TABLE Tantrix Tournament Rules – 2009 World Tantrix Open version


The most important points are highlighted like this


1) Starting each game:

  1. If players are unsure whether their bag contains a complete set of tiles, they should check the set before the game starts. Once the game has begun it will be scored even if the set is later found to be incorrect.
  2. It is the responsibility of both players to ensure that the clock is set correctly.
  3. Please use the colour registered as your first preference unless both players have registered the same first preference colour. In that case, if they cannot agree and neither player is willing to let the other use the mutual first preference colour, then they should each use their second preference colours. If second preferences are the same too, we encourage players to agree on alternative colours. If you cannot agree, refer to the Controller. If one player has not registered a first preference colour, they cannot prevent the other player playing with their first preference but they can play with any of the other three colours.
  4. Each player takes a coloured ‘tile mat’ outlined with the colour they will be playing with in that game. Your tiles must be placed on or close to it so the colour you are playing with is obvious to your opponent and to spectators.
  5. Names, colours and other details known before the game starts should be filled in on the score sheet. To aid accurate input of results, the player on the left on the fixture list should be written on the left on the score sheet.
  6. Each player takes one tile at random from the bag. The player with the higher-numbered tile will move first. These two tiles are then replaced and the player not moving first shakes the bag to mix the tiles again.
  7. Each player then takes their six starting tiles at random from the bag and places all of their starting tiles face up in front of them. If the game is not going to start immediately, tiles should be face down until both players are ready.
  8. The player who is not going to make the first move starts the game by starting their opponent’s clock.


2) During the game:

  1. Play proceeds according to the official rules of Tantrix as in the latest Tantrix Game Pack booklet, except as modified by these special table tournament rules.
  2. Players must draw tiles quickly and without looking inside the bag to avoid any potential for cheating.
  3. Players may never touch their opponents’ tiles and should not move (or hide) their own tiles during their opponent’s turn.
  4. When designing a sequence of moves, it is good practice to place the first tile close to the Tantrix but not touching it and any other forced tiles a little further back. The tile you are proposing to play should not touch the Tantrix until the move is ready to be confirmed.
  5. However, before the endgame, a move is only confirmed when the player’s hand enters the tile bag to pick up a replacement tile. <N.B. This tournament rule differs from the rules in the Game Pack booklet.>
  6. Players must not skip picking up a replacement tile after each move, even if they are sure of a sequence of moves.
  7. If a player picks up a replacement tile before making it absolutely clear which tile they are playing (i.e. by making it touch the Tantrix) then the tile closest to the Tantrix (if legal) is taken to be their move.
  8. When a player’s turn is complete they must press the button to start their opponent’s clock only after picking up their last replacement tile. If the clock is pressed immediately after picking up that tile, it must be pressed with the hand that took the tile. If a player forgets to do this, they can start their opponent’s clock at any time during their opponent’s turn. It is your responsibility to ensure that your opponent’s clock is running when it should be.
  9. If you get too close to the edge of the table, pause the clock and move the tiles into the centre.
  10. If a player wishes to count the tiles left in the bag, they must do so in their own time and without looking at the tiles. The bag must be shaken up to mix the tiles afterwards, also on that player’s time.
  11. The player who takes the last tile from the bag should make it very obvious to their opponent that the bag is empty, e.g. by announcing ‘Bag Empty’.
  12. During the endgame, a move is confirmed as soon as a tile touches the Tantrix and at the end of their turn, the player should press the clock with the same hand as they made their last move with.
  13. As soon as the final move has been played, the clock should be stopped by moving the Pause/Play switch to Pause, i.e. you should not start your opponent’s clock as you normally would after your turn.


3) Time limit:

  1. The time limit is 20 minutes per player per game.
  2. If a player goes over the limit, the game should carry on. However, at the end, a player who has taken 20 minutes or more loses 1 Tournament Point (TP) from their total and their opponent gains 1 TP. This is repeated for every full minute by which the time taken exceeds the limit, e.g. between 1.00-1.59 over time incurs two time penalties.
  3. The combined TPs for a game after any such adjustments should always add up to 20.0 (unless the Controller needs to penalise both players in some way) and any adjustments are limited so that no player can score more than 20.0 TPs or less than 0.0 TPs from a single game.
  4. If a player’s time exceeds 25 minutes, the Controller can stop the game and adjudicate the final tile score, giving the benefit of any doubt to the player who has taken less than 25 minutes.


4) After the game:

  1. Tournament Points (TPs), on which final tournament positions will be based, are awarded as shown on the score sheet. They are based on sharing out 20 TPs for each game according to the margin of victory. Time penalties as described in rule 3 above may affect the final TP score in a game.
  2. As soon as the game has finished (i.e. before discussing the game), the score sheet must be completed and signed by both players, then handed to the Controller (via a spectator if necessary) immediately. The Controller may decide to deduct TPs from both players or from just one (if that player is a persistent offender) if their game finishes late in a round and they fail to hand in the result in a timely manner.
  3. The Tantrix must be left intact and the clock paused until both players have signed the score sheet.


