USBGF Legal Moves Policy
Posted By: Bill Riles
Date: Tuesday, 22 April 2014, at 2:14 a.m.
Legal Moves Policy
U.S. Backgammon Federation
USBGF Board of Directors and Rules & Ethics Committee Define Core Concepts of Legal Moves for Tournament Play
The U.S. Backgammon Federation Board of Directors has unanimously endorsed the principle of Legal Moves in all tournament play. The Board believes the principle of Legal Moves is consistent with our mission statement, fosters the growth and enjoyment of backgammon with on-line and recreational players, makes live tournament play consistent with on-line play, and aligns play in the United States with the vast majority of other national backgammon federations around the globe. Legal moves presents the best image of a respectable, ethical game -- an important objective.
The USBGF herewith defines, for the benefit of players and tournament directors, the core concepts of Legal Moves recommended to be observed for tournament play. The USBGF encourages all players and directors to observe these rules.
Players participating in the game (“Players”) are ethically obligated to immediately point out any play made by themselves or their opponent that does not conform to the rules of backgammon; this is not a choice. Except as specifically noted, Illegal Moves must be corrected before the offending Player’s opponent has legally rolled (not cocked) the dice. Otherwise, the Illegal Move will stand.
Only the Players or a tournament official may point out an Illegal Move. Spectators are required to remain silent unless asked to assist on a specific move by both players or by a tournament official. If both Players agree prior to the beginning of their match, a third-party transcriber or match monitor may point out Illegal Moves. Ethical play should be presumed, but Players and spectators may always bring irregularities and concerns to the attention of the tournament director.
If the Players agree on the facts, and notice was given in time, all game actions including and subsequent to the Illegal Move are null and void and must be undone (including reverting the score if the final move of a game was played illegally). The dice shall be replaced on the surface with the agreed roll showing, all checkers and the cube shall be restored to their original position and the player shall then make a legal play. If the Illegal Move was not noticed in time, the play stands as made.
Some plays can never be legal under the rules of backgammon, regardless of the dice rolled or the exact number of pips moved. These Impossible Moves fall into two categories:
1.Plays that result in an Illegal Position. Examples include, but may not be limited to: a) both Players on the bar against closed boards; b) Both Players’ checkers on the same point; c) A checker on the playing surface, but not on a specific point or the bar.
2.Improper Checker Movement. Examples include, but may not be limited to: a) moving your opponent’s checker anywhere other than to the bar; b) placing your own checker on the bar; c) removing your checker from play when at least one of your checkers is outside your home board.
There is an additional burden to correct Impossible Moves. Illegal Positions must be corrected as soon as discovered, regardless of how much time has passed. Subsequent game actions are undone, unless both Players and/or the Director agree that the fair solution is to let such actions stand.
Improper checker movements must be corrected before the offending Player doubles or rolls the dice to start his next turn. Subsequent game actions are undone, unless both Players and/or the Director agree that the fair solution is to let such actions stand. If Players disagree on whether subsequent actions should be undone, the Director should tend to rule against the player who moved the checker(s) improperly.
If both Players agree, an Illegal Move may be corrected after the defined timeframes set forth above, with or without undoing of subsequent game actions. The overriding consideration should be to find a solution that both Players agree is fair; however, there is no ethical obligation to agree to a late correction.
If a game clock is in use and an Illegal Move is noticed:
1.Before the offending player has ended his turn: The clock shall remain running (but may be stopped to discuss the facts);
2.After the offending player has ended his turn: The clock shall be stopped, the position shall be reset, the offending player’s clock shall be restarted and the delay time allowed to run out. A legal move shall then be made.
Further, a player may not forfeit a turn of play by purposely or inadvertently hitting the game clock without playing when a legal play potentially exists.
Practically, if you know that a computer program would not have allowed the situation to occur, neither should you.
The tournament director shall have discretion to make an appropriate clock time adjustment when undoing game actions to correct an Illegal Move. However, Players should not expect any clock time adjustment to be made.
To minimize the chance of disagreement on the facts and time wastage, the opponent should point out any clearly illegal movement of checkers as soon as noticed, even if the player has only made a partial move.
Saying "wait" or "no roll", waving your hands over the board, or making any similar statement or gesture prior to the notice deadline constitutes timely notification of an Illegal Move.
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