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One hand and the rest of Rule 4.3 Moving and the need for Rule X? - opponent distraction

Posted By: Rod
Date: Tuesday, 26 November 2013, at 2:14 p.m.

In Response To: Mechanics + (Stick)

When I play I set one hand (my left) on the table. It does not move during my turn unless I am thinking about a play for a considerable period of time (15+? Seconds). I do not ever touch checkers, the board, the clock, dice or cube with my left hand - not during the middle of the game nor even during bear-off.

I have noticed virtually every player using 2 hands. It is such a common practice I have given up on trying to correct it. Many elite players are no better about it than others. Neil comes to mind but that's probably only because I play him long matches (7+) at what seems to be every other tournament.

There's no penalty and therefore no incentive for players not to do this. Things I feel should be ruled against don't so what's the point is whining about this frequent and poor behavior?

Then there is the touching of checkers on the board while it is my turn. WTF? My taking the time to think about a cube is not license for my opponent to start touching checkers (interrupting my count) taking their own count. I will always say "it's my turn - you get to count when it's your turn". I've even had this when using a clock.

Less irritating but far more prevalent is the "helpful" adjusting of checkers during my play. During not only my dice shaking but during my play consideration (annoying) and during my dice actually tumbling on the table. For the first time ever this week I benefitted when what appeared to be a virtually completed roll (die was 99% to rest, but not 100%, and virtually certain to be one number) was interrupted and affected by my opponent "adjusting" a checker and knocking the die. He turned a so-so number into a massive joker. He looked at me and said something like "so...?" My response - a pointed look as I played the joker.

And why is there no rule about a player's ability to annoy the heck out of his opponent? It drives me looney when an opponent persists in the same repetitive distracting action endlessly during my turn. In 2009 I had to get Howard when it simply became too much. In that instance I felt virtually anyone would agree with me - it was pencil twirling, continuously through my turn. My opponent, when asked nicely to stop (and, subsequently, not so nicely) replied "nothing says I can't do that". [an aside - it was someone who is a very regular and relatively respected poster on this site]

However, this week in Vegas one of my opponents was instead using a plastic toothpick to pick under his fingernails incessantly throughout my turn at chest level. It was these long never ceasing strokes over and over and over. Would Howard ask him to stop? Maybe. Would it seem petty? Dunno. Was it distracting and annoying? Beyond anything an opponent has ever done. Throw in the touching of my checkers during every (ok - it was only about 3/4) one of my plays and the shaking of his dice that had his dice literally flying out his cup 6 or 7 times during our match and I ended up asking for a ruling (I lost) that I didn't even care about and which was completely meaningless. The guy had basically driven me batty.

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