In 1990, the U.S. Backgammon Tournamnet Rules were
standardized (below) that most clubs and tournaments play
under. It has been over seven years and the rules have not
been reviewed. Now we have a chance to make suggestions
for new rules or modify the existing rules.
EMail your suggestions to me (Butch Meese) at
firstname.lastname@example.org The deadline for submitting
is December 15, 1997.
After all suggestions have been collected, a panel
of 7-9 directors will review all the suggestions
and modifiations make.
The updated rules will reposted to rec.games.backgammon
Hoosier Backgammon Club
U.S. Backgammon Tournament Rules
UNITED STATES BACKGAMMON TOURNAMENT
RULES & PROCEDURES March 1990
The Tournament Rules and Procedures cannot, and
should not, regulate all possible situations that
may arise during a game. No set of rules should
deprive the Director of his freedom of judgment
or prevent him from finding the solution dictated
by fairness and compatible with the circumstances
of a particular case.
Except where otherwise specified, the commonly
accepted rules of backgammon apply.
A knowledgeable and disinterested Director or
Directors, advised by a Tournament Committee,
shall represent the Tournament.
All entries are subject to the approval of the
Tournament. Reasons for exclusion need not be
stated. Where more than one Tournament division
exists, an entrant may be restricted from playing
in a lower division.
Once a match is in progress, neither player may
use mechanical or written aids except to keep score.
Player may forbid his opponent from wearing headphones.
The official Tournament language is English. Speech
in any other language will not be permitted between
players and/or spectators while matches are in progress.
Spectators should remain silent while observing a match.
Spectators have no right to draw attention to any misplays
or comment on plays. Player may request Director to bar one
or more spectators from viewing his match.
Matches shall be played in designated Tournament areas.
Matches shall start promptly at the appointed times. Each
player is entitled to one 5 minute recess (between games)
in a match not exceeding 13 points in length. Longer
matches, or those of significant importance may be allowed
additional recess time.
2.3 PENALTY POINTS.
Unless excused as necessary by Director, time and recess
violations shall be penalized by points awarded to
opponent. The first penalty point will be awarded 15
minutes after the appointed starting time and accrue
thereafter at the rate of 1 point for each 5 minute delay.
When the penalty points amount to more than half of the
number needed to win the match, the absent player will
have then forfeited. To avoid penalties, player should
secure Director's consent when leaving Tournament site
for more than 10 minutes.
2.4 SLOW PLAY.
Players are expected to play at a reasonable pace.
Director may warn an unduly slow player, and thereafter
award penalty points to his opponent if unreasonable
slowness persists. A time clock may be used to monitor
Director may appoint a monitor to observe a match on
his own initiative, or at the request of a player. Monitor
shall have full powers to protect each player against
Either player may demand that both use, when available
and approved by the Director: (a) precision dice (over
any others) and/or (b) lipped dice cups (over unlipped).
If necessary, the backgammon board, direction of play,
choice of checker color and seat location shall be
decided by roll of the dice prior to the commencement of play.
3.3 EQUIPMENT CHANGES.
Director may replace defective equipment at any time.
Otherwise the four dice initially selected shall be used
throughout. Either player may demand a mixing of dice
prior to the start of any game. In this case, the demanding
player shakes the four dice together in one cup and rolls
them out. Opponent selects a die-then roller-then
opponent-with roller taking the last die.
4.0 PLAY OF THE GAME/IRREGULARITIES
4.1 RANDOM ROLLS.
Dice are strictly a means of obtaining random numbers;
any other use violates the rules and the spirit of
backgammon. A legal roll consists of shaking the dice
vigorously in a dice cup and then simultaneously tossing
them out at a discernible height above the playing
surface, allowing them to bounce and roll freely.
4.2 VALID ROLLS.
Both dice must come to rest flat (not cocked) on the
playing surface to the right of the bar; otherwise
they must be rerolled.
