What Do I Do? How Do I Do It?
Frequently Asked Questions 2017 update

(updated Tuesday, July 18, 2017 )

If you are a beginner and not too sure about entering a tournament, don’t worry, it’s not as daunting as you’d might expect. Everyone is friendly and helpful and you’ll have a great weekends’ backgammon. Here’s a few questions & answers to help you through that first hurdle - your first Biba tournament.

Quick access:


Q: What types of tournaments are played?

A: Most, if not all tournaments will be full Swiss + Knockout; All players will play 5 x 7pt matches on the Saturday with the Main Knockout 8/16 (Swiss 4 & 5 wins + 3 wins playoff) starting on Sunday. Semi-Progressive Consolation (includes Main Rounds 1 & 2 losers using variable point match lengths). Last Chance (5 & 7 point matches).

Each January the Bright 'n' Breezy will be a straight Knockout with Progressive Consolation, Last Chance and 3-pointer.

In addition to the two main formats above there is a Friday night 5 point KO called the Friday Warm-up and Super Jackpot, Saturday night Doubles/Team KO or Poker for those that want to play even more - and a lot of them do.

Q: Where do we play and how do I get there?
A: Events are held in various locations. Directions and accommodation information for any tournament can be found by clicking on the hotel details on the Tournament Details page and the One-Stop page for all event information. For further tournament details see the Calendar and Forthcoming.

Q: What do I do when I get there?

A: Prior to arrival you have to Register (all tournaments require Pre-paid Registration - see One-Stop). On the day the Entry Fee (if not already pre-paid) is payable at the Event Desk 1030 to 1230.

Pre-paid Registration Fees must arrive at Biba HQ 7 days prior to the event. Payment methods are PayPal, Cheque, Bank Transfer or Cash at a prior Biba event. Please email eventreg@backgammon-biba.co.uk for full details stating your preferred method of payment. Entrants cancelling their Registration will forfeit their Fee if within 7 days of the event.

A full list of entrants shall be posted to One-Stop. If, prior to the event the full entry is short, entries on the day shall be accepted however; the Registration Fee will be £30 for all persons. NB: This arrangement is subject to space available and might be filled before your arrival. Phone first to check.

Q: How do I book in?
A: See above.

Q: What time do I play?
A: The Friday night KO starts at 2100 (late-comers may be denied entry). The Main tournament starts at 1300 Saturday; followed by the Consolation. We break for dinner approx. 1900/2100 and then we play the Poker, Backgammon Doubles/Team KO, Super Jackpot at 2100. On the Sunday we continue playing at 1030 and we start the 3-pointer at approx. 1300. All being well, you should be finished playing by 1700/1830 on the Sunday.

Q: What is it going to cost me once I get there?
A: Registration varies - please look here for complete details and in Calendar for individual event fees. Accommodation is set at a special Biba rate, including dinner, bed and breakfast. If you stay en extra night or share a room the cost is reduced see Tournament Details and One-Stop for full accommodation rates. If you are staying at the hotel on the special Biba rate then you will pay a reduced Entry Fee. In addition to these costs are optional, members-only private pools varying from £5 to £50 for those that prefer a monetary prize; the highest placed 1st & 2nd sharing the pot 70/30% in their pool. All pool money is returned 100% and you can enter, one, both or none. NB: Only Biba Members can enter the members-only side pools.

Q: Do we have to play for money?
A: Technically, no, (see above regarding costs). You can play all weekend for 'free' after paying your Registration Fee and Entry Fee (100% return).

Q: Who do I play?
A: The first round of any tournament is nearly always a random draw (on some occasions the draw is seeded) after which you will meet players on a knockout basis. Draws are done publicly and via a spreadsheet whenever possible.

