Carrom, a popular household game is said to have originated in the houses of South Asian nations. Its popularity is no more confined to India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Nepal now. It is a worldwide recognized game needing lots of practice to pocket carrom men and red-colored beautiful queen.
Every country has established its own carrom regulatory body laying some distinct sets of carrom rules, applicable to matches played at the regional and national level only.
Whereas the International Carrom Federation is the international carrom governing body that has laid rules for matches played on international platforms. Masters world championships rules are laid by the UK Carrom club. This cue-based tabletop game is now the most favorite game amongst folks of all ages including senior citizens who mostly spend their leisure time indoors.
There is always ambiguity amongst folks about the carrom rules. As said earlier that they may vary from country to country. We bring you a complete insight of carrom board rules laid down by the ICF.
Let us have a detailed view of the rules of carrom for equipment dimension to pocketing of coins and queen along with fouls. This will also help you in buying the best carrom board for your loved ones or even for yourself if you want to play on a professional level.
a) Equipments of Carrom
- A carrom board
The core of the carrom board game is a board made up of plywood. This square-shaped board has a dimension of 74 cm (29 inches) in a standard game of carrom board. The lacquered plywood board’s edges are bounded with a wooden board bumper from all four sides of a square board with a 10 cm square pocket covered with the net from underneath of the board.
A striker that resembles a big sized coin is used to slide the pieces and the queen to the pocket. Usually white in color, the carrom striker weighs approximately 15 grams.
Finely grained Boric acid powder is used in a carrom board game to reduce the friction on the ply of the board. In more simple words, to smoothen the movement of a striker as well as pieces, the powder is used. Whereas in the UK, Anti set-off spray powder which is made of vegetable starch and food-grade is preferred over Boric acid considering it unsafe for human beings.
- A queen
The only visible difference between the other pieces and the queen is color. The dimensions of the queen and other pieces are almost the same. The red and most valuable disk is called as queen. It is also the most precious piece placed in the center of the board with other carrom men around it. The player who succeeds in pocketing queen gets 3 points to his score as per the rules of the International carrom federation.
- 9 black and 9 white carrom men
Carrom men – called seeds, coins, pucks, and pawns, are made of wood or plastic. They are supposed to be pocketed by players, and who procures all his color coins, wins the game of carrom. A carrom set comprises of 9 black and 9 white carrom men in all. You may not find the change in the shades of carrom men anywhere in the world; they are usually black or unstained white.
The diameter of these pieces as per rules of ICF should strictly lie between 3.02 cm – 3.18cm. However, its thickness must be between 7mm to 7.5 mm. The weight of the carrom men should be between 5.0 g – 5.5g.
b) Tournament Board Dimensions
The dimension of the board shows a discrepancy greatly from place to place. We are here working on sharing details of the tournament board.
Carrom board is a smooth four-sided figure shaped board whose size is usually of 74 cm square or 72cm. Every corner of a side of the board has a circular hole with a diameter of 51cm covered with a net from the backside having the purpose of stopping the coins to fall down on the floor on being pocketed by any of the players. The board should be placed at a height of 60-70cm above the ground.
Observe the board; you will get to see two lines sketched on the table beside the diagonals. These are termed as foul lines. You may see two lines drawn parallel to the edge of the board which is about 3.8cm apart from each other and have circles at both the ends; which are called baselines. The player is supposed to place striker in between baseline to pocket the carrom men.
Check out the beautifully drawn two circles in the centermost part of the board. All carrom men/coins are to be placed in the center of the board at the start of the game.
c) Rules before the start of the game
1) Rules regarding its Preparation
- Firstly to decide which team is going to be blessed with the very first strike of the game, a trick is used by umpires.
- One of the players is asked to hide the piece in one hand while other is given a chance to guess. Whoever wins is given choice to give a start to the game as per his wishes.
- He may get the first strike and start his mission of pocketing his color pieces or may rest the other player with the first strike.
- Afterward, the queen is placed in the centremost part of the board which is then surrounded by six more pieces all around. The leftover 12 pieces are then positioned around six pieces placed earlier.
- The pieces in both the inner and outer circles must have an alternative arrangement of black and white pieces.
- Both the circles are adjusted in the manner that player playing the first gets white pieces placed in both the circle that lie in a straight line for a player with the first strike.
2) Rules regarding Score
- In accordance with international carrom rules, a game to win is all about making either 25 points or 6 boards, whichever is accomplished first.
- The team or player successful in pocketing all their pieces is rewarded with points equal to the number of pieces remaining on the board of the opponent team.
- The winning team is given 3 more points if it has a queen too.
- A player loses the board or 3 points if he pockets his last coin before the queen.
- Similarly, if a player accidentally or even unintentionally coins, the other player’s pieces are imposed a penalty of 3 points.
3) Rules regarding Striking
- It is mandatory for the players to place the striker in between the baseline or players also have a choice of placing the striker over the two circles at both ends of baseline towards his edge.
