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THE BACKGAMMON BOARD

Here's a new mnemonic rhyme by Peter Hobbs that tells how to set up the 15 white and 15 black counters on a backgammon board correctly:

" put 2 - 5 - 3 - 5
- (on corners, 8 and 6) - arrive!
"

The rhyme's "arrival" point refers to a player's "inner table, point 1", indicating that each player starts with:
  2 men on your opponent's 1-point (corner)
  5 men on your opponent's 12-point (corner)
  3 men on your own 8-point
  5 men on your own 6-point

The orientation of the board pattern is not important - the triangles (called points) only have alternate colours to help in counting moves.

The players move their men in opposing directions around the board but both bear off "towards the light" (historically the side of the board where there is a window by day or a candle by night). Thus a player is either set up anti-clockwise to move in C-fashion bearing off via his near-righthand (his inner table), or else is set up clockwise to bear off via his near-left (in mirror-C fashion), depending on which side of the board is designated as facing the light.

 

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