Q: What speed do we play at?
A: Quickly! Unfortunately some players are very slow so measures are taken to encourage them to play a little faster. I allow approx. 2 hours for an 11 point match and I monitor slow players and encourage them to play faster, failing which I use chess clocks although it is very rare that they are used - the threat is enough! However, on the Sunday in the Main the last 8 players will use clocks up to and including the Final. See Rules for clock details and Tournament Rules and Procedures.

Q: If I play too slowly will somebody tell me off?
A: Yes, me! Well, not so much a 'telling off' as a gentle nudge to keep up the pace. Remember, we are playing backgammon, not chess.

Q: Who keeps the score?
A: Match scores should be kept by each player in case of dispute. A player who does not have a score sheet will be at a disadvantage should there be any questions raised about the score. Results are kept by the Association and used to compile records and printouts. See Rules for details

Q: What if I make a wrong move, will my head be bitten off?
A: No. Biba has a 'Legal Move Only' rule which all entrants are required to play to [See Rule 4.8].

Q: What happens after I've played my game? Do I have to tell somebody?
A: Yes, me. Usually the winner comes up, face beaming, to give the results whilst their opponents sit complaining their bad luck to anyone daft enough to listen to them! Keep your fingers crossed you qualify for the former category. Make certain the correct result is entered as mistakes are sometimes hard to rectify after the next round has started.

Q: Will people talk to me?
A: Yes, but haven't you been warned about talking to strangers? . . . and there's no-one stranger than backgammon players! Seriously though, we all go to tournaments to enjoy ourselves and I am certain you'll have no problems meeting and talking to lots of fellow enthusiasts - in fact your biggest problem will be getting away from some of them! (No names mentioned.)

Q: Will it be "cliquey"?
A: In parts, yes. But on the whole players are very friendly and newcomers are quickly taken to - as long as they are willing to make the effort and mix, of course.

Q: Do I have to give the trophy back after a year when I win?
A: Only the main one on which your name is inscribed for posterity, you get to keep the other ones forever.

Q: What rules do you play to?
A: International Backgammon Rules adapted for Biba use, a copy of which can be seen by clicking here. Read them and study them; they are there for your protection. If ever in doubt always clarify with the Director, not your opponent!


2017 Stuff

Biba Tournaments

We are organising at least four tournaments for 2017. There may be 'exras' added. Look in Forthcoming.

Biba Grand Prix Championship:

All entrants, members and non-members, shall gain GP points in the Main and Consolation with the highest score of the two being the award for that tournament. GP Points will be awarded to all entrants in non-Biba events at which GP Points are also awarded. Your six best scores are used to decide your eventual score; so, if you are in the points more than six times the better scores will replace the poorer ones. At the end of the year the Top Two Members will receive a monetary award which will be announced nearer to the November tournament.

There is no minimum tournament entry required but obviously the more tournaments you enter the greater your points total will be. At the end of the year following the UK Finals the Biba Grand Prix Championship winners will be the players (members) with the greatest points total. Should two or more players share this total then it shall be decided using 2, 3 or 4 decimal places.

At the end of the Grand Prix season all points are reset to zero.

Biba Rankings
All new members start with a ranking of 1500 and this is adjusted according to wins/losses during tournaments. To be placed upon the Active Ranking list a member has to entered at least two events. All matches in the tournaments are ranked except 3-pointers.

Tournament Entry Commitments
Players are expected to complete an event once entered and are expected to play all Saturday matches. However, provision has been made for players to drop out on the Sunday if they wish to do so after they have notified the tournament director.

In all Biba tournaments players are expected to play fairly and honestly. Players caught cheating or stealing will be dealt with very severely. Backgammon should be played in an atmosphere of fun and enjoyment; for this reason, sportsmanship as opposed to gamesmanship is the order of the day. Please read the Rules of Play and in particular Standards of Ethical Practice.

Finally, if you are unhappy about any aspect of tournament play, procedure or attitude, please inform the Tournament Director - your comments and views are listened to and acted upon whenever practical.

If you have any suggestions for additional FAQ, please let me know via email.

Michael Crane. Biba Director