- A striker should touch both, front line and the rear line.
- The striker should not cut the moon. Rather can share its position partially with baseline and partially with the moon.
- Striker is to be flicked with one of the fingers and should cross the font baseline.
- The player can flick only in front. Back or horizontal flick of strikers is not permitted in the game of carrom.
- While striking, the player’s hand or arm must not surpass the four diagonal lines situated on both sides of the baseline.
- Carrommen located behind the front baseline shouldn’t be struck by the striker. The player can target the pieces behind the front baseline with a redirected strike.
The player is imposed with a penalty of losing one of his coins pocketed earlier and placing it back on the board. The pieces given back to the game out of foul is to be placed by the opponent team. The opponent team may take advantage of positioning the carrom men as per his benefit.
Rules regarding Carrom foul
- Striker slides into the hole
- Any piece or striker falls off the board.
- A player pockets the carrom men of the opponent team.
- A player pockets the last coin of a challenging team before the queen is covered. In this case, irrespective of the queen, the challenging team is under liability to return the piece along with a penalty apiece.
- A player commits the breach striking rules.
- A player touches any piece other than a striker.
- The first player turns out to be unsuccessful in breaking the counters even in three attempts.
- A penalty is considered to be owed in the case when a player doesn’t have any piece and the player commits foul. Whenever the piece is pocketed, it is to be returned to the game by the opponent. In case the opponent team forgets to charge the penalty and place it on the board, the owned penalty is nullified further and cannot be charged afterward.
5) Rules regarding Carrom Queen
- The queen can be pocketed by either of the player posts he nets one of his pieces.
- To pocket the queen, it is necessary for a player to cover it. The one who succeeds in covering the queen is awarded the queen’s point.
- Queen holds three points however black and white coins carry 1 point each.
- The player goes on to win the board on covering the queen successfully.
- If a player gets all his carrom men pocketed and the other player is still left with some carrom men, the board gets over. Winner procures extra points equal to the value of carrom men left of the losing player. The points of queen go with the player who pockets it, no matter he loses or wins.
- If a player successfully pockets queen and striker in one strike, the player is then supposed to place the queen and two of his earlier carrom men in the center of the game.
- Also if the player covers the queen with the striker, then he is supposed to pay a penalty of a queen plus two carrom men back to the game. The player afterward continues to play. The same is the case when a queen and opponent team’s piece is pocketed by the player. The player will be given a penalty to return the queen, and two of his carrom men.
- If in a case a player has due without having a single carrom man, then the first carrom man pocketed will be submitted back to the board and the player will go on with the strike. In this case, the player can go on to secure the queen and cover it.
- Assume if only one piece of each player is remaining on the board with queen and the player having the strike pockets, the queen is succeeded by the opponent’s piece then. The opponent team wins the board and is given points equal to pieces left at the board.
- In the case when a player gets the queen and the carrom man in a hole in a single strike, the queen is well thought-out to be covered.
6) Rules regarding Scoring
- In last, the winner gets a 1 point score for each piece of opponent remaining on the board.
- The winner gets a bonus of 5 points if he has less than 24 points and a well-covered queen.
- When the winner bags 24 points or more, no points are given to him for covering the queen.
- The highest score of a game is therefore 14 points and a match is played to the limit of 29 points.
d) Aim of players
Whether playing with two players or in doubles, every player gets his turn to strike the pieces with the striker. The player who succeeds in putting in the hole all his color pieces actually wins. Add the values of pieces to know who has actually won the game.
The game cannot end until the queen is not stroked down to holes but it has to be covered with another coin immediately after being pocketed by the same player. The player who successfully covers the queen can add the queen to his collection. In case of a failure in pocketing a piece after the queen, the player is supposed to return the queen to the board. A player who wins the queen gets a bonus point too. Queens are normally referred to as game-changers.
Carrom when played by four with each sitting behind the four edges of the board, the game is said to be doubled. The players sitting opposite are considered as partners. The turn to strike is given in clockwise order. Apart from the number of players, all rules of singles are applicable to doubles.
f) Other Carrom Rules
- It is not necessary to pocket queen by the winner; the basic rule is that it can be pocketed by either of the players. The deciding factor of the winner of the game is the one who has a maximum worth of pieces.
- The player with the first strike is bestowed with three chances to break the arrangement of pieces and take advantage by scattering the pieces near the holes on his opposite side.
- The player has a choice to strike the striker anyway.
- A striker is given another chance after pocketing any of the carrom men. Likewise, striker gets another chance after putting queen into the hole, but in this case, he is under compulsion to pocket another piece to enjoy the possession of queen.
- The turn of the player ends when he doesn’t succeed to get any piece or commits foul.
The rules of the International Federation of carrom are different from Indian federation of Carrom. As mentioned earlier, every country has a different set of rules for the game players at a regional and national level.
