Tournament Rules

These are the rules for small tournaments played on club nights (not big events like the Cambridge Open, which have their own rules).

Tournament results are stored here:

In Brief

Knockout tournament of 5 point matches, UKBGF rated, on the clock.
Strict start time (within reason), usually 7:30.

Rules of play

UKBGF rules are in force.

Spirit of play

The emphasis is on friendly and social play, not cuthroat competition!
The aim is to run a friendly tournament that is fair to all competitors and finishes in the available time.
All of the following rules are at the discretion of the TD (Tournament Director), and may be overruled in exceptional circumstances, so long as UKBGF rules are still adhered to.


All matches are on the clock. As per UKBGF rules, apps such as BGBuddy are acceptable.
Clock settings are 12 seconds per move (which is standard), but 3 minutes per point in the bank rather than the standard 2 (so 15 minutes for a 5 point match, 21 minutes for a 7 point match, etc).

Match length

All matches are to 5 points by default.
Matches may be shortened by the TD for timing reasons.
Likewise, if both finalists are keen to play a long final and there is plenty of time, the TD may agree to a 7 point match.


Randomly drawn straight knockout, including byes where necessary.
(although if there are 4 players a round robin may be played instead, see below).

Tournament size

Minimum 4 players. Maximum 16. If there are more than 16 players, two separate tournaments can be played.

Draw and start time

By default the draw is at 7:30, and play starts promptly.
However, the draw and/or start time may be delayed at the discretion of the TD.
Players who are not in the draw cannot compete!
That said we will try and accomodate players running late through no fault of their own, bearing in mind consideration to other competitors and the limited time available in the evening.
Therefore the TD may allow a late-running player to be in the draw. Point penalties will apply if they are more than slightly late (see below), so ordinarily this requires the agreement of the player.

Late penalties

Points penalties will apply if a player is late to the start of any match (the waiting player should confirm when to measure the start time from with the TD).
10 minutes late – one penalty point
20 minutes late – two penalty points
30 minutes late – match conceded
Usually this will only happen in the first round, when a player has asked to be put in the draw but is running late.
However it can also apply in later rounds if a player has gone missing.
Matches played with penalties are still UKBGF rated.
Conceded matches are not UKBGF rated.
In general these penalties will always apply – bear in mind they are twice as generous as standard UKBGF penalties. However the TD may choose to adjust them or apply a time penalty instead.

Four player round robin

If there are only 4 players and others are unlikely to turn up, a round robin can be played instead, if all players agree.
This may be preferable as it guarantees 3 games a player, though as it ties everyone up for a significant amount of time, it might not be a great idea if someone else is turning up later on hoping for a chouette.
Round 1: Random draw
Round 2: Winners play winners, losers play losers
Round 3: Remaining matches
Roughly half of the time there will be a clear winner on 3 wins.
Otherwise, two tie break situations are possible:

  1. Two players on 2 wins – the two players play a 5 point decider (still UKBGF rated and on the clock).
  2. Three players on 2 wins – 1 point matches are played, winner stays on, and the first player to get two wins
    in a row wins. First match is randomly drawn. The 1 point matches are still UKBGF rated and on the clock.