[nfbwatlk] curling

Mary Ellen gabias at telus.net
Fri Feb 26 05:04:31 UTC 2010

Kelowna is a hot bed of curling, pardon the terminology since the game is
played on ice. Curling is a very popular sport among blind people in Canada.
In fact, a national curling championship for the blind is held annually
during White Cane Week, the first week in February. 
I appreciate your message, Al, because I've never understood the rules of
the game. 

-----Original Message-----
From: nfbwatlk-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nfbwatlk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On
Behalf Of Albert Sanchez
Sent: February 25, 2010 5:50 AM
To: NFB of Washington Talk Mailing List
Subject: [nfbwatlk] curling

Hi All
I thought that you all might find the following information interesting if
you, like Gerrie and I, have been watching the Olympics and the Curling
matches, Enjoy, A.S.

Highest governing body World Curling Federation 
First played Approximately late medieval Scotland 
Team members 4 per team (2 in Mixed Doubles) 
Venue Curling sheet 
Olympic * 1924 (Retroactively made official in 2006).
·  Demonstration sport in 1932, 1988 and 1992.
·  Officially added in 1998. 
Curling is a team Olympic sport in which stones are slid across a sheet of
carefully prepared ice towards a target area. It is related to lawn bowling,
boule and shuffleboard. Two teams of four players take turns sliding heavy,
polished blue hone granite stones across the ice towards the house (a
circular target marked on the ice). The purpose is to complete each end
(delivery of eight or ten stones [depending on recreational or competitive
play] for each team) with the team's stones closer to the centre of the
house than the other team's stones. Two sweepers with brooms or brushes
accompany each stone and use stopwatches and their best judgment, along with
direction from their teammates, to help direct the stones to their resting
place, but without touching the stones. Contents ·  1 Origins and history ·
1.1 Olympic curling ·  2 Playing surface ·  3 Equipment ·  3.1 Shoes ·  3.2
Broom (brush) ·  3.3 Curling stone (rock) ·  3.4 Other equipment ·  3.5
Specialized equipment ·  4 Gameplay ·  4.1 Throwing ·  4.1.1 Delivering the
stone ·  4.1.2 Special needs in curling ·  4.2 Sweeping ·  4.2.1 Touched
stones ·  4.3 Types of shots ·  4.4 Free guard zone ·  4.5 Hammer ·  4.6
Scoring ·  4.7 Conceding a game ·  4.8 Dispute resolution ·  4.9 Strategy ·
5 Curling culture ·  5.1 An amateur sport ·  5.2 Good sportsmanship ·  6
Additional information ·  6.1 By the numbers ·  7 Terminology ·  8 See also
·  9 Champions and major championships ·  10 Notable curling clubs ·  11
References ·  12 External links 
Origins and history

Men curling in Ontario in 1909
The game of curling is thought to have been invented in late medieval
Scotland, with the first written reference to a contest using stones on ice
coming from the records of Paisley Abbey, Renfrewshire, in February 1541.
Two paintings (both dated 1565) by Pieter Bruegel the Elder depict Dutch
peasants curling—Scotland and the Low Countries had strong trading and
cultural links during this period, which is also evident in the history of

Purpose-built curling pond at Colzium, Kilsyth
That the game of curling was already in existence in Scotland in the early
16th century is evidenced by a curling stone inscribed with the date 1511
(uncovered along with another bearing the date 1551) when an old pond was
drained at Dunblane, Scotland. Kilsyth Curling Club claims to be the first
club in the world, having been formally constituted in 1716; it is still in
existence today. Kilsyth also claims the oldest purpose-built curling pond
in the world at Colzium, in the form of a low dam creating a shallow pool
some 100 × 250 metres in size, though this is now very seldom in condition
for curling because of warmer winters. The word curling first appears in
print in 1620 in Perth, in the preface and the verses of a poem by Henry
Adamson. The game was (and still is, in Scotland and Scottish-settled
regions like southern New Zealand) also known as "the roaring game" because
of the sound the stones make while traveling over the pebble (droplets of
water applied to the playing surface). The verbal noun curling is formed
from the Scots (and English) verb curl which describes the motion of the

Group of people curling on a lake in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada, ca.
1897 In the early history of curling, the playing stones (or rocks) were
simply flat-bottomed river stones that were sometimes notched or shaped; the
thrower had little control over the stone, and relied more on luck than
skill to win, unlike today's reliance on skill and strategy. It is recorded
that in Darvel, East Ayrshire, the weavers relaxed by playing curling
matches. The stones they used were the heavy stone weights from the weavers'
"warp beams", fitted with a detachable handle for the purpose. Many a wife
would keep her husband's brass curling stone handle on the mantelpiece,
brightly polished until the next time it was needed. Outdoor curling was
very popular in Scotland between the 16th and 19th centuries, as the
climates provided good ice conditions every winter. Scotland is home to the
international governing body for curling, the World Curling Federation,
Perth, which originated as a committee of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club,
the mother club of curling. Today, the game is most firmly established in
Canada, having been taken there by Scottish emigrants. The Royal Montreal
Curling Club, the oldest established sports club still active in North
America, was established in 1807. The first curling club in the United
States began in 1830, and the game was introduced to Switzerland and Sweden
before the end of the 19th century, also by Scots. Today, curling is played
all over Europe and has spread to Japan, Australia, New Zealand, China, and

