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An argument for touch move?

Posted By: Phil Simborg
Date: Tuesday, 18 June 2013, at 6:21 p.m.

In Response To: An argument for touch move? (Bob Koca)

I am also an advocate of touch/move, and have been for years. But I do understand why people argue for the status quo:

1. People don't like change. 2. We're used to doing it that way. 3. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. 4. We're making the game more complicated and difficult and that will turn people away.

I have always hated 1, 2, and 3 reasons for anything. That is the same thing I hear about clocks, baffle boxes and other things that greatly improve the game. What if we listened to those people who said that when they introduced the doubling cube? When they introduced Jacoby and Crawford?

Just because it's new doesn't mean its not better.

As for making the game more complicated, I can't think of anything more confusing and complicated, particularly for a beginner, to try to keep track of where he or his opponents moved the checkers from and to. Touch/move makes the game LESS COMPLICATED.

It continues to amaze me that Open players argue for being able to look at the moves. Of course it is easier, and as long as the rules allow us to, why not make the move and look at it. But I refuse to believe than any good player cannot envision what the board will look like after the move. If he can't, then I guess he would be at a slight disadvantage in a touch/move game. That's fine with me...one of the skills we need to have is to be able to envision the move.

In the meantime, we have proposed a new rule that requires the player to keep any checker moved away from the other checkers on the point, or away from the rail if there are no other checkers, in an effort to help reduce the question of which checker was moved. If a player fails to do this, he should not be allowed to move his checkers back. And if a player fails to do this and there is a dispute as to where the checkers should be, the ruling should go to the player who did not move the checkers.

Maybe after a year or two with this rule in place we can finally convince enough people to go to touch/move.

In the meantime, since there is no "ruling body" for backgammon, maybe one or two tournament directors will simply require that rule for their tournament and see what the feedback is. Maybe, like the use of baffle boxes and clocks and legal moves and other recent changes, we will see that it truly makes the game better. Of course you won't convince everyone, but this is how it starts.

So, talk to your favorite tournament director. Maybe he'll try it with just the Open players to start with...or maybe just in the Masters Division. Once enough people see the benefits and get used to it, eventually we can convince others.

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