The current version of the Rules which the UKBGF initially developed and updated in September 2015 was then adopted by the EUBGF and subsequently by the WBGF (World Backgammon Federation). They are therefore due a further tidying up update of various relatively minor amendments.
Such update has been under consideration for some time now but has been put on hold temporarily for two main reasons:
(i) the minor amendments themselves aren’t quite finalised as yet – a set of around 6 amendments had been debated by the UKBGF Rules Sub-committee some time ago but since that time other possible changes have been suggested and also need to be considered – and (ii) some fundamental differences between these Rules and generally accepted ones in large parts of Turkey/Eastern Europe and some parts of the US require further consideration in order to work towards the finalisation of a globally accepted single set of Rules.
Because all the member nations of the EUBGF/WBGF have to adopt the Rules themselves to apply to all their nationally sanctioned tournaments, when the Rules are updated, these updated Rules will also have to be adopted by all of these member nations together with an update to their own officially translated versions. It is therefore most efficient to put together as many of the amendments as possible into a single comprehensive update which should then last for a good few years before a further update might be necessary.
The main and most fundamental issue which currently stands in the way of a globally acceptable set of Rules is the concept of ‘legal plays’ which itself is a relatively new concept.
The present Rules require that illegal moves must be corrected by the opponent when noticed and is commonly known as the ‘legal plays’ rule. The basic requirement for this concept to work is the honesty of the players themselves because it is virtually impossible to otherwise effectively police.
This concept appears to be generally favoured in Western Europe because it provides a level of protection for the less experienced player and thereby could act as a way of encouraging new players to remain in the game if they are not taken advantage of by more experienced players when making basic errors.
However, in other parts of the world (and which reasoning is shared by many players in Western Europe too), the originally accepted standard of permitting mistakes in moves to stand at the discretion of the opponent is favoured because it avoids the need for having to trust the opponent to abide by the honesty requirement, and is also relatively more straightforward to police.
One possible solution although not ideal but which could work is to provide a mechanism (a kind of switch) within the Rules to provide for the particular tournament – or even flights within a tournament – to be played either with or without legal plays as a concept. The fact of whether such legal plays switch was ‘on’ or ‘off’ would be made known well in advance by the organisers so that all participants were fully aware of the options in force.
Once a full solution is arrived at then a complete Rules update would be much easier to finalise and gain acceptance, hopefully as a global standard.
Hopefully this overview has been helpful but please don’t hesitate to provide your feedback/suggestions for improvement which the EUBGF / WBGF will be pleased to receive and take into consideration.