNoworPayLater
Decision.

PayNowOrPayLater Decision
 [From a 1980's television commercial for
FRAM
oil filters which showed a ruined car engine and a mechanic
who quipped: "You can pay me now, or you can pay me later."]
The problem of whether to take a modest but definite risk on
the current turn or wait and perhaps take a more serious
risk in the future.
 Perfecta
 The best possible roll; a
joker.
 Pick and Pass
 To hit
an opposing
blot and continue the same checker to safety on the same
play.
 Pick Up
 Hit a
blot.
 Piece
 Checker.
 Pigeon
 The victim of a
hustler.
 Pip

 One of the spots on a
die that
indicate numeric value.
 A unit of distance on a
backgammon board corresponding to the difference in
point (1)
numbers. For example, the 13point and the sevenpoint
are six pips apart.
 Pip Count
 The total number of points (or
pips (2))
that a player must move his
checkers
to bring them
home and
bear them
off. For example, at the start of a game each player has
a pip count of 167: 48 pips for 2 checkers on the 24point,
plus 65 pips for 5 checkers on the 13point, plus 24 pips
for 3 checkers on the eightpoint, plus 30 pips for 5
checkers on the sixpoint.
 Plakoto
 A Greek game in which players pin
blots
rather than hit
them.
 Play
 The collection of
moves a
player makes in satisfying the requirements of a
roll.
 Play Safe
 To avoid leaving
blots which
might be hit.
See: Safe
Play.
 Play Site

Backgammon server.
 Ply
 One turn
by one player, a measure of how far a player (or computer
program) looks ahead when selecting a
play or
evaluating a
position. Note: There is no agreement in the backgammon
community as to whether plies are counted starting at 0 (as
GNU
Backgammon does it) or starting at 1 (as
Snowie
does it).
 POH

Point on head.
 Point

 One of the twentyfour narrow triangles, twelve on
each side of a
backgammon board, where the players'
checkers
sit. The points are numbered for each player 1 to 12
across the near side of the board and 13 to 24 in the
other direction across the far side of the board. Either
player's
onepoint is the other player's 24point.
 A
made point.
 To
point on a blot.
 A unit of scoring. Each game is worth 1, 2, or 3
points (for a
single game, a
gammon,
or a
backgammon (2)) multiplied by the
value of the
doubling cube.
 Point Game
 An old method of scoring in
backgammon (1) that is no longer used.
The winner of the game gets 1 point for each
checker
in the loser's
home
board, 2 points for each checker in the loser's
outer
board, 3 points for each checker in the winner's outer
table, and 4 points for each checker on the
bar or in
the winner's home table.
 Point on a Blot
 To hit
an opposing
blot with two of your
checkers
at the same time, thereby also
making
the point. Pointing on a blot in your
home
board is usually a very strong play.
 Point on Head

Point on a blot.
 Points per Game
 A measure of playing performance equal to the total
number of
points (4) won (or lost) divided by the
number of games played.
 Poof
 A backgammon
variant
in which you always play the lower number of a
roll first.
 Portes
 A Greek game similar to Western
backgammon (1).
 Position
 The arrangement of
checkers
on a
backgammon board.
 Positional Play

 A play that emphasizes fighting for and keeping
key
points over
running or
blitzing (1);
a
structural play.
 A checkerplay decision where
strategy considerations dominate. Compare: Technical
Play.
 Position Card
 A card with a preprinted diagram of a
backgammon board designed for recording a
position.
 Possession
of the Doubling Cube
 The player who last
accepted a
double is
said to
own the cube. Only that player may make the next double
of the game. Prior to the first double, neither player owns
the cube (see
centered cube) and either player may double.
 PostCrawford
 After the
Crawford game.
 Post Mortem
 Analysis of a game or match after it has been completed.
 PPG

Points per Game.
 PRAT
 Acronym for "Position, Race, And Threats," a guideline
for making
cube
decisions. According to the guideline, a player should
double if
he has an advantage in two of the three areas. And his
opponent should
pass if the player who doubled has an advantage in all
three areas.
 Precision Dice

