Darts: a game where participants compete with one another by throwing small arrow like devices at a target that is round and has numbers and sections and an inner bull with an outer bull and so on. Darts now refer to the standard game with a specific bristle board design and a set of rules. Rules that are general to the game and rules that govern games like, “501,” “301,” and “Cricket.”

Darts is a traditional pub game that was and is commonly played in the United Kingdom as well as other places in Europe and across the pond here in the America’s.

Wikipedia tells hits history in a terse form, i.e., “The dartboard may have its origins in the cross-section of a tree. An old name for a dartboard is "butt"; the word comes from the French word but, meaning "target". In particular, the Yorkshire and Manchester Log End boards differ from the standard board in that they have no treble, only double and bullseye, the Manchester board being of a smaller diameter, with a playing area of only 25 cm across with double and bull areas measuring just 4 mm. The London Fives board is another variation. This has only 12 equal segments numbered 20, 5, 15, 10, 20, 5, 15, 10, 20, 5, 15, 10 with the doubles and triples being a quarter of an inch wide.”

There have been a variety of darts created over the years but the most common today is the tungsten dart. There are electronic darts but for this blog and for my efforts in tossing darts I remain a steel dart fan and enthusiast. I am recommending a book for novice darters but only because it appealed to me and my studies and rest assured most of the dart books out there are outstanding. In short, find one if this one does not fit your needs and get it. I can tell you when I started to play over twenty years ago, before I laid down my darts in 96, I tossed darts for several years without knowing some very important and critical mechanics, etc., of the dart game. As I take up once again my steel darts I have found a fountain of information to help make the game both enjoyable and competitive. Enjoy, diddle for the middle and let the darts fly!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Dart Arts Chalker

Dart Arts Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

The Chalker is the title used to designate the dart arts score keeper. The Chalker holds a position of importance whose expertise and professionalism can effect the dart'ists ability to throw good darts.

Standing up at the chalk board with their back to the dart'ist holding as still as water on the calmest day waiting for the arrows to land with a solid, "Thunk," using there peripheral vision to see the score ready to quickly calculate the total as the next, "think," resounds in his or her ears.

The Chalker must achieve the speed of a math savant so they can quickly, "Chalk," the score on the board while standing just to the side so the dart'ist can quickly see his or her score in preparation for the next go-round.

  • Chalker’s come from the ranks of dart’ists.
  • Chalker must be accepted by all parties.
  • Chalker holds the responsibility of the games he or she scores.
  • Chalker announces the score before the darts are removed. All scores stand after the darts are removed.
  • Chalker records the scores of each turn and calculates the cumulative score as the game progresses. 
    • No dart is to be touched by dart’ist, another dart’ist, the Chalker, the team captains, or a spectator until the Chalker makes a decision as to the score. 
  • Chalker is to refrain from smoking, drinking or making comments in the performance of Chalker’s duties. 
    • Chalker is to stand motionless facing the chalkboard at a slight angle to see the dart board and is to remain in that position until the last dart hits the board.
  • Chalker’s will come from each team sharing the duties equally. 
Chalker Scoring:
  • Chalker will decide the winner for the middle determining who starts first. 
  • Chalker is to speak only when a player asks for the number of points scored or remaining or if a dart is in a double/triple ring especially when it is close to the wire. 
  • Chalker will NOT advise a player as to how the play the round especially the double required to out for the win. 
  • Chalker records the score, the dart’ist must verify his or her own score BEFORE removing his or her darts. 
  • Chalker and players have till the next dart’ists next throw/turn to change or adjust scores on the board. 
The Chalker Etiquette:
  • Chalker must assume a stance at the score board as follows:
    • Stand in a position close to the score board so that the board can be seen at the oche line by dart’ists; stand at a slight angle to face toward the score board and see the dart board clearly.
    • Stand in a semi-position of attentive posture with hands held by the side or in front of the lower half of the body.
    • Stand as still as possible with no movement or other distracting motions or sounds that may disrupt the toss by the dart’ist at the oche line. 
    • Remain still as indicated until the last arrow hits the board.
    • Calculate accurately as quickly as possible, enter the score with the running cumulative total so the dart’ist, both the one who just finished tossing his or her darts and the one approaching the oche line so dart’ists can quickly calculate and decide on strategic tactics of the game.
    • Resume, unless the circumstances and situation dictate, the original Chalker stance ready position for the next round of arrows to be tossed at the board. 
    • Chalker remains quiet except when asked by the dart’ist at the oche line to inform him or her of the dart thrown status/score according to the rules governing the Chalker/Scorekeeper.  
Let me continue by providing an example, I chalk a lot in our local league and as a beginner I made some Faux-Pas that disturbed a player causing, in all probability, his or her missing an intended target. As my experience level increases I understand a lot better how, for some, small distractions can be … distracting. First was an unsolicited notification as to what he had scored with the last thrown dart and second, was a small movement of my head and upper body, to better see where the dart struck to calculate the score to that point, it was the second toss, that caused concern by the dart’ist. Both are against the Chalker etiquette of the game and as you can tell by reading this article, led to this article.   

When you leave the league level and enter into the professional levels you will find this Chalker to Dart’ist relationship critical to the discipline and violating the rules and etiquette could or may result in a loss that spells out economic ramifications of great importance. This is why I write this, to remind me of Chalker Etiquette and Rules as well as train and practice of myself for that time when I may enter into the realm of the professional dart’ist.

Trivia: the reason I refer to the scorekeeper as a Chalker is because in the steel tip game many still use a standard chalk board and a Chalker is a metal device that holds the chalk, to keep the chalk off your hands, but it should be noted that many devices and applications exist that will provide you automated score keeping. It is prevalent in electronic dart games but traditionally the Chalker in steel tips relies on the mind to calculate the scores, etc. Traditionally the Chalker position assists the dart’ist is using math skills to keep in the mind the scores necessary to gain quick end game successes. Electronic scoring tends to leave a lot out of the game so that the player can focus exclusively on his or her darts and winning. In my mind, the game is a collection of variables that the dart’ist must control consistently to hit the perfect dart, score the highest score and to quickly get to an out or close the cricket game faster than his or her opponent. There are many arguments for and against such techno-devices to assist in the game but the human challenge, for me, is critical to being a dart’ist and not just a person playing a game for fun and social gatherings. When you are at a tournament and after hours of participation you are challenged in mind, body and especially spirit to remain in a high state of accuracy and consistency while manipulating your darts, the scores, your strategies and the various tactics necessary to achieve mastery of the dart arts. 

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