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Dr Ian Plummer

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The "Super Advanced" Rules

For the 2013-14 seasons the Croquet Association modified the application of the "Super Advanced" Rules under its Tournament Regulations (Section L3). This applies within the domain of the CA, but it is up to other croquet associations as to whether they embrace it.

The Super Advanced Rules incorporate the "Three Lift Variation" (formerly 'Tournament Variation One', TV1) and the "Restricted Opening" (formerly TV2). The combination of these is known as TV3; TV3 is now the only permitted variation. TV1 and TV2 as separate options have been withdrawn. Hence if a match is played under Super Advanced Rules then both the Restricted Opening and Three Lift Variation apply to that match.

Three Lift Variation

The aim of the 'Lift, Contact or Free Placement' rule is to discourage the 'go to 4-back, triple peel, win' game where the opponent may only get two strokes where there is something worthwhile hitting. It introduces a further lift hoop (hoop 4) and a new ‘lift to anywhere’ (a "free placement")

As there are now 3 forms of 'lift' we have to be careful with nomenclature:

  • Lift - conventional advanced lift where the ball is played from baulk.
  • Free placement - an advanced 'lift' where the ball is played from any unoccupied position on the court including within the yard lines.
  • Wiring lift - Law 13 lift is not included in this discussion, hence 'lift' is used to denote an advanced lift.

The general playing of Lift, Contact or Free Placement is an extension of the familiar Advanced Rules:

  • Hoops 4, 1-back and 4-back are 'lift hoops'.
  • Each time you run a lift hoop the opponent has the option of lifting either of their balls to baulk.
  • If in a turn, your forward ball runs two lift hoops ahead of your backward ball, then your opponent can start their next turn with a contact, lift to baulk or play their balls from where they lie.
  • If a striker pegs out any ball they are ineligible to any advanced lift, free placement or contact.

The new twists are:

  • If the striker runs hoops 4, 1-back and 4-back in a turn before their partner ball runs hoop 4, then they give away a free placement, contact or lift.
  • If anyone pegs out any ball no one can have a free placement.


Jonathan Kirby gives the following algorithm:

    1. You receive a lift if your opponent runs any lift hoop (in the previous turn)

    2. You receive a contact if your opponent runs two lift hoops after the hoop that his partner was for at the start of his turn

    3. You receive a free placement if your opponent runs three lift hoops after the hoop that his partner was for at the start of his turn.


    4. If you have pegged out any ball you are no-longer entitled to receive any advanced lifts, contacts, or free placements (but you still concede lifts and contacts)

    5. If any ball has been pegged out (by either player) then no one can receive a free placement.

For normal advanced rules, 1,2, and 4 apply.

Restricted Opening

The Restricted Opening means that the first ball of a game must be struck to cross the boundary of the court, hit a hoop or the peg, or run the first hoop.

The following table hopefully covers the new consequences of running various combinations of hoops

Striker in single turn runs ...

Partner ball has not previously run

Opponent in next turn benefits from


4 OR
1-back OR  


Baulk lift

36f1, 36a

4 + 1-back


Contact or baulk lift


1-back + 4-back


Contact or baulk lift


4 + 1-back + 4-back


Contact or baulk lift or free placement


any ball pegged out


Does not give or receive a free placement for the rest of the game


Here is an annotated copy of the new part of the 2017 Tournament Regulations:

Unless specified otherwise in the conditions for any tournament, this variation applies if both players (or sides for doubles) agree to its use.

Law 36 is modified by inserting clauses (f) and (g):

    1. A lift as specified in Law 36(a) [optional lift and contact] is also available if the striker's ball of the preceding turn scored hoop 4 for itself in that turn.
    2. A lift or contact as specified in Law 36(b) [baulk lifts] is also available if the striker's ball of the preceding turn scored both hoops 4 and 1-back for itself in that turn and its partner ball had not scored hoop 4 before that turn.
    3. If the striker's ball of the preceding turn scored hoops 4 and 4-back for itself in that turn and its partner ball had not scored hoop 4 before that turn, the striker may start his turn:
      1. as in Laws 36(a)(1) [from where it lies], 36(a)(2) [baulk lift] or 36(b)(2) [contact]; or
      2. subject to (4), by lifting either ball of his side that can lawfully be played, even if it is in contact with one or more balls, and playing it from any unoccupied position on the court (including a position within the yard-line area). This is known as a free placement.
    4. Neither player is entitled to a free placement if any ball has been pegged out in the game.
    5. Law 36(e) [change of decision] and other Laws applicable to Law 36 (e.g. Laws 6(c)(2)(A) [states of a ball], 8(b) [the start of the game], 9(b)(1)[election of striker's ball], 14(d)(4)(B)[hoop point], 27(g) [failing to play a ball from baulk] and Appendices 5 and 6, but not Laws 27(f) [failing to take croquet when required to do so] or 45 [shortened games]) also apply to this variation, with the addition of a free placement as one of the striker's options when available.
    If, in the first stroke of the game, the striker's ball does not:
    1. leave the court;
    2. hit or pass through a hoop; or
    3. hit the peg
    then the adversary may, before the first stroke of the second turn, elect either:
    1. to leave the ball where it lies; or
    2. to have the ball placed on any point on either baulk-line as its owner chooses.

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Updated 22.ii.17
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