Dice
which have been carefully cut so their shape and balance are
more accurate than regular dice and have
pips (1)
that are flat and not dimpled.
 Preclear
 To evacuate a high
point (1)
in your
home board before all of your
checkers
are home in
preparation for
bearing off.
You sometimes do this when the opponent holds an
anchor
deep in your home board and you are worried about clearing a
high point safely during the bear off. By preclearing, you
take advantage of opportune
rolls at
the time you get them.
 PreCrawford
 Before the
Crawford game.
 Premature Burial
 Taking one or more
checkers
deep into
your home
board early in the game out of undue concern for
shortterm safety.
 Premature Roll
 A dice roll
made by a player before the opponent has ended his
turn by
picking up the
dice. Under U.S. rules, the premature roll is invalid
and must be
rethrown. Under
BIBA rules,
the premature roll stands but the player who did not pick up
the dice may change his
play in
light of the new information.
 Pressure
 To advance a
runner so
it directly
bears on an opponent's
blot,
forcing the opponent to
cover
the blot, move it, or risk it being
hit.
 Prime

 Six consecutive
made points. An opposing
checker
trapped behind a prime cannot escape until the prime is
broken.
 Several consecutive made points, such as a 4prime
or 5prime.
 Primed
 Trapped behind a
prime.
 Prime Fighter
 A player who
accepts a double when he has one or more
checkers
trapped behind an opponent's
prime.
 PrimevsPrime
 A game in which both players have long
primes
with opponent's
checkers
trapped behind them. The winner of these games is often the
player with better
timing.
 Priming Game
 A type of game in which the primary
strategy
is to trap one or more opponent's
checkers
behind your
prime.
 Progressive
Consolation
 A
consolation tournament for losers in the first several
rounds of
the main
tournament. Progressive means that losers in later
rounds of the main event get one or more
byes to
later rounds of the consolation event. Compare: Nonprogressive
Consolation.
 Prop

Proposition.
 Proposition
 A prearranged
position
played several times, usually for money, as a means of
settling a dispute over which
checker
play (1) or
cube
action is best. See: Take/Drop
Proposition.
 Proxy
 See
Cube Proxy.
 Puff

 The German name for
backgammon (1).
 A German backgammon
variant
in which players enter in the same quadrant and move
around the board in the same direction.
 Pure Play
 ["Pure" because it focuses on one
game plan.]
Playing with the goal of making a
prime.
Pure play includes bringing
builders
into play quickly,
slotting to
make
key points,
keeping your checkers in front of the opponent's checkers,
and
recirculating checkers as necessary.
 Pure Race
 A game in which the opposing forces have
disengaged
so there is no opportunity for further
blocking
or hitting
by either side. In a pure race, your goal is simply to get
your checkers
home
as quickly as possible and
bear them
off. Compare: Contact
Position.


Q

 Quacks

Double ducks.
 Quadrant
 One quarter of the playing area on a
backgammon board. The first quadrant comprises a
player's points 1 to 6, the second quadrant points 7 to 12,
the third quadrant points 13 to 18, and the fourth quadrant
points 19 to 24.
 Quads
 The roll
of 44 on the dice (double 4's).
 Quarter Entry
 A quarter entry is a single elimination tournament for
four players, which is held before the beginning of a
greater tournament. Each of the four contestants pays an
entry fee of (usually slightly more than) a quarter of the
entry fee of the main event. The winner of this four person
tournament is entitled to play in the main event.
 QuasiRandom Dice
 A technique used to reduce the element of luck in a
rollout
by ensuring the numbers rolled in the first few
rolls of
each trial
are as evenly distributed as possible. For example, if you
roll out a position 36 times, quasirandom dice will ensure
that each trial begins with a different roll.
 QuatrePoint
 Traditional name for the
fourpoint.
 Quiet Play
 An unassuming
play that
does not hit,
or slot, or
pose an immediate threat; it just maintains the status quo.
 Quiz Factor
 A feature of a problem that makes it interesting enough
to appear on a quiz. The mere appearance on a quiz suggests
that the "obvious"
play may
not be the correct play.


