American Backgammon Tour (ABT) Policy

Effective January 1, 2024 - Revised April 19, 2024

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The purpose of the American Backgammon Tour is to promote unified live national tournament backgammon competition in order to advance the participation, education, and enjoyment of the skill-based game of backgammon for players served by the U.S. Backgammon Federation.

The ABT point race is conducted on a calendar year basis and recognizes those players achieving the highest overall level of success on the Tour each year. ABT points are earned by players who place in a tournament by reaching a designated top position. Once earned, they can never be taken away. The ABT points system is designed to recognize a pattern of high achievement. The ABT winner will likely be an individual who has attended and placed in a good number of tournaments during the calendar year.

The ABT Points System is distinct from and complementary to the USBGF Master Points System, which also awards points for the major jackpots and USBGF National Championships and includes points for matches won rather than focusing exclusively on players achieving the top results in each event. For more information see: How ABT Points are Calculated 

The ABT was first organized in 1993 by Bill Davis and patterned after the American Contract Bridge League’s annual master points race. The U.S. Backgammon Federation acquired ownership and assumed governance of the ABT beginning in 2017. The USBGF Board of Directors has the exclusive responsibility to establish policy and standards governing the American Backgammon Tour.

Eligibility Requirements for Tournament Inclusion in the ABT 

To be eligible for inclusion in the ABT, the following requirements must be met:

  1. An ABT tournament must maintain a minimum of 80 unique entrants in the Main divisions (e.g., Championship/Open, Advanced, Intermediate, Novice/Beginner) to be renewed.
  2. A tournament must be at least two days in length and held in a public establishment (preferably one with sleeping accommodation).
  3. A main event format must be chosen such that each player is eligible to earn ABT points until they have lost at least three times.
  4. An ABT main event must run at least two skill divisions, must restrict each player to a single skill division, must not allow any player to have concurrent live entries nor allow direct buy-ins to later rounds, must draw all initial match ups and byes randomly, and must be designed to prevent any player from placing more than once in the same event.
  5. The number of placing positions in an ABT main event must be at least 10% of the number of unique players attending.
  6. Tournament directors and ABT Main Event players must be USBGF members. A USBGF representative will be available to assist with verifying and renewing memberships.
  7. A $10 fee per ABT main event player is due upon the conclusion of the tournament. The fee should be remitted to the Federation Zelle bank account at Alternatively, the payment can be made by check to the Executive Director at: U.S. Backgammon Federation. c/o John Pirner, 6589 – 135th Street West, Apple Valley, MN 55124
  8. A backgammon club and/or director are permitted to conduct a maximum of one ABT tournaments in a metropolitan area per calendar year.
  9. ABT main events must be based on conventional one-on-one match play. A player may only advance in the tournament due to wins or loses except for byes and forfeits. All matches must have a single winner. Splits are prohibited.
  10. Directors should communicate their desired schedule to the USBGF Calendar Committee as far in advance as possible to avoid scheduling conflicts. Scheduling will be confirmed by the Calendar Committee.
  11. Live ABT Events must be scheduled and confirmed with the USBGF no less than 6 months in advance to secure a spot on the calendar. ABT Online! tournaments may take precedence on the calendar if this guidance is not followed.
  12. ABT Online! events must be scheduled no less than 5 months in advance to ensure that live events have priority on the calendar. ABT Online! organizers will be asked, but not required, to reschedule their event should a sanctioned live ABT event need the weekend.
  13. Following a tournament, the Tournament Director or Organizer will promptly communicate to the USBGF the following: 1) verification that event results were accurately reported and 2) feedback on successes, problems, and anything that did not meet ABT best practices.
  14. A new tournament must have at least one staff member, or a full-time onsite advisor, with ABT or large event experience.
  15. The Director and Organizer must work with John Pirner and Dan Minardi to ensure that they are following ABT best practices.
  16.  A draft of a marketing plan and a website URL should be sent to John Pirner, April Mesich, and Dan Minardi. The plan should provide an anticipated turnout of local players who will support for the tournament, and it should provide evidence that the tournament will draw a minimum of 80 players.
  17. Please review the following documents before applying:
  18. Factors to be considered for ABT and ABT Online! sanctioning:
    • The Director and Organizer have experience running tournaments and large events.
    • The Director and/or Organizer are in good standing in the community.
    • Evidence of adequate planning and financial resources to ensure that the
      tournament will have a minimum of 80 attendees.
    • The Director and Organizer understand and agree to comply with ABT requirements.

ABT Application

Apply to become an American Backgammon Tour (ABT) tournament or transfer sanctioning of an existing tournament. 

Download Application

USBGF Tournament Rules 

All tournaments participating in the ABT are required to use the USBGF Tournament Rules.

The USBGF Tournament Rules, as initially ratified in 2017 by referendum of the USBGF membership, and as may be amended or restated from time to time, shall apply to the ABT and all tournaments affiliated with the USBGF. No rules other than these Rules may be used except as may be expressly promulgated by the Tournament Director in advance, in accordance with the USBGF Tournament Rules Options.

Tournament Rules and Rules Options  

Standards of Ethical Practice 

As a companion document to the Tournament Rules, directors and players are encouraged to consult the Ruling Guide, which provides guidance related to these Rulesas well as to the general rules of the game of backgammonprovides additional detail, clarifies intent for the Rules and advises how the Rules should be applied in various situations.  

Ruling Guide 

Due Process 

Reporting Duties of the Tournament Director  

A Tournament Director should promptly notify the Executive Director of the USBGF of any rulings, along with details of the surrounding circumstances, that will or could have significant consequences for the affected player(s) beyond the scope of the specific tournament in question. 

Discretionary Right but Not Duty of USBGF 

An aggrieved player shall have the right to report any significant decision of the Tournament Director or the Ruling Committee to the Executive Director of the USBGF.  The USBGF shall have the right but not the duty to consider the matter further, to request information from the Tournament Director, and/or to take any other action that the USBGF in its sole discretion deems just and appropriate. 

In exceptional circumstances, in response to particularly serious violations, the USBGF Board of Directors may impose sanctions on a player or spectator from participation in future Tournaments and/or revoke membership.  

A Tournament Director or Tournament staff member in breach of the Standards of Ethical Practice, or who is unable or unwilling to meet the standards for inclusion on the ABT as defined herein may be suspended or banned from acting as a USBGF-approved Tournament Director. 

Which Tournament Events Award ABT Points? 

ABT points are awarded only for the designated main ABT skill division events in a qualifying tournament. Tournament side events (Masters, Jackpots, Knockouts, Blitz, Doubles, etc.) are not included.  

Handling 3-Way Ties 

  • Some tournament formats may play down to a 3-way tie. That tie must be broken to determine a tournament winner, as well as second and third places.
  • All 3-way ties that occur at ABT tournaments must be resolved using the following playoff format, which provides equal equity to each of the three tied players:
    • A standard four player elimination bracket shall be used to determine matches.
    • A bye is awarded to one player randomly chosen from among those who received the fewest byes previously in the event.
    • The phrase “total award” represents the total prize allocated for places 1, 2 and 3.
    • For events using a standard Elimination format:
      • The two players who did not receive the bye shall each be awarded 1/10 of the total award.
      • The remaining 8/10 of the total award shall be divided between places 1, 2, and 3 with ratios 3:2:1 respectively.
    • For events using a Swiss or other non-Elimination format:
      • The two players who did not receive the bye shall each be awarded 1/12 of the total award.
      • The remaining 10/12 of the total award shall be divided between places 1, 2, and 3 with ratios 32:20:13 respectively.