Forum Archive : Rulings

Incorrect setup

From:   Ken
Date:   1 March 2004
Subject:   Rules question
Forum:   GammOnLine

9 point match, I lead 7-2. My opponent and I each roll one die; he moves a
5-4. I then notice that the board was set up wrong (I swear, I only had one
Guinness!). I ask to set up the board correctly, he refuses saying that the
game has started and I must accept the current position.

       Match to 9, X leads 7 to 2

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

We asked for a ruling from the TD who ruled in my favor. Would this same
ruling have been made at a "major" tournament?

Jason Lee  writes:

From US Backgammon Tournament Rules

   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.


Daniel Murphy  writes:

Where do you drink, I mean play, Ken? The US rule is standard. BIBA's rule
4.7 is the same as US rule 4.7. Ireland? Norway? Sweden? They have the same
rule. Denmark's rule is that the position must be corrected before the
THIRD roll of the game (that is, before the opener's second roll).

The WBF rule is different:

   "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. The opponent of a player with more than 15 checkers
   may remove surplus checkers of his own choosing or require the player to
   finish the game with the surplus. The opponent of a player with fewer
   than 15 checkers (prior to the bear-off) may supply the shortage by
   placing sufficient checkers on the bar or require the player to finish
   the game with the shortage. Gammons and backgammons still apply."

Huh? I can't parse all that removing-and-supplying-checker language. If you
ever play in Slovenia, just make sure everything's correct before the first

Neil Kazaross  writes:

I have played with 1 piece too few and two pieces too few. Once, in an
important round in an ABT tourney a friend of mine forgot to place his 5
checkers on the midpoint thus playing with 10 checkers. No one realized
until about 4 rolls per player had been taken. Somehow he lucked out and
escaped his runners and wasn't hit and won the race with the cube on 2.

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