Constitution & Rules

The game of Othello has a simple set of rules, that's the beauty of the game. However the rules that govern the British Othello Federation are a little more in depth, but are necessary for the benefit of our members. Members are encouraged to take a moment to familiarise themselves with our constitution and rules in order they might participate fully in all we do.

Constitution of The British Othello Federation

Adopted by the committee: Saturday 10th December 2016, British Othello Federation AGM


1. Title.

The name of the Federation shall be The British Othello Federation.


2. Objectives.

The objectives of the Federation shall be to promote the playing and understanding of the game of Othello in the United Kingdom. The activities of the Federation shall include the organisation of tournaments, including an annual British Othello Championship, and the distribution of a

newsletter to its members.


3. Membership.

The members of the Federation shall be those persons who pay subscriptions to the Federation. The Federation retains the right to refuse membership, or to expel a member of the Federation,

subject to the appeal procedures laid out in paragraph 7. A person shall not have any additional

rights to compensation from the Federation by virtue of being a Member of the Federation.


4. Officers and Committee.

(a) The management of the Federation shall be in the hands of a committee numbering between five and ten persons inclusive, including a Chairman, a Secretary, a Treasurer, and any other officers deemed advisable by the committee. 

(b) The committee shall be elected at the Annual General Meeting of the Federation and shall continue in office until the following Annual General Meeting. All shall be eligible for re-election. The committee may co-opt up to two additional members.

(c) A quorum for the valid transaction of business at meetings of the committee shall be four.

(d) The officers shall be elected by the committee from among its members, this election to take place not later than the first full committee meeting following the Annual General Meeting.

(e) The functions of the committee shall be:

(i) to make all arrangements for tournaments and other activities of the Federation, subject to decisions made at General Meetings concerning the matters set out in paragraph 6(d).

(ii) to control the finances of the Federation.

(iii) to submit to General Meetings such proposals in regard to the general policy and conduct of the Federation as it may think desirable.

5. Finance.

(a) The financial year shall end on 31st May each year.

(b) Such banking accounts as may be decided upon by the committee shall be maintained in the name of the Federation and cheques shall be signed by an officer of the Federation.

(c) The Federation may receive donations, money received as subscription to the Federation or to its newsletter, money raised by the sale of Othello-related goods, and money raised by

charging admission to its tournaments.

(d) The income and property of the Federation shall be applied solely towards promoting the objects of the Federation as set forth above; no portion thereof shall be paid or transferred either directly or indirectly to any member or members of the Federation except in payment of legitimate expenses incurred on behalf of the Federation.

6. General Meetings.

(a) An Annual General Meeting shall be held within two months of the end of the financial year, at a convenient time and place to be determined by the committee. All Federation members shall be invited by at least two weeks’ notice in writing, to attend this meeting.

(b) An Extraordinary General Meeting may be called by the committee at any time, by giving to every Federation member at least two weeks’ notice in writing. If a petition calling for an Extraordinary General Meeting, signed by at least ten members of the Federation, is

received by the Chairman, then the committee shall call such a meeting to be held within

six weeks of the receipt of the petition.

(c) A quorum for the valid transaction of business at General Meetings shall be eight members of the Federation.

(d) The function of General Meetings shall be:

(i) to receive reports from the officers of the Federation, (ii)        to receive an audited statement of account,

(ii)to elect a committee of the Federation, (iv)       to elect the Honorary Auditor,

(iii) to amend the Constitution, provided that such amendment may only be agreed by a two-thirds majority of members present at a General Meeting, and that at least.

(iv) two weeks' written notice of the proposed amendment has been sent to all members,

(v) to make any changes that are deemed necessary in the following affairs of the

(vi) Federation: the format of the British Othello Championship, the rules for qualification for the British Othello Championship, the rules for qualification for the British team at the World Championships, and the rates of subscription to the Federation.


(e) A member unable to attend a General Meeting may vote on any item of business before the General Meeting by writing to any committee member. Such a postal vote shall be registered at the General Meeting equally with the votes of those present.


7. Expulsion from the Federation.

(a) The Committee may, in extreme circumstances, suspend the membership of a member of the Federation. If this should occur, the next General Meeting of the Federation shall decide whether to lift the suspension or to expel the member. The person affected shall

be entitled to be present at the General Meeting for the discussion of their case and to

address the Meeting. If a member is expelled from the Federation, any money paid by them as a subscription to the Federation for a period after the date of the original suspension shall be repaid in full. A member who is suspended shall be informed, by at least two weeks' notice in writing, of the date and location of the General Meeting at which their case is to be discussed and of their rights as set out above.