A curling match at Eglinton Castle, Ayrshire, Scotland in 1860. The Curling
House is located to the left of the picture. The first world curling
championship in the sport was limited to men and was known as the "Scotch
Cup", held in Falkirk and Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1959. The first world
title was won by the Canadian team from Regina, Saskatchewan, skipped by
Ernie Richardson. (The skip is the team member who calls the shots; see

A Curling House near Stewarton in Ayrshire, Scotland, now converted into a
dwelling The first curling club in the United States was organized in 1830
only 30 miles from Detroit, at Orchard Lake, Michigan. Called the Orchard
Lake Curling Club, the club used hickory block "stones". The Detroit Curling
Club was started back in 1840 when Michigan only had a population of 212,000
and had only been in the Union for three years. About this time, an
organization called the "Thistle Club" was founded and, curling being a
winter sport, was played when the ice was suitable on the Detroit River at
the foot of Joseph Campau; on the bay; and at the old Recreation Park. These
clubs became the Granite Club, and in 1885, the present Detroit Curling Club
was organized.

Olympic curling
Curling has been an official sport in the Winter Olympic Games since the
1998 Winter Olympics. In February 2006, the International Olympic Committee
retroactively decided that the curling competition from the 1924 Winter
Olympics (originally called Semaine des Sports d'Hiver, or International
Winter Sports Week) would be considered official Olympic events and no
longer be considered demonstration events. Thus, the first Olympic medals in
curling, which at the time was played outside, were awarded for the 1924
Winter Games, with the gold medal won by Great Britain and Ireland, two
silver medals by Sweden, and the bronze by France. A demonstration
tournament was also held during the 1932 Winter Olympic Games between four
teams from Canada and four teams from the United States, with Canada winning
12 games to 4.

Playing surface

The playing area in curling is shown here. Stones must land between the hog
line (bottom of photo) and the back line (behind the rings) and may not
contact boards or out lines (on the sides) at any time during travel. The
curling sheet, by World Curling Federation standards, is an area of ice 146
to 150 feet (45 to 46 m) in length by 14.5 to 16.5 feet (4.4 to 5.0 m) in
width, carefully prepared to be as close to level as possible. The ice is
most often frozen by means of a refrigeration plant that cools a brine
solution running lengthwise in numerous pipes under the curling sheet. A key
part of the preparation of the playing surface is the spraying of water
droplets, called "pebble", onto the level ice. Because of the friction
between the stone and pebble, the stone turns to the inside or outside,
causing the stone to "curl". The amount of curl can change during a game as
the pebble wears. The surface of the ice is maintained at a temperature
around 23 °F (-5 °C). Making and maintaining perfect ice conditions at a
curling club is as much art as science. Most curling clubs have an ice
maker, whose main job is to care for the ice. At the major curling
championships, ice maintenance is extremely important. Large events, such as
the Brier or other national championships, are typically held in an arena
that presents a challenge to the ice maker, as they must constantly monitor
and adjust the ice and air temperatures as well as air humidity levels to
ensure a consistent playing surface. It is common for each sheet of ice to
have multiple sensors embedded in order to monitor surface temperature, as
well as probes set up in the seating area (to monitor humidity) and in the
compressor room (to monitor brine supply and return temperatures).

Players must push out of the hack to deliver their stones; whether they are
left- or right-handed determines which foot they use. On the sheet, a
12-foot (3.7 m) wide set of concentric rings, called the house, is placed
(painted or by laying down vinyl rings) near each end of the rink. The
centre of the house, known as the button, is marked by the junction of two
lines that divide the house into quarters. The two lines are the centre
line, which is drawn lengthwise down the centre of the sheet, and the tee
line, drawn 16 feet (4.9 m) from the backboard and parallel to it. Two other
lines—the hog lines—are drawn parallel to each backboard and 37 feet (11 m)
from them. The rings that surround the button are defined by their diameter
as the four-foot, eight-foot, and twelve-foot rings. They are usually
distinguished by colour. The inner rings are merely a visual aid for judging
which stone is closer to the centre; they do not affect scoring. However, a
stone that is not at least touching the outside of the 12-foot (3.7 m) ring
(i.e., more than 6 feet (1.8 m) from the centre) is not in the house and
therefore does not score (see below). Located 12 feet behind the button are
the hacks. A hack is a device used to provide traction to the curler making
a shot; the curler places the foot with which he or she will push-off in the
hack. On indoor rinks, there are usually two fixed hacks—rubber-lined
holes—one on each side of the centre line, with the inside edge no more than
3 inches (76 mm) from the centre line and the front edge on the hack line. A
single moveable hack may also be used.

Graphical depiction of a curling sheet. The thick lines are the hog lines,
and the tee lines run through each of the targets (the houses).



Curling shoes:
The slider shoe (center), with its thin Teflon surface, is worn during
delivery to slide on the ice; a slip-on gripper (left) is worn over the
slider at other times. The other shoe (right) has a rough surface to give
its wearer traction on the ice. Higher-end shoes are often made of leather,
while lower-end shoes are often made of vinyl, or canvas. A casual player
may wear running shoes and improvise a slider by applying electrical tape
(or something similar) to his or her off foot. Step-on or slip-on Teflon
sliders are also available.

