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Proposed Cocked Dice Rule

Posted By: Colin Owen
Date: Monday, 1 July 2013, at 3:38 p.m.

Currently, if players roll cocked dice during a clocked match, unless they're able to re-roll and make their play before their delay expires, it will cost them reserve time. With the standard 12 sec delay, there may be time to do this (once), but if the play required just a little thought and/or involved playing a double and/or hitting chequers this may not be the case.

Ultimately of course, this could contribute to their losing the match, either because they later rush plays or even due to a time-out. There are those who feel that rolling is a skill that we must master. To a degree, I agreed with them. Upon reflection, I feel differently, and have a suggested new rule.

The argument that we should not get to stop the clock, or reset delay time after rolling cocked dice is that otherwise we might get an almost interminable series of re-rolls from a player who can't/won't control their exuberance. Most tournament matches - certainly here in the UK - are still played without clocks, and my experience is that there are very few players who add substantially to the match time because of this. I do agree that, if a player doesn't manage to keep the dice within the confines of the board, this is evidence that they are not exerting reasonable restraint with their roll. True, you can roll very hard and the dice might stay within the board, and you can roll less hard yet they might deflect out, but in general the staement is true. But just because we roll the dice onto or near chequers, or near the side rail, that is no reason to penalise the player when dice land in a cocked position. Particularly if, unlike some players, they then properly re-shake. Such habits are actually evidence that a player is making reasonable efforts to produce a random roll - something that is supposed to be intrinsic to our game.

I propose that:

1) Anytime a player's dice land cocked on or against chequers, or against the side of the board, or against the other die they should, after their opponent has agreed it is cocked, have their delay time reset. Alternatively, the opponent can concur that it is cocked by resetting the delay themselves.

2) If, however, a player throws one or both dice out of the board, or into the wrong board, or onto the bar or maybe even on top of the side rail they lose the right to reset the delay for that turn. This does not prevent them from stopping the clock to retrieve fallen dice, but even if they then re-roll cocked dice that stay within the bounds of their board, their delay time must continue to run.

3) The delay time is reduced, probably to 10 sec.

The reason for reducing the delay time is due to part of the rationale or justification for the 12 sec delay. This is to retain the possibility of re-shaking/rolling after cocked dice and still making a move within that period. With the right to get one's delay reset - in the great majority of cases anyway - this extra time should not therefore be needed.

I believe that this rule would encourage players to follow the spirit of the rules in trying to generate properly random rolls. There are plenty of those who do anyway, but there are some who, with the clock ticking, are less likely to re-shake, or more likely to roll weakly. The players who are not in this category should not continue to be penalised for their stronger ethical stance.

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