Player should move clearly, using only one hand to
play the checkers. Player shall reenter any checker on
the bar before moving any other checker. No player
should move any checkers during an opponent's turn.
Deviations from proper moving procedure may result
in an adverse ruling in case of dispute.
4.4 CHECKER HANDLING.
Checkers which have been hit must be kept on the bar
pending reentry. Checkers which have been borne off
must be kept off the entire playing surface for the
rest of the game. Failure to observe these procedures
may result in an adverse ruling in case of dispute,
or redress to an opponent harmed thereby.
4.5 LIFTING DICE.
Player concludes his turn by lifting either or both
of his dice. But with notice to opponent, he may
reposition the dice on the playing surface to
facilitate moving the checkers. After lifting his
dice, player may change his move only upon an opponent's
demand to replay an illegal move.
4.6 PREMATURE ACTIONS.
No player may roll or turn the cube until the opponent
has picked up his dice. A premature roll must be
rerolled. A premature double shall stand if otherwise
valid. An opponent who has yet to complete his turn may
then do so with foreknowledge of the premature double.
4.7 ERROR IN SETUP.
An incorrect starting position must be corrected prior
to the fifth roll of the game. Thereafter the existing
setup becomes official. Players starting with less than
15 checkers in play may still be gammoned or backgammoned.
4.8 ILLEGAL MOVES.
Upon drawing attention to an illegal move, player may
condone it or demand that opponent legally replay the
entire roll. Player condones a prior illegal move by
rolling his own dice or turning the cube.
Games must be rolled to completion, unless ended by a
pass of a double or redouble, or conceded in no-contact
positions as single game, gammon or backgammon losses. No
game may be cancelled and replayed, or settled. Matches
must be played to the appointed length.
4.10 REPORTING RESULTS.
Final score shall be reported to Tournament Official
by match winner. Official shall verify and post a
correct result on draw sheet. Once posted, an erroneous
result may still be corrected in a timely manner, but
not after either player has begun a succeeding match.
5.1 KEEPING SCORE.
Each player shall keep a running match score and
compare his score with opponent's at the start of
every game. In the event of a scoring dispute, a
player not keeping score will be at a disadvantage.
5.2 CUBE SETUP.
It is the responsibility of both players to see
that the doubling cube begins each game centered with
the "64" side face up. In the event of a dispute,
the current position and level of the cube will
strongly influence Director's ruling.
Exception: the cube may be removed during the
Crawford game (see Rule 5.5).
5.3 CUBE RULES.
Gammons and backgammons will count at all times.
It is not necessary to double an opponent in order
to win a gammon or backgammon.
5.4 CUBE HANDLING.
Player may double when it is his turn only before
rolling the dice, but not after rolling cocked dice.
To double or redouble, player moves the cube toward
his opponent at the higher value while saying
"double" or words to that effect. To take, one draws
the cube toward himself while saying "take" or words
to that effect. To reject the double, one says "pass"
or words to that effect, enters the score and resets
the board. The cube should not be handled capriciously;
either verbal or physical acts may be interpreted as
5.5 CRAWFORD RULE.
The Crawford Rule will apply to all matches. When a
player reaches match point (e.g., 8 points in a 9 point
match), the doubling cube will be out of play for one
game. In subsequent games following the Crawford game,
the cube may be turned at first legal opportunity.
When a dispute arises, all players must leave dice,
checkers, cube and score unchanged while Director
is summoned. Violations by player in this area are
most serious and create a presumption in favor of
Any player may argue issues of fact or rule.
Spectators, except to report cheating, may testify only
at Director's request.
Player may appeal Director's ruling, but he must do
so promptly, while timely redress may still be obtained.
To resolve an appeal, Director shall convene a
committee of three knowledgeable and disinterested
backgammon players at once. Committee shall hear
relevant testimony and arguments, and may overturn
Director's ruling by majority decision. This exhausts
player's right to appeal.