Just like other board games like chess, computer programs were also created and designed to play backgammon . These complex softwares used the principle of "neural network approach" to play the game at a very high level. In fact, these computer programs have become so good that they can now be considered at par with the best human players all over the world.
The first backgammon software to play the game at an expert level was the BKG 9.8 which was developed by Hans Berliner during the 1970s. In July 1979, BKG 9.8 made history by then backgammon world champion Luigi Villa by a score of 7-1. Although some people attribute the feat to luck, BKG 9.8 nonetheless earned a place in backgammon and computer history as the first ever computer program to beat a current world champion.
After the success of BKG 9.8, many software developers started experimenting with the neural network approach as the backbone of modern backgammon software. The experiments were a huge success as numerous commercial programs like Snowie and Jellyfish were released in the market. One of the first backgammon software to play the game at the expert level was IBM's TD-Gammon.
free backgammon softwares were also developed, like GNU Backgammon. Most backgammon programs can play at the tournament level and can even beat the best human players.
Backgammon software has some similarities with computer chess programs like the quality of play involved, but there are also some interesting contrasts between the two. While chess software has benefited greatly from the advancements in computing power, backgammon software has only minimal increase in playing strengths with the improvements in computer hardware. This explains the relatively slow growth of the backgammon software industry compared with those of chess programs.
Playing against a computer is a challenging endeavor and is an excellent way to improve your playing skills and strategies in backgammon, especially if you lack quality human opponents. Since most of these programs can play at an exceptionally high level, you must choose the level of play that is suitable for you. If you are new to the game, you may be better off playing at the easiest level. If you think you are good enough to be world champion, then you can choose to play at the strongest or highest level.
Computers will not replace humans in the foreseeable future, especially in games like backgammon, so be sure to play against human players as well. They can be as good as or even better than computer programs. Besides, nothing compares with playing against other people and pitting your wits against other minds like yours.