Basic rules of an abalone tournament

An abalone tournament is played mostly with the same rules as casual abalone. It is also governed by the main rules and regulations used in a chess tournament for every possible dispute or situation one might come across during a game in a tournament. Simply understanding these basic rules is more than enough to confidently play in any tournament.

• When in doubt, ask!

Never hesitate to ask a tournament director to clarify any confusion you may have about the rules. If you and an opponent have a disagreement, stop the clocks, find a director, and ask them to make a ruling.

• If you touch a marble, you must move it.

This is known as the touch-move rule, and is often a source of difficulty for players new to tournaments. Of course this rule only applies if you can make a legal move with the marble you touched. There are some exceptions. If you accidentally brush a marble, you are not required to move it. If a marble is awkwardly placed, you can adjust it; like in chess, simply say “I adjust” before touching the marble to make it clear to your opponent that you don’t intend to move it. It goes without saying that you are not allowed to touch an opponent’s marble.

• When you make your move, you must not hide the move from your opponent.

When it is your turn to move, be careful not to hide the move from your opponent, even accidentally with your hand, especially when you play a side-step move. During all the game, your opponent must be able to see what you are doing on the board.

• Some tournaments require players to record their moves.

This helps provide evidence of what has occurred during the game in case of a dispute. In order to record your game, you will need to know or to learn how to read and write an abalone notation (in most cases Aba-Pro).

• Never interfere with a game in progress.

In most abalone tournaments, you will be able to walk around the playing area and watch other games, provided you do so quietly. Observers are forbidden from telling players anything about their games, even if they notice a violation of the rules.

• Turn off your cell phone.

In recent years, new rules have been written to deal with loud phones, which can break the concentration of abalone players. If your phone rings in the playing area, you will likely be subject to a penalty, and may even have to forfeit your game.

• Understand how to use a chess clock.

An abalone tournament is played with time limits, which vary by event. Time is kept by using a chess clock. Using these clocks can be distracting at first, but will soon become second nature. Most importantly, remember to hit your clock after each move you make. This stops your clock and starts your opponent’s time. Also, be sure to use the same hand to move your pieces and touch the clock.

• After the game is over, record your result.

Win, lose, or draw, both players are required to make sure the proper result is recorded. If you are not sure where to mark down your result, ask a director for help.

Now, good games, and have fun!


2017 MSO World-Braining Korea Championship

An official Abalone tournament will be part of the 2017 MSO World-Braining Korea Championship, which is the Korean version of the UK’s Mind Sports Olympiad.

(click to enlarge)


saturday, 3 and sunday, 4 of june 2017


Korea Job World
Suwon, (4-6, Jeongja-dong)
501, Bundangsuseo-ro, Bundang-gu

Suwon lies about thirty kilometres/nineteen miles south of Seoul.

Details and booking:

  • by mail:
  • by phone: +82-(0) 31 8977114

More information at:


2017 Abalone World Championship: the date and time!


The London 2017 Abalone World Championship will take place on:

Monday, August 21
from 10.15 a.m. to 1.45 p.m. (local time)

The venue is still:

341-351 Finchley Road
London NW3 6ET
United Kingdom

Registration are not yet open but if we got some news we will let you know.

More information at:


Vincent Frochot wins the 2016 Abalone World Championship

The Abalone World Championship, one of the Mind Sports Olympiad events, took place on Tuesday August 23, 2016 at the JW3 (Jewish Community Centre for London), 341-351 Finchley Road, London, from 10.15am to 2.15pm.

At the end of the competition, results were as follows:


Vincent Frochot


Frédéric Garnier


David Pearce



Congratulations to Vincent, who wins the title for the fifth time, following four earlier wins in 2007, 2010, 2011 and 2015.

And congratulations to David Pearce for the demanding task of organizing this Swiss-system tournament.

Frédéric Garnier, alias FightClub

The upright player

November 29, 2015


“He played the piano [abalone] standing up
This is perhaps a detail for you
But for me it means a lot
That means he was free
Happy to be here

[Il jouait du piano debout (He played the upright piano),
a song written by Michel Berger and performed by France Gall,
from the album Paris, France (1980), track 1]


All quotes in the Dictionnary of quotes.

Innovation of the month: October 2015

Every month a previously unreleased variation.


Double Dutch Pillar

Game set: Abalone Quattro
Players: 2
Colours: 3
Marbles: 28
Marbles per player: 12
Number of marbles to eject: 5

Double Dutch Pillar


The rules are the same as those of the classical two-player abalone, with only two exceptions:

  •  B2, B5, H5, and H8 are occupied by the red marbles, which you aren’t allowed to move as they represent pillars. Like the columns of an ancient Greek temple, the pillars cannot be pushed out of the way and prevent you from using the space they occupy.
  • The number of marbles you have to eject is only 5 (41,66 %) to stick close to the ejection rate of the classical version of the game (42,85 %).