Minimize Wastage in the Backgammon Bear-Off

The backgammon concept of wastage covers the number of pips that can possibly be left unused in the bear-off stage of the game. Too much wastage is one of the foremost reasons why players with lesser pip counts at the end game get taken aback when they lose the bear-off race.

Let's say you have five checkers left on your ace-point while your opponent has one piece each on their three-point and two-point. Both of you have a pip count of five but who do you think has the highest probability of winning at that point? If your answer is your opponent then, you've guessed it right.

Simply put, your opponent possibly needs at least one roll to bear off their last pieces while you'll need at least two rolls to win. That's how wastage is taken into account in the backgammon bear-off. And that's why we should minimize wastage so that we can fully utilize our rolls in the most critical part of the game.

There are two ways on how we can minimize wastage in the backgammon bear-off. First, we should refrain from burying in pieces when a roll allows us to take them off. And second, we should avoid over stacking and creating gaps in our home board.

Placing too many pieces on low points, such as the ace-point and two-point, leads to wastage. So if you're given a choice to either bury pieces in or bear off on a roll, you should opt for the latter.

For example, you have five checkers on your ace-point. With the exception of rolling doublets, you can only bear off two checkers. But if you had one piece each on the three-point and two-point in stead, you would've won the game already with a three-two roll or higher.

Gaps and over stacked points also lead to wastage in the bear-off phase. That's why it's important that, as we're bearing in checkers, to slot on different points so we can maximize the use of rolls later on.

A prime example of gaps and over stacking wastage is when you have a five pieces on each of your five-point, three-point and ace-point. If you roll doublets of two, you have no choice but to bury in checkers from higher points to low points without taking any piece off the board.

It's important to minimize wastage in the backgammon bear-off because at that last stage of the race, every roll is important. We must steer clear of burying in pieces when we could just bear off and over stacking checkers with gaps. That way, we'll be ahead in the count and still be bearing off checkers at the same time.

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Minimize Wastage in the Backgammon Bear-Off

Ignoring checker positions in the backgammon bear-off phase often leads to game losses even if a player's ahead in the count. The reason behind that is the concept of wastage which players should minimize so that they'll be able to bear off on every roll. See how this concept is taken into account in the bear-off race and two ways of how we can minimize wastage to win the game.

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