Forum Archive : Rulings

Moving with two hands

From:   Jason Lee
Date:   22 January 2011
Subject:   The two-hand rule
Forum: Forums

Rule 4.3 of the U.S. Rules and Procedures reads:

    4.3 MOVING. A player shall move the checkers in an unambiguous manner,
    using only one hand. Checkers must be reentered from the bar before
    moving any other checker. A player shall not touch any checkers or dice
    during the opponent's turn.

      24  23  22  21  20  19      18  17  16  15  14  13
     | X                   O |   |     O               X |
     | X                   O |   |     O               X |
     |                     O |   |     O               X |
     |                     O |   |     O               X |
     |                     O |   |                     X |
     |                       |   |                       |   X rolls 5-5.
     |                     X |   |                       |
     |                     X |   |                     O |
     |                     X |   |     X               O |
     |                     X |   |     X               O |
     | O       O           X |   |     X               O |
       1   2   3   4   5   6       7   8   9  10  11  12

I believe a strict reading of that rule means that in the above position,
you cannot do what a lot of people do, which is, in order:

* Pick up the blot on the 3 point with their left hand.

* While holding said blot in their left hand, move two checkers from the 8
  point to the 3 point with their right hand.

* Then place the blot on the bar with their left hand. Some people will
  transfer the blot from their left hand to their right hand, and place it
  on the bar with their right hand.

Do you think it's reasonable to enforce the rule in this situation, or is
it being too petty?

Casper van der Tak  writes:

Too petty. As long as it is clear that the move is played legally, all
should be fine.

adrianov wrties  writes:

I agree it would be to much to insist on the rule for this particular
position & roll. Most of the players will have a pretty clear picture in
mind of what the board will look like after the move is completed. The rule
is OK for more complicated positions and where the player in turn is
shuffling and trying out several options.

Stick  writes:

I am with you in general. There's no reason someone can't use 1 hand while
moving and keep things neat. Here though the position calls out for some
common sense instead of a fight for the sake of fighting. It's not like
they're going to move checkers and move them back.

Justin N.  writes:

No more than one hand should be used to complete a turn. And enforce this
rule the first time it is violated, and every time therafter. It only takes
one instance where your opponent is sitting there with two checkers in the
air, one in each hand, asking you what the original position was
(particularly when doublets have been rolled), to make you wish you
enforced this rule more regularly.

Daniel  writes:

Yes, Jason, I think it is reasonable to enforce Rule 4.3, even in this
simple and common position.  Similar questions come up often.  Perhaps they
would come up less frequently if more players were both aware of and
enforced Rule 4.3.  It is a good rule and promotes fair play.

Related comment by Patrick Gibson:

    13 October 2009

    As a director, if called to rule, I would emphasize that "unambiguous"
    means that we should not have to "TRY and figure out" what is going on.
    The opponent should easily be able to determine what's happening.

    Move with one hand. Re-enter any of your checkers from the bar. And DO
    NOT place any opponent's checkers on the bar WITHOUT physically LANDING
    one of your checkers on that "hit" checker.

    Yes, lots of time saving motions can be attempted, but should not be
    condoned. Keep it simple! Roll well and prosper.

    ________patrick (the MFIC)
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