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Why does every tournament have to be the same?

Posted By: Art Grater
Date: Monday, 3 March 2014, at 8:46 a.m.

In Response To: Why does every tournament have to be the same? (phil simborg)

PHIL: Not every tournament has to be the same, but don't you think it could be a little confusing is you go from one game to another and the rules are different? Is that good for the game? What if you had different rules for chess everywhere you went? And how confusing would that be for beginners?

ART: Many tournaments have different rules at the SAME tournament! Do you think anyone playing Dual-Duel in San Antonio was bewildered because it had some different rules from the Main? Same with tournaments hosting Nack BG, Speed BG, Sasson BG, or BG-to-lose.

PHIL: And while we're on the subject of beginners, ask Jeb Horton about that. He has experienced beginners that were angered and upset because of being penalized for accidental mistakes. They were used to playing in "friendly games" and on line and suddenly forced to play in "unfriendly" games. Jeb is not the only one who has gotten this feedback.

ART: How common is this? If it is a widespread problem, then make beginner tournaments LM. But it's a mistake to extrapolate one TD's experience to all tournaments for what should be obvious reasons.

PHIL: But it's not just about having a single, internationally-accepted set of rules...its about having the best rules..the rules that lead to the kind of game that the majority of people and most of the top experts believe is a better game, a fairer game, a game that lends itself to better sportsmanship and fewer conflicts. If one rule wins in those categories, why shouldn't it be adopted by all?

ART: Those are simply opinions. There is also a majority opinion on doubles consulting, but that doesn't mean the dissenting opinion is unfair or invalid. As to a uniform set of rules, at one time all tournaments that I know of were NLM. Does that mean no tournament should ever have used LM?

PHIL: Sure, if one tournament director decides he wants to have a rule or two that is different and makes sure everyone knows about it, it's not the end of the world...but why shouldn't backgammon be like every other legitimate game and competition: with an accepted, clear, and standard set of rules?

ART: OK. NLM everywhere would be accepted, clear and standard.

PHIL: As for your argument about using one set of dice, I completely agree that one set and a clock would solve one of the problems with non-legal moves. But then when you don't have one set and a clock, which happens a lot in the same room and at the same tournament, and the next day at the coffee house or bar, you have to get everyone used to playing by another set of rules. No reason to have two sets of rules for two different situations.

ART: So with all the nuances and complexities of modern BG, players can't handle NLM play as well as LM? What did we do for decades, centuries and millennia? And why shouldn't two players at a LM tournament not be allowed to play NLM if they both want to?

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