WBF - Worldwide Backgammon Federation
P.O. Box 47, CH-6850 Mendrisio Stazione, Switzerland
Phone and fax (Milan, Italy): 0039 2 29409743
Electronic address e-mail: dapra@iol.it
From the President's desk . . .



1.1 INTERPRETATION - The Tournament Rules and Procedures cannot, and should not, regulate all possible situations that may arise during a game. Respecting the Rules, the Director, and the superior Rules Committee, preserves their freedom of judgment and must find the solution dictated by fairness and compatible with the circumstances of a particular case (e.g. infringement of accepted standard Tournament behavior by a player or spectator). In the event of a dispute, the decision of the Rules Committee will be final. Nobody has the right (Director and Committee above all) to change the Rules and Procedure. Any infringement must be signaled to the WBF for the consequent disciplinary measures (admonition, suspension, or if repeated, expulsion). (See Comments at the end.)

Sponsoring Organization: Person(s), authorized by the WBF, establishing conditions of contest and responsible for the payment of the prize money.
Director: Knowledgeable and disinterested chief administrator (recognized by the WBF) of the Tournament assisted, if necessary, by Tournament Assistant(s).
Tournament Committee: Maximal Authority of the Tournament, represented by a President, taking final decisions about any dispute and controlling the regularity of the draw.
Tournament Program (Invitation): Schedule and statement of condition of contest distributed to each potential entrant prior to entry.
Draw Sheet: The official posted record of match assignments and results.
Notice Board: The posted record of the official communications and decisions of Director and Tournament Committee. The names of the Tournament Director and of the Committee President must be published on the Tournament invitation. The composition of the Committee, including only present members representing the participants Nations, must be published on the Notice Board as soon as possible before the draw.

1.3 SCOPE - Except where otherwise specified, the commonly accepted rules of backgammon apply.

1.4 STAFF - The Director is knowledgeable and is the disinterested chief administrator of the Tournament. He is assisted, if necessary, by Tournament Assistant(s). The Director (and the Assistants) must be recognized by the Worldwide Backgammon Federation. The Director must be a disinterested party; for this reason the Director cannot play in the Tournament. He must always be present and must have a Vice-Director on hand during any extraordinary absence.

1.5 ELIGIBILITY - Director, on advice of the Tournament Committee, may exclude or disqualify entrants for reasons which need not be stated but shall include cheating and other serious misconduct. The Director is obliged to refuse the registration of players barred or suspended by the Disciplinary Committee of the Worldwide Backgammon Federation. Any participation in lower or higher categories must be free (no limit for age, race, sex, etc.) because the players are fairly protected from the differentiate length of matches: Beginner - no doubling cube, best of three or five matches (like Swiss style); Novice - match to 5 points without doubling cube, gammon (mars) valid. Backgammon not valid (like Turkish style); Limited - match to 5 points without doubling cube, gammon and backgammon valid (like South American Style); Intermediate or Advanced - opening round maximum 7 or 9 points; Championship - opening round maximum 11 points; Master - opening round minimum 13 points. (See Comments at the end.)

1.6 AIDS - Once a match is in progress, players may not use electronic or mechanical, printed or written aids except to keep score. Player may forbid his opponent from wearing headphones. Using of portable phones (in any case must be turned off) is prohibited. Any violation shall forfeit any remaining matches and all Tournament winnings.

1.7 LANGUAGES - The official Tournament language(s) will be decided by the Committee. Once decided, no speech in any other language(s) will be permitted between players and spectators, or between spectators when matches are in progress.

1.8 SPECTATORS - Spectators should remain silent while observing a match. Spectators have no right to draw attention to any misplays or comment on plays. Player may request Director to bar one or more spectators from viewing his match and it will not be necessary for a player to give a reason. Spectators, except to report cheating to Director, may testify about their observations only at request of Director or Tournament Committee. A player receiving unsolicited advice from a spectator must summon Director at once. If a player is found to have received solicited advice from a spectator, both shall forfeit any remaining matches and all Tournament winnings.

1.9 FORMAT - The format of each event shall be stated in the Tournament Program. Any draw must be manual (not computerized), public and "random" under the supervision of a WBF-committee member or at least of a foreign player. The draw is definitive: any alteration of the draw involves the admonition or disqualification of the Director. The use of "Liquid Paper" is forbidden and the system to draw numbers corresponding to the names of the players too. The draw must include only the registered players having paid the entry fee; the Director is responsible of the payments and cannot invoke the "no show" to exclude from the payment some people not arriving. It is admitted the system of the numbered "late arrive" transforming in "bye" to the expiry of the penalty points. The substitution of a "numbered late arrive" with a "late arrive player" must to be realized by "random draw". The Consolation must be Automatic Progressive (using the special WBF draw) or simply Progressive:
1) The losers in the main of the first day will be putted, by manual pure random draw, in the top half of the sheet giving the necessary number of byes;
2) The losers in the main of the day after, excluding the players taking prize money will find an advanced place in the bottom half of the sheet;
3) The final of the progressive consolation will be played by the winner of the two halves of the sheet (up and down). The standard format for Progressive Consolation and Last Chance events provides a fresh "pure random" public manual draw. (See Comments at the end.)