The curling broom is used to sweep the ice surface in front of the stone.
Broom (brush) The curling broom is used to sweep the ice surface in front of
the stone (see sweeping under Gameplay below). In earlier days, brooms were
made of corn strands and were similar to household brooms. Brushes were used
primarily by elderly curlers as a substitute for corn brooms. Today, brushes
have replaced traditional corn brooms at every level of curling, but are
universally referred to as brooms. Curling brushes may have fabric, hog
hair, or horsehair heads. Most top quality modern broomsticks are now made
of materials such as carbon fiber, allowing faster sweeping; lower-end
brooms are often made of fiberglass. Brooms may also be used as a balancing
aid during delivery of the stone.

Curling stone (rock)

The curling stone or rock is made of granite.
The curling stone, as defined by the World Curling Federation, is circular
in shape and weighs between 38 and 44 pounds (17 and 20 kg) with a handle
and bolt attached. The stone has a maximum allowable circumference of 36
inches (910 mm). A stone must be a minimum of 4.5 inches (110 mm) in height.
The handle is attached to the stone by means of a bolt that runs vertically
through a hole in the centre of the stone. The handle allows the stone to be
gripped and rotated upon release. When the stone is thrown with the right
hand, clockwise rotation is referred to as an in-turn, as the elbow turns
into the body as the clockwise rotation is imparted on release;
counterclockwise rotation is referred to as an out-turn. The opposites are
true if the stone is thrown with the left hand. The handles are coloured to
differentiate the stones belonging to each team. Two popular colours in
major tournaments are red and yellow. The handle may be of the "eye on the
hog" variety for detecting hog line violations. The top and bottom of a
curling stone are concave. The surface in contact with the ice, known as the
running surface, is a circle 0.25 to 0.50 inches (6.3 to 13 mm) thick. This
narrow running surface is where the ice and the stone interact. On properly
prepared ice, the stone's path will bend (curl) in the direction the front
edge of the stone is turning, especially toward the end of its motion. The
degree of curl depends on several factors, including the preparation of the
ice and the flattening of common paths to the house during the game. Ice on
which the stones curl well is said to be swingy.

An old-style curling stone
The Scots, in particular, believe that the best-quality curling stones are
made from a specific type of granite called "ailsite", found on Ailsa Craig,
an island off the Ayrshire coast. According to the Scottish Curling Stone
Company, Ailsite has very low water absorption, which prevents the action of
freezing and melting water from eroding the stone. In the past, most curling
stones were made from this granite. However, the island is now a wildlife
reserve and is no longer used for quarrying. Because of the particular
rarity of Ailsite, costs for curling stones can reach as much as US$1,500
for the best stones. Many curling clubs use a lower-grade stone that can
cost upwards of $500. There are also stones that use a disc with a running
surface of Ailsite attached below another type of granite. Very informal
neighbourhood curling clubs with limited resources may make cylindrical
"curling stones" out of concrete-filled cans or bowls. Kays of Scotland has
been making curling stones since 1851 and has the exclusive rights to Ailsa
Craig granite, granted by the Marquess of Ailsa, whose family has owned the
island since 1560. The last "harvest" of Ailsa Craig granite by Kays took
place in 2002, yielding 200 tons (note: Kays' statement is that they
harvested 1,500 tons, sufficient to fill anticipated orders through at least
2020). Kays of Scotland has been the exclusive manufacturer of curling
stones for all three Olympics where curling has been a medal sport. Pictures
of the official Olympic curling stone are available on Kays' website.

 Other equipment
Other types of equipment a curler may utilize include:
1. Curling pants, made to be stretchy to accommodate the curling delivery.
2. A stopwatch to time the stones while sweeping to get a feel of the speed
of the stone. Stopwatches can be attached either to clothing or the broom
itself. 3. Curling gloves and mittens, to keep the hands warm and improve
grip on the broom. Specialized equipment A special handle for stones has
recently been developed, called the "eye on the hog", which integrates
electronics to ensure stone release before crossing the hog line. The handle
is coated in metallic paint, and the electronics detects the natural human
electric charge of the thrower's hand to determine if his or her hand is in
contact, and an electric field at the hog line detects it. Lights at the
base of the handle indicate whether contact was maintained past the line.
This eliminates the chance of human error (eliminating the game's most
frequent cause of controversy), also eliminating the need for hog line
officials. The downside is that the equipment costs around $650 a piece,
which multiplies quickly with the number of stones and sheets of ice in a
tournament. Hence, it's used mostly in high-level national and international
competition, such as the Winter Olympics. Although the stone is designed to
be delivered by players grasping the handle as they slide along the ice, a
special "delivery stick" may be used by players incapable of delivering the
stone in this fashion. Such a stick is designed to attach to the handle so
that it can be released without requiring the player to place a hand on the
handle in a crouched position. This allows the game to be played by players
with disabilities, as well as by those unable to crouch comfortably.
According to the Canadian Curling Association Rules of Curling, "The use of
a curling aid commonly referred to as a 'delivery stick', which enables the
player to deliver a stone without placing a hand on the handle, is
considered acceptable" in club play. This device is not permitted in
championship playdowns.

