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Being Jason Lee

Posted By: Barry Silliman
Date: Tuesday, 26 November 2013, at 1:09 p.m.

In Response To: Mechanics + (Stick)

Overall I'd rate the mechanics good but not up to Jason Lee's ideal world.

I'm glad you brought this up Stick, so I didn't have to be that guy. I expect mechanics to be impeccable. The checkers are to be moved with one hand, and that same hand is to be used to hit the clock. One infraction is one too many. That rule is in place for a reason. Using both hands is distracting and gives an opportunity for a slight-of-hand artist to cheat. (I am not in any way suggesting that Dana made his mistake on purpose. I am almost certain that his mistake was accidental). And I am not singling out Neil and Dana for criticism- I observe these types of infractions in many live matches, many Giants included.

I suspect that 99.999% of the time this sloppiness is just out of laziness or bad habits ingrained, and not with the intent of cheating in mind.

I liken this to the way the 'traveling' violation in the NBA has evolved over the past few decades...it seems that you have to take about 17 steps without dribbling before being whistled. A similar argument can be made for the 'palming' violation.

Anyway, back to bg, if we are going to call for 'touch move' we should be equally stringent about applying the rules we already have in place. In fact, while I wouldn't object to touch move, I think it may be taking things a bit too far- we've already chased away some players because of clocks, and perhaps to a lesser extent with legal moves. (This is an entirely subjective opinion with no empirical data to prove it, so if you think I'm wrong, so be it, let's not debate that to death, that isn't the point of this post). Anyway, adding 'touch move' may be pushing things too far- I suspect we'd lose more 'old-timers' to 'touch move' than we would or have to clocks- and until the demographics of the players change, we should tread lightly in this area. The ratio of 'old-timers' to 'young bucks' is still far too high, at least in these United States of America.

A simple rule could be added that would have eliminated the mistake without requiring touch move- it would be something like, 'when returning the checkers to the original position after considering a move, if the checkers are to be returned to different points, they must be moved one checker at a time'. I suspect if checkers were moved one at a time, this mistake would have been caught.

I dream of a day when backgammon is played in the elementary schools, similar to when I was a kid we had a chess club in elementary school. Everyone uses a clock from day one. (Sounds a lot like present-day Japan maybe?) Perhaps touch-move could be implemented then, I don't mind, but right now trying to impose it may be throwing out the baby with the bath water.

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