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This misses the entire point

Posted By: phil simborg
Date: Wednesday, 5 March 2014, at 8:38 p.m.

In Response To: Watch out for the social animals! (Taper_Mike)

The problem is not Herb or what he did. And if we could go back in time, we could list hundreds, maybe more, incidents where someone allowed there opponent to put the wrong checker on the bar, or failed to pick up a checker hit, or failed to take off the winning checker when he misread the roll or played it wrong; or picked up his dice before the roll, etc. These are all illegal moves that have draconian penalties that most of us would not like to see determine who wins a backgammon game.

The fault is not Herb's. The problem is, now that so many of us agree that these things should not be enforced if we are good sports, then they should not be the rule. It's that simple.

For those of you who keep saying that the majority doesn't feel this way because a truly impartial poll has never been done, I say, yes, you are right...there has never been a truly impartial poll. But who should you poll? And how do you do it? And is that how our rules should be determined?

Right now, the way rules are set is by "decree" of whoever the tournament director or club director is. He decides what rules for his club, and there is no ruling body in the world or in this country that is telling him otherwise. The ABT let's the directors decide; there is no ruling body for clubs; and the USBGF has no ruling authority over anyone...they can just express their opinion and advise.

How should rules be made? They should be made by people who truly understand the game and the rules and how they are applied, and those people, whether they like it or not, will certainly hear from the players about how they feel. If they are smart, they will listen. They know you can't please everyone, but they also know they are better off pleasing most, if they want people to keep coming. And those who are unhappy with a rule, they try to explain to them the reason and need for the rules they have. And still, they won't please everyone.

I don't need a poll to know that a huge majority of top tournament players and directors around the world, who truly understand the game well and the implications of applying the rules fairly and seeing that people enjoy tournaments, prefer legal moves. A huge perponderance of the open players, given a choice agree to play legal moves. In other countries, as in the World Championships, Legal Moves has become the standard, and more and more US directors are opting for it.

And it is not just because of the Herb Gurland Problem and related problems. It is for all the other issues with NLM that have lost us new players and caused hurt feelings and complications for many years.

Yes, there are some excellent, logical arguments for NLM. The people who are for them are not stupid or selfish or inexperienced. They just view the game differently and either are not willing to see the negatives of NLM or they simply don't agree. You can't please everyone and you can't convince everyone, but in this case, I am confident we can please and convince most, and those in the minority need to chill and learn to accept change and accept the fact that their feelings, even if they are right, are greatly in the minority.

Is there anyone in the world who really cares about the game and who really studies the rules that agrees completely and likes every rule of every game he plays. If you don't like LM, suck it in, just like the rest of us have had to do for many years when we had to live with the NLM. Be a good sport and accept that the world has changed.

Most of us do not want backgammon to be the kind of game where we cut each other's throats that way, or have to decide whether to be that person or not. The rules should not put us in that position, and it should not help create that kind of atmosphere for the game we love, a game most believe should hinge on who plays and rolls the best, not who can beat the other on a technical error.

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