A competitive game usually consists of 10 ends. Recreational games are most
commonly eight ends. An end consists of each player from both teams throwing
two stones down the sheet with the players on each side alternating shots,
for a total of 16 stones. If the teams are tied at the completion of 10
ends, play continues for as many ends as may be required to break the tie.
The winner is the team with the highest score after all ends have been
completed (see Scoring below). It is not uncommon at any level for a losing
team to terminate the match before all ends are completed if it believes it
no longer has a realistic chance of winning. Playoff games at national and
world championships require eight ends to be completed before allowing a
losing team to concede in this manner. Competitive games will usually end
once the losing team has "run out of rocks"—that is, once it has fewer
stones in play and/or available for play than the number of points needed to
tie the game in the final end. In international competition, each side is
given 73 minutes to complete all of its throws. Each team is also allowed
two 60-second timeouts per 10-end game. If extra ends are required, each
team is allowed 10 minutes of playing time to complete its throws and one
added 60-second timeout for each extra end.

When throwing the stone, the player must release it before the front edge of
the curling stone reaches the near hog line (players usually slide while
releasing their shots) and it must completely cross the far hog line;
otherwise, the stone is removed from play (hogged). An exception is made if
a thrown stone fails to come to rest beyond the far hog line after striking
a stone in play (e.g., rebounding back off a stone just past the hog line).
The rule concerning releasing the stone before the hog line is rarely
enforced in club play, unless abuse of the rule occurs. In major
tournaments, the "eye on the hog" sensor in the stone will indicate whether
the stone has been legally thrown or not. If the lights on the stone turn
red, the stone will be immediately pulled from play instead of waiting for
the stone to come to rest. While the first three players throw their stone,
the skip remains at the far end of the ice to guide the players. While the
skip is throwing, the third takes this role. Thus, each time a stone is
thrown, there is one player throwing the stone and another player at the far
end. The other two players may choose to sweep in front of the stone (see
Sweeping, below). Delivering the stone The process of throwing a stone is
known as the delivery. While not compulsory, most curlers deliver the stone
from sliding out from the hack. When sliding out, one shoe (the one with the
non-slippery sole) is positioned against one of the hacks (a position
referred to as being in the hack). For a right-handed curler, this means
starting with the right foot in the left hack, and vice-versa for a
left-handed curler. When delivering the stone, it is important to remember
that the momentum behind how much "weight" (velocity) is applied to the
stone depends on how much leg drive the delivery has. It is usually not wise
to push the stone with the arm unless absolutely necessary. When in the
hack, one must crouch down with the body lined up and shoulders square with
the skip's broom at the other end. While in the hack, one may hold a broom
out for balance. Different curlers hold their brooms out in many different
fashions. The broom is held in the hand opposite from the stone and should
be positioned so that the non-sweeping side of the broom is against the ice.
This prevents drag caused by the soft head of the broom dragging against the
ice. Before any delivery, it is important to ensure that the running surface
of the stone is clean and that the surrounding area is clean as well. This
is achieved by wiping the running surface of the stone with either the
player's hand or with the broom and then cleaning the area with the broom.
The reason for this is that any dirt in the area or on the bottom of a stone
could alter the trajectory of it and ruin the shot. When this happens, it is
called a "pick up" or simply a "pick". After cleaning the stone, the next
step is to know what rotation, or turn, to put on the stone. The skip will
usually tell the thrower this information. Considering the top of the stop
as if it were a clock, the thrower will then place the handle of the stone
generally at either a "two o'clock" or a "ten o'clock" position. When
delivering the stone, the thrower will turn the rock from one of these two
positions toward the "twelve o'clock" position before releasing it. A stone
turned from ten o'clock to twelve will spin clockwise and curl to the right,
and a rock turned from two o'clock to twelve will have the opposite effect.
A generally desired rate of turn is about 2½ rotations before coming to a
rest. Once the thrower knows the turn to give the stone, the thrower will
place the stone in front of his or her toe in the hack. At this point, the
thrower will then start his or her delivery. This begins by slightly rising
from the hack and moving the stone back to one's toe. This is the beginning
of a pendulum movement that will determine the force given to the stone.
Some older curlers will actually raise the stone in this backward movement,
as this is what they are accustomed to. The forward thrust of the delivery
comes next. The thrower moves his or her slider foot in front of the other
foot while keeping the stone ahead of him. The thrower then lunges out from
the hack. The more thrust from this lunge, the more power or "weight" the
stone will have. When lunging out, the gripper foot will drag behind the
thrower. When lunging out, it is important to push as precisely as possible
in the direction of the skip's broom at the other end, so that the "line" of
the stone is accurate. The stone should be released before the thrower's
momentum wanes, at which point the thrower imparts the appropriate curl,
keeping in mind the stone should be released before the first hog line. The
amount of weight given to the stone will also be told to the thrower by the
skip at the other end. This usually occurs by the skip's tapping the ice
with his broom where he or she wants the stone to be delivered. In the case
of a take-out or a tap, the skip will tap the stone that he or she wants
removed or tapped. Generally, the skip will not hold the broom in the same
place he expects the stone to stop or hit; instead, the skip estimates how
much the stone will curl as it travels down the ice and holds the broom
where he believes the thrower will have to aim in order to hit the target

Special needs in curling
Curling has been adapted for wheelchair users and people otherwise unable to
throw the stone from the hack. These curlers may use a special device known
as a "curler's cue" or "delivery stick". The cue holds on to the handle of
the stone and is then pushed along by the curler. At the end of delivery,
the curler pulls back on the cue, which releases it from the stone.

