Forum Archive : Tournaments

Clock ethics

From:   Patrick Gibson
Date:   1 March 2009
Subject:   clock "ETHICS"
Forum: Forums

At our backgammon tournaments, Gammon Associates is embracing the newly
created "ethics" statement regarding clocks.  We will be using the
following in both our weekly and Invitational (ABT) events.


1. When playing with clocks you are expected to point out the opponent's
   clock "errors" to him; e.g.,

   a. After being closed out for awhile and hitting the clock automatically
      after each of your moves, if he hits it again when you finally open a
      home-board point:  Hit your clock again and remind him to roll.

   b. If you are closed out and he doesn't realize he must hit the clock
      after each of his checker plays:  Remind him.

   c. If he fails to hit the clock after Doubling or Taking:  Tell him.

   d. If he fails to stop his clock after the end of a game:  Remind him or
      hit and center the clock yourself.

2. The point of the clock is not to create traps for the opponent, but to
   have the match proceed at a proper pace.  Opponent clock errors such as
   above are in a completely different category than illegal checker plays.

3. You are expected to act professionally and to show good sportsmanship.

_____patrick (the MFIC)

Richard Munitz  writes:

Chuck Bower writes:
> I was under the impression that both players are responsible for
> centering the clock at the end of the game. Thus rather than pointing out
> to your opp that his clock is running, just center the clocks.

I agree that when the game is over that either player noticing the clock
running should center the clock.  Technically, according to the clock
rules, it is the job of the winning player if the game is played to

    "After bearing off his last checker, a player stops both clocks and
    resets the board. "

And the job of the losing player when passing a double:

    "To reject a double, the opponent says "Pass," then stops both clocks,
    records the score, and resets the board."

Patrick Gibson  writes:

Richard Munitz asks:
> If player A is on auto-pilot and hits his clock without rolling when he
> has legal moves. He recognizes the mistake, centers the clock and appeals
> to the director:
> a) Before player B has rolled. Does A reroll or not?
> b) After player B has rolled. Does A reroll or not? If yes, does B's roll
>    stand (premature action) or not?
> c) After player B has rolled, played, and hit his clock. (This can
>    potentially happen very quickly). Player A points out the oversight
>    before rolling."

Ok, with my TD hat on and the Clock-Ethics in place at my tournaments:

a. Of course A gets to roll and play his roll

b. Again, A gets to roll and play his roll; B must then re-roll. (I ignore
   his "premature action" since they both missed catching the ethical
   expectation for A to actually roll.)

c. Too late!  Once B has rolled and played, I would not "roll back the
   actions." Both missed that A should actually have rolled and now it is
   down the river.

At least that's what I think is fair and ethical.
Did you find the information in this article useful?          

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



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