Michigan Backgammon Clock Rules

Version 1.00, July 2002

 1.1 The tournament director may require that clocks be used for any match, or for the remaining portion of a match already underway.
 1.2 When clocks are added to a match already underway, clock use will generally begin with the next game. In extreme cases the director may require that clocks be added immediately, even in the middle of a game.
 2.1 Preferences.  If necessary, players roll to decide equipment preferences. The high roller is allowed to decide either clock placement or both checker color and direction of play.
 2.2 Dice and cups.  Players share one pair of dice. An additional pair of dice is set aside for dice mixes. Each player has his own dice cup.
 2.3 Clock construction and approval.  The clocks must be constructed properly. A player may require that the director approve any clocks used.
 2.4 Faulty clocks.  Clocks with obvious faults must be replaced immediately. The director will use his best judgment when transferring time from faulty clocks to replacement clocks.
 3.1 Starting a game.  At the start of each game, both clocks are stopped and each player rolls one die. The player rolling the lower die hits his clock, starting his opponent's clock.
 3.2 Completing a turn.  A player ends his turn by hitting his clock. The dice are left on the playing surface.
 3.3 Rolling and moving.  For each roll the dice must be shaken vigorously and tossed out at a discernible height above the playing surface. If a die leaves the table, both clocks are stopped while the die is retrieved. The clocks are not stopped for cocked dice.
         After a valid roll is obtained, the moving player may move the dice plainly to the center of the playing surface, or as required to move his checkers, but should not otherwise touch the dice. The non-moving player may not touch the dice during his opponent's turn. After the mover hits his clock, ending his turn, the next player picks up the dice and play continues.
         When a player cannot move regardless of the roll (e.g., a closed out player), both players continue to hit the clock to end their turns. The player who cannot move need not roll the dice.
 3.4 Doubling.  To double or redouble, a player places the cube on the center of the playing surface at the next cube level, says "I double," and hits his clock.
         To accept a double, a player places the cube on his side of the board on the accepted cube level, says "I take," and hits his clock. To reject a double, a player says "I pass," stops both clocks, and begins resetting the board.
 3.5 Illegal moves.  A player's clock runs while he considers whether to have his opponent correct an illegal play. A player condones an illegal move by picking up either or both dice. If a player wants his opponent to correct an illegal move, he does not pick up the dice, but instead tells his opponent why the play was illegal, and hits his clock. The opponent then makes a legal move and hits his clock. If the opponent believes his move was legal, he stops both clocks and the tournament director is called to adjudicate.
 3.6 Completing a game.  As he completes his turn in a non-contact position, a player may offer to end the game with a particular outcome. The outcome may be a win or a loss of a backgammon, gammon, or plain game. The player specifies the outcome offered (e.g., "I lose a backgammon," "I give you no gammon"), hits his clock and immediately stops both clocks.
         To accept the offer, the opponent repeats the outcome (e.g., "I win a backgammon," "I lose a plain game"), scores the game, and begins to reset the board for the next game. To reject the offer, the opponent says "I reject," and starts his clock. A player may not reject a gin outcome.
         Both clocks are stopped when a game ends, whether by a passed double, an accepted offer, or a player bearing off his last checker.
 3.7 Adjudicating gin outcomes.  If a dispute arises as to whether an outcome is gin, the tournament director will adjudicate. If the correct ruling is unclear to the director, the following procedure will be used. First, the current position is recorded. Then the game continues without the use of clocks, with the player disputing the gin outcome calling the rolls for both players, until the correct ruling is clear to the director. The outcome is ruled gin unless the disputing player does better than the contested outcome. If the outcome is not gin, the position is restored and play continues.
 3.8 Dice mix.  Either player may require a mixing of dice prior to the start of any game. Four predetermined dice are mixed, including the two already in play, and each player selects one die.
 3.9 Breaks.  Before beginning a break, each player must record the time on both clocks and check his opponent's record. When resuming, both players should check that the clocks are set as recorded before the break.
 3.10 Stopping the clock.  Both clocks are stopped: (a) prior to the first game, (b) between games, (c) to verify score or cube status in the event of a discrepancy, (d) to retrieve fallen dice, (e) while a player considers an offer to end a game, (f) to summon the tournament director, or (g) while adjudicating a dispute.
 3.11 Spectators.  Spectators must remain silent. They may not call attention to either player's remaining time, to the expiration of a player's time, or to whether a player's clock is running.
 4.1 For the first time control, the tournament director sets the clocks so that each player has the time indicated in table below. Both players should verify that the clocks are properly set before beginning play.
Timetable showing minutes on clock at various match scores.
First time control for each player, in minutes.
 4.2 Time expiration.  When either player's first time control expires, the tournament director must be called to start the second time control. There is no penalty for the expiration of the first time control.
 5.1 A digital clock set to use the USCF time delay (preferably) or Bronstein method is used for the second time control. The player whose time expired starts the second time control with three minutes. His opponent starts with three minutes plus the time he had remaining from the first control. Both clocks are set with a time delay of twelve seconds per move (thus, a player's remaining time will not change if he moves in twelve seconds or less).
 5.2 If either player's time expires during the second time control, the match is over. If a player has a gin win of the match based on the position on the board, then that player wins, without regard to whose clock expired. Otherwise the player whose time expired loses the match. If necessary, section 3.7 is used to adjudicate whether a player has a gin win.
 6.1 Incorrectly charged time.  A player is responsible for stopping his own clock. Time used due to failure to take care of this responsibility will not be restored.
 6.2 Unsportsmanlike conduct.  The clocks are intended to provide a fair monitoring of the time used by both players. A player who flouts this spirit will be warned and may be penalized. Directly interfering with a clock's proper time or with its correct operation will be penalized severely.

To comment on this document, please e-mail David Montgomery at davidmontgomery@netzero.net

From:  Backgammon Galore : Tournaments