When a stone is delivered, it is important that there be two players
following the stone so that they are ready to sweep its path if needed.
Sweeping is done for two reasons: to make the stone travel farther, and to
change the amount of curl. The stones curl more as they slow down, so
sweeping early in travel tends to increase distance as well as straighten
its path, and sweeping after sideways motion is established can increase the
sideways distance. When sweeping, pressure and speed of the brush head are
key in slightly increasing the layers of moisture that builds up under the
stone. One of the interesting strategy aspects of curling is knowing when to
sweep. When the ice in front of the stone is swept, a stone will usually
travel both farther and straighter. In some situations, one of the two is
often not desirable (for example, a stone may have too much weight, but
needs sweeping to prevent curling into a guard), and the team must decide
which is better: getting by the guard but traveling too far, or hitting the
guard. Much of the yelling that goes on during a curling game is the skip
calling the line of the shot and the sweepers calling the weight. The skip
evaluates the path of the stone and calls to the sweepers to sweep as
necessary to hold the rock straight. The sweepers themselves are responsible
for judging the weight of the stone and ensuring the length of travel is
correct. Simultaneously, the sweepers must communicate the weight (speed) of
the stone back to the skip. Some teams use stopwatch timing, from back line
to the nearest hog line as a sweeping aid. Many teams use the "Number
System", where the playable area is divided into 10 zones, each assigned a
number, and these numbers are used to communicate where the sweepers
estimate the stone will stop. Usually, the two sweepers will be on opposite
sides of the stone's path, although depending on which side people's
strengths are, this may not always be the case. Speed and pressure are vital
to sweeping. In gripping the broom, one hand should be one third of the way
from the top (non-brush end) of the handle while the other hand should be
one third of the way from the head of the broom. The angle of the broom to
the ice should be so that the most force possible can be exerted on the ice.
The precise amount of pressure may vary from relatively light brushing "just
cleaning" (to ensure debris is not in the way) to maximum-pressure
scrubbing. Sweeping can be done anywhere on the ice up to the "tee line", as
long as it is only for one's own team stone. Once the leading edge of the
team's stone crosses the tee line, only one player may sweep it.
Additionally, when an opposing stone crosses the tee line, one player from
the team is allowed to sweep it. This is the only case that a stone may be
swept by an opposing team member. In international rules, this player must
be the skip; or if the skip is throwing, then the third.

Touched stones
Occasionally, a player may accidentally touch a stone with his/her broom or
a part of his/her body. This is often referred to as "burning" a stone. When
a player touches a stone, he/she is expected to call him/herself on it (see
Good sportsmanship). The result of a touched stone varies based on which
team touched the stone; whether the stone was being delivered, stationary,
or set in motion by another stone; and whether touching the stone affected
the positions of other stones. Rules also vary across different governing
bodies. Per Canadian Curling Association (CCA) rules, if a moving stone is
touched by the team to which it belongs, all stone must come to a rest
before the offending team may declare that the violation occurred. At this
time, the non-offending skip may decide whether to leave all stones where
they stopped, or remove the touched stone from play and place any other
stones in their original positions. If the incident occurs after the stone
has crossed the far hog line, he or she may also opt to move the "burned"
stone and any stones it would have affected to where he or she thinks they
would have ended up had the stone not been burned. Under these rules, it is
also a violation for the delivering player to touch the stone once he has
released the handle, even if the stone has not yet crossed the near hog
line. In World Curling Federation (WCF) rules, if a moving stone is touched
by a member of the team to which it belongs before it reaches the far hog
line, the offending team should declare the violation immediately, and the
stone is removed from play. If the infraction occurs after the stone has
crossed the far hog line, the skip of the opposing team may leave the stones
where they stop, remove the touched stone from play and reset any stones
that were moved, or place the touched stone and any stones it would have
affected where he thinks they would have stopped. Under CCA rules, if a
delivered stone is touched by a member of the opposing team, the
non-offending skip may leave the stones where they end up, place them where
he believes they would have ended up had the infraction not occurred, or
place all stones in their prior positions and have the touched stone
delivered again. In WCF play, if such a violation occurs prior to the
delivered stone crossing the far hog line, the touched stone may only be
redelivered. If the violation occurs after the delivered stone crosses the
far hog line, the skip of the non-offending team may only place the stones
where he believes they would have stopped had the infraction not occurred.
In the CCA, if any other stone set in motion is touched by the opposing
team, the skip of the non-offending team may choose to leave the stones
where they stop or place them where he believes they would have stopped had
the infraction not occurred. In the WCF, the skip of the non-offending team
may only place the stones where he believes they would have stopped had the
infraction not occurred. Under both CCA and WCF rules, if a stationary stone
is touched in a way that would have affected the result of a moving stone,
the skip of the non-offending team may choose to leave the touched stone and
any affected stones where they end up, put the affected stones in their
original position and remove the stone whose course would have been altered
from play (not necessarily the touched stone), or place all affected stones
where he believes they would have stopped had the infraction not occurred.
If a touched stationary stone would not have affected the result of a moving
stone, the touched stone is simply returned to where it was before being