5) Mistakes:

  1. Mistakes have the potential to ruin a game, so players should check each other’s moves. When your opponent has made a mistake that you want them to correct or has made one of the illegal moves defined in the Appendix to these rules that must be corrected whenever it is spotted, you should say“time-out” and pause the clock. N.B. Time-outs must be kept to a minimum and repeated inappropriate use of them may result in penalties.
  2. The right time to call a time-out is when a move is confirmed, i.e. when the offending player puts their hand into the bag to pick up a new tile during a turn or immediately after the offending player presses the clock if they have missed a forced move at the end of their turn. Once a player has called a time-out:

-          The game must be ‘frozen’, e.g. if the offending player has just pulled a tile from the bag, the tile should be kept separate from all other tiles until the situation is resolved.

-          The player who called the time-out must identify the problem. Both players must agree on what to do about it and implement what they agreesee the Appendix at the end of these rules if what to do is unclear

-          After the mistake has been corrected, the clock is restarted (un-paused) and play continues. It is the responsibility of the player who called the time-out to check that the clock has been restarted correctly.

-          In most cases, these steps will take well under 10 seconds to complete but for major interruptions it may be necessary to record whose turn it was, and whether or not the free move had been taken. If a player has to leave the table, the Tantrix may be covered, so that the other player gains no advantage.


  1. As an alternative to calling a time-out, if the player notices a simple error (like a missed forced space) and wishes to avoid their opponent gaining a time advantage by not having to find it for themselves, they can just say what type of mistake it is (e.g. “missed forced space”) and restart the offending player’s clock


        In this case:


-          If the player whose clock is restarted believes the call to be incorrect (e.g. if they have no tile that fits a forced space or the forced space they have a tile to fit is pair-blocked), they can challenge it at any time by saying “time-out” and pausing the clock.

-          The problem is then resolved as described in rule 5b, but in this case (i.e. if the clock was restarted after the original mistake instead of a time-out being called right away) the player who turns out to be in the wrong gets 30 seconds added to their time taken and subtracted from the time taken by their opponent at the end of the game. Such adjustments must be agreed and noted on the scoresheet before play continues.

-          This is designed to be an efficient way to ensure that the player making the wrong claim does not gain an advantage without having to work out the exact times involved, but if the player who was right believes that even after the adjustment, the player in the wrong has still gained a time advantage out of the situation and the players cannot agree a fairer adjustment between them, the Controller can be asked to rule on what adjustment should apply.

  1. The Controller can also be called in by either player if they believe that their opponent is gaining an unfair time advantage in any other way, e.g. trying to stay under the time limit (or pushing the innocent player over the time limit) by not checking for forced spaces properly or not checking that their moves are legal.
  2. Do remember that the Controller is unlikely to have seen exactly what happened, so can only base any ruling on the evidence available (including the accounts of the players and any spectators) and will have little or no chance of resolving the situation fairly if you wait until the end of the game before complaining instead of bringing up the problem when it occurred. Keep the clocks paused and go and fetch the Controller if necessary.


6) Defaults and byes:

  1. If a player does not arrive for a game within 5 minutes of the scheduled time, their clock may be started.
  2. After 10 more minutes, they can be defaulted.
  3. In table tournaments, a default win is usually worth 15.0–5.0 TPs. However, the Controller can alter this at their discretion, e.g. by increasing the number of points awarded for a default if in his opinion a player has defaulted deliberately to avoid the risk of scoring less than 5.0 TPs if the game was actually played.

d.       If someone defaults more than two games in an event or in any phase of an event, all of their results are ignored in deciding the outcome of the event, though any games actually played will be taken into account for Elo rating purposes.


7) Tiebreaks:

Unless otherwise stated before the tournament, if two or more players are tied on TPs at any stage, they will be separated on the basis of the TPs scored in the game or games played between them in the same phase, then by number of wins (counting half a point for a draw) then by the sum of the actual margins, and finally by who has scored the most tiles overall, ignoring opponents' tiles.


8) Cheating and un-Tantrixlike conduct:

As well as spoiling an event for other players, cheating severely devalues your own performance in a tournament.

Cheating includes:

  1. Getting help from someone else or using pre-prepared notes or recorded information.
  2. Taking notes of any kind during the game. <N.B. this differs from the online tournament rules>
  3. Making deliberate illegal moves to gain an advantage hoping your opponent will not notice in time.
  4. Deliberately throwing a game to help a friend to finish higher, ensure that another player does not win or just because you are not bothered by a result which nevertheless affects the positions or Elo ratings of other players.
  5. Talking excessively during a game in order to try to distract your opponent, otherwise putting undue pressure on them (e.g. by telling them to play faster) or talking at all about any game in progress other than your own.
  6. Anything else, which may secure an unfair advantage for you or for another player.

Anyone caught cheating (or who withdraws from the tournament before completing all their games, including withdrawal after day 1) risks being disqualified from the current tournament and banned from future tournaments.


