Forum Archive : Rules

When is a move over?

From:   JP White
Date:   1 May 2000
Subject:   Re: rules

> My opponent finished her move then rested her finger on one die as she
> reviewed the move that she made.    In the process she knocked over one
> die to a differnet number.  Is her move over or not.

I'll try to help as I can. I am not an expert by any means, but I'll let
you know how I interpret the rules.

At Tom Keith's Backgammon Galore he does talk about the issue of when a
move is deemed over.

He states

"A turn is completed when the player picks up his dice. If the play is
incomplete or otherwise illegal, the opponent has the option of accepting
the play as made or of requiring the player to make a legal play. A play
is deemed to have been accepted as made when the opponent rolls his dice or
offers a double to start his own turn. "

Since your opponent didn't pick up the dice (she just toyed with them) I'd
say the move was not over. (The dice were not picked up).

However since she did alter the dice values, and if there was a dispute as
to the correct value of the dice, the above rule does give an opening to
get the roll re-rolled on the basis of being 'otherwise illegal'. If there
is no way to agree on what the dice were before being tampered with, I
believe that makes the play illegal. Of course if the checkers are already
moved and you cannot agree on what the dice were, it may be difficult to
return to the original position. I'm not sure that was the nature of your
dispute though.

If she was clearly trying to pick up the dice, but fumbled them, then one
could argue the move over since she had committed to end the move. However
if the dice were nudged accidentally while moving checkers, or thinking
like a chess player by holding a finger on the piece before letting go,
that's quite different. The move isn't over IMHO (the intention was not to
pick up the dice, yet). Even so, it's disturbing to have your opponent
touch the dice in this manner.

It's unlikely, but possible, to push a chess piece over when resting a
finger and thinking about your move. By comparison, the likelihood of
changing dice values when they are rested upon is greater since they are
designed to be rolled (less stable than a chess piece).

I would strongly discourage an opponent from doing this as it is
unnecessary, just leaving the dice alone is a better way of retaining your
move till you're done, and less likely to cause a dispute. Touching the
dice is not customary in Backgammon as is touching pieces in Chess.

I believe it would be reasonable to declare a move over once the checkers
are moved and the dice are touched, thus preventing such disputes and
complications. But I don't see that in the rules.

Someone else with more knowledge of tournament rules may be able to shed
light more light on this.

I hope you didn't fall out with your BG opponent over this.

JP White
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