USBGF Ratings and Stats: Mission and Policy

Effective: July 11, 2011


The USBGF Ratings and Stats Committee is charged with developing and maintaining a national ratings system along with individual player statistics based on the results of matches from officially rated events.  The national ratings system will include an Elo type rating, along with any new master point systems that might be devised.

Our objective is to create interest for the players, recognize important player achievements, provide players the chance to establish and work toward personal goals, and track their progress toward meeting their goals.  In doing this, we provide a valuable service to our members and help to fulfill the mission of the US Backgammon Federation by creating incentives for participation, fostering enjoyment, and encouraging player growth.


The USBGF Ratings and Stats Committee is committed to the highest level of integrity and transparency regarding its ratings and statistics.  We believe that the process whereby records are collected and stats are computed should be well defined, visible to the public, and be able to withstand scrutiny by members of the backgammon community.  Players should have all the information required to infer prior to play which matches will be rated and which ones will not.  It should ideally be possible for anyone to independently collect the same match information, apply these same methods and arrive at the same results.

The USBGF is interested in hearing the opinions, observations, criticisms and suggestions of all members of the backgammon community and will take any feedback seriously.  Our goal is to earn the trust of the community and to work towards continuous improvement.  Therefore, the USBGF reserves the right to revise this policy at any time as it deems necessary to best serve its members and its mission.


Current USBGF Premium and Youth members receive the benefit of obtaining a rating in the USBGF Rating System by playing in rated events (they are rating eligible).   They also have the benefit to earn Master Points in any USBGF Master Points system to be developed.  Ratings, Master Points and derived statistical information for all rating eligible players, as well as complete drawsheets of all rated tournaments will be made available for public viewing via the USBGF website.

Information on rating eligible members would include items such as:

  • Player’s rating using the Elo system (see below) and Win/Loss ratios;
  • Player’s head-to-head results against individual opponents;
  • Ranking position relative to other players;
  • Master Points earned  (Until such time as the USBGF has developed a Master Points system of its own, it will report the number of ABT points earned by rated players. Note: The official ABT point standings are reported on  The ABT is not affiliated with the USBGF.).

All matches and players participating in rating eligible events will be entered into the USBGF database, thus ensuring a complete record and accurate statistics.  However, only the ratings, statistics, and Master Points of rating eligible USBGF members will be visible for viewing by the public.  Rating ineligible players may make their rating and historical results visible at any time by enrolling in a USBGF rating eligible membership program.

The USBGF is open to generating additional reports and statistics of interest to members and welcomes your suggestions.

Top-ranked players will be eligible for recognition and rewards including — trophies, annual ceremony, and recognition in the USBGF newsletter and website.

Which events and matches are rated?

The USBGF ratings and statistics database is derived from and limited to drawsheets gathered from all live USBGF sanctioned tournaments and all ABT tournaments (beginning 1/2010, and those obtainable from 2009).

Matches from the following events, and only the following events will be included in the ratings and stats database:

The Main event — all flights in all divisions;

The major side events with longer match lengths typically started the day before the Main event, often called “Masters” and “Advanced” Jackpot — but regardless of the name chosen for the particular event.

Matches must actually be played in order to be included in ratings.  Therefore, byes, matches decided by forfeit, final rounds that are not played by agreement (e.g. splits), etc. do not get rated.  Directors and players should make every effort to ensure that the drawsheet clearly notes all byes, forfeits, splits, matches played to a length other than what was originally posted, etc. to ensure that ratings reflect the play that actually occurred.   Some contests are organized as a best-of-S series of matches.  Directors and players should ensure that the drawsheet not only records the series winner, but also the individual match results in each series (e.g. L-W-W (preferred), or 2-1).

The USBGF Ratings and Stats Committee will make best efforts to obtain records from and rate all matches from all events as described above.  Practical factors may prevent all such matches from being captured — including but not limited to poor photograph quality, unavailability of drawsheets, and unavailability of a photographer.

We believe that match results from public tournaments belong to the public and may be reported on freely.  However, match results will be excluded in their entirety if requested by the director of an event. A director may communicate his or her desire to exercise this option at any time through the event’s end-date as shown on the tournament brochure. Any such director request will be honored and will then be clearly noted on the USBGF website so that the players will understand why those particular tournament results are missing, and so that players can reasonably anticipate which future events are likely to be unrated and thus make informed choices.

The USBGF Ratings and Stats Committee is committed to the highest level of integrity and transparency regarding its ratings and statistics.  In a situation where our best efforts were unable to capture a suitable record of one or more drawsheets for a rated event, we may need to reach out to others to help us obtain the missing information.  In these cases, we will only accept submissions of pictures or physical copies of full drawsheets.  Under no circumstance will selective or individual match results be accepted for submission (unless we have specifically asked for an individual match result).

How are Elo ratings calculated?

Elo ratings published by the USBGF are calculated using the standard FIBS/KG backgammon rating system (for more information on backgammon ratings and how they work, see: ).  Match results are ordered chronologically as to when the match was played, and ratings are computed accordingly.  If matches from chronologically earlier events are added out of sequence to the database at a later date, the ratings are recomputed as if the event had been entered in sequence.

Some contests are organized as a best-W-of-S series of L-point matches.  Each individual match in such a series is rated independently – if the drawsheet has recorded the component results (as requested above), or if they can be conclusively determined.  If the component match results cannot be determined (only the series winner is known), the series will be rated as if it were played as a single match of length (L+1)*W.

Access and usage of data

The USBGF commits that its ratings and stats data will be used solely for the purpose of serving its members and advancing the USBGF mission.  That includes providing the members with useful information, analyzing the data for purposes of determining the effectiveness of existing programs and developing new programs intended to benefit the members and advance the mission.

Player statistics — including those of rating ineligible players – may occasionally be accessed as a service to tournament directors in order to assist in determining player skill division eligibility for tournament registration.

The USBGF will not sell or distribute its data to third parties.  However, at some point in the future, an international rating system and database may be developed as a collaboration of various countries backgammon federations.  The USBGF Ratings and Stats committee will carefully consider whether to participate in such a program and under what conditions it will do so based upon whether such participation best serves the USBGF members and mission.  This is the only situation we can foresee in which USBGF ratings and stats data might be distributed to any external party.


Why do our stats begin in 2009?  Origins of the USBGF.

The initiative to begin collecting drawsheets from ABT events for the purpose of recording individual match results and producing ratings and stats first surfaced in early 2009.  This was discussed extensively on the forum.   In June 2009 Ray Fogerlund suggests that we need a national organization – call it the American Backgammon Association – to own and push forward such an effort.  To this Rod Covlin responds – I have already created the US Backgammon Association about 6 months ago, let’s do this and let’s expand beyond that and work to bring new people into the game.  Ray responds and expresses his commitment and intent to begin the collection of drawsheets and states that help will be needed.  In a post dated June 5, 2009, on the most popular backgammon community site amongst US tournament backgammon players it was announced to the world that the ratings and stats project was real and underway.  Thank you Ray for having the vision and the initiative to get this project started, and in effect helping to kick-start the USBGF.  The ratings and stats project kicked into gear and a well attended planning meeting took place in July 2009 in Novi.  The US Backgammon Association was renamed to the US Backgammon Federation in 2010.   Read a little bit of our history unfold for yourself here:;read=40875

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