(b) The Committee may, in extreme circumstances, refuse membership to an individual applying to join the Federation. If this should occur, the person affected shall have the right to appeal against the decision to the next General Meeting. Any person appealing against such a decision shall have the right to be present at the General Meeting for the discussion of their case and to address the meeting. A person refused membership shall be informed of this right in writing and, should they decide to appeal, shall be informed of the date and location of the General Meeting at which their case is to be discussed.

8. The British Othello Championship.

(a) A British Othello Championship Tournament shall be held each year. The procedure to determine those qualified to play in the Championship shall be decided at a General Meeting and shall be administered by the committee. All those who are qualified to play in the event shall be given at least two weeks' notice in writing of the time and place of the Championship.

(b) The committee shall appoint a Local Organiser who shall be responsible for all matters connected with the British Othello Championship, including the choice of a convenient time and place for the tournament.

(c) The Local Organiser shall, as far as possible, organise the tournament according to the format decided upon by the previous General Meeting at which the matter was discussed. If this should prove impossible, the Local Organiser (in consultation with the officers of the Federation) should organise the tournament in a manner differing from the agreed format as little as possible.


(d) The Local Organiser shall appoint a Tournament Director (possibly themselves) to oversee the smooth running of the Championship.

(e) The winner of the British Othello Championship shall be declared the British Othello Champion and shall be entitled to represent the United Kingdom at the next World Othello Championships.


9. Tournaments.

(a) The Federation may organise other Othello tournaments from time to time.

(b) For any tournament organised by the Federation, a Local Organiser shall be appointed who will be responsible for the choice of a time and place for the tournament and for the smooth running of the tournament.

(c) Any Federation member shall be entitled, upon payment of an entrance fee to the Federation,

to play in any tournament organised by the Federation, with the possible exception of the British Othello Championship. However, the Local Organiser or their appointed representative shall have the power to expel a player from a tournament in extreme circumstances.

(d) The entrance fee for a tournament shall be decided by the committee, in consultation with the Local Organiser. Any reasonable expenses incurred by the Local Organiser or their assistants in the running of a tournament shall be repaid by the Federation.


10. Newsletter.

From time to time, the Federation shall distribute free to its members a newsletter. The aim of the newsletter is to inform readers of activities in Britain and elsewhere connected with the game of Othello and to provide advice and instruction concerning the strategy and tactics of the game.


11. Dissolution.

The Federation may be dissolved by a resolution passed by a two-thirds majority of those

present and voting at an Extraordinary General Meeting convened for that purpose, of which one month’s written notice shall have been given to all members. Such resolution may give instructions for the disposal of any assets held in the name of the Federation, provided that, if

any property remains after the satisfaction of all debts and liabilities, then such properties shall

not be paid to or distributed among the members of the Federation but shall be given or transferred to such other charitable institution or institutions having, as far as is possible, objectives similar to some or all of the objectives of the Federation.

Rules of The British Othello Federation


This edition, dated 29th June 2019.


These are the current rules relating to most British Othello Federation (BOF) matters. They may be changed by the committee, subject to the constraints laid down in the constitution. The constitution is covered in another document.


Membership & finance


1. A player taking part in his or her first tournament will automatically be enrolled as a member of the BOF free of charge on participating in their first BOF-rated tournament and will remain so while having an active rating (having played in a tournament in the previous two years). An inactive player can rejoin by participating in another such tournament. Any person joining or rejoining the BOF by automatic tournament enrolment would be entitled to any voting rights at a preceding General Meeting. A member can also join or rejoin the BOF by other means outside tournaments, for which a non-active rating will not cause membership expiry.

2. A UK citizen's first BOF-organised tournament is totally free, regardless of whether they are a member or not. They do not have to join until their second tournament.

3. Tournament charges for Regional and National tournaments are to be 10 pounds (5 pounds unwaged). For any tournament there will be a family rate of 15 pounds.

General tournament rules


1. Normal rules of Othello apply, except as amended elsewhere in these rules.

2. A disc, once placed, may not be moved. Players must not hold a disc over the board for an undue time before placing it.

3. Once a disc has been placed, the necessary discs shall be turned over with one hand, in a manner that does not obstruct the opponent's ability to observe the legality of each disc being flipped. The same hand must be used to press the clock button.

