Forum Archive : Rulings

Playing to wrong match length

From:   Klaus Evers
Address:   none
Date:   20 January 2006
Subject:   Ruling question: matchlength
Forum:   GammOnLine

Let's say players A and B have to play a quarterfinal of a nice tourney.
Scheduled match length is 11 points, but both of them play a 13-point
match because they did not notice that they are expected to play 11
points as in all previous rounds.  During the match, player A gets a
11-9 lead, but later player B wins the match by 12-13.  After the match
they find out about their wrong match length.

Should player A be awarded the win?  Would it make a difference if
player B had a 11-9 lead and a later 13-12 win?

Casper van der Tak  writes:

Yes.  Both players have decided and implicitly agreed to play a 13-point
match, so the one who wins that should be posted as a winner.

If you later decide the match length should have been considered an 11-
point match, you get also weird discussions about cubes during the
Crawford game when one of players reached 10 points, etc. etc.

In addition, if you allow a reversal of the result, you open up all type
of possibilities for people to try to take cheap shots (e.g. one player
knows it is 11 points, but starts with "13 points, right?", the other
agrees, and then as play develops will or will not "realize" that it is
actually 11-points.)

If both write 13-points on their scoresheet as match length, that
clearly stands.

Ilia Guzei  writes:

My inclination is that the match length both players agreed upon should
not be modified (N vs N-n) for the decision: whoever won the match is
the winner. The reason is that the cube actions, checker plays, and
match equities would have been affected had the match length been
different, and the other player could have reached the N-n score first
had he realized what the correct match length was.

TarHeelFan  writes:

The standard ruling is that the first player to reach the posted match
length is the winner.  This is taken from the link Stick posted
[]. It is from Butch Meese's
revision, which some directors are now using, but which Bill Davis does
not recognize as "official." The last line is new:

    4.9 COMPLETION. 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. Players are responsible for
 playing to the posted match length. The first player to reach the
 posted match length is the winner.

I agree with Ilia that there are issues around how the cube might have
been handled differently. In particular, there may have been cube action
in what should have been the Crawford game. I do not know for certain
the purpose of ruling this way, but one explanation I've heard is that
we don't want players agreeing to play longer matches and thus
introducing potential time issues. I'm not saying I like or dislike the
ruling, but it's what you should expect if this situation arises in an
ABT event.

Chuck Bower  writes:

I asked both Carol Joy Cole and Butch Meese what their feelings were
about this issue. Both agreed that the first player to reach the POSTED
matchlength (NOT the first to reach the erroneous agreed upon
matchlength) should be declared the winner. So Jeb's statement that a
player should not be surprised to see this ruling in an ABT tournament
is confirmed.

Butch quoted the 2001 Rules. CJC said that she was in favor because of
many inconsistent rulings that had been made in the past. These are two
of the US's most experienced directors.

Steve Mellen  writes:

I don't understand the logic of undoing the match after it is over. If
the error is discovered while play is still in progress, sure.

Daniel Murphy  writes:

Until reading Jeb's comment and Chuck's conveyance of Carol and Butch's
opinion, I wasn't aware that this (the first player who reached the
posted match length shall be declared the winner) was the "standard
ruling" but I think it's a reasonable ruling and is consistent with TD's
interest that all matches be played to the posted match length, not
shorter nor longer, unintentionally or otherwise.

In the case of both players having played to 13 thinking that 13 was the
correct match length, I don't think that ruling that the player who
first reached 13 the winner would be unreasonable, but it would be
inferior to the "standard ruling" because first (as mentioned) it would
be inconsistent with TD's interest in enforcing posted match lengths,
and second because generally I prefer simple rules that are enforceable
without unduly burdening TD with a need to divine participants'

What-if arguments about the effect that correcting the match length
midmatch may have with regard to Crawford and other score-based cube or
play decisions fall deafly on my ears. One or both players were at fault
in failing to observe the posted match length; players have no right to
alter the posted match length; and therefore players have no defensible
claim to a right to a "good match" played to the wrong match length.
Did you find the information in this article useful?          

Do you have any comments you'd like to add?     