R

 Raccoon
 An immediate redouble by the player who just accepted a
beaver.
 Race


Pure race.
 The relative standing of the players'
pip
counts. The player with the lower pip count is said
to be
ahead in the race.
 Race Equity
 Winning chances that accrue from variations where there
is no further
hitting.
 Rail
 Bar.
 Railroad Tracks
 To pile all your
checkers
on a few
points (1); also called
candlesticks.
 Rake
 A fee charged by a backgammon
play site
for hosting money games. It is usually a percentage of the
winnings of each game.
 Random Error (in a Rollout)
 Variation in the result of a
rollout
due to chance. It results when the
rolls for
one side are luckier overall than the rolls for the other
side. You can reduce the random error in a rollout by
increasing the number of
trials. Compare: Systematic
Error.
 Random Seed
 A numeric value that uniquely determines the sequence of
dice rolls
produced by a random number generator.
 Rated Match
 A match
that counts towards your
rating.
 Rating
 A number associated with each player based on that
player's record of performance against other rated players.
When you win a match, points are added to your rating; when
you lose, points are deducted from your rating. The size of
the adjustment depends on the strength of your opponent—the
higher the rating of your opponent, the more points you
receive. Over time, your rating will tend to be higher than
players weaker than yourself, and lower than players
stronger than yourself. See: FIBS
rating formula.
 Rating Points
 Points assigned by a
ratings system to players based on their performance
against other rated players.
 Ratings Inflation
 A phenomenon that results when players exit a
ratings
pool at a lower rating than when they entered. The lost
ratings
remain with the players still in the pool, giving a higher
average rating overall.
 Ratings Pool
 The people who participate in a
ratings system.
 Ratings System
 A method of assigning
ratings
to players based on their performance in such a way that
players with greater ability will, over time, tend to have
higher ratings.
 Recirculate
 To intentionally allow a
blot to be
hit for the
purpose of gaining
time to
preserve other valuable
points (2).
 Recube

Redouble.
 Recube Vigorish (Vig)
 The value of
cube
ownership to the player being offered a
double;
the additional
equity
that comes from being the only player who may
redouble.
 Redouble
 A double
other than the first double of a game. Only the player who
last
accepted a double may redouble. Compare: Initial
Double.
 Reenter
 Enter
a checker
from the bar
after it has been
hit.
 Reference Position
 A
position of known value that serves as a standard by
which other similar positions may be measured or judged. See: Cube
Reference Position.
 Refuse a Double
 To resign the game at the current
stakes
after the opponent offers a
double
rather than continue play at twice the stakes. Compare: Accept
a Double.
 Resign
 To accept defeat. Resignation is a form of
settlement; when you resign you must specify whether you
are resigning a
single
game, a
gammon, or a
backgammon (2), and the opponent must
agree. Resigning is not allowed in
tournament play before
contact is
broken.
 Return Shot
 A chance to
hit back after being hit yourself.
 Rim
 Bar.
 Robustness

Mobility.
 Roll

 [Verb.] To
throw
a pair of
dice.
 [Noun.] Two thrown dice, each showing a
number from 1 to 6.
 Roll a Prime
 To
make a new point at the leading
edge
of a prime using
checkers
from the rear of the prime. Often the easiest way to roll a
prime forward is to
slot the
point immediately in front of the prime.
 Roll Out

 To analyze a position by playing it out over and
over again.
 To estimate the
equity
of a position by means of computer simulation; see
rollout.
 Rollout
 An estimate of the
equity of
a position obtained through computer simulation. A rollout
consists of numerous
trials, the
results of which are averaged together. See also: Truncated
Rollout,
Cubeless Rollout,
Cubeful Rollout,
Random
Error, and
Systematic Error.
 RollOver
 A backgammon
variant
in which players have a oncepergame option of
rerolling
their own dice
or asking for a reroll of the opponent's dice.
 Roof
 Bar.
 Root Number
 [Because you "root" for your opponent to roll one.]
A dice roll
that forces a position to collapse.
 Round
 A period in a
tournament during which each contestant (except those
who received a
bye) plays another contestant. For example, each round
of an
elimination tournament eliminates half the players.
 Round Robin Format
 A
tournament format in which every contestant plays every
other contestant in turn. The number of
rounds
required is one less than the number of contestants. Compare: Elimination
Format.
 Run
 To escape a
runner
from the opponent's
home
board and it advance toward home as quickly as possible.
 Runner

 One of the two
checkers
that began the game on the opponent's
onepoint.
 Any
checker on the
bar or
in the opponent's
home
board.
 Running Game

 The strategy employed by a player who is
ahead in the race and tries to bring his
checkers
home
and
bear them off with as little interaction with the
opponent as possible.
 The stage of a backgammon game which begins when
contact with the opponent is
broken; a
pure
race.
 Russian Backgammon
 A backgammon
variant
in which all
checkers start off the board, and both players enter in
the same
quadrant, move around the
board (1)
in the same direction, and
bear off
from the same
quadrant.