4. It is the player's responsibility to check the legality of his/her opponent's move. Illegal moves must be rectified while the clock of the player making the move is running. Only the most recent move may be challenged and rectified if it was illegal.

5. Players may not disturb any other player by undue conversation or by unnecessarily or unreasonably leaving the table.

6. Any questions concerning the enforcement of these playing rules shall be decided by the tournament referee.

7. If the number of competitors is odd, then an imaginary player "Bye" is introduced who loses all his games by 20 discs to 44.

8. If there are too few rounds to play a round-robin the Swiss system will be employed.

9. If a game ends with some empty squares, the empty squares are awarded to the winner, or to both players equally in the event of a draw, so that the disc counts always sum to the number of squares on the board.

10. Clocks are to be used on every table at all competitions. In the event of there not being enough clocks, a time limit may be imposed by the organiser during a game, but each player must be given a minimum of ten minutes on the clock.

11. ll lost games due to not being played (e.g. late arrivals, early leavers, and byes) are deemed to have scored 20-44 on disc count.

12. Disc count will be used for tie-breaker in round-robin tournaments.

13. A player forfeits the game unless they can make their final move, flip all the appropriate discs, and stop their clock before the flag on their clock falls. If a player's flag falls, they lose the game and their opponent is awarded a win regardless of the position of the board.

14. A time defaulting player is given two extra minutes. The game is then continued with the true final score standing, save that the non-defaulting player is guaranteed at least a 33-31 win. If the defaulting player's flag falls a second time, the game is scored 64-0. If the flag of the non-defaulting player falls, they too are given an extra two minutes, and the true score stands, unless their flag falls a second time. In this last case, the game is scored as a 33-31 win for the non-defaulting player.


15. The Brightwell Quotient (BQ) tie-breaker is calculated as follows:

a) constant C is calculated. It is the integer nearest to (number of squares on the board) divided by (number of rounds in the tournament).
b) If any of the player's opponents have withdrawn in the course of the tournament, ignore such games for the moment. Also, if a player has been paired against "Bye", leave out such a game.
c) Calculate the total number of discs scored by the player in all games not covered by step b and add C times the sum of points scored by all of the player's opponents, except those who have withdrawn.
d) For each game against an opponent who has withdrawn, and each bye received, add half the number of squares on the board plus (C times the player's own tournament score)
e) to the result calculated in step c. The number resulting is the player's BQ.

16. For the first round of a Swiss tournament players will be ordered according to their ratings, and then the top half will be paired off against the bottom half. Unrated players will be placed at the bottom of the top half, so that they are paired against the lowest rated players.

Swiss system

The Swiss system is the pairing procedure used in all tournaments that are too large for all-play-all.
The basic idea is that, in each round, a player is paired against someone on the same score, whom they have not played before in the tournament. Since this is not always exactly possible, and does not usually define the pairing exactly, the following list of factors is taken into account to determine pairings, in order of priority. [It is recommended that, if possible, a pairings program is used to generate the pairings if the organiser is playing in the tournament.

1. No-one should play the same opponent twice in the tournament. In particular this includes "Bye".

2. Players should be paired against others on the same score. If this is not possible, then pairing is done so that everyone plays someone on as near to the same score as possible. What this often means in practice is that one person from a higher score group "floats down" to meet someone from a lower score group "floating up". In implementing this and other rules, the top of the tournament takes precedence over the bottom.

3. Players should get an equal number of whites and blacks, or as close as possible to an equal number. This principle can be used to decide which player gets a float, as well as how to pair inside a group.

4. Players should, where possible, alternate whites and blacks.

5. The total number of up-floats received by a player should be as close as possible to the number of down-floats.

6. Ratings are often used to determine pairings in early rounds. The usual way this is done is for the top-rated player to play the player just below halfway in the score group, and the second-rated player to play the next player down, etc.

7. If there are an odd number of players, a fictitious player "Bye" is introduced, who always loses. Bye is always paired against the lowest player who hasn't previously received a bye, usually before any other pairings are carried out.


Regional tournaments

1. There should be seven rounds. There must not be fewer than the number of rounds required for a round-robin, or six rounds in the case of the Swiss system. There may be more rounds.

2. Only BOF members may play in a Regional (except for those playing in their first tournament).

3. There is no residency requirement for playing in a Regional.

4. The standard time limit is 25 minutes per player. This may be changed but must not be less than 20 minutes per player.

