Forum Archive : Rules

Talking during play

From:   EdmondT
Date:   23 December 2000
Subject:   Tournament Rules

Are there any rules tournament play against talking to your opponent?
I'm not talking about insults or slurs here, but things like:

    "Take THAT!"
    "What's the pipcount?
    "What do you think I should do here?"

These are the types of things I say and get said to me in my normal
games -- they are not real questions, by the way, and I wonder if they
would be annoying to a player in a tournament.

By the way, suppose the WERE annoying another player.  Is there a rule
against saying non-abusive stuff that is annoying?

Julian Hayward  writes:

I don't remember seeing any rules directly governing conversation, but
I would expect it to fall under the catch-all of the TD's discretion.
If one player finds any behaviour not explicitly sanctioned by the
rules distracting he would have legitimate cause for complaint. I've
come across one case where a player was not being abusive but
persistently commenting on the opponent's play and the 'injustice' of
the dice, and the TD imposed the sanction of playing in silence (under
threat of forfeit) with an observer present. However it's
exceptionally rare and almost all tournament players seem to know the
limits of friendly banter - IME there seems to be an unwritten rule
that you talk only between games, other than to say 'double', 'take'

Bob Stringer  writes:

I suspect that the seriousness of the tournament makes a
difference.  I.e., a small local tournament versus a Las Vegas
type affair.

I've now played in a monthly local tournament about six times,
where I see the same people all the time.  You figure out pretty
quickly who you can joke with and who you can't.  As long as it's
not overdone (and it's important to realize that it *easily* can
be overdone), and is done in a friendly way, in a small tournament
as I've described I see no problem with any of the comments you've
listed.  One of the things I like about backgammon is that it's a
sociable game.  (By comparison, any comment at all, other than
"check," "j'adoube," etc., is strictly off limits in chess

On the other hand, such comments should not be persistent or too
frequent, and if the other player doesn't care for them, they
should cease immediately.  I'd expect the tournament director to
do something if a player won't stop making annoying comments.

My personal rule is that I only make comments when I already know
the person I'm playing, or unless it's *obvious* that he/she is
the sort that enjoys friendly banter.  Discretion definitely is
the better part of valor in such cases.

In short, if people behave like adults there shouldn't be a
problem.  Oops!  Just noticed a couple other threads on this news
group.  I take that back.  Unrealistic hypothetical.

Bob Stringer

Daniel Murphy  writes:

Most rules sets do not specifically prohibit "talking to your
opponent" or even "saying nonabusive stuff that is annoying." But most
players and directors understand that just because something is not
specifically prohibited doesn't mean it is therefore appropriate or

It's not often that a director must admonish a player for being
"annoying" with excessive talking, complaining, slamming checkers and
the like. Few tournament players are annoying. And good tournament
players will not be easily annoyed. But any player under any rules set
may expect opponents to abide by accepted standards of behavior and
may also expect a tournament director to enforce those standards.

Some tournament directors have attempted to anticipate problems by
addressing at greater length what is and is not acceptable and the
possible consequences of unacceptable behavior. For example, the rules
for the upcoming 2nd Paris Open (Feb. 2001) state:

    "Any infringement by a player of the accepted standard
    of tournament behavior can result in immediate
    disqualification and exclusion from the tournament."


    "Noise, act or attitude which hinder opponent's thought
    and concentration is prohibited."

But these Paris rules do no more, really, than verbalize normally
unwritten rules of conduct and a tournament director's normal
discretion and powers of enforcement. And in those rare instances
where an opponent is so annoying as to cross some undefined but
recognizable threshold of unacceptable annoyance, then the remedy is
to ask opponent to stop, or call the director, or both.

Daniel Murphy, Raccoon on FIBS, GamesGrid
Did you find the information in this article useful?          

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



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) 

[GammOnLine forum]  From GammOnLine       [Long message]  Long message       [Recommended reading]  Recommended reading       [Recent addition]  Recent addition

  Book Suggestions
Computer Dice
Cube Handling
Cube Handling in Races
Extreme Gammon
Fun and frustration
GNU Backgammon
Luck versus Skill
Magazines & E-zines
Match Archives
Match Equities
Match Play
Match Play at 2-away/2-away
Opening Rolls
Pip Counting
Play Sites
Probability and Statistics
Source Code
Strategy--Bearing Off
Strategy--Checker play


Return to:  Backgammon Galore : Forum Archive Main Page