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Most of these arguments have NOTHING to do with Legal Moves

Posted By: phil simborg
Date: Friday, 14 March 2014, at 3:53 p.m.

In Response To: Even more reasons against LM (Art Grater)

1. When will you ever see a Novice playing an expert at a major tournament? Very rarely, but if it happens, I would like to think that regardless of the rules the expert will be kind and helpful and if and when there might be a dispute and the director is called, the Director will also be very careful to explain the rules and procedures. If the two players disagree about what the roll was, or where the checkers were move, does it matter if they were playing LM or not? There would be the same problem. So as the rules apply to beginners, do you think it is a better game and experience if they help each other see and make the right plays instead of punishing each other every time there is a mistake? This is a no-brainer. Even people I know who strongly prefer NLM agree that the rules should be less punishing for novices and more forgiving about checker errors and mistakes.

2. The issue as to whether or not they roll by hand, with a cup, or with a baffle box has nothing to do with the LM issue. Also, the method of rolling is not just bout ďtrustĒ which is where you put the emphasis. It is about assuring that the dice get properly tumbled. We require beginners to use cups because that is the rule of the game and they should learn the rules, and because cups help shake up the dice so everyone feels more comfortable the dice are random. I ask people to use a baffle box not because I think they might cheat, but because we like to play with baffle boxesówe use it in our chouette in Chicago every day. I would never play for money with a cheater. We use it because we donít have to worry about cocked dice, dice on the floor, and we no longer have to argue with people who are lazy about shaking the dice or who might roll irregularly. In any event, this has nothing to do with Legal Moves.

3. Premature resignation also has nothing to do with LM, however, the attitude we are promoting is that like LM, we are there to win by skill and not by silly errors, so the same idea applies. Whether we play legal moves or not, the current rules do not allow premature resignation and even if they did, it is not nice to accept it. Again, we are asking people to be nice. We think that is a better way to compete. If you donít want to be nice and you want to accept a premature resignation, I guess you could do that, but if I were the tournament director and I found out about it, I might make you finish the match if possible, and I would certainly warn you that I do not want you to behave that way in my tournament, especially to a beginner or a less experienced player, and if you continue I might take stronger action than just a warning.

4. If you draw someone in a tournament who explains to you he canít see the dice very well, whether you play Legal Moves or not, if you donít help him to know what the roll is, you are an asshole. This has nothing to do with legal moves. If I am the tournament director and I am aware of someone who has a problem reading the dice or making moves, I would assign someone to help him during the match, and if his opponent has a problem with that, he can forfeit and get the hell out of my tournament. So you lost to someone because they couldnít see well because you helped him play legally, and you are blaming legal moves for that? I canít believe you really are upset about losing for that reason! If you had been playing LM and he made bad plays because he couldnít see the dice, do you really want to win that way? I canít believe you donít feel disgusted with yourself for even making this an argument.

There is an older gentleman at my club that was making many errors on his checker plays. He refused to play LM with me. So I let his bad plays stand. After the match I not only explained to him why he should be playing LM so people can help him if he makes mistakes, I also went to Bill Davis and told him that he should encourage this player (an old friend of Bill's) to play LM in the future because I didn't want to see him lose because of missplays. I don't know if he had trouble reading the dice or just making the moves. By the way, he did make a couple of huge mistakes that would have given me a great advantage and I corrected him, even though I didn't have to, simply because I like the guy. In a major tournament, if someone I am not good friends with refuses to play LM and makes errors to my advantage, he's out of luck and I have no problem with my conscious following the rules, especially when he could have agreed to kinder rules.

In No. 4 you also state that in a LM tournament the players should be allowed to play NLM. The answer is NO. The rules of the tournament should be followed by all players and they should not be allowed to decide on rules of their own without permission from the TD. There are many reasons that this is proper, and if you canít see why players should not be allowed to do something against the rules, then I see no reason to discuss things with you furtherÖthe logic is clear. So why can players agree to play LM in a NLM tournament? Because the tournament directors have decided to allow this. If the TD tells me I cannot play LM in his tournament, even if my opponent wants to, I cannot and will not. We all agree, when we enter, to follow the rules whether we agree with them or like them or not. I donít happen to like the Crawford Rule, for example, but I am not allowed to waive that rule, even if my opponent agrees, unless the TD allows it. So this argument of yours here is also not an issue.

Your last point is that we all have different opinions on what is good sportsmanship and you donít want the TD to tell you what your attitude and approach should be. You donít need anyone to protect you and donít want the protection that LM and other rules provide. Sorry, but it is precisely because everyone has different opinions on what is good sportsmanship that the TD, and the game, needs to establish standards and guidelines so that we are on a level playing field. I know some players that believe it is okay to lie to your opponentóto say they will take the cube if you double, and then pass, or to lie about the score, or to lie about the pip count, or lie about what the roll was.

Other players think it is okay to "fake" that you are going to double to get a reaction. Most of us think that is not the way the game should be played, so there are rules and ethics that say that kind of behavior is not welcome and will not be allowed.

We have rules and standards that say that even if you think that is okay, the TD does not and if you are found to do any of these things you will be penalized. Other players may think it is okay to let someone redouble when the cube should be dead, and many others think this is not okay. Rather than have fights and arguments about this, the TD establishes rules and standards that set the bar for what he wants to see in his tournament, and we must all follow it whether we like it or not. Yes, you believe you donít need or want any help and you donít want to give it to your opponents. Most of us donít agree and donít want to play that way. I have played that way for years, because that has been the rule. If the rule changes, and the standards change, we have to abide by the new rules and standards if we want to play. Herb Gurland followed the rules, as many did before him, and because times have changed and most donít want to see those rules followed and enforced any more, the rules are being changed (by most TDís and Federations around the world), and in the future, you are required not to accept a player accidentally putting the wrong checker on the bar. If you do, you might get away with it, and you might claim you didnít notice, and you might even honestly miss it, but the rules are you should say something and correct it. If you are an honest person, as I believe you are, and I believe most people are, it will be handled nicely and properly according to the rules. And people who conveniently not notice these things will be noticed, identified, and their reputations will cause TDís and others to deal with them the way we should deal with any poor sports, cheaters, or unsavory people, REGARDLESS of what rules we have.

Bottom line is this Art: you have the right to your opinion on the rules...we all do, but whatever the rules are, we must follow them if we choose to come to that tournament or event. If you really think that changing the rules to LM and forcing you and your opponent to be less tough on each other about mistakes ruins the game for you, I think you are greatly over-reacting. We have been playing LM for many years in money games and chouettes and private games and even people who feel strongly about NLM enjoy playing those games with LM. You'll get used to it. Let much more important issues in your life cause you grief or stop you from enjoying this wonderful game. I have hated NLM and other rules for years, but never enough to stop me from coming to tournaments and enjoying the game. We just can't have everything the way we want when there is more than 1 person involved. Like it or not, most of the world, from now on, will be playing LM, and will be setting the good sportsmanship bar higher. Some people, particularly old-timers who are used to the old ways, will never like it and will never agree. Live with it.

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