Original Post: The UKBGF is now publishing a set of rules (download here – Version 1.1) to be used at the 2014 UK Open next month as well as at future UKBGF-sanctioned tournaments. These are based on the current Danish Backgammon Federation (DBgF) Tournament Rules, but with many amendments and a few additions. This document is the result of many drafts and much time spent by Raj Jansari and other UKBGF committee members. It is of course a living document, and we are open to sensible suggestions for improvement.
Currently there is no internationally agreed set of rules for tournament backgammon. Each country’s backgammon federation or main organising body has either produced its own rules, or adopted (or adapted) another set of rules. A big step-change in tournament backgammon during the last couple of years has been the widespread, but not universal, adoption of a ‘Legal Moves’ rule, pioneered by Phil Simborg and others. Where it has been adopted, there are sometimes different versions of this rule embedded within the various sets of rules in use around the world.
As well as embracing ‘Legal Moves’, the DBgF rules (among others) include a clause requiring the cancellation of a mistaken (illegal) double in the Crawford game by either player, even after the match has ended but providing the next match has not been started. The new UKBGF rules extend this provision to include the mistaken use of the cube when it is dead: for example if a player redoubles to 4 when he requires only 2 points to win the match. The inclusion of this additional rule was prompted by an incident at the 2014 Nordic Open, when this exact situation occurred during a Last Chance match in the Intermediate Division.
Many players will have strong feelings about whether a player ‘deserves to be punished’ for careless mistakes such as this. However, as well as eliminating any moral dilemma which may arise when an opponent inadvertently errs in this way, the rule is intended to protect new players from bad experiences which could otherwise occur. New players are in short supply: we want to make tournaments welcoming for them, not drive them away!