Curling Forfeiting Rules

Curling Forfeiting Rules

We have learned nearly everything we need to know about game procedures and timing. The last game procedure we will learn about is forfeiting a game. Forfeiting means that a team accepts defeat for a certain reason. In curling, there can be three reasons a team forfeits. They are:

  1. A team runs out of thinking time.
  2. A team does not have enough players.
  3. A team does not have enough stones to tie the score.

In this chapter, we will look at each one of these aspects closely, and when they apply to a game of curling. Upon forfeiting a game, it is expected that teams shake hands with each other and clean up the ice and maybe go broomstacking.

Running out of Thinking Time

One method of keeping the time of the game is by allocating a certain amount of thinking time for each team, along with one timeout. For a 10 end game, this allows 39 minutes of thinking time. For an 8 end game, this allows 23 minutes of thinking time. (The above times include the time allotted for timeouts).

If a team runs out of thinking time - which usually never happens - the team must forfeit immediately. Since the team has no more thinking time, they are unable to deliver any more stones, which means that they are unable to win, regardless of the score. Therefore, they must forfeit the game.

Not Enough Players

The main reason teams bring fifth players with them to national/international competition is to make sure that a team can field four players at any time. Depending on the competition, a 4 person team may or may not be allowed to compete with three players. If not, the team must forfeit if they cannot yield a 4 person team.  In leagues at local curling clubs, you may see teams play with three players every now and then. You'll notice that the sweepers each throw 3 stones and the skip throws the usual 2 stones. Regardless of the competition, a team cannot play in a 4 person format with only two players. This is another case in which the team must forfeit before starting the game.

If a team knows that they will be unable to yield a full team, they will forfeit the game before it even begins. Therefore, you will not make it to the ice unless you have a full team, or 3 players if allowed to do so.

Running Out of Stones

As the final end approaches, teams begin to calculate how many points they need to score to win, or how many of the opponent's stones to takeout to win. In this instance, we will be looking at the team calculating how many points they need to tie or win the game. Let's look at a scoreboard below as two teams begin to play the eighth end.

As you can see, the yellow team is winning by a score of 9-5. Therefore, the red team needs to score a minimum of 4 points in order to tie the game. As the end is played, the yellow team begins to takeout the red stones in the house, and peel the guards. We now reach the point that the vice for the red team is throwing their first stone and it stops in the house.

Now, we realize that if this is the vice's first stone, both of their stones and both of the skip's stones must score in order for the game to be tied. However, the yellow team takes out the red team's stone. Therefore, only 3 points can be scored by the red team, which is not enough to tie the game. Thus, the red team is mathematically eliminated from winning the game; they are guaranteed to lose. In this case, the red team would now forfeit the game.

In curling, it is expected that teams forfeit immediately upon becoming mathematically eliminated from the game. In a sense, this is another form of curling etiquette. Therefore, they will shake hands with the opponent and clean up the ice.