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Tournament Rules and Guidelines

Posted By: Chuck Bower
Date: Saturday, 1 December 2012, at 8:57 p.m.

In Response To: Tournament Rules and Guidelines (Henrik Bukkjaer)

The way you presented it, it was a bit difficult to understand if this was the USBgF work, if it was Jeb, Chuck and Phil's work, or if it was just Phil's work. I know you wrote Jeb's and Chuck's names as contributors, but how would outsiders know, if that's because they started out being part of the USBgF rules committee that initially produced this work, and then at some point in time you broke with that committee and completed the work yourself, or if they were in it to the end, having an equal stake in the final work as you do. One reason more for me having my doubts here, are that this is NOT currently listed as the work of USBgF, but Jeb and Chuck are listed as members of the USBgF rulings committee.

Henrik, Daniel, and others with similar questions:

So far Phil has been doing all the responding. I'm not concerned -- he likes to do that. :) Rest assured that Jeb and I were a part of this from beginning to end. The fact that we are both on the USBGF Rules and Ethics Committee doesn't, IMO, carry any extra responsibilities regarding our freedom to work on a set of rules independent of that organization. Phil took the lead and asked the two of us to join in the effort (again, from the beginning). I'm confident he did that because a) he trusts our opinions and judgement, and b) he was confident that our common interests were aligned. Specifically we share the goal of improving the backgammon environment to be more enjoyable for all AND the conviction that playing the game with honesty and integrity is the only way. If for some reason (which I don't for a second believe) he was looking for a couple of "yes men", he failed miserably in that effort.

As to why we didn't start with an established set of rules, I will give you my feelings. First off, we did look at some (but not all) rules sets. In the many years I've been aware of rules, I had never found one which I thought took the right approach. Every rule should have a reason behind it and when possible that reason should be stated. So I took the initiative with a clean sheet of paper and wrote the first draft from scratch. Of course I didn't erase my memory of what I had read in the past, but I tried to go build the document in what seemed to me to be the logical order. Is this meant to be a slap-in-the-face to those who have worked hard over the years to write BG rules? No, it's just a different approach. In the end I think all previous issues will be covered, just with (hopefully) more detail in the reasons for the rules and in resolutions to infractions. One other feeling I've had which is key to me: the rules should be written with the 99.9% of fair and honest players in mind, not with the 0.1% of cheaters in mind. Rules written to prevent cheating are, IMO, a waste of time because 1) they make life harder on the non-cheaters, and 2) the cheaters will find a way to cheat, anyway.

Did we create the perfect rules set? I doubt anyone believes that. But the important point here is that the process isn't finished. And, thanks to the work that will continue (with others involved), we didn't have to. As to whether we've gotten off to a good start -- time will tell. Perry has ideas on how this should be taken forward. I see he's already responded here with at least some of his thoughts.

(I'll answer your recent questions about specific clock rules separately.)

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