9) Other disruption and interference by spectators:

  1. Spectators (which means anyone not participating in the game in question, including other players) must not interfere with a game in progress in any way even if they think that interference might be helpful – if in doubt about whether intervention is required, please refer to a Controller.
  2. In particular, spectators should not point out missed forced spaces, misplayed tiles or that a player has less than six tiles. They should also not point out that a player has failed to start their opponent’s clock or has not pushed the button down far enough. However, if after more moves it becomes clear that both clocks have stopped and neither player has noticed (which may end up causing damage to the schedule if it is not corrected), they should fetch the Controller to sort this out.
  3. Intervention is acceptable if a spectator notices a tile falling off the table as soon as it happens (e.g. because they inadvertently knocked it off the table themselves) and picks it up and returns it to the player whose tile it is  immediately.
  4. If a spectator notices a player apparently cheating in a way that would not be visible to the other player, they should report this to the Controller instead of intervening directly. However, if the apparent cheating would be visible to the other player too, it is up to the player to report it to the Controller and the spectator should not intervene, though they may corroborate what the player says once the Controller has been called in.
  5. We ask for all mobile phones to be switched off, for chatter near games that are in progress to be kept to a minimum, and for any behaviour, which may distract either your opponent or a nearby player to be avoided. Photography is allowed but it must not be too intrusive, in particular please be sensitive to players making moves in time trouble.
  6. If any spectator breaks this rule, the Controller may warn them, require them to leave the playing area, or even deduct TPs if the spectator happens to be a player taking part in the event, with the Controller also having discretion to deduct TPs from a player if one of their entourage commits the offence. Given this, it is the responsibility of each player to ensure that anyone accompanying them to the tournament is aware that they should not comment on or intervene in games in progress.


10) Colour-blind sets:

  1. In order to facilitate the participation of colour-blind players, a limited number of special colour-blind sets (with the green links replaced by white links) may be made available.
  2. Since it is unlikely that any non colour-blind player would choose to play as white, in order to ensure that the colour-blind player does not always get to play with their first preference colour, the non-colour-blind player may choose both their own colour and the colour that the colour-blind player will play with.
  3. Non-colour-blind players may agree to play any game with a colour-blind set (e.g. in order to get used to it in conditions which favour neither player before facing a colour-blind player in a later round), subject to enough sets being available.


11) Disputes and Tournament Controllers:

Players should try to resolve any disputes between themselves in a friendly manner after pausing the clock. If this proves to be impossible, they can ask the Controller for a ruling. The Tournament Controller's decision is final.

It should be remembered that the Controller has lots of tasks to do during a tournament and will not be able to keep their eyes on the games (let alone your game) all the time. For them to have a chance of resolving any situation fairly, it is vital that you bring any problem that cannot be resolved by talking to your opponent to the Controller’s attention right away, especially if you believe your opponent to be gaining an unfair advantage in any way. Complaining after the event when it is too late to do anything is unacceptable.


Appendix - Mistakes (detailed provisions)

When a mistake is made, it should normally be common sense how the game should be fixed. These detailed provisions, referred to in rule 5 above, are provided to identify special cases and for use where there is a dispute.




The surplus tiles are removed at random by the other player. N.B. Whatever the circumstance, a player may never put one of his/her own tiles back into the bag. It must always be done by the opposing player. However, there is no need to put back a random tile if both players agree which tile should be put back, e.g. the last tile picked up.




The guilty player picks up the extra tiles needed but if the innocent player did not notice this before confirming their next move, then play continues as normal.




·         Surrounding a forced space by a fourth tile.

·         Playing along a controlled side.

·         Creating a forced space with three links of the same colour.

·         Playing a tile where the colours do not match.


The move must always be taken back no matter how far back the mistake was made. All tiles taken from the Tantrix should be added to the players’ hands according to players’ best guess, then tiles from the players’ hands returned into the bag at random. If the players cannot agree on a reasonable way to recover the game, then the game is drawn, though the Controller can apply penalties at their discretion and in doing so can take into account any information that is available.




When it is not possible to re-establish the Tantrix with reasonable certainty then the game is drawn, unless less than 10 minutes of combined time has passed, in which case the players may restart subject to the agreement of the Controller. If one of the players was responsible for the knock then the Controller will apply an appropriate penalty and can take into account any information available.




Players should get into the habit of double-checking their opponent’s forced spaces before they start their own turn. After the innocent player has confirmed their next move, they may not ask their opponent to backtrack and fill missed forced spaces. The best time to call “time-out” is when the player’s hand enters the bag to pick up a replacement but before either player sees what the replacement is.



·         If a mistake is announced re. a player not having filled all available forced spaces before making their free move, the free move is taken back so that the forced spaces can be filled. It is not necessary for the same free move to be made after that.



·         If the mistake is announced after the guilty player has finished their turn but before the innocent player has begun their turn then the forced space must be filled (as must any resulting forced spaces)

·         If the mistake is announced after the innocent player has completed their first move (i.e. picked up a replacement tile) then play continues normally. No moves are taken back.



It should be possible to undo all mistakes during the endgame. However, as undoing a mistake could advantage the guilty player, the innocent player can choose whether or not to undo. Remember (rule 2.l.) that all moves during the endgame are considered confirmed as soon as the tile touches the Tantrix.