Matches and Rules


We play, weekly, a Swiss-style tournament of three matches to 5-7-9 points with a time limit for each match. The doubling cube is used in all matches.

In the first round, players are paired randomly and in each subsequent round players of closest ranking are paired as long as they have not met before in the tournament. The whole process is run by our customised computer program, allowing players to follow all score results on a large monitor in real time.

The winner of the tournament is the player with the highest score at the conclusion of all rounds.
If there is a draw between the top players the prizemoney is split.


We use the Stavrou Backgammon Scoring System which is the preferred system in matches where the scoreline matters.

In any match, the score difference (points won minus points lost) determines your Score Points. For example, if you beat your opponent 5-2 your Score Points are 3 and your opponent’s are -3. 
As the match winner, you are awarded a further 100 Match Points, so your Total Points for the match are 103 and your opponent’s are -3.

This total is added to the totals of prior matches to give the current ranking score and this will determine the pairing of the next round.

If in any round there is an odd number of players, the player at the bottom of the ranking will receive a bye, awarding the player 100 Bonus Points but no Score Points.

If a player aborts a match for any reason, the match score is the score-to-date and the opponent also receives 100 Bonus Points.

If a match has not finished by the allotted time, the game-in-play is allowed to conclude. If a player reaches full match points, he or she is the winner and the scoring is as usual.

If, on conclusion, neither player has reached full match points and the score is uneven, the higher scorer is awarded Score Points plus 97 Match Points (97 being 100 minus the number of rounds).

If, on conclusion, neither player has reached full match points and the score is even, one further game is played and the higher scorer is awarded Score Points plus 97 Match Points.


At the start of the tournament a player is selected at random to be the Jackpot Player.
If the Jackpot Player also wins (or draws) the tournament then he or she also wins the Jackpot, which, if not won, accumulates week by week.


Registration from 6:00 pm
The draw occurs at 6:20 pm
The evening usually finishes about 10:30 pm
You are strongly encouraged not to abandon matches as this can affect other players’ standings.
Players arriving late to any round will be penalised one point for each 5 minutes of lateness.


Any player arriving after the first-round pairing shuffle is considered to be a latecomer.

Latecomers may enter the tournament at Round 2 with a zero Point Score.

After the Round 2 pairings are made, no further latecomers will be accepted.

Entry to the tournament is $10 and all monies are returned as prizes as follows:
1st place: 50% of the pool         
2nd place: 25% of the pool 
3rd place: 15% of the pool
Jackpot: 10% of the pool

Every week a further $2 is collected from each attending player. This goes toward the running costs of the Sydney Backgammoners.


The Tournament Director is the arbiter of all disputes and will be guided by, but not bound by, internationally accepted rules. 

The official Tournament language is English. Speech in any other language will not be permitted between players and/or spectators while matches are in progress.

Disputes that are unrelated to moves (e.g. choice of direction) shall be settled by the roll of the dice.

If a dispute related to the play arises, both players must leave dice, checkers, cube and score unchanged while the TD is summoned. Violations by players in this area are most serious.

Players must use precision dice if available. Either cups or a dice scrambler (or both) must be used. Hand rolling of the dice is not permitted. One set of dice is the default requirement, the end of a move being signalled by a tap on the board. If both players request it, two sets of dice may be used and the end of a roll is signalled by the player picking up his dice. One dice change per person per match is permitted.

Dice must be rolled together and land flat on the surface of the right-hand section of the board. With the opponent’s permission, a player may, for the duration of one game, roll on the left-hand side of the board. A player must re-roll both dice if a die lands outside the right-hand section of the board or lands on a checker or does not land flat.

Players must point out and correct all illegal moves or actions noticed before the opponent has made a valid roll, otherwise the move stands.
Premature rolling of the dice is an illegal action and must be retracted.
A starting position error must be corrected if noticed before the opening player has rolled twice, otherwise it stands. A player starting with fewer than 15 checkers may still lose a gammon.

Spectators shall remain silent while observing a match. Spectators must not draw attention to any misplays or comment on plays. Spectators who observe improprieties or irregularities during a match should discuss them in private with the TD. A player may request the TD to bar one or more spectators from viewing his or her match.

The Crawford Rule shall apply. When the leading player comes within one point of winning the match, the following game is played without a doubling cube.

Each player should keep score on the scoresheets provided. Not keeping score disadvantages a player in case of a dispute. After each match the winner should proceed to the tournament desk to report the score and hand in both scoresheets.  Players should ensure that their score is recorded correctly.

The use of backgammon programs (or any devices deemed to be of unfair assistance) during a match is strictly forbidden.

Under no condition will foul language, abusive behaviour, bullying, badgering or cheating be allowed. The offending player will be given only one warning and will be disqualified from the tournament if the offending behaviour does not cease. In such cases the entry fee is forfeited.