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What is Tavla Narde and How to Play It?
Tavla narde is a variant of backgammon that is popular in Turkey, Russia, Iran, Greece, and other countries in the Middle East and Eastern Europe. It is also known as nardi, tavli, tawula, takhteh, or simply narde.
Tavla narde is one of the oldest board games in the world. Its history can be traced back nearly 5,000 years to archaeological discoveries in Mesopotamia. It is a two-player game where each player has fifteen pieces (checkers or men) that move between twenty-four triangles (points) according to the roll of two dice.
In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about tavla narde, including its rules, its differences from other backgammon variants, its benefits, and how to improve your skills and win more games. You will also discover where to play tavla narde online for free or for real money.
The Rules of Tavla Narde
The rules of tavla narde are similar to those of standard backgammon, but with some notable differences. Here are the basic rules of tavla narde:
The board consists of twenty-four points, twelve on each side. The points are numbered from 1 to 24, with 1 being the furthest point from the player and 24 being the closest point.
Each player has fifteen pieces of the same color, either black or white. The pieces are placed on the board as follows: two pieces on point 1, five pieces on point 12, three pieces on point 17, and five pieces on point 19.
The players take turns rolling two dice and moving their pieces according to the numbers shown on the dice. The player who rolls the higher number goes first. If both players roll the same number, they roll again until a tie is broken.
A player must move both dice if possible, or one die if only one move is possible. If neither move is possible, the player loses his turn. A player can move his piece to any empty point or a point occupied by his own pieces. A player cannot move his piece to a point occupied by two or more of his opponent's pieces.
If a player moves his piece to a point occupied by one of his opponent's pieces, he hits that piece and sends it to the bar (the middle of the board). A piece on the bar cannot re-enter the board until all of the opponent's pieces have moved past it. To re-enter the board, a piece on the bar must be moved to an open point in the opponent's home board (points 1 to 6).
The objective of the game is to bear off all of one's pieces before the opponent does. To bear off a piece, a player must roll a number that corresponds to the point where the piece is located. For example, to bear off a piece from point 6, a player must roll a 6. A player can also bear off a piece from a lower point if there are no pieces on higher points.
The first player to bear off all of his pieces wins the game. If a player bears off all of his pieces before the opponent has borne off any, he wins a backgammon and scores three points. If a player bears off all of his pieces while the opponent still has one or more pieces on the bar or in his home board, he wins a gammon and scores two points. Otherwise, he wins a single game and scores one point.
The Differences Between Tavla Narde and Other Backgammon Variants
Tavla narde is one of many backgammon variants that have different rules and strategies. Here are some of the main differences between tavla narde and other backgammon variants:
Standard backgammonIn standard backgammon, the pieces are set up differently: two pieces on point 24, five pieces on point 13, three pieces on point 8, and five pieces on point 6. The direction of movement is also different: each player moves his pieces from his home board (points 24 to 19) to his outer board (points 18 to 13), then to his opponent's outer board (points 12 to 7), then to his opponent's home board (points 6 to 1). In standard backgammon, there is also a doubling cube that allows players to increase the stakes of the game.
Turkish tavlaIn Turkish tavla, the pieces are set up like in standard backgammon, but there is no hitting or bearing off. The objective of the game is to bring all of one's pieces into one's home board and then stack them on point 1. The first player to do so wins the game.
Persian nardeIn Persian narde, the pieces are set up like in tavla narde, but there is no hitting. The objective of the game is to bear off all of one's pieces before the opponent does. In Persian narde, there is also a special rule that allows a player to move all of his pieces that are behind his furthest piece by rolling doubles.
Greek plakotoIn Greek plakoto, the pieces are set up like in standard backgammon, but there is no hitting. Instead, a player can trap his opponent's piece by moving his piece on top of it. A trapped piece cannot move until the trapping piece moves away. The objective of the game is to trap all of the opponent's pieces or prevent them from moving.
The Benefits of Playing Tavla Narde
Playing tavla narde is not only fun, but also beneficial for your brain and your well-being. Here are some of the benefits of playing tavla narde:
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It improves your cognitive skills, such as memory, concentration, logic, and problem-solving. Playing tavla narde requires you to remember the rules, the dice rolls, the board position, and the possible moves. It also challenges you to think strategically, plan ahead, and anticipate your opponent's moves.
It boosts your mental health, such as mood, stress, and self-esteem. Playing tavla narde can help you relax, enjoy yourself, and feel good about yourself. It can also reduce your anxiety, depression, and loneliness by providing you with a positive distraction and a social outlet.
It enhances your social interaction, such as communication, cooperation, and friendship. Playing tavla narde can help you connect with other people who share your interest and passion for the game. It can also foster a sense of community, respect, and sportsmanship among players.
It increases your cultural awareness, such as history, diversity, and identity. Playing tavla narde can help you learn about the rich and ancient history of the game and its variations. It can also expose you to different cultures, languages, and traditions that are associated with the game.
How to Improve Your Tavla Narde Skills and Win More Games?
If you want to become a better tavla narde player and win more games, you need to learn some tips and tricks that can improve your skills and give you an edge over your opponents. Here are some of the best ways to improve your tavla narde skills and win more games:
How to Choose the Best Opening Moves in Tavla Narde
The opening moves in tavla narde are very important because they set the tone and direction of the game. You want to choose the best opening moves that can give you an advantage in terms of position, flexibility, and safety. Here are some of the best opening moves in tavla narde based on the dice roll:
If you roll 6-6: Move two pieces from point 19 to point 13 and two pieces from point 12 to point 6. This is a very strong opening that creates a prime (a wall of six consecutive points) in your home board and blocks your opponent from entering.
If you roll 5-5: Move two pieces from point 19 to point 14 and two pieces from point 17 to point 12. This is another strong opening that creates a prime in your home board and prepares to make another prime in your outer board.
If you roll 4-4: Move two pieces from point 17 to point 13 and two pieces from point 12 to point 8. This is a balanced opening that creates a prime in your home board and advances your pieces in your outer board.
If you roll 3-3: Move two pieces from point 17 to point 14 and two pieces from point 12 to point 9. This is an aggressive opening that advances your pieces in your outer board and threatens to hit your opponent's pieces.
If you roll 2-2: Move two pieces from point 1 to point 5 and two pieces from point 12 to point 16. This is a defensive opening that protects your pieces from being hit and prepares to make a prime in your outer board.
If you roll any other combination: Move one piece according to each die value. For example, if you roll 6-5, move one piece from point 19 to point 14 and one piece from point 17