Mid-Point vs. Bar-Point Holding Game

A variation of the holding game is called the mid-point vs. bar-point variation. It is quite an interesting game to watch. We'll tackle the different elements at play in this particular type of a holding game. We'll also see which player is in the lead and what can a player who is behind do.

Like other holding game, both players are waiting for a chance to either make a hit or roll a good double on the dice and make it to the home board. We can say that luck may have a great deal to do with winning. But of course we can still count on probabilities to make good judgment regarding our next moves.

The mid-point vs. bar-point holding game is a particular type that comes up usually in backgammon. We can tell that a particular holding game shifts to a mid-point vs. bar-point variation depending on how the checkers are positioned on each the other player's side of the board.

In this variation of the holding game one player has actually moved his back checkers on to his opponent's bar point. The rest of his opponent's checkers are all past him on the home board. The only challenge or point of contact would come from the opponent's own back men positioned somewhere in the mid-point.

Both players may have all their other checkers already at their respective home boards. If the player who has placed his checkers on the bar-point still has pieces that have not made it to the home board, he may have a slight advantage on timing.

As an example of this holding game let's say that black was able to establish a point on white's 7 point (a.k.a. bar point) using his back men. All of white's other checkers are now on his home board. And then for instance, given this holding game situation, let's say that the rest of black's checkers are also on his own home board. Lastly, to make the situation complete, white has made a mid-point at the 13 point.

The distance between the four checkers that still have contact with the opposing side is 5 points. A viable distance to make a hit. White leads the game, since his last remaining two checkers are closer to his home board.

Chances are all white needs now is to make a double on the dice roll. This would allow him to move the checkers safely and further increase his lead. Black on the other hand in this given holding game is not quite far behind. The distance to the home board is quite reasonable and he still has a threat to pose to white.

What black needs to do in the mid-point vs. bar-point variation is to hold the distance until white makes a bad roll. When white does make a bad roll, he has a standing 50% chance of hitting the exposed checker or checkers. Not bad, and what black needs to concentrate on is building his home board if in case he has not completed his blockade.

But if the distance becomes shorter than 5 points, black would be in dire straits. A distance of 3 points between the two opposing points is disastrous. White can easily avoid the threat and make a good home run.

These are the different takes each player would have on the mid-point vs. bar-point holding game variation. When a player encounters this situation, that player ought to know these elements presented and play accordingly.