Types of shots
Essentially, there are three kinds of shots in curling: the guard, the draw,
and the takeout. There are many variations of these shots, however. Guards
are shots thrown in front of the house, usually to guard shot-rock (stone
closest to the button at a certain time) or to make the opposing team's shot
difficult. Draws are shots in which the stone is thrown only to reach the
house, while takeouts are shots designed to remove stones from play.
Choosing which shot to play will determine whether the thrower will use an
in-turn or out-turn—for a right-handed person, the clockwise and
counter-clockwise rotation of the stone, respectively. Possible guard shots
include centre-guard and corner-guards (left and right sides of the centre
line). Draw shots include raise (and angle-raise), come-around, and freeze,
and takeout shots include peel, hit-and-roll and double. For a more complete
listing, look at the complete list Glossary of curling terms. Free guard
zone Until four stones have been played (two from each side), stones in the
free guard zone (those stones left in the area between the hog and tee
lines, excluding the house) may not be removed by an opponent's stone. These
are known as guard rocks. If the guard rocks are removed, they are replaced
to where they were before the shot was thrown, and the opponent's stone is
removed from play and cannot be replayed. This rule is known as the
four-rock rule or the free guard zone rule (for a while in Canada, a
"three-rock rule" was in place, but that rule has been replaced by the
four-rock rule). Originally, the Modified Moncton Rule, was developed from a
suggestion made by Russ Howard for a cashspiel (with the richest prize ever
awarded at the time in a tournament) in Moncton, New Brunswick, in 1991.
"Howard's Rule" (also known as the Moncton Rule), used for the tournament
and based on a practice drill his team used, had the first four rocks in
play unable to be removed no matter where they were at any time during the
end. This method of play altered slightly and adopted as a Four-rock Free
Guard Zone for international competition shortly after. Canada kept to the
traditional rules until a three-rock Free Guard Zone rule was adopted,
starting in the 1993-94 season. After several years of having the three-rock
rule used for the Canadian championships and the winners then having to
adjust to the four-rock rule in the World Championships, the Canadian
Curling Association adopted the now-standard Free Guard Zone in the
2002-2003 season. This rule, a relatively recent addition to curling, was
added in response to a strategy of "peeling" opponents' guard stones
(knocking them out of play at an angle that caused the shooter's stone to
also roll out of play, leaving no stones on the ice). A team in the lead
would often employ this strategy during the game. By knocking all stones
out, the opponents could at best score one point (if they had the hammer).
Alternatively, the team with the hammer could peel rock after rock, which
would blank the end, keeping the last rock advantage for another end. This
strategy had developed (mostly in Canada) as ice-makers had become skilled
at creating a predictable ice surface and the adoption of brushes allowed
greater control over the rock. While a sound strategy, this made for an
unexciting game. The 1990 Brier was considered by many curling fans as
boring to watch because of the near-constant peeling, and the quick adoption
of the Free Guard Zone the following year reflected how disliked this aspect
of the game had become. One strategy that has been developed by curlers in
response to the free guard zone (Kevin Martin from Alberta is one of the
best examples) is the "tick" game, where a shot is made attempting to knock
(tick) the guard to the side, far enough that it is difficult or impossible
to use but still remaining in play while the shot itself goes out of play.
The effect is functionally identical to peeling the guard but significantly
harder, as a shot that hits the guard too hard (knocking it out of play)
results in its being replaced, while not hitting it hard enough can result
in its still being tactically useful for the opposition. There's also a
greater chance that the shot will miss the guard entirely because of the
greater accuracy required to make the shot. Because of the difficulty of
making this type of shot, only the best teams will normally attempt it, and
it does not dominate the game the way the peel formerly did.

Last-rock or last-stone advantage in an end is called the hammer. Before the
game, teams typically decide who gets the hammer in the first end either by
chance (such as a coin toss) or by a "draw-to-the-button" contest, where a
representative of each team shoots a single stone to see who gets closer to
the centre of the rings. In all subsequent ends, the hammer belongs to the
team that did not score in the preceding end. In the event that neither team
scores, the hammer remains with the same team. Naturally, it is easier to
score points with the hammer than without; in tournament play, the team with
the hammer generally tries to score two or more points. If only one point is
possible, the skip will often try to avoid scoring at all in order to retain
the hammer until the next end, when two or more points may lie. This is
called a blank end. Scoring without the hammer is commonly referred to as
stealing, or a steal, and is much more difficult.

After both teams have delivered eight stones, the team with the stone
closest to the button is awarded one point for each of its own stones that
is closer than the opponent's closest stone. Stones that are not in the
house (further from the centre than the outer edge of the 12-foot (3.7 m)
ring) do not score even if no opponent's stone is closer. A stone is
considered in the house if any portion of its edge is over any portion of
the 12-foot (3.7 m) ring. Since the bottom of the stone is rounded, a stone
just barely in the house will not have any actual contact with the ring,
which will pass under the rounded edge of the stone, but it still counts.
This type of stone is known as a "biter".