Here are some of the other rules of carrom other than above which seems to be trifling, but one needs to be aware of before you start the game
- Carrom man to be returned to the board out of foul or penalty can be positioned on the top of other pieces inside the main circle.
- The carrom men are to be left untouched till the striker moves them if two pieces end up overlapping on each other or coins come to rest while being on edge.
- In the case when striker gets beneath a piece, it is to be pulled out with as little disturbance as possible to the piece over the striker.
- In the instance of striker gets into any of the holes, the player has to return one of his pocketed carrom men along with forgoing his chance.
- While playing, players are not allowed to move other than in break.
- In a case when player pockets striker and piece together in one strike, he is bound to return two of his pocketed carrom men. But he also gets a chance to strike again.
- If a piece falls out of the board, it is to be placed again at the center.
- A player can only touch board with his wrist; that too while shooting. Other than that, he cannot touch the board.
- Sides of the game cannot be altered at the commencement of the game.
- A player can use the thumb for backward shots or can try to rebound to displace the pieces behind the baselines.
- If the striker doesn’t move at all, the player gets 3 chances.
Similarly for the matches played at the national level, the rules of Indian federation are applied. Have a look at the rules of All India Carrom Federation.
Rules followed by the All India Carrom Federation
- The outcome of the match is decided on the ground of 23 points or three sets of 4 boards, whichever is earlier. The player who procures 23 points first or is ahead with the lead on the conclusion of the 4th board is said to be a winner of the match.
- ‘Game’ is termed as a ‘set’.
- A short break of two minutes is allowed to the players between the sets. Players can consult their coaches during the break.
- Players cannot leave the playing area until the match is over.
- After two boards or 3rd set, sides are changed.
- A player is not allowed time beyond 10 seconds to make a stroke.
- In a board, a maximum of 11 points can be scored.
- Queen carries the value of two points. The player is authorized to get his score increased by the value of the queen, only on winning the board.
- The loser of the board stays deprived of any point even though he has pocketed Queen.
- Queen is not needed to be covered.
- A player will get two points for pocketing Queen at all the nick of the set without giving consideration to his score.
- A player has the right to pocket the Queen provided a c/m of his own has already been pocketed.
- The player can pocket queen despite pocketing all his carrom men of the color he is allotted for the game.
- The board is not considered to be over if a player succeeds in bagging all his carrom men with the queen still on the board. The player can pocket queen in the last without a cover. The one, who pockets queen, wins the board. In case he fails, chances are passed to the opponent.
- The reporting time of the player is usually five minutes before the fixed time of the match. A player may be regarded as on losing side if he reports late to the umpire.
- Umpire is supposed to accomplish all the formalities within those 5 minutes. In the meantime, players can do a bit of warm-up or start their trial session.
- Matches are ought to start at the scheduled tick of the clock.
- If the score of both the players is equal at the end of four boards, the result is determined on the basis of Tie-Breaker.
- Each team is entrusted with three chances instead to pocket a piece from their end.
- The tie-breaker piece is positioned within the outer circle touching the outer circle line in a straight line of the core circle on the reverse side of the player pocketing the piece.
- The set is decided on sudden death when a player gets tie even in a tiebreaker
- In the case of sudden death, both the players are given a chance each to bag tie-breaker carrom men without changing their side. The player who fails to pocket carrom men on availing each set is considered to have lost the set.
- A single toss decides the first stroke of sudden death and tiebreaker.
- In this case, when a player places the striker on board without having his turn, the umpire has the right to declare it as a foul and the board too should not be awarded in opposition to the player.
- The written protest must be given within 5 minutes of the end of that particular Board.
- The information about the tournament should be shared with the parties as soon as possible.
- Matches for cadets, junior and sub-junior players may last for just 20 minutes for each set with the complete time constraints of 70 minutes for every match.
FAQS Related to Carrom Board Rules
- Is thumbing allowed in carrom?
Yes, thumbing is permitted in the game of carrom. As per International Carrom Federation, a player can strike the striker with any finger including the thumb. Shooting by thumb is called thumbing or thumb short or thumb hit.
- Is the back shot allowed in carrom?
The player cannot place a back shot from the baselines of his side. He can rather rebound his strike to displace the coins behind the two baselines.
- What should a player do if a striker gets under a carrom man?
A player should try to get the piece out with minimum disturbance to the position of the piece. This is the only case when a player is not imposed foul and penalty. Otherwise, on unnecessary touching of any of the coins, the player may be imposed with foul and penalty.
- How the carrom points are assessed and how the declaration of the winner is done?
Whether it is black or white, the queen holds three points and each carrom men holds one point. That player is supposed to win the game who first finishes pocketing the c/m. A player is credited with a queen’s value only if he is the winner of the game. The player loses the benefit of the queen’s 3 point credit if he has reached 22 scorings. When all the c/m has been pocketed by the player, it is known as the Board completion; and when 25 points are reached, it is known as a game.