Forum Archive : Tournaments

Uniform rules and procedures?

From:   Michael Crane
Date:   1 March 2003
Subject:   Rules Poll
Google:   pB_7a.39$

Does tournament backgammon need one uniform set of rules and procedures?


Douglas Zare  writes:

Backgammon did not flourish in the past because of a uniform
definition of cocked dice, and it did not decline because people
thought it was unfair how they were treated after they doubled
during the Crawford game. A uniform set of rules covering precise
definitions and procedures for irregularities will have no effect
on most players, and perhaps on most tournament players.

It is unreasonable to expect the same set of rules to apply in a
club's weekly tournaments of 4-16 players as in a massive
international tournament with a round of 512, in which there are
many simultaneous events, a Calcutta auction, and few novices. I
think there is good reason to state that the only language to be
spoken at the table is the local language in some tournaments,
and not others.

If the rules are determined democratically, we may find that the
"international standard" will be changed to eliminate the ability
to pick-and-pass in the home board, to eliminate the doubling
cube, and the triple bonus for winning a backgammon. If people
want to hold tournaments by regional rules, I see no reason to
prohibit them, and I don't want people who have not studied the
modern game to change the rules used on FIBS, GamesGrid, or in
Monte Carlo, either. I don't want to discourage people from
finding better systems for running tournaments, e.g., modified
Swiss systems. There is room for diversity, and for innovation.

On the other hand, I believe that it would be nice to have a
standardized method for handling clocks in backgammon, so a
tournament could announce that it is using that standard.
Otherwise, I feel I have to pick over the clock rules before any
major tournament in which clocks might be used. In addition, it
might be nice to specify an appeals system. I've also run into
scheduling conflicts when in late rounds of multiple events, and
it might be nice to have a set procedure for resolving conflicts
if an agreement can't be reached otherwise. In addition, I
believe that there has been too much discretion given to
tournament directors in constructing the draw, and I would prefer
to see a standard, overt, and fair way for doing this.

So, there are some benefits to standardizing some rules and
procedures, but I think these are limited, and not essential for
the survival of backgammon.

I wouldn't want to pay an extra $0.25 a week to have the NEBC
weekly tournaments certified as standard.

Douglas Zare

Tapio Palmroth  writes:

It is not a question wheter backgammon will survive with or without
standardized international rules.  It will.  It is more about how easy it
is for a player to understand these rules no matter in which country
he/she enters a tournament.

For example, if i go to Paris for big tournament i have to read and
understand these parisien rules to survive and these rules are written
in french which language i don't understand.  Of course there are
translations but, after all, they are just translations, those rules are
written in first place in french and there might be something different
in translations but the rule in effect is in french.  For sure there are
players who are reading the rules like devil reads the bible, just to
find something useful that he/she can use in dispute .

I like it easier and more useful if i have read the rules well and
understood those prodecures before i have to start to play in any
tournament and i can trust other players do the same. Therefore there
has to be one set of useful international rules in all big tournaments.
If those rules are good and accurate enough they will be adapted more
widely in proper time.

It really doesn't exclude that there can be different set of rules used
in small local tournaments but i want to know what kind of rules are
used in any tournament i am entering well beforehand so that i can
really understand everything and nobody can take advantage because
he/she understands better local language.

May the luck be with you!

Tapio Palmroth

Patti Beadles  writes:

I think a set of consistent rules is a good thing.  It doesn't have to
be the whole rulesheet, but there are some things where standardization
would be a good thing.

For example, what happens if the leader doubles in the crawford game?
There's really no strong argument for having local variations on this.

Having been through this with tournament poker (though it's an ongoing
process) here's what I'd propose:

Someone should take the initiative and invite tournament directors to
join a discussion group.  Once there, the participants should choose a
set of "low-hanging fruit" issues where standardization would be
beneficial, and develop a set of rules for handling these issues.
Call this group the Backgammon Directors' Association or something.

Publish these rules to all tournament directors.  They may then choose
to use them, and advertise that they use the BDA rules, or may decide
to ignore them.  The tournament directors involved in the BDA should
absolutely adopt these rules.

I expect that what will happen is that the traveling players will
enjoy having consistency between tournaments.  However, the first set
of rules won't be perfect, and the BDA should take this discussion
under advisement, and publish a new set one year later.

For information on how poker has done this, and to see their rules,
google "poker TDA".

Did you find the information in this article useful?          

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



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