A typical curling scoreboard used at clubs, which use a method of scoring
different from the ones used on television The score is marked on a
scoreboard, of which there are two types. One is the baseball-type
scoreboard, which is usually used for televised games. On this scoreboard,
the ends are marked by columns 1 through 10 (or 11 for the possibility of an
extra end to break ties) plus an additional column for the total. Below this
are two rows, one for each team. The number of points each team gets in an
end is marked this way. The other form of scoreboard is the one used in most
curling clubs (see photo). It is set up in the same way, except the numbered
row indicates a team's progress in scoring points rather than marking ends,
and it can be found between the rows for the teams. The numbers placed are
indicative of the end. If the red team scores three points in the first end
(called a three-ender), then a 1 (indicating the first end) is placed beside
the number 3 in the red row. If they score two more in the second end, then
a 2 will be placed beside the 5 in the red row, indicating that the red team
has five points in total (3+2). This scoreboard works because only one team
can get points in an end. However, some confusion can exist if no team gets
points in an end. This is called a blank end, and the end number usually
goes in the farthest column on the right in the row of the team that has the
hammer (last rock advantage), or on a special spot for blank ends. The
following example illustrates the difference between the baseball-style
scoreboard used for televised curling matches and the style used at most
curling clubs. The example illustrates the men's final at the 2006 Winter
Olympics. Baseball-style scoreboard Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Total 
 Canada 0 2 1 1 0 6 0 0 x x 10 
 Finland 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 x x 4 
Curling club-style scoreboard
 Canada  2 3 4      6       
Points 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Blank ends 
 Finland  1 5 8            7 
Eight points (all the rocks thrown by one team counting) is the highest
score possible in an end, and is known as an "eight-ender" or "snowman".
Scoring an eight-ender against a relatively competent team is very
difficult; in curling, it is considered the equivalent of pitching a perfect
game in baseball. Probably the most well known snowman came at the 2006
Players' Championships. Future (2007) World Champion Kelly Scott scored
eight points in one of her games against 1998 World bronze medalist Cathy

Conceding a game
When a team feels it is impossible or near impossible to win a game, they
will usually shake hands with the opposing team to concede defeat. This may
occur at any point during the game, but usually happens near the final end.
When a game is completed by playing all ends, both teams also shake hands.
Hands are also shaken before the game, accompanied by saying "Good curling!"
to the opposing team. In the Winter Olympics, a team may concede after
finishing any end during a round-robin game, but can only concede after
finishing eight ends during the knockout stages. Unlike other sports, there
is no negative connotation associated with conceding in curling. In fact, in
many competitions, a team is required to concede when it is mathematically
impossible for them to tie a game. In more social situations, it is often
considered a breach of etiquette (or at least looked down upon) to keep
playing when the game is well out of reach.

Dispute resolution
Most decisions about rules are left to the skips, although in official
tournaments, decisions may be left to the officials. However, all scoring
disputes are handled by the third, or vice skip. No players other than the
third from each team should be in the house while score is being determined.
In tournament play, the most frequent circumstance in which a decision has
to be made by someone other than the third is the failure of the thirds to
agree on which stone is closest to the button. An independent official
(supervisor at Canadian and World championships) then measures the distances
using a specially designed device that pivots at the centre of the button.
When no independent officials are available, the thirds measure the


Diagram of the play area in curling, showing the four-foot zone, corner
guard, and centre line guard Strategy in an end of curling depends on the
circumstances. It depends on the team's skill, the opponent's skill, the
conditions of the ice, the score of the game, how many ends remain, and
whether the team has last-stone advantage (i.e. the "hammer"). A team may
play an end aggressively; that is, to have a lot of stones in play by
throwing mostly draws. This makes for an exciting game, but is very risky.
However, the reward can be very great. A team may also wish to play an end
defensively. This means throwing a lot of hits preventing a lot of stones in
play. This is generally considered to be less exciting, and is less risky. A
good drawing team will usually opt to play aggressively, while a good
hitting team will opt to play defensively. If a team does not have the
hammer in an end, it will opt to try and clog up the four-foot (the
four-foot wide area surrounding the centre line) so as to prevent the
opposing team from accessing the button. This can be done by throwing
"centre line" guards (rocks in front of the house touching the centre line).
These can be tapped into the house later or drawn around. If a team has
hammer, they want to keep this four-foot zone free of stone so that they
have access to the button area at all times. A team with the hammer may
throw up a "corner guard" as their first stone of an end to utilize the free
guard zone. A corner guard is a rock in front of the house that is not in
the four-foot zone. Corner guards are key for a team to score two points in
an end, because they can either draw around it later or hit and roll behind
it, making the opposing team's shot to remove it more difficult. Ideally,
the strategy in an end for a team with hammer is to score two points or
more. Scoring one point is often a wasted opportunity, as they will then
lose last-rock advantage for the next end. If a team can't score two points,
they will often attempt to "blank an end" by removing any leftover
opposition rocks and rolling out; or, if there are no opposition rocks, just
throwing the rock through the house so that no team scores any points, and
the team with the hammer can try again the next end to score two or more
with it. Generally, a team without hammer would want to either force the
team with hammer to only one point (so that they can get hammer back) or
"steal" the end by scoring one or more points of their own. Generally, the
larger the lead a team will have in a game, the more defensively they should
play. By hitting all of the opponent's stones, it removes opportunities for
their getting multiple points, therefore defending the lead. If the leading
team is quite comfortable, leaving their own stones in play can also be
dangerous. Guards can be drawn around by the other team, and stones in the
house can be tapped back (if they are in front of the tee line) or frozen
onto (if they are behind the tee line). A frozen stone is difficult to
remove, because it is "frozen" (in front of and touching) to the opponents
stone. At this point, a team will opt for "peels", meaning that the stones
they throw will be to not only hit their opposition stones, but to roll out
of play as well. Peels are hits that are thrown with the most amount of