S

 Safe
 Free from danger of being
hit.
 SafeBold Criteria
 See: Magriel's
SafeBold Criteria.
 Safe Play
 A play that leaves no
blots, or a
play that leaves blots only in positions where the opponent
is unlikely to
hit. Compare: Bold
Play.
 Safety a Checker
 Move a
checker out of danger of being
hit.
 Safety Up

Cover a blot or move it out of range of being
hit.
 Sandbag

 To conceal or misrepresent your true ability.
 To enter a tournament
division below your skill level.
 Save a Number
 To leave a position in which a particular number will
play comfortably next turn so you will not be forced you to
destroy your position if you
roll that
number. Typically, you save a number to avoid having to
leave a shot
or
break a valuable point. Compare: Kill
a Number.
 Save Backgammon
 To escape all of your
checkers
from the opponent's
home
board before he is able to
bear off
all of his own checkers, and thereby avoid losing a
backgammon (2).
 Save Gammon
 To bear
off one of your own
checkers
before the opponent has borne off all of his, and thereby
avoid losing a
gammon.
 Secure a Point

Cover a blot.
 Seed
 See: Random
Seed.
 Seeded Player
 A competitor in a
tournament whose position in the
draw is
predetermined to ensure that he will not meet other seeded
players in the early
rounds of
an
elimination event.
 Semiactive Builder
 A
checker which may or may not be available to
make
another point, depending on the
roll.
 Semifinalist
 One of the four players competing in the
semifinals of an
elimination
tournament.
 Semifinals
 The secondlast
round of
an
elimination
tournament; the one that determines the two players who
advance to the
finals.
 Settlement
 A decision to end a game early with the payment of
points by one player to the other based on the agreed fair
value of the position (see
Equity).
Settlements are generally not allowed in
tournament play.
 Settlement Limit
 A method of reducing the
variance
of a
cubeful rollout. Any
trial in
which the
equity of a player exceeds a given value (the settlement
limit) is terminated at that point and scored as
double/drop.
 Setup
 See: Starting
Position.
 Shake
 To mix the
dice using a
dice cup
prior to
rolling.
 Shark
 A good player who seeks out weaker players and persuades
them to play for high
stakes.
(Sharks eat
fish.)
 Shesh Besh
 A Turkish game similar to Western
backgammon (1).
 Shift Gears
 Change
game plan.
 Shift Points
 To
give up one point in order to
make
an adjacent point.
 Shot

 An opportunity to
hit an
opposing
blot. A
direct shot is an opportunity to hit using a single
number. An
indirect shot is an opportunity to hit using both
numbers of the
dice
played with the same
checker.
 A particular
roll of
the dice which could hit an enemy blot. When counting
shots, you count each
doubles
roll once and each
mixed
roll twice to get a total out of 36.
 Shut Out
 Close
out.
 Side Pool
 A separate
tournament prize fund made up of additional optional
entry fees which goes to the highest finishing player(s) of
those who entered the side pool. The side pool allows a
tournament to keep the regular entry fee low while providing
players willing to pay a higher entry fee a chance to win
more.
 Side Prime

