Backgammon Masters Awarding Body (BMAB)

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BMAB LOGO The Backgammon Masters Awarding Body (BMAB) confers mastership titles and proficiency level certificates based on calculated error rate performance (using eXtremeGammon) in live clocked matches in tournament conditions. It is the central hub of the Backgammon Masters Series Group whose fundamental goal is to promote backgammon as a leading international mind-sport.

In December 2014 a consultation panel was formed with 21 leading backgammon players, promoters and organisers from around the world to discuss and agree on fundamental policy for the Backgammon Mastership Awards Body (BMAB) and the affiliated tournament organising bodies. The work of this panel (see About Us) culminated in the finalisation of the “Backgammon Masters Organisational and Structural Plan 2014”, whose main subject matter is covered on this page, but which may be also be downloaded. Note that this document is updated periodically (Last update: Dec 2014).

In parallel with the work of the consultation panel, the BMAB Executive Board was also established, and the first pilot tournament successfully organised and completed in Austria by Backgammon Masters Series (Austria) (See News). Moreover, besides the pioneering event hosted by BMS(AT), Backgammon Masters Series Tournament organising bodies in Iran, Japan and UK {BMS(IR), BMS(JP) and BMS(UK)}, are planning to stage their first pilot tournaments in the early months of 2015. In the Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Russia and USA, there is commitment to form similar bodies in the near future.

The Backgammon Master Series (BMS) Group organise and facilitate live tournaments where all matches are clocked, recorded and transcribed, conferring mastership titles and certifying proficiency levels, with the fundamental goal of promoting Backgammon as a leading international mind-sport. The BMS Group will always aim to seek mutually beneficial cooperation with National and International Federations and Associations, and Tournament Promoters and Organisers, adopting national and local rules and guidelines. Moreover, where individual applications are being pursued, the rights of the applicants’ opponents should be strictly and graciously observed.

Backgammon Master Series (BMS) Group – Structure of Affiliated Bodies
The group of affiliated bodies will comprise:

The basic organisational structure of the Group is shown in the following schematic diagram:

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BMS Tournament Organising Bodies

These independent though affiliated bodies will promote and organise live tournaments where all matches are clocked, recorded by webcam (or other video) and transcribed to standard electronic files. Where practical, the various bodies will share resources (e.g., starter packs and resource packs) and adopt a uniformity of approach to tournament rules and the process for match recording, to ensure both transparency and fairness. Typically, these bodies will operate on a national basis but they should also welcome and encourage foreign visitors to attend their tournaments to promote unity and add interest for the participants. The results from the tournaments, in the form of electronic videos and match files will be sent to the BMAB, together with statements from the Tournament Directors that the documents submitted are complete, honest and transparent records of the tournaments which were undertaken in accordance with the Group’s rules and guidelines.

Backgammon Masters Awarding Body (BMAB)

This centralised awarding and moderating body within the Group receives videos and transcribed matches from the various affiliated tournament organising bodies, then analyses, checks and moderates where necessary. The results will be published for all participating players. Results tables will be provided, including average PR, average win-rate, and Elo rating. Using agreed criteria, mastership titles will be awarded and proficiency levels will be certified where appropriate. These lifetime awards will be reported both by inclusion in the published results and within the content of periodic newsletters. The newsletters will also contain reports from completed tournaments and details of forthcoming tournaments (also covered in an events calendar). The body will have a committee structure representing both the interests of the participating bodies and the participating players. In addition to the primary role of reporting BMS tournament results, the body will be able to accept individual applications for awards, where applicants are able to demonstrate that matches forming the submission are either pre-designated or continuous and played in accordance with the specific requirements/rules of the body. In its role as moderator and coordinator for the Group, the body will also provide a resources library, containing starter packs, resource packs, tournament rules, match recording guidelines, etc. Recorded information from BMS tournaments or from individual applications will become public domain, whilst respecting the rights of opponents requiring anonymity, in the latter case.

BMS Tournament Formats

BMS Tournament Organising Bodies may choose to adopt a range of different formats. In most cases however, formats which guarantee a minimum number of matches for each participating player are generally preferable. Swiss and round robin type formats are often advantageous in this regard. Typically, tournaments will cater for between 6 and 20 participants each playing 5 to 10 matches. One simple format which would involve minimal administrative effort for the Tournament Director (TD) is the truncated round robin format. Using this format for say 16 players and 10 rounds, the standard play sequence for a 15 round all-play-all round robin is used as a framework, but the last 5 of the 15 rounds are omitted with the player positions drawn randomly. All matches must be clocked in accordance with both BMAB and National Federation requirements. All matches played in the tournament are included in the submission to BMAB (there is no cherry picking or opting out in the middle of a tournament).

BMS Tournament Match Analysis and Award of Mastership Titles and Proficiency Levels

On receipt of all the match transcriptions and video recordings from a tournament, together with an authentication statement from the Tournament Director, BMAB will carry out a first stage analysis of the match files using the current version of eXtremeGammon (XG) using the following settings: Standard World Class Analysis but with “Gigantic” search interval, 15 x 8 bearoff database, and resignation errors counting. A report of the analysis results (average PRs and provisional gradings) will be returned to the TD who will then confirm with the participants if they wish the Stage-2 checking to proceed. Players which reach Advanced and Intermediate Level gradings and do not wish Stage 2 analysis to proceed will receive official BMAB letters confirming their proficiency levels.

