Forum Archive : Rules

Illegal plays

From:   Marc Gray
Date:   21 November 1995
Subject:   Re: Tournament Play for Beginners

> Here is a question for people who know more than I.  If my opponent
> rolls prematurely, is it my option as to whether or not they must
> reroll or keep what they have thrown?

In cash play the smart thing to do is to discuss all rules, scoring,
stakes, etc. beforehand being certain to resolve this issue. Most of the
time my opponents and I opt for playing a la "Legal Moves" This is a
shorthand way of saying that a move played legally (whether wise or
unwise) stands as is  while a move made NOT in accordance with the dice
rolled, etc. MUST be corrected and ALL players (and onlookers) have a
moral responsibility to immediately point out the error irrespective of
its effect on the game at hand.

In tournament match play, such an option does NOT exist. When your
opponent errs, it is completely your option to permit the error to stand
"as is" or have it re-played. You are not expected to be a "nice-guy" Your
interests are self-serving or they are self-destructive. These errors in
play often leads to catastrophic results. Last week, while finishing as a
finalist in a doubles event (playing solo) my opponent hit my blot and put
HIMSELF on the bar, effectively turning a hopeless position into one that
I would win with a cube turn on the next roll. The Team Capt. was very
experienced and knew propriety dictated that he ought do no more than
softly acknowledge his error. Indeed, I saw this happen in the semi-finals
of the World Cup in 1992, where a player, (having already cashed for
$10,000 and playing for a $25,000 payday as a finalist or $50,000 as
winner,) did the precise same thing. A costly error. This is but one
example of course.

As to your actual question regarding "fast rolling", here too you are free
to exercise your right to have the dice re-rolled whenever it serves your
interests, and conversely  permitting the roll to stand when it is to your
benefit. This is also a good practice to slow down the play of experienced
players who try to intimidate you and speed up your game, (consequently
increasing your error rate), by rolling before your dice are actually

As a postscript it ought to be mentioned that in tournament match play,
all disputes are settled by a tournament official, (and when justice is
not clear, a committee of three appointees,) Bystanders must remain silent
unless both players OR a tournament official asks them to testify. Usually
on what was the correct original position before the checkers were moved
or whether or not one or both dice were lifted from the table.]

FlashGammon on FIBS
no a me alienum puto
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Bearing off question  (Colin Wiel+, July 2000) 
Can a beaver be dropped?  (Robert-Jan Veldhuizen+, Mar 2006)  [GammOnLine forum]
Can a beaver be dropped?  (Stein Kulseth, May 2000) 
Changing dice  (Julian Hayward, Feb 1998) 
Checker shuffling  (James Johnson+, June 2000) 
Gentleman's previlege  (Daniel+, Sept 2005)  [GammOnLine forum]
Hit and run  (Rich+, Jan 2000) 
"Illegal moves" rule  (Chuck Bower+, May 2004)  [GammOnLine forum]
Illegal plays  (Bob+, Aug 2002) 
Illegal plays  (Marc Gray, Nov 1995) 
Illegal plays that can't be condoned  (Matt Cohn-Geier+, Feb 2011) 
Is stalemate possible?  (Jan Andrew Bloxham+, July 1995) 
Jacoby rule  (Daniel Murphy, Dec 1997) 
Jacoby rule ambiguity?  (Chuck Bower+, Mar 2011) 
Jacoby rule--Good or bad?  (neilkaz+, May 2006) 
Legal roll  (Sture Lifh+, July 2004) 
Legal roll  (Gregg Cattanach, Oct 2001) 
Moving checkers unambiguously  (Timothy Chow+, Oct 2009) 
Moving checkers with two hands  (Michael Strato+, June 2000) 
Must a hit checker be placed on the bar?  (Dani+, May 2006) 
Pick and pass and bearing off  (SimonW+, Jan 2005) 
Play cubeless at 2away/2away?  (Raccoon+, Oct 2005)  [GammOnLine forum]
Repairing an illegal play  (Michael J. Zehr, Apr 1995) 
Resigning  (Bob Lang+, Aug 2002) 
Rolling on wrong side of board  (Ian Shaw+, Aug 2004)  [GammOnLine forum] [Long message]
Rolling on wrong side of board  (Kit Woolsey, Jan 1999) 
Rolling on wrong side of board  (Kit Woolsey, Sept 1998) 
Rolling on wrong side of board  (Bob Hoey, Apr 1998) 
Rolling too soon  (TonyM+, Feb 2007)  [GammOnLine forum]
Rolling too soon  (Stephen Turner, Feb 1998) 
Rolling too soon  (James Grenier+, Sept 1996) 
Talking during play  (EdmondT+, Dec 2000) 
Touch-move rule in backgammon?  (Ken Bame+, Nov 2006)  [GammOnLine forum]
Touch-move rule in backgammon?  (Austefjord+, May 2002) 
U.S. backgammon tournament rules  (Butch Meese, Nov 1997)  [Long message]
When do you give up your chance to double?  (Paul Epstein+, July 2005) 
When is a move over?  (JP White, May 2000) 
Overview  (Daniel Murphy, Apr 2001) 

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