Prime (1).
 Silver Point
 [By analogy to the
golden
point.] A term sometimes used for the opponent's
fourpoint, the second best point on which to
anchor.
 Simple Direct Shot
 A blot
within range of being
hit with a
single number but for which there are no ways to hit using a
combination of numbers on both
dice.
 Simulation
 Rollout.
 Single Elimination
 A
tournament format in which a competitor continues
playing until he loses. See: Elimination
Format. Compare: Double
Elimination.
 Single Game
 A completed game which is not a
gammon or
a
backgammon (2); a game in which the
losing player has
borne off
at least one
checker. The winner of a single game receives the value
of the
doubling cube only and no bonus.
 Single Shot
 One blot
which can be
directly
hit one way. Compare: Double
Shot.
 SixPoint
 The sixth
point (1) in a player's
home
board; the point adjacent to the
bar.
 Slot
 To place a single
checker
on a
point (1)
you wish to
make
with the intention of
covering the
blot on
your next turn.
 Slot and Split
 To slot
a checker
in your own
home
board while your
runners
are split.
 Small Play
 A safe
play when a
bolder,
more aggressive play is available. Compare: Big
Play.
 Snake
 A backgammon
variant
in which one player starts with nine
checkers
on the bar
and his remaining six checkers in the opponent's
home
board.
 Snake Eyes
 The roll
of 11 on the
dice (double 1's).
 Snowie
 The second commercial
neuralnet backgammon program (1998) after
Jellyfish.
Website: Snowie
Backgammon.
 Solid Prime
 A prime
with no gaps;
a full
prime. Compare: Broken
Prime.
 Spare Checker
 An extra
checker that can be used for
hitting or
making
a point without leaving behind a
blot.
 Speed Board
 A
bearoff position in which you expect to take at least
two checkers
off every roll,
typically when all of your checkers are crowded onto the
three lowest points of your
home
board.
 Split
 To separate two
checkers
which are together on a
point (1)
(usually the opponent's
onepoint)
and leave them as
blots. See: Major
Split and
Minor
Split.
 Squeeze
 To take advantage of the opponent's requirement make a
move. You
leave him a
position in which the only move he can make hurts his
position. Often this means he is forced to
break
a valuable defensive
point (2)
earlier than he would like.
 Stack
 Four or more
checkers
piled on a
point (1). See: Candlesticks.
 Staine's Rule
 An optional rule where
rolls of
doubles
are played like any other roll; that is, each number is
played once, not twice. See: Irish.
 Stake
 The amount wagered by the participants in a game of
backgammon (1). The
current stake is the
initial stake multiplied by the value of the
doubling cube.
 Stakes Play
 Money
play.
 Standard Deviation
 A measure of a
rollout's
variance
or
random error. A rollout will be within one standard
deviation of its
convergence value 66% of the time, within two standard
deviations 95% of the time, and within three standard
deviations 99.7% of the time. See also: Joint
Standard Deviation.
 Starting Position
 The arrangement of
checkers
at the start of a game. Each player has 2 checkers on the
opponent's
onepoint, 5 checkers on the
midpoint,
3 checkers on the eightpoint, and 5 checkers on the
sixpoint.
See: the Rules of Backgammon.
 Stay Back
 Remain in the opponent's
home
board.
 Stay Off
 Fail to
enter from the
bar.
 Stay Out
 Fail to
enter from the
bar.
 Steam
 [What happens when a player reaches the "boiling
point."] To play wildly, out of annoyance or impatience
at one's bad luck. To lose one's emotional stability in a
gambling context; in particular, to take bigger and bigger
risks in an effort to recoup earlier losses.
 Steamer
 One who
steams.
 Stone
 Checker.
 Straggler
 The last lone
checker
heading for
home.
 Straight Race
 Pure
race.
 Strategy
 The overall, long range plans for a game. The reasoning
behind a play.
See: Game
Plan. Compare: Tactics.
 Stretched
 A position barren of
spare
checkers or
builders
and thus prone to
awkward numbers;
too
many points.
 Strip a Point
 To remove all but two
checkers
from a
point (1).
 Stripped
 A position barren of
spare
checkers or
builders
and thus prone to
awkward numbers.
 Stroke
 To deliberately make an illegal play or otherwise take
an unfair advantage.
 Strong Board
 A
home board with several
made
points.
 Structural Play
 A play
which
makes a strong point.
 Suicide Play
 To purposely leave a
blot to be
hit so it
can be
recirculated. The idea is to improve your
timing or
shore up your defense in the opponent's
home
board. Also known as a
HaraKiri play.
 Swedish Tables
 A backgammon
variant
in which players can win by arranging their
checkers
into specific patterns within their
home
board.
 Swing