Checker knocked off bar  (Chuck Bower+, Sept 2003)  [GammOnLine forum]
Clock rules and gin positions  (Chris Yep+, Dec 2007) 
Clock rules end of turn  (Jason Lee+, Dec 2007)  [GammOnLine forum]
Cocked dice  (Rodney Lighton+, July 2012) 
Cocked dice  (Ed Rosenblum+, Dec 2009) 
Cocked dice  (Chuck Bower+, July 2003)  [GammOnLine forum]
Cocked die on first roll  (Cloyd Laporte+, Nov 2006)  [GammOnLine forum]
Crawford game double  (Øystein Johansen+, June 2004)  [GammOnLine forum]
Crawford game double  (Joe+, May 2004)  [GammOnLine forum]
Crawford game double  (Raccoon+, Sept 2003)  [GammOnLine forum]
Crawford game double  (Claes Thornberg+, Apr 1998) 
Dice sliding  (Chris Yep+, Dec 2007) 
Disagreement on final cube  (Chuck Bower+, May 2004)  [GammOnLine forum]
Disagreement over cocked dice  (DeaconBlue+, May 2005) 
Disputed roll  (Roland Scheicher+, Mar 2004) 
Disputed roll  (Chuck Bower+, Mar 2000) 
Doubling to wrong value  (Stein Kulseth+, Nov 1998) 
Equipment changes  (Jason Lee+, Feb 2004)  [GammOnLine forum]
Error in setup  (Stick+, Dec 2007) 
Incorrect setup  (Ken+, Mar 2004)  [GammOnLine forum]
Kibitzing  (Ilia Guzei+, Feb 2006)  [GammOnLine forum]
Misplaced cube  (Ned Cross+, Mar 2004)  [GammOnLine forum]
Misplacing a checker off the board  (Sam Pottle+, Apr 2006)  [GammOnLine forum]
Misplacing a checker on the bar  (Jeb Horton, Dec 2002)  [GammOnLine forum]
Moving checkers before you roll  (Gregg Cattanach+, Mar 2006) 
Moving with two hands  (Jason Lee+, Jan 2011) 
Opening roll loser picks up his die  (Chuck Bower+, Oct 2007)  [GammOnLine forum]
Playing to wrong match length  (Klaus Evers+, Jan 2006)  [GammOnLine forum]
Playing to wrong match length  (Marty Storer+, Mar 2005)  [GammOnLine forum] [Long message]
Playing to wrong match length  (Steve Mellen, Feb 1998) 
Playing wrong opponent  (Hank Youngerman+, Oct 2005) 
Premature actions  (Raccoon+, Feb 2008)  [GammOnLine forum]
Premature roll  (Chris Yep+, Dec 2007) 
Repositioning dice without notice  (Chuck Bower+, Oct 2007)  [GammOnLine forum]
Rerolling cocked dice too quickly  (Raccoon+, Nov 2006)  [GammOnLine forum]
Rolling 2 dice instead of 1 to start  (Bob Koca+, Oct 2007) 
Rolling when opponent is closed out  (Raccoon+, Nov 2006)  [GammOnLine forum]
Rolling wrong dice  (TarHeelFan+, Sept 2005)  [GammOnLine forum]
Taking photos of positions  (Stick+, Dec 2007) 
Touching the doubling cube  (Ken Bame+, Nov 2006)  [GammOnLine forum]
Touching the doubling cube  (Chuck Bower+, Apr 1998) 
Two cubes on the board  (Jason Lee+, July 2005)  [GammOnLine forum]
Video dispute resolution  (Jason Lee+, Feb 2006) 
When are the dice "up"?  (Ilia Guzei+, Feb 2006)  [GammOnLine forum]
Writing down positions  (Klaus Evers+, Jan 2006)  [GammOnLine forum]

[GammOnLine forum]  From GammOnLine       [Long message]  Long message       [Recommended reading]  Recommended reading       [Recent addition]  Recent addition

  Book Suggestions
Computer Dice
Cube Handling
Cube Handling in Races
Extreme Gammon
Fun and frustration
GNU Backgammon
Luck versus Skill
Magazines & E-zines
Match Archives
Match Equities
Match Play
Match Play at 2-away/2-away
Opening Rolls
Pip Counting
Play Sites
Probability and Statistics
Source Code
Strategy--Bearing Off
Strategy--Checker play


Return to:  Backgammon Galore : Forum Archive Main Page