Forum Archive : Rulings

Repositioning dice without notice

From:   Chuck Bower
Date:   5 October 2007
Subject:   US Rule most frequently broken?
Forum:   GammOnLine

I would venture a guess that 90% of US players reposition their dice
frequently without giving "notice to opponent" or without needing to due of
"facilitating moving the checkers". Here is what the 1990 U.S. Backgammon
Rules say:

> 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.

Stick  writes:

I do move my dice to the center a lot and I don't "notify" my opponent. If
I did I'd probably have dry mouth by the end of it ... I've never had a
problem when doing this.

Chuck Bower  writes:

There are players who, after making a legal move, reach for the dice and
start sliding them towards themselves. But after slow (usually) dragging,
they stop and think some more. Is this OK?

I've asked at least one US ABT director and s/he told me that, in his/her
opinion, once the full roll has been moved, touching the dice is the same
as picking up the dice -- i.e. the player is signalling that his turn is
over. I don't know if that is a widespread opinion, though.

David Startin  writes:

This came up in my last tournament here in the UK. My opponent moved and
then touched his dice. I rolled and he claimed he had not lifted his dice.
He had overlooked a hit and my premature roll was a joker (double 5). As I
could not be 100% sure that the dice had been lifted from the board,
Michael Crane ruled that the dice had not been lifted and that my premature
roll stood. My opponent then moved again, putting a second checker on the
bar. Both checkers then entered with the 5-5 against a 4 point board.

Chris Yep  writes:

I'm in general agreement with others in this thread:

If a player makes a move and then slides his dice across the board, this
should be interpreted as him picking up his dice. In general this will help
cure players of their dice-sliding habits.

However, there's a slight subtlety. What if a player rolls doubles (e.g.
double 6), moves three 6s, and then starts sliding the dice across the
board? Should we assume that he intends for his turn to be over (i.e. he
accidentally made an illegal play) or should we assume that he's just
repositioning the dice (either he didn't give "notice" or his "notice" was
subtle)? I'm not sure.

Personally, when I reposition dice I often do not give explicit "notice" to
my opponent. However, I'm always very careful when I reposition dice. I
always (or almost always) reposition dice before moving any checkers. I
also take extra care that there's no possible chance for the dice to leave
the surface of the board. E.g. I sometimes gently slide the dice with the
edge of my index finger.

Gregg Cattanach  writes:

I agree that the admonition to "give notice" before repositioning dice is
almost never followed. However, it is the sort of "rule" that is only
important to apply when there actually is a dispute. Just violating this in
and by itself isn't grounds for calling the director and asking for penalty

It should remain in the rules because the director can use it when we have
the scenario of the "dice slider" at the end of his turn, inducing a
premature roll, and then the dispute of whether the slider can change his
play (assuming the new US rule is in place). The director can point out
that the opponent did not give notice that he was repositioning dice, thus
his action of "sliding" the dice is the same as picking them up.
Did you find the information in this article useful?          

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Cocked die on first roll  (Cloyd Laporte+, Nov 2006)  [GammOnLine forum]
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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]

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