 The difference in score between winning a game and
losing it.
 The difference in your
equity
before a
roll and after it, or the difference between rolling
poorly and rolling well.
 SwissCheese
Formation
 A position with many
gaps and few
adjacent
made
points.
 Swiss Format
 A method of pairing players in a
tournament. Under the Swiss system, players are not
eliminated, no player meets the same opponent twice, and
successive
rounds match players with scores as similar to each
other as possible.
 Switch Points
 To give up one
point (2)
to make
another, usually in your
home
board.
 Sydney
 The roll
of 16 to escape a
prime,
usually from the
bar and often
hitting a
blot.
 Sympathy Flight

Consolation flight.
 Systematic Error
 Bias introduced in a
rollout
because of errors in
checker
play (2) or
cube play (2).


T

 Table

 An entire
backgammon board.
 One of the four
quadrants of a backgammon board; for example, your
inner table or
outer table.
 Tables

 The English name for the Roman game
Tabula.
 A generic term for any game played on a
backgammon board.
 Table Stakes
 A system of betting where the players'
stake in a
game is limited to an agreed fixed amount. The idea is to
protect the players from losing more money than they have at
hand. It also evens the playing field when one player has
more money at his disposal than the other.
 Tabula
 A Roman game similar to backgammon in which players use
three dice
instead of two, and move around the board in the same
direction. The game was also popular in England where it was
known as
Tables.
 Tactics
 Shortterm, calculable aspects of the game, as opposed
to
strategic considerations. Tactics in backgammon include:
hitting
blots,
making
points,
clearing points, and avoiding unnecessary risks.
 Tailgate
 To start to
throw your
dice before
the opponent has picked up his own dice to finish his
turn; to
roll
prematurely.
 Take

Accept a double.
 Take/Drop Proposition
 A way to settle a difference of opinion about whether a
position is a
take or a
drop by playing a series of games starting with the
position in question. The player who believes the position
is a take plays the taking side owning a 2cube and gets one
point added to his score for each game played.
 Take Off
 Bear
off.
 Take Point
 The minimum
game winning chances at which it is correct for a player
to
accept a double; the point at which a player is equally
well off accepting a double or
refusing a double; a player's
drop
point.
 Take Up
 Hit a
blot.
 Takhteh
 A Persian game similar to Western
backgammon (1).
 Tapa
 A game popular in Bulgaria in which players pin opposing
blots
rather than hit
them.
 Tavla
 A Turkish game similar to Western backgammon.
 Tavli
 The Greek name for games played on a backgammon board.
These typically include
Portes,
Plakoto,
and Fevga.
 TD

Tournament director.
 TDGammon
 The first strong
neuralnet backgammon program (1991), written by Gerald
Tesauro.
 Team
 In a
chouette, the players lead by the
captain
who play against the
box; the
captain and his
crew.
 Technical Play
 A checkerplay decision which primarily depends on
tactical
considerations. Compare: Positional
Play.
 Tell
 An inadvertent clue as to whether you will be
taking or
dropping if
offered a
double.
 Temperature Map
 A plot showing how a position's
equity is
distributed among each of the 6 x 6 upcoming
rolls. It
provides a way to visualize aspects of a position such as
volatility and
duplication. See: Equity
Temperature Map: Introduction.
 Tempo
 A unit of
time in positional development equal to
half a
roll.
 Tempo Move
 A hit
designed to forestall the opponent by depriving him of
half a
roll when the opponent threatens to hit a
blot or
make
an important point, or needs to consolidate a disorganized
position.
 Tempt
 To intentionally place a
blot in a
position where it can be
hit with the
idea of enticing the opponent to give up a strategic
point (2).
 The T.P.
 A player's
twopoint.
 Thorp Count
 A formula devised by Edward O. Thorp for making
doubling decisions in
pure race
games. It is a modification of the basic
pip count
which takes into account some elements of
checker
distribution. Each player's Thorp count is his pip count,
plus 2 for each of his checkers still on the board, minus 1
for each of his occupied
home
board points, plus 1 for each checker on his
onepoint.
Then the player
on roll
increases his count by 10 percent if it is more than 30.
Thorp advises:
Double
any time your count does not exceed the opponent's by more
than 2;
redouble any time your count does not exceed opponent's
by more than 1;
accept the double if your count does not exceed
doubler's by more than 2.
 ThreePoint
 The third
point (1) in a player's
home
board, counting from the edge of the board toward the
bar.
 Throw
 To shake a pair of
dice in a
dice cup
and release them onto a
backgammon board. If the dice are
cocked,
they must be rethrown.
 Throw Off
 Bear
off.
 Time
 The average number of
rolls or
pips (2)
that can be played without having to make a major
concession, such as leaving a
blot,
breaking a
key point,
or
burying a checker.
 Time Delay
 A feature of
digital
chess
clocks which gives each player a specified number of
seconds at the start of each
turn before
that player's clock begins running. Typical time delays in
backgammon range from 8 to 15 seconds per move. The idea is
that players are charged only for "thinking time" and not
for the time required to
roll the
dice, wait
for them to settle, read the numbers and move the
checkers.
 Timing
 How long you expect to retain the desirable features of
a position compared to your opponent. Good timing means your
opponent will be forced to make a major concession, such as
leaving a blot,
breaking a
key point,
or
burying a checker, before you. You can sometimes help
preserve your timing by
killing large numbers or
recirculating checkers.
 TMP

