Tournament Rules

U.S. Backgammon Clock Rules and Procedures
Simple Delay Clocks Only — March 2013

These rules are used in conjunction with the
U.S. Backgammon Tournament Rules and Procedures.

1. Clock Usage. 
2. Time Limits.  Singles matches; Doubles matches
3. The Play.  Equipment; Dice mix; Opening roll; Completing a Turn; Doubling
4. Irregularities.  Mishandling dice; Dice not left on the board; Illegal plays
5. Ending a Game or Match.  Conceding, ending a game; Stopping the clock; Time expiration

1.  Clock Usage
1.1.  At the request of any participant in the tournament or on his own initiative, the Director may require a specific match be played using a Simple Delay time clock. Alternatively, the Director may post on the draw sheet for any or all rounds of an event either "CLOCKS REQUIRED" (all matches will be clocked) or "CLOCKS ALLOWED" (a clock will be used when either player or team requests it). Clocks can be introduced only at the start of a game. The clocks selected must use the Simple Delay system of reserve time and per-move delay time and must be approved by the Director.

2.  Time Limits
2.1  Singles matches.  Reserve time is based on match length. Reserve time for each player is set at two (2) minutes per match point, less one (1) minute per point already scored by either player. The per move deductible is 12 seconds per move for each player. Both players shall confirm the proper setting of the clocks.

2.2  Doubles matches.  For Doubles matches reserve time for each team is set at two and one-half (2) minutes per match point, less one and one-quarter (1) minutes per point already scored by either team. The per move deductible is 18 seconds per move for each team. Both teams shall confirm the proper setting of the clocks.

3.  The Play
3.1  Equipment.  Two dice cups (one for each player) and one pair of dice shared by both players.

3.2  Dice mix.  Either player may demand a mixing of dice prior to the start of any game. Four predetermined dice (including the two already in play) are mixed with each player choosing one die. The player demanding the dice mix chooses second.

3.3  Opening roll.  To begin the game, each player rolls one die. The player rolling the lower die starts the opponent's clock. The player with the higher die makes the opening move.

3.4  Completing a turn.  A player completes his turn by hitting the clock with the same hand used in moving, leaving the dice in place on the board. (Hitting the clock simultaneously stops the player's clock and starts the opponent's clock.) While playing against an opponent with no legal moves (e.g. closed out on the bar) the player must still hit the clock to end his turn, which resets the deductible, gives the opponent the opportunity to double or redouble and verify the player's move as legal. A player with no legal moves is not required to roll the dice but must continue hitting the clock to complete his turn and reset the deductible.

3.5  Doubling.  After doubling or redoubling, a player hits the clock. To accept the cube the opponent says, "take," places the cube on his side of the board and hits the clock. To reject a double the opponent says, "pass," stops both clocks, records the score, and resets the board.

4.  Irregularities
4.1  Mishandling dice.  A player shall not touch or pick up the dice until the opponent hits the clock to complete his turn. A player who prematurely picks up the dice forfeits his per move deductible for his next checker play. The player on turn stops both clocks and summons the Director to claim the time penalty, unless both players agree to accept it. The penalized player must wait until his deductible has counted down to zero before rolling his dice.

4.2  Dice not left on the board.  When a player hits the clock to end his turn and also picks up the dice, the opponent may stop both clocks and complete his next move with the clocks stopped.

4.3  Illegal plays.  When a player has made an illegal checker play and the opponent wishes it corrected, he brings attention to the illegal play and hits the clock. The player makes a legal checker play, then hits the clock. If the opponent does not want the illegal play corrected, he picks up the dice and rolls (or doubles/redoubles).

5.  Ending a Game or Match
5.1  Conceding, ending a game.  Prior to rolling the dice a player may concede a single game, gammon or backgammon by stopping both clocks and stating the offer. To accept the offer the opponent says, "accept," records the score, and resets the board. To reject the offer the opponent says, "reject," and, if necessary, summons the Director to adjudicate. The Director will require the opponent to accept the offer when no outcome more favorable for him can occur; otherwise, the Director deems the offer invalid and restarts the player's clock. After bearing off his last checker, a player stops both clocks and resets the board.

5.2  Stopping the clock.  A player stops both clocks, (a) to offer a concession, (b) to take an authorized break between games in the match, (c) to retrieve fallen dice, (d) to contest an opponent's action, (e) to move after the opponent has picked up the dice in error, or (f) to summon the Director.

5.3  Time expiration.  A player who exhausts his reserve time before he can validly claim the match is declared the loser.

See also:  PDF copy of these rules — ideal for printing on a single sheet of paper.
Previous (2007) clock rules.
Differences between 2007 and 2013 rules.
Return to:  Backgammon Galore