5. Regionals will use Brightwell Quotient (BQ) to resolve ties.

6. The 2 minute time default procedure will be used for Regionals.

7. The number of Regionals will be decided on a year-by-year basis.

8. British Othello Federation rules for Regionals must be made available for all competitors.

National championship tournament

1. The National will be a 2-day event.

2. The number of days for the National can only be changed at an AGM.

3. The 2-day National will have 9 rounds plus a 1-round play-off.

4. There will always be a play-off between those coming 1st and 2nd in the 9 rounds.

5. There will only be a play-off between those coming 3rd and 4th if they tied on game points.

6. The player who is higher in the Swiss part of the National will decide on colours for the play-off.

7. The British champion is the winner of the 1st/2nd play-off in the National, or the winner of the Swiss part if the play-off is a draw. A draw in a 3rd/4th play-off is resolved in the same way.

8. The minimum clock time allowed for games is 25 minutes for each player. This can be increased at the discretion of the organiser.

9. For the National the 2 minute time default procedure will be used.

10. For the National the Brightwell Quotient (BQ) will be used to resolve ties (i.e. by ranking the players in descending BQ order). If two or more players have the same number of points and the same BQ, ties shall be resolved by ranking the players in descending disc-count order. Further ties shall be resolved by any random equitable means.

11. The National will be open to all members. Regionals will no longer be used for qualifying to play in the National.

12. To qualify to play in the National a player must have been resident in the UK for 183 days prior to the date of the National.

13. The Chairman is empowered to allow foreigners who are expected to reside in the UK for 183 days to play in the National, even though they do not meet the 183 day rule on the date of the National. Such foreigners cannot take part in the play-off to decide the British champion.

14. Any exceptions to the preceding 183 day expected eligibility rule for participating in the National which the Chairman wishes to advocate must be approved by the committee.

15. The National shall be supervised by a non-playing referee, whose decision shall be final and binding.

16. At the National tournament the chief referee can nominate other referees. Other spectators must not interfere in a game.

Grand Prix

1. Only Regionals will count towards GP points, e.g. MSO and Cambridge Christmas tournaments will not.

2. All (rather than the best N) such tournaments played in will count towards GP points.

3. For awarding GP points only the game point position will be considered; ties are not resolved. The total points for the tied positions will be shared between those tying, with any fractions being rounded up.

4. All participants will be awarded some GP points.

5. The GP points are awarded as follows:
Place 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 and on
Points 200 160 120 100 80 60 40 20 10 5

6. Ties for the GP winner are resolved by comparing their GP points in the tournament in which they did best (GP-wise), then the tournament in which they did second best, etc. If all these considerations do not resolve the tie, the tiers will play one play-off game at their own convenience before the National. If they fail to do this the chairman will toss a coin to resolve the tie.

7. The GP winner is guaranteed a place on the British team for the World championship, regardless of the outcome of the National tournament.

8. The number of Regionals to be used for GP points will be decided each year by the committee.

World championship tournament

1. To represent the UK in the World championship a player must have been resident in the UK for 183 days prior to the date of the World Final.

2. Places in the regular UK team for the World championship will be offered first to the National Champion, then to the GP winner, and then to players in the Nationals in the order of their placing in that tournament, until the team has the required number of players.

3. If not enough people from the Nationals wish to participate, places shall be offered to people in GP order, and after that to people on the active ratings list, in ratings list order.

4. If there are still not enough people, the chairman shall offer places to other people of his/her own choosing.

5. The places for any special-category tournament held within the World Championships (such as the World Women’s Championships) will be offered in the order of placings (starting with its winner) of a stand-alone qualifying event (e.g. an age restricted tournament). Should a stand-alone event fail to yield a representative or not be held then it will be offered first to the highest-placed special category player in the National Championships, except that if two special category players are equal on points and are not otherwise involved in a play-off then there will be a play-off to decide that category's first representative. It is not compulsory for any stand-alone qualifying event to take place, or for it be held at the same time and location as the main National Championships.

6. Should the above not yield a representative for the category, then that space and any additional spaces will be offered following the rules for selection of the regular team.



1. For a game to be rated by the BOF it must

a) be held in the UK
b) be played with clocks
c) be understood by both players that it will be rated

2. Notice is hereby given that, unless otherwise announced, all Regional, National, International (European Grand Prix) and MSO tournaments will be rated. "Friendly" tournaments are also usually rated.

3. The minimum time requirement for a tournament game to be rated is 15 + 15 minutes.