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We already know the answer

Posted By: phil simborg
Date: Wednesday, 12 March 2014, at 1:46 p.m.

In Response To: What would they do about this in the USA? (TarHeelFan)

This is not something "unusual" that never happens. We have seen many people concede a gammon when it was possible that they could get off the gammon and didn't know it, and while there are some very nice people who might alert the player that he made a mistake and let him roll, in the current environment in the U.S., most people accept the resignation, set up the board for the next game, smile and tell the guy he blew it.

I am not making this up...that is how it is done and has been done forever in the U.S. And it is also done if someone concedes a game they could have won, or if they pass their turn when they shouldn't, or put their own checker on the bar by mistake, or double when the cube is dead.

I have no problem with the way things have been done in the U.S. FOR THE OPEN DIVISION. Is there anyone in the Open Division or Masters that hasn't played enough years to know the rules and to know he should be careful, and if he screws up he should be expected to be punished for it?

And when I say I have no problem, it is because that is the way the rules are written and as long as it is a level playing field I will live and die by the rules.

But what has happened in recent years, largely because people like Falafel, and Neil, and Mochy (No. 1, 2, 3 Giants by the way) refuse to take a win that way even though they could under the rules, and because now that we've seen what real sportsmanship looks like and how the game can and should be played, we are all unhappy with the rules and this approach to the game.

The current rules and attitude are there to protect us from cheaters as much as possible, and I respect that, but at the same time it forces us to punish each other for small technical errors that most of us just don't want to have to do to each other. The game has changed. We don't need draconian rules to protect us from cheaters...we need tournament directors and an association (federation?) with balls to back them up to deal with cheaters and bad actors very harshly and firmly. No matter what the rules are, the cheaters and shot-takers will get in their shots.

But we can not only have rules to allow you to be a good sport, but we can have rules and an environment that encourage it. That is what the proponents of Legal Moves want most in this change--it's not so much about just that rule or just what happens if a mistake is made--it's about our all having an attitude that we are there to try to win a backgammon game, but in a friendly and fair manner where we treat each other with kindness and respect. And this can be done even though there is big money at stake and even though we greatly want to win....but like our Giant heros (and others) we just don't want to win THAT WAY.

The jury has spoken when we say the outcry about Herb Gurland simply following the rules, which is no different that accepting a resignation in error.

We need rules and an overall direction from our leaders to play the game the way the world and the players in the U.S., FOR THE MOST PART (not everyone agrees and those who disagree are not even willing to admit that they are in the minority) want the game to be played.

We don't want to see someone lose because of an accident or a brain-fart. In the old days, that was fine, because everyone understood that was the way the game was supposed to be played. The game, the times have changed, and the world is telling us that we should have a more people-friendly competition that doesn't punish small errors and doesn't turn off new players.

Why are we having all these debates about this? Because it is normal that when times change and attitudes change, in the process there are always some he resist change and don't want to see the game played this new way. They believe if you screw up, it's competition and you lose. These people are not "wrong" about that approach...it's just not what most of us want and what most of us think makes for a better game and competition. Any time there is change, there is resistance and disagreement.

But let's take the "nastiness" out of the disagreement. There is no reason why two people on different sides of this issue should go so far as to say they won't go to a tournament if the other side gets their way. There is no reason to say that the rules one way or another "ruin" the game. There is no reason to say that someone who feels the other way is a bad person or not a good sport. We simply disagree on how the game should be played, and when people disagree there either has to be a compromise or someone has to simply accept that they are in the minority and go with the way of the world. The problem is when the people who disagree also happen to be people in charge, and that is what we have in the U.S. right now.

In time this will be worked out, in the meantime, let's all be friends. I COMPLETELY disagree with Bill Davis and all others who have come out against LM and against the attitude that we should punish our opponents for all mistakes and we should not change the rules or the attitudes, but I refuse to allow this issue to stop us from being friends and from supporting their tournaments. I expect the same courtesy from them and stop vilifying people who disagree with them.

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