Bristol Premier League Division One rules and formats 2024


Eligibility for the Bristol Premier League

Until 2023 eligibility to play in the Bristol Premier League was dependent on the assignment of Premier Status. Click here for the criteria. However, from the 2023 season eligibility was achieved a via a vetting process.

Rules for Premier One 2024

The season

The league season runs from January 1st to November 30th inclusive. Only play-off matches can be concluded after the end of the season, but these MUST be completed by December 14th at the very latest.

Membership and number of matches

The thirteen members of the league play each other twice in first-to-11-point matches, which can be arranged at any time during the season and at any place to suit the players.
It is the responsibility of each player to ensure completion of his/her fixtures in the allotted time.
Winning scores are truncated to 11 points.

League placings

League table placings are determined by the following criteria:


Players occupying the bottom four (or fewer, should any player(s) get expunged during the course of the season) league positions at the end of the season, will be deemed relegated to Premier Two.
Such relegation may be avoided in the event of either qualifiers for the following season's Premier One not taking up their places, or the numerical split between divisions needing to be changed as a result of numerical fluctuations in the total Premier League entry.
The precise rules for population of the various divisions can be viewed here.

Reporting of results

Results must be reported to the Director and are only deemed to be results when they have been recorded by him (or his designated representative), and contestants must complete (and report the results of) their fixtures by the end of November.
BOTH players should report results, and in the event of a discrepancy occurring, the Director will endeavour to resolve them.
Any player querying a result or score more than seven days after the event will only effect an alteration with the consent of his/her opponent.

Alternative methods of play

Players may agree to "double up" the result of an 11-point match in another competition as a league result.
But this can only apply with the PRIOR agreement of both players.
This could be in another Bristol Backgammon competition, or any other event.

Internet play is now (from 2021) permissible with the consent of both players.
The preferred website for online Bristol Backgammon play is Backgammon Studio Heroes, and our own room on that site will allow players to play with default settings of:
(i) pipcount on; and
(ii) clock on, set at 120 seconds per point with 10 seconds delay.

Entry fees

The entry fee for 2024 is 50.
This can be paid in two instalments if desired -- the first 25 by the end of February, and the second 25 by the end of April -- and will go into the fund for the engraving on the Premier League trophy, engraved mementoes for the winner and runner-up, and cash prizes for the top four finishers. An admin fee amounting to no more than 10% of the total fund will be charged by Bristol Backgammon.
Failure to pay the entry fee instalments by the due dates will be punished by a single penalty point at whichever deadline is breached.

The split into two or more Divisions

Premier League membership has historically risen year on year.
A second division arrived in 2003, a third (Premier One and two Premier Two divisions) in 2008, a fourth (Premier One, two Premier Two divisions and Premier Three) in 2015, a fifth (Premier One, two Premier Two divisions and two Premier Three divisions) in 2021, and a sixth (Premier One, two Premier Two divisions and three Premier Three divisions) in 2024.
The criteria for splitting into two or more divisions in any given season can be seen here.

The Penalty Points and Expungement processes

Players who lag behind the schedule will incur penalty points (see Table P1 and explanatory notes, below). Players who lag FAR behind the schedule will have their complete records expunged from the league table (see Table P1 and explanatory notes, below). Both of these occurrences are subject to an appeals process, which is detailed below.

TABLE P1 -- Penalty Points and Expungement

Checkpoint dateAdvisory schedulePenalty avoidanceExpungement avoidance
31 Mar9 results7 results4 results
31 May13118
31 Jul181613
30 Sep232118
30 Novn/a24n/a

Penalty Points

are deducted on the following basis. By each of the checkpoint dates in table P1 above, the number of results in the corresponding column 'Penalty avoidance' should have been reported by each player.
If not, penalty points will be deducted from that player's total points at the rate of 1 PENALTY POINT PER MATCH short.
The player can then claw back such penalties by avoiding penalty at the following checkpoint. Failure to catch up by that stage results in the penalties becoming permanent, although still subject to appeal.
At the end of the season, any results left unreported will be penalised at the rate of 4 PENALTY POINTS PER MATCH short.

At the September checkpoint only, a 5 points penalty shall be added to a player's "points against" column for each match short of the penalty avoidance requirement for that checkpoint.


from the league table occurs when a player has not reported the number of results in column 'Expungement avoidance' at each checkpoint.
In this case, where a player has fallen so far behind the schedule as to seriously jeopardise the completion of the competition, all of that player's results will be erased from the record. This is also subject to appeal.
After the September 30th checkpoint, expungement does not occur. At this point the Director reserves the right to take whatever measures he deems necessary to bring about the completion of the league, as far as is possible.

The advisory schedule

(see column 'Advisory schedule' in the table above) is nothing more than a guideline as to where you ought to be at any given checkpoint to have a chance of completing the season in good time.
Players' progress against the 'Advisory schedule' will be monitored throughout the season, however, and this evidence will be made available to any appeals sub-committee.


against the imposition of expungement, penalty points or September "points against penalties" must be submitted to the Director within one week of notification, or -- in the case of end of season penalties -- within two days of notification.
This applies only to those punishments which have become "permanent", i.e which can no longer be clawed back.
The only possible exception to this would be at the end of the season, when failure to claw back points could be argued to be the result of exceptional circumstances.
A "sub-committee" of three peers, excluding any player with a possible vested interest in the outcome, will be asked to adjudicate on any appeal.
The appeals sub-committee shall have the power to reinstate or let stand penalty points, either in total or in part, or increase the penalty (but by no more than one point or 50%, whichever is the greater) where the appeal is felt to have been frivolous.
APPEALS SHOULD ONLY BE CONSIDERED SYMPATHETICALLY IN EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES, e.g. unavailability through illness, or other unavoidable reasons, for a period in excess of two months.

The Director

shall have the power to take whatever decisions he considers to be in the best interests of the league.

Historical rule differences

The HALO status system (see below), has been abolished from the 2024 season.
Eligibility for the Premier League changed after the abolition of the distinction between Premier Status players and Intermediates. From 2023 eligibility was decided on a case by case basis.
Guidelines for arranging matches across different environments, known as the HALO status system, were introduced in 2022, along with a dedicated room for Bristol Backgammon League matches on the Heroes website.
Provisions for online play were made in 2021, as well as changes to the deadlines for league fee payment.
The September "points against" penalty was introduced in 2015, at which point the Director's discretionary powers were increased.
In 2013 the entry fee (for Premier One only) was raised to 50, after being raised to 40 in 2011.
In 2010 a limitation was placed upon querying of results after a seven day period.
In 2008 the Director was given additional powers to resolve issues concerning completion of the season, and the table for splitting the league into various combinations of divisions was completely overhauled.
Before 2006, prize money was only available for the top three positions in each division. Also before 2006, there was no points penalty for late entry fee payment.
In 2003 promotion and relegation affected only three players in each division.
And the Penalty Points and Expungement table was adjusted during the season to allow for a player resignation.
For rules prior to 2003, click here.

Find out more about the Bristol Premier League by clicking on any of the following links:
Current Premier Two rules
Current Premier Three rules
Current Premier One positions
Current Premier Two Blue positions
Current Premier Two Red positions
Current Premier Three Green positions
Current Premier Three Yellow positions
Current Premier Three Purple positions
Premier Status
Procedure for splitting the Premier League
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