Curling culture

The Fingask Curling Club, Perthshire, Scotland, in 1854 Competition teams
are normally named after the Skip, e.g. Team Martin for skip Kevin Martin.
Amateur league players can (and do) creatively name their teams, but when in
competition (a bonspiel) the official team will have a standard name. Top
curling championships are typically played by all-male or all-female teams.
The game is known as mixed curling when a team consists of two men and two
women. The Canadian Mixed Curling Championship is the highest-level mixed
curling competition, in the absence of world championship or Olympic mixed
curling events. Curling is played in many countries including Canada, United
Kingdom (especially Scotland), the United States, Norway, Sweden,
Switzerland, Denmark, Finland and Japan, all of which compete in the world
championships. Curling is particularly popular in Canada. Improvements in
ice making and changes in the rules to increase scoring and promote complex
strategy have increased the already high popularity of the sport in Canada,
and large television audiences watch annual curling telecasts, especially
the Scotties Tournament of Hearts (the national championship for women), the
Tim Hortons Brier (the national championship for men), and the women's and
men's world championships. Despite the Canadian province of Manitoba's small
population (ranked 5th of 10 Canadian provinces), Manitoban teams have won
the Brier more times than teams from any other province. The Tournament of
Hearts and the Brier are contested by provincial and territorial champions,
and the world championships by national champions. Curling is the provincial
sport of Saskatchewan, home of some of the most famous[neutrality is
disputed] curlers. Ernie Richardson and his family team dominated Canadian
and international curling during the late 1950s and early 1960s and are
generally considered to be the best male curlers of all time. Sandra
Schmirler led her team to the first ever gold medal in women's curling in
the 1998 Winter Olympics. When she died two years later from cancer, over
15,000 people attended her funeral, and it was broadcast on national

An amateur sport
While Canadian bonspiels (tournaments) offer cash prizes, there are no
full-time professional curlers. However, some curlers make a considerable
portion of their income from curling. Some stay-at-home mothers or
house-wives can claim curling as their profession. Still, curling survives
as a people's sport, returning to the Winter Olympics in 1998 with men's and
women's tournaments after not having been on the official Olympic program
since 1924 (that year's curling competition, for men only, was confirmed as
official by the IOC in 2006). Because accuracy, strategy, skill, and
experience are more valuable in curling than traditional sports virtues of
speed, stamina, and strength, most competitive curlers are older than their
counterparts in other sports. However, there are many young teams who turn
heads, and junior curling is quite popular, with national finals being
televised nationwide in Canada.

Good sportsmanship
More so than in many team sports, good sportsmanship is an integral part of
curling. For example, celebrating an error by the opposing team, fully
acceptable in some sports, is frowned upon in curling. Even at the highest
levels of play, players are expected to "call their own fouls", so to speak,
such as alerting the opposing skip if they "burned" a stone. It is also
traditional for the winning team to buy the losing team a drink after the
game. (This is an interesting contrast to the game of darts, where the loser
traditionally buys the winner a drink by way of congratulations.) This is
often referred to as the Spirit of Curling. As noted above in the game play
section, it is not uncommon for a team to concede a curling match after it
believes it no longer has a reasonable chance of winning but before all ends
are completed. Concession is an honourable act and does not carry the stigma
associated with quitting, and allows for more socializing. To concede a
match, members of the losing team remove their curling gloves (if they wear
them) and offer congratulatory handshakes to the winning team. Thanks and
wishes of future good luck are usually exchanged between the teams.

Additional information
The means of preparation one must take to be competitive in the sport of
curling go beyond physical fitness and above-average agility. The competitor
must not only be able to have an extensive understanding of classical
mechanics with an emphasis on friction, but must be able to apply this
knowledge to the playing field. This is a commonly overlooked fact. Curling
is an excellent example of the adage "easy to learn, but difficult to

By the numbers
The participants and commentators of curling use various measures to relate
information about the behaviour of ice and the individual rocks thrown. The
ice in the game may be fast or slow. If the ice is fast, a rock will travel
farther with a given amount of weight on it. The speed of the ice is
measured in seconds. One such measure known as "hog-to-tee" is the amount of
time that a rock will take from the moment that it crosses the hog line at
the throwing end to come to rest at the tee line at the playing end. If the
ice is slow, the rock will have to have more weight in order to reach the
tee line and would reach the tee line more quickly. Increasing the weight of
the rock will increase the momentum of the rock. Thus, the speed of the ice
(in seconds) is lower if the ice is slow than if the ice is fast, in which
case the rock would have to be thrown more slowly and would take longer to
get there. The time is longer because the stone takes longer to slow down
the keener the ice. Another measure of rock speed is known as "hog-to-hog"
and can also be measured in seconds. This time is the time the rock takes
from the moment it crosses the near hog line till it crosses the far hog
line. If this number is lower, the rock is moving faster, so again low
numbers mean more speed. The ice in a match will be somewhat consistent and
thus this measure of speed can also be used to measure how far down the ice
the rock will travel. Once it is determined that a rock taking (for example)
9 seconds to go from hog line to hog line will stop on the tee line, the
curler can know that if the hog-to-hog time is matched by a future stone,
that stone will likely stop at approximately the same location. As an
example, on keen ice, common times might be 16 seconds for guards, 14
seconds for draws, and 9 seconds for peel weight. A third measurement system
is from back line to hog line at the throwing end. This is used principally
by sweepers to get an initial sense of the weight of a stone. As an example,
on keen ice, common times might be 4.0 seconds for guards, 3.8 seconds for
draws, 3.2 for normal hit weight, and 2.9 seconds for peel weight.
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