Before I get into this week’s variation, I wanted to thank everyone who emailed me wishing my son a speedy recovery from his accident. He did have emergency surgery, and he is recovering. So, thanks everyone.
Your good thoughts meant a whole lot to me.
Now, to our continuing series on backgammon variants: Tapa.
The meaning of the word “tapa” is “bottle cap” and it’s a good name because one player is looking to block out the other opponent’s pieces.
The movement of the checkers and the objective of “tapa” are same as backgammon, except for one key difference: a blot (single checker) is not taken out when its hit but rather the opponent’s checker rest on top of the blot and by doing that forms a point.
A player can also form points in the usual way by placing two or more of his own checkers in the same slot.
If a player leaves a blot in one of his home slots and gets it covered, the players certainly loses a backgammon (unless the opponent has done the same, in this case it’s a tie).
A long doublet (5 and 5 or 6 and 6) in the first stages of “tapa” can prove very useful because the opponent might have some blots in his home slots and the player might be able to cover them.
The closer this happens to the opponent’s home slots the better, because the later the player will free the blot as he’s bearing off.
There is a lot of strategy involved here. Experts suggest you move slower rather than faster.
Primes are not always useful for example when the opponent has enough room for short moves behind the prime.
If neither of the players gets caught early in the game. Both of them try to move their checkers in almost prime formations. This will create a dramatic situation when the opponents try pass through each other.
Where is Tapa popular? Bulgaria.