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Posted By: Tom Keith
Date: Wednesday, 4 September 2013, at 11:02 p.m.

In Response To: "Retreat your outpost": defunct terminology? (Tom Keith)

"Let the reader visualize an army in the field, its intrenched line reaching from a strong base to an extended outpost in enemy territory; in a word, a salient. The commander of this army wishes to withdraw his men from the position to the final safety of his base with as few casualties as possible. What is the soundest general strategy?

Obviously, if no units are to be lost, the tip of the salient must be withdrawn first, then the sides, and finally the center. For, if the men nearest the base are withdrawn first, the units at the outpost will be left in danger of capture. Accordingly, the wise commander begins his retreat with his most exposed men, i.e., the outposts. That is the primary principle of his operation — let the farthermost advanced retreat to prepared positions, consolidate, retreat farther to other prepared positions, consolidate, again retreat, and so on until the base has been safely occupied.

The fundamental strategy of Backgammon is identical with this manoeuver. The two men on the opponent’s one-point represent the tip of the army commander’s salient. The first and most important principle of Backgammon is to bring these two outmost men safely home. If the player never learns anything more about Backgammon tactics, he should learn this. It will save him many a bitter defeat and win him many a victory.

Remember, too, that Backgammon is a game of continual retreat; that there is never an advance. Following the example of the army commander, the Backgammon player must continue the careful withdrawal of his outmost men to prepared positions — the opponent’s twelve-point, the player’s eight-point, and other strongholds incidentally arranged, until his base, the inner table, is safely occupied."

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