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Why does every tournament have to be the same?

Posted By: phil simborg
Date: Monday, 3 March 2014, at 1:23 p.m.

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

Art, when you say that a rule that is adopted is because it is "just an opinion," isn't every single rule that is adopted by every single game and sport in the world "just an opinion?"

Not everyone will end up agreeing on every single rule, but the rules that are ultimately adopted by any game are the ones that the majority of the experts and players and spectators feel makes the game fairer or safer or more exciting or easier to enforce etc. Since backgammon has no international ruling body (and I hope it will some day once the Federations of each country get together), it is up to whoever makes the rules for each particular tournament to decide what rules to play by. Some countries, like Denmark, are well-organized and the Federation, which is nothing more than a democratic organization of all the serious players, makes the rules and they are followed by all. In the U.S., the Federation has no authority over tournament players, and the ABT has rules that it rarely changes, but individual tournament directors each have the right to modify any rules they wish.

The Tournament Directors in the U.S. disagree on many aspects of the rules, but most agree that some kind of general uniformity is good for the game, and most agree that it would be best if players who travel around the world are pretty much playing the same game.

There is much disagreement on many rules, but ultimately, every rule ever adopted and in existence is "a matter of opinion" that won out.

The opinion on legal moves, which has been used for many years in private and money games, as well as in tournaments in some countries for quite a while, has been swinging. And that is what we are discussing here...as this is probably the forum that includes most of the top, interested and active tournament players from the U.S. and many players from elsewhere.

Since there is no formal ruling body in the U.S. as yet, and since the ABT has and is resistance to change in this, and many other areas of the game, then it is clear that the only way to affect change, or, in my "opinion" and others, improve some rules that have been a cause of problems and could be clearer and fairer and more fun (yes, that is an opinion) seems to be through discussions like this. And it's working! Many tournaments around the world in recent years have switched to Legal Moves. Sure there will be some unhappy with the switch, but there are also many, like me, who have been unhappy with the NLM rule for many years.

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