Stage-2 checking is only strictly required for mastership titles, and involves an independent analysis of the match files, spot or full checking of the video files, occasional full re-transcription of matches, and moderation where the results of the stage one and stage two analyses conflict. Stage 2 ends with the players receiving official BMAB letters of results including confirmation of grading level reached and, where applicable, mastership titles conferred. The following table summarises the masterships titles and proficiency levels grading structure.

BMAB Mastership Titles and Proficiency Levels Grading Structure

Mastership Title Class Key BMAB Tournaments Individual Application
PR Target EP Target PR Target EP Target
Super Grandmaster 1 S1 ≤ 2.00 ≥ 300 ≤ 2.00 ≥ 300
Super Grandmaster 2 S2 ≤ 2.25 ≥ 300 ≤ 2.25 ≥ 300
Super Grandmaster 3 S3 ≤ 2.50 ≥ 250 ≤ 2.50 ≥ 250
Grandmaster 1 G1 ≤ 3.00 ≥ 200 ≤ 3.00 ≥ 200
Grandmaster 2 G2 ≤ 3.50 ≥ 150 ≤ 3.50 ≥ 150
Grandmaster 3 G3 ≤ 4.00 ≥ 100 ≤ 4.00 ≥ 100
Master 1 M1 ≤ 4.75 ≥ 100 ≤ 4.75 ≥ 100
Master 2 M2 ≤ 5.50 ≥ 100 ≤ 5.50 ≥ 100
Master 3 M3 ≤ 6.50 ≥ 100 ≤ 6.50 ≥ 100

Proficiency Level Class Key BMAB Tournaments Individual Application
PR Target EP Target PR Target EP Target
Advanced 1 (Expert) A1E ≤ 7.50 ≥ 65 ≤ 7.50 ≥ 100
Advanced 2 A2 ≤ 8.50 ≥ 65 ≤ 8.50 ≥ 100
Advanced 3 A3 ≤ 10.0 ≥ 65 ≤ 10.0 ≥ 100
Intermediate 1 I1 ≤ 12.0 ≥ 65 ≤ 12.0 ≥ 100
Intermediate 2 I2 ≤ 14.0 ≥ 65 ≤ 14.0 ≥ 100
Intermediate 3 I3 ≤ 16.0 ≥ 65 ≤ 16.0 ≥ 100


1. All matches must be live, clocked and continuous or pre-designated.

2. Match lengths of 7 points and above are acceptable.

3. EP = Experience points = sum of match lengths played (e.g., an 11 point match = 11 EP).

Measuring Average PR for Grading Purposes

It can be seen from the Gradings Structure Table that the maximum requirement for experience for any grade is 300 experience points. Before a player reaches 300 experience points (300 EP) the average PR considers the total experience points played. After 300 experience points is reached however, the average PR over only the previous 300 experience points is considered (the 300 EP rolling average PR). This allows the possibility for re-grading of titles, after each tournament is played.

The above requirements assume BMAB Tournament play where average PRs and gradings are only reviewed after each tournament is played. For individual applications, where the experience points exceeds 100 EP, average PRs and gradings should only be reviewed at 50 EP incremental stages consistent with Grading Structure Table.

Whereas previously, BMAB had allowed players to restart their submissions from scratch, in certain specific circumstances, this provision in the rules has now been removed completely. With immediate effect, all current submissions and any new submissions must be maintained, without restarting from scratch, including submissions where the player has suffered one or more clock timeout match losses. (BMAB Rule Amendment RA001, 15 November 2015)

Treatment of Inactive Players

Where a player has not played BMAB rated matches amounting to at least 50 experience points within any rolling 18 month period they will be deemed to be inactive. Inactive players will be removed from the PR and Grading Table, and lose any provisional titles they have been awarded. Any full titles or awards they achieved will be maintained and archived together with other relevant statistics.

Should inactive players decide to resume playing BMAB rated matches, either through BMAB tournaments or individual applications, they will start from zero experience points, and the first return entry into the PR and Grading Table will be from the results of their first completed tournament or individual application since their return to activity. (BMAB Rule Amendment RA002, 15 November 2015)

BMS Tournament Match Recording and Transcribing

BMS Tournament Organising Bodies are responsible for providing video recording equipment and for recording the matches. Generally, the participants are responsible for the transcription of half the number of matches played (their fair share). The participants are expected to complete the transcription work, or arrange for a third party to compete on their behalf, within 7 days after the end of the tournament. The TD will coordinate match transcription work, so as to ensure full coverage and avoid unnecessary duplication. Once the TD has collected and vetted all the match transcriptions, they should be sent to BMAB together with a statement confirming that the tournament matches, match recordings, and transcriptions conformed to the Group’s rules and guidelines.

BMAB Committee and Organisational Structure

To ensure the interests of the participating bodies and the participating players are effectively represented there will be a Steering Committee comprising the following members:

The full committee will periodically vote on major policy issues, including modifications to the mastership titles and proficiency levels grading structure, committee/organisational structure and periodic elections for Executive posts. For less minor policy and ruling issues, the Chief Executive Officer will consult with a quorum of three or five active members of the committee.

BMAB Consideration of Individual Applications for Awards

Although the primary role of BMAB is to provide a centralised awarding and moderating body from the various affiliated tournament organising bodies within the Backgammon Master Series Group, individual applications for awards may also be accepted under the following conditions:


  • JBL
  • Backgammon London
  • Swedish open
  • WBF
  • WBF_Turkey
  • The Voice of Backgammon
  • Backgammon Studio
  • eXtreme Gammon
  • BelgBG
  • BGCI
  • BIBA
  • CNB
  • DBGF
  • IBA
  • NBF
  • RBGF
  • SBGF
  • WBA
  • WBA-Iran