Too many points.
 Too Good (to Double)
 A position which you should not
double,
even though your opponent has a clear
drop,
because your
equity is higher by playing on for a
gammon.
 Too Many Points
 An
inflexible position with many
made
points and few
spare
checkers. Seven is usually "too many."
 Touch Down
 To temporarily land on an intermediate
open
point after playing one of two numbers with the same
checker.
 Touch Move Rule
 An rule rarely used today in Western backgammon, though
it is common in the Middle East. The rule requires that once
you touch a
checker (other than to adjust it) you must move that
checker, and once you remove your hand from a properly
played checker, that checker must remain where it was
played.
 Tournament
 A formal competition among multiple entrants in which a
winner is decided.
 Tournament Director
 The person who organizes and oversees a
tournament.
 TourneCase
 A game popular in
seventeenthcentury France in which players have just three
checkers each and play only on their own side of the board.
 Trailer
 The player who is behind in a
match or
behind in the
race (2). Compare: Leader.
 Transposition
 Reaching the same
position
by different means.
 Trap Play
 A deliberate attempt to
squeeze
the opponent off of his
anchor so
that the trapper can
close out
any blots
thereby exposed and win a
gammon.
 TreyPoint
 Traditional name for the
threepoint.
 Trial (of a Rollout)
 Playing a position out to the end of the game once (or
to the point of
truncation). A
rollout
consists of multiple trials, the results of which are
averaged together to yield an estimate of the
equity of
the position.
 Trice Triangle
 [Named for Walter Trice.] The ideal position to
aim for during
bearin,
consisting of: 7 checkers on your
sixpoint,
5 checkers on your
fivepoint, and 3 checkers on your
fourpoint. It has the lowest
wastage
of any position with all 15 checkers still on the board.
 Trictrac

 A game popular in French high society prior to the
Revolution. Players score points for making specific
plays or moving their checkers into certain
configurations.
 The French name for "backgammon."
 Triple Game

Backgammon (2).
 TroisPoint
 Traditional name for the
threepoint.
 Truncated Rollout
 A
rollout which is not played to the end of the game.
Instead, the
position
is rolled out a given number of
plies (the
horizon
of the rollout) and estimates of the
equities
of the resulting positions are averaged together. A
truncated rollout has more
systematic error than a full rollout but is faster
because each trial is shorter, and a truncated rollout has
less
variance so fewer
trials are
required to
converge on a result.
 Turn
 The sequence of actions that each player takes in
alternation. One turn consists of: (a) possibly offering a
double;
(b) rolling
the dice;
(c) playing the roll; and (d) picking up the dice.
 Turner's Formula
 A simple formula devised by Stephen Turner for
estimating the
match
equity (1) at a given score. Expressed as
a percent, the
leader's
match equity E = 50 + (24/T + 3) * D, where T is the number
of
points (4)
the trailer
still needs and D is the difference in scores. Compare: Janowski's
Formula and
Neil's
Numbers.
 Turn the Corner
 Move from the opponent's
outer
board to your own outer board.
 Turn the Crank
 To offer a
double.
 Turn the Cube
 To offer a
double.
 Tutor Mode
 A mode available in some backgammonplaying programs
which allows the computer to evaluate your moves as you make
them and alert you to any errors it thinks you made.
 Twist the Cube
 To offer a
double.
 TwoPoint
 The second
point (1) in a player's
home
board, adjacent to the
onepoint;
also called the
deucepoint.
 TwoSided
Bearoff Database
 A
bearoff database with the correct
equity
for each possible combination of two opposing
bearoff
positions. Four separate equities are recorded for each
position: three
cubeful equities (one for each state of the
doubling cube), and one
cubeless equity. A twosided database is more accurate
than a
onesided database, but requires considerably more room.