2.1 PLACE - Except as permitted by Director, all entrants must play in the designated tournament room observing his seat assignment on the Draw Sheet. Normally, smoking is prohibited.

2.2 TIME - Players must begin matches promptly. Director shall award 1 point to the opponent of an entrant who is 15 minutes late, and 1 point for each additional 5 minutes of tardiness thereafter. When the penalty points amount to more than half of the number needed to win the match, the absent player will have then forfeited. To avoid penalties, player should secure Director's consent when leaving Tournament room for more than 10 minutes.

2.3 BREAKS - Each player may take breaks only between games and no more than twice in any match. Breaks may last no more than 5 minutes (10 minutes in final and semifinal matches). Director shall impose 1 penalty point for each 5 minutes or fraction of excess break time.

2.4 SLOW PLAY - Players are expected to play at a reasonable pace. On his own initiative or the request of a player, Director may monitor a match for slow play. Director shall warn an unduly slow player after the first offense. For each subsequent offense, Director shall at his own discretion impose 1 penalty point on the slow player.

2.5 SETTLEMENTS - No players may settle a game or a match. All matches will be played to the stated number of points. Players do not have the right to agree between themselves to play a different score (to 9 points instead of 5 points for example). In the case of a match played to an incorrect number of points, the Committee will adjudicate.

2.6 MONITORS - On his own initiative or at request of a player (for a fee to be agreed-upon in advance), Director may appoint a monitor to observe a match. Monitor shall have full power to protect each player against an opponent's irregularities (illegal moves excluded).


3.1 EQUIPMENT - Normally the players must use the dice and the cups provided from the Organization. Either player may demand, before begin the match, that both use, when available and approved by the Director: (a) precision dice (over any others) and/or (b) lipped dice cups (over unlipped).

3.2 PREFERENCE - If necessary, the backgammon board, direction of play, choice of checker color and seat location shall be decided by one roll (only one valid for all the chooses) of one die (the higher will decide) prior to the commencement of play.

3.3 EQUIPMENT CHANGES - Director may replace equipment at anytime. Otherwise the four dice initially selected shall be used throughout. No player may change or discard any die during a match. The Director shall impose one penalty point on any player who does so and may initiate further disciplinary action. Director may chance dice on his own initiative at anytime or, on request of a player, at most twice during a match at the start of a new game. At the start of a new game, either player may request that the four dice in use be mixed. In this case, the demanding player shakes the four dice together in one cup and rolls them out. Opponent then chooses first and third die.


4.1 RANDOM ROLLS - Dice are strictly a means of obtain random numbers; any other use violates the rules and the spirit of backgammon. A legal roll consist of shacking the dice vigorously (no less that 3 times and no more that 5) in a dice cup and then simultaneously tossing them out at a discernible height above the playing surface to the right of the bar, allowing them to bounce and roll freely.

4.2 VALID ROLLS - Both dice must come to rest flat (not cocked) on the playing surface to the right of the bar; otherwise they (both) must be rerolled.

4.3 MOVING - Player should do each move clearly, using only one hand to play each checker. Player shall reenter any checker on the bar before moving any other checker. No player should move any checkers during an opponent's turn. Deviation from proper moving procedure may result in an adverse ruling in case of dispute.

4.4 CHECKER HANDLING - Checkers which have been hit must be kept on the bar (on the middle of the opponent's half side) pending reentry. Checkers which have been borne off must be kept off the entire playing surface for the rest of the game and putted in order into the proper space. Failure to observe these procedures may result in an adverse ruling in case of dispute.

4.5 LIFTING DICE - Player concludes his turn by lifting (even slightly) either or both his dice. He may reposition the dice on the playing surface to facilitate moving the checkers but only flowing the dice on the playing surface. The player must lift the dice with two finger of the hand and wait, before put the dice inside the cup, the roll of the opponent to allow the control, in case of disagreement, the value of the roll. After the opponent's roll must put the dice inside the cup, the cup on (never below) the table and wait for the next turn. During his opponent's turn it's prohibited to touch dice, cup or, worse, shack the cup disturbing the opponent.

4.6 PREMATURE ACTIONS - Any cube turned prematurely stands, and the opponent may complete his play before acting on that cube. If a player rolls prematurely, then the opponent, upon completing his turn, may accept the premature roll or require the player to reroll.

4.7 ERROR IN SETUP - An incorrect starting position must be corrected prior to the fifth roll of the game. Thereafter the existing setup becomes official. The opponent of a player with more than 15 checkers may remove surplus checkers of his own choosing or require the player to finish the game with the surplus. The opponent of a player with fewer than 15 checkers (prior to the bear-off) may supply the shortage by placing sufficient checkers on the bar or require the player to finish the game with the shortage. Gammons and backgammons still apply.

