Proposed 2019 USBGF Rules Changes

The USBGF Rules Committee seeks public comment on a draft revision of the USBGF Tournament Rules, intended to take effect in 2019. This 30-day public comment period ends on July 18. You may email comments to

Proposed 2019 Rules: Proposed Rules effective 2019
Proposed 2019 changes relative to 2018 (marked up: Proposed Public Comment markup
Hover the mouse over highlighted text in the marked-up MS-Word document, to view comments that explain the rationale for each change.

The USBGF Tournament Rules have been in universal use for only 5 months, so it is too early to consider wholesale rule changes. Therefore, this year’s review has very limited scope. Specifically, there are only two kinds of changes being considered:

1) Clarifications. (No change to intent.) The goal is to clarify existing intent, remove ambiguity, or to state something explicitly that was stated only in the Ruling Guide, or that was generally presumed to be true.

2) Fixes due to misunderstandings. (Changes to intent.) These are changes to rules that were written as-is into the 2018 Rules last year only because a misunderstanding took place. Had that misunderstanding not occurred at that time, the rule would not have been written as it was.

All comments and suggestions for changes are welcome, but any that fall outside of the narrow scope defined above will be added to the growing list of notes for consideration in next year’s Rules review.

There are only two proposed rule changes that fall into category 2:
Picture taking: Eliminate the rule prohibiting picture taking in Clocks Preferred events when players agree not to use a clock.

Headphones: A player can no longer deny their opponent’s wish to use headphones, but must appeal to the Director who can review the facts and make an exception based on the particular circumstance.


Joe Russell
Chairman, Board of Directors
Richard Munitz
Chairman, Rules and Ethics Committee
U.S. Backgammon Federation

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