V

 Variance (of a Rollout)
 Level of
random
error in a
rollout.
 Variance Reduction

 Any technique for reducing the
random error of a
rollout.
Examples are:
quasirandom dice,
duplicate dice, and
luck reduction.

Luck reduction, a variance reduction technique that
involves adjusting each
trial's
result based on an estimate of the luck associated with
the rolls
of the trial. Because luck reduction is by far the most
effective technique for variance reduction, the term
variance reduction is often used specifically to
refer to this method.
 Variant
 Any game other than
backgammon (1) which can be played on a
backgammon board. Most backgammon variants use
rolls of
the dice to
determine how the players'
checkers
move, just as in backgammon.
 Vidos
 The Greek name for the exact equivalent of Western
backgammon. Greek backgammon, called
portes,
is slightly different than vidos in that it is played
without a
doubling cube and has no bonus for winning a
backgammon (2).
 Vig

Vigorish.
 Vigorish
 The small additional considerations that affect the
total equity
of a
position, such as
gammon vigorish and
recube vigorish.
 Volatility
 A measure of how much a
position's
equity is
likely to change in the next roll or two.
 Voluntary Double
 A regular
double, where one player offers to double the stakes of
the game, as opposed an
automatic double when identical numbers are
thrown at
the beginning of the game.
 Volunteer a Shot
 Purposely leave a
blot within
range of being
hit now rather than be forced to leave it later when the
danger may be greater.


W

 Walk a Prime

Roll a prime.
 Ward Count
 A formula devised by Jeff Ward for making
cube
decisions in a
pure race.
It is a modification of the basic
pip count
which takes into account elements of
checker
distribution. Each player's Ward count is his pip count,
plus 2 for each checker more than 2 on the
onepoint,
minus 1 for each extra
homeboard point compared to the opponent, plus 2 for
each extra checker on the board compared to the opponent,
plus 1/2 pip for each extra checker outside the homeboard
compared to the opponent. Then the player
on roll
increases his count by 10 percent. Ward advises:
Double if
your count does not exceed the opponent's by more than 2;
redouble
if your count does not exceed the opponent's by more than 1;
accept the double if your count does not exceed
doubler's by more than 2 in a short race (50 pips), 3 in a
medium race (75 pips), or 4 in a long race (100 pips).
 Wash

 A
blitzing (1) technique that involves
switching points to
hit an
opposing
blot.
 ["Wash" the slate clean.] A
settlement for zero points.
 Wastage
 The expected loss in
pips (2)
from dice rolls
not fully utilized during
bearoff.
Wastage is calculated as W = R x 49/6 − PC, where R is the
expected (average) number rolls required to
bear off,
and PC is the
pip count
of the position. Wastage is the difference between the usual
pip count and the
effective pip count.
 WBA
 World Backgammon Association. Website: WBA.
 WBF
 Worldwide Backgammon Federation. Website: WBF.
 Weaver Coup
 A ploy which may be attempted when you are playing on
for a gammon
and the opponent gets a lucky roll. You offer to
double
even if your position is still
too good,
hoping the opponent will mistakenly
accept.
 Whopper
 A
checker play (2) error or
cube play (2)
error which costs more than 0.1 points of
EMG
equity; a
blunder.
 Wipeout

Blitz (1).
 Woolsey's Rule (on Doubling)
 A rule of thumb advocated by backgammon expert Kit
Woolsey: "If you are not absolutely sure whether a
position is a
take or a
pass, then it is always correct to
double."


 