4.8 ILLEGAL MOVES - Upon drawing attention to an illegal move, player may condone or demand that opponent legally replay the entire roll. Player condones a prior illegal move rolling his own dice or turning the cube.

4.9 COMPLETION - Games must be rolled to completion, unless ended by a pass, double or redouble, or conceded in a non-contact position as a single game, gammon or backgammon loss. No game may be canceled and replayed, or settled. Matches must be played to the appointed length.

4.10 REPORTING RESULTS - Final score shall be reported to Tournament Official by match winner. Official shall verify and post the correct result on draw sheet. Once posted, an erroneous result may still be corrected in a timely manner, but not after either player has begun a succeeding match.


5.1 KEEPING SCORE - Each player shall keep a running match score and compare his score with opponent's at the start of every game. In the event of a scoring dispute, failure to keep score creates a presumption in favor of the opponent.

5.2 CUBE SETUP - Both players are responsible for restoring the cube to the center at the start of each game. A centered cube has a value of 1 point. In the event of a dispute, the current position and level of the cube will strongly influence the ruling. Exception: the cube will be removed during the no-cube game.

5.3 CUBE RULES - Gammons and backgammons will count at all times. It is not necessary to double an opponent in order to win a gammon or backgammon.

5.4 DOUBLING - To turn the cube, a player sets the face with the new proposed value upper most, puts it on the playing surface to the right of the bar, states his intention clearly (e.g. "Double!" or "Redouble!") and yields the turn temporarily while his opponent acts on the cube.

5.5 TAKING - To take the cube, a player places the cube at the new proposed value on his own side of the table while stating his intention clearly (e.g. "Take!" or "Accept!"). A player who takes the cube shall keep it at the proposed and accepted value in a place in his own side where it is clearly visible to his opponent. In case of dispute, the physical position of the cube creates a presumption of its proper location and value.

5.6 PASS - To reject the cube, one says "Pass!", enters the score and resets the board.

5.7 NO CUBE GAME - When a player reaches match point (e.g. 8 points in a 9 points match), the doubling cube will be out of play, but only for one game ("no-cube" game). The cube will be removed during the no-cube game. If improperly used the trailer may cancel the game.


6.1 DISPUTES - When a dispute arises, all players must leave dice, checkers, cube and score unchanged while Director is summoned. Violations by player in this area are most serious and create a presumption in favor of opponent. If the problem is not complex the Director will give a ruling. If the problem is complex will be summoned one or more Rules Committee member(s) to solve the dispute.

6.2 TESTIMONY - Any player may argue issues of fact or rule. Spectators, except to report cheating, may testify only at Director's or Rules Committee member's request.

6.3 APPEALS - Player may appeal Director's ruling, but he must to do so promptly, while timely redress may still be obtained. To resolve an appeal, Director shall convene at last 3 Members of the Rules Committee that, after hearing relevant testimony and arguments, may overturn Director's ruling by majority decision. This exhaust player's right to appeal but the offended player has the right to signalize the case to the Disciplinary Committee or by writing to WBF or sending an electronic mail to dapra@iol.it


To 1.1: The corresponding US rule, giving an enormous and boundless power to the Director, cancels the validity of the following rules. The Director becomes a Dictator.

To 1.5: The wrong system makes it possible for a Director to include the friends or the partners into the lower division. The new system, tested for the first time in the European Championship 1993 of Menton, works very well. The good players preferring to play in lower division in a short match are welcome. Good lesson for little money. To call a flight "Beginner" where the length of the first round is 9 or more points is a death-trap for the true beginner. Call "Intermediate" a flight where the length of the first match is 13 or more points is a death-trap for the true Intermediate.

To 1.9: The use to draw numbers corresponding to the names of the players gives the possibility to cheat on the draw giving a bye to the friends or to the partners.

WBF - Unified Edition 1996/05/18 (ISO - International Standard
Organization format date). Precedent editions (1st edition - 1976,
2nd edition - 1979, 3rd edition - 1985 - 4th edition, July 1988.

Pay attention! These rules are not the Bible. The WBF is open to accept any comments or suggestions about this rules from all the WBF Supporters. But any WBF Supporter is kindly requested to apply this rules no change. The new changes will be done frequently taking count of the suggestions of the WBF Supporters. Any change will be communicate via Internet. The last most important changes introduced are, besides a general revision of the old 37 articles of the precedent edition:

Ref. 1.6 AIDS row 1 added . . . electronic
Ref. 1.6 AIDS row 4 . . . portable phones
Ref. 4.3 MOVING row 1 . . . using only one hand to play

This Electronic Unified Edition (file WBFUNI02.WRI) is approved.
Internet, 1996/05/18 (ISO - International Standard Organization format date)
Alberto da Pra, President WBF
Worldwide Backgammon Federation
Electronic Mail: dapra@iol.it