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Cocked Dice: a Compromise?

Posted By: Phil Simborg
Date: Monday, 17 June 2013, at 3:21 p.m.

In Response To: Cocked Dice: a Compromise? (Daniel Murphy)

With or without a clock, I don't believe, in practice, this is too difficult a problem to resolve. The first step is to have a clear, written rule. The rule should include what the definition of a cocked die is, how the players decide and agree whether it is cocked, and then what happens when they either agree or disagree.

If you use the current rules, that any die that is not completely flat on the board is cocked, there is little doubt about the definition. Now, the next step is that both players should state and agree that it is cocked before anyone touches the board, table, or die. If there is not immediate agreement, then, if there is a clock, it should be stopped and the players should further examine the die, without touching. If they still don't agree, the director should be called.

If either player believes that his opponent is doing something unethical or unreasonable to stop the clock or to call cocked dice, that is a separate issue he should take up with the TD, and the TD can take whatever action he deems appropriate.

I do not believe the above is that complicated or that hard to follow in a match between two reasonable, fair players.

Now, I happen to be with Neil and others in believing that it is sill to have to roll over if the dice rolled is on top of a checker and it is clear what the number is, even if the checkers are beveled. We have tried this now in two events and, especially with clocks, and especially playing speed gammon, I don't believe there were any problems with the rule.

If you use the on-checker rule, the same procedure described above is followed. If there is a question about the dice being cocked, either player calls it cocked and if the other agrees, no problem. If he doesn't agree, the clock is stopped, they examine if further, and if they don't agree they call the director.

And of course, I agree with all who say that using a baffle box will stop a lot of these problems and questions. And I believe that if a player consistently throws the dice off the table, or on checkers, or doesn't shake or roll properly, he can and should be required to use a baffle box if one is available, but of course, only the TD can make that call.

As for other comments about stopping the clock if a drink is spilled or a die is lost, that all falls under the category of common sense and common courtesy. When we wrote the new rules, we felt that 15 pages of examples and explanations were enough and we did not attempt to cover every possibility and simply expect people to be reasonable and good sports. For example, we did not cover what to do if lightning strikes either player in the middle of a move. Of course he should be allowed to use two hands to move the checkers in that event!

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