Mandatory Tenpin Bowling Rules
- A game of tenpins consists of ten frames. A player delivers two balls in each of the first nine frames unless a strike is scored. In the tenth frame, a player delivers three balls if a strike or spare is scored. Every frame must be completed by each player bowling in regular order.
- Except when a strike is scored, the number of pins knocked down by the player's first delivery is to be marked in the small square in the upper left-hand corner of that frame, and the number of pins knocked down by the player's second delivery is to be marked in the upper right-hand corner. If none of the standing pins are knocked down by the second de- livery in the frame, the score sheet shall be marked with a (-). The count for the two deliveries in the frame shall be recorded immediately.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
X X X 72 (8)/ F9 X 7/ 9- XX8
30 57 76 85 95 104 124 143 152 180
- A strike is made when a full setup of pins is knocked down with the first delivery in a frame. It is marked by an (X) in the small square in the upper left-hand corner of the frame where it was made. The count for one strike is 10 plus the number of pins knocked down on the player's next two deliveries.
- Two consecutive strikes is a double. The count for the first strike is 20 plus the number of pins knocked down with the first delivery following the second strike.
- Three successive strikes is a triple. The count for the first strike is 30. To bowl the maxi- mum score of 300, the player must bowl 12 strikes in succession.
- A spare is scored when pins left standing after the first delivery are knocked down with the
second delivery in that frame. It is marked by a (/) in the small square in the upper right-hand corner of the frame. The count for a spare is 10 plus the number of pins knocked down by the player’s next delivery.
- When a player fails to bowl down all ten pins after two deliveries in a frame, unless the pins left standing after the first delivery constitute a split, it is called an open frame.
- A split (normally marked with an O around the number of pins) is a setup of pins left, standing after the first delivery, provided the head pin is down and:
a) At least one pin is down between two or more standing pins; i.e. 7-9 or 3-10
b) At least one pin is down immediately ahead of two or more standing pins; 5-6
Style of play
- Dual lane style
a) A game shall be played on two lanes (a pair) immediately adjoining each other.
b) Members of competing teams, trios, doubles and individual entrants shall successively and in regular order bowl one frame on one lane, and for the next frame alternate and use the other lane until five frames are bowled on each lane of the pair.
Single lane style
a) A game shall be played on one lane.
b) Members of competing teams, trios, doubles and individual entrants shall successively and in regular order bowl one frame on one lane until 10 frames are bowled on the lane.
- The rules for each specific tournament shall specify which style of play that applies.
Legal pin fall
- A legal delivery is made when the ball leaves the player's possession and crossed the foul line into playing territory.
- Every delivery counts unless a dead ball is declared.
- A delivery must be made entirely by manual means.
- No device may be incorporated in or affixed to the ball that detaches on delivery or is a moving part during delivery.
- A player may use special equipment to aid in grasping and delivering the ball if it is in place of a hand or major portion thereof lost by amputation or otherwise.
- Pins following a legal delivery - to be credited to a player, to be termed dead wood and to be removed before the next delivery - shall include
a) Pins knocked down or off the pin deck by the ball or another pin
b) Pins knocked down or off the pin deck by a pin rebounding from a side partition or rear cushion
c) Pins knocked down or off the pin deck by a pin rebounding from the sweep bar when it is at rest on the pin deck before sweeping dead wood from the pin deck
d) Pins that lean and touch the kickback or side partition
Illegal pin fall
- When any of the following occur the delivery counts but the resulting pin fall does not
a) A ball leaves the lane before reaching the pins
b) A ball rebounds from the rear cushion
c) A pin rebounds after coming in contact with the body, arms or legs of a human pin setter
d) A pin is touched by mechanical pin setting equipment
e) Any pin knocked down when dead wood is being removed
f) Any pin knocked down by a human pinsetter
g) The player commits a foul
h) A delivery is made with dead wood on the lane or in the gutter and the ball contacts such dead wood before leaving the lane surface
- If illegal pin fall occurs and the player is entitled to additional deliveries in the frame, the pin or pins illegally knocked down must be re-spotted where they originally stood.
Other pin actions
- When bowling at a full setup or to make a spare, if it is discovered immediately after the delivery that one or more pins are set improperly, but not missing, the delivery and result-
ing pin fall counts. It is each player's responsibility to determine if a setup is correct. The player shall insist that any pin or pins incorrectly set be re-spotted before delivering the ball, otherwise the setup is deemed to be acceptable.
- No change can be made in the position of any pins left standing after a delivery. That is, pins that are moved or misplaced by a mechanical pinsetter shall remain in the moved or misplaced position and shall not be corrected manually.
- Pins that rebound and stand on the lane must be counted as standing pins.
- No pins may be conceded and only those actually knocked down or moved entirely off the playing surface of the lane as a result of a legal delivery may be counted.
- Should a pin be broken or otherwise badly damaged during the game, it shall be replaced at once by another as nearly uniform in weight and condition with the set in use. The tournament officials shall determine whether pins shall be replaced.
- A ball shall be declared dead if any of the following occur
a) After a delivery (and before the next delivery on the same lane), attention is immediately called to the fact that one or more pins were missing from the setup
b) A human pinsetter interferes with any standing pin before the ball reaches the pins
c) A human pinsetter removes or interferes with any downed pin before it stops rolling
d) A player bowls on the wrong lane or out of turn. Or one player from each team on the pair of lanes bowls on the wrong lane
e) A player is physically interfered with by another player, spectator or moving object or by the pinsetter as the ball is being delivered and before delivery is completed. In such case, the player has the option to accept the resulting pin fall or have a dead ball declared
f) Any pin is moved or knocked down as a player delivers the ball but before the ball reaches the pins
g) A delivered ball comes in contact with a foreign obstacle
- When a dead ball is called, the delivery does not count. The pins standing when the dead ball occurred must be re-spotted and the player allowed re-bowling the delivery.
Bowling on wrong lane
- A dead ball shall be called and the player or players required re-bowling on the correct lane when one player bowls on the wrong lane.
- A dead ball shall be called and the player or players required re-bowling on the correct lane when one player from each team on the pair of lanes bowls on the wrong lane.
- If more than one player on the same team bowls on the wrong lane in turn, that game will be completed without adjustment. Any succeeding game must be started on the correctly scheduled lane.
- A foul occurs when a part of the player’s person encroaches on or goes beyond the foul line and touches any part of the lane, equipment or building during or after a delivery.
- A ball is in play after a delivery until the same or another player is on the approach in position to make a succeeding delivery.
- When a player deliberately fouls to benefit by the calling of a foul, the player shall be credited with zero pin fall for that delivery and not allowed further deliveries in that frame.
- When a foul recorded the delivery counts but the player is not credited with any pins knocked down by that delivery. Pins knocked down by the ball when the foul occurred must be re-spotted if the player who fouled is entitled to additional deliveries in the frame.
- A foul shall be declared and recorded if the automatic foul detecting device or foul judge fails to call a foul that is apparent to
a) Both team captains or one or more of the opposing players
b) The official score keepers
c) A tournament official
- No appeal shall be allowed when a foul is called unless
a) It is proved that the automatic device is not operating properly
b) There is preponderance of evidence the player did not foul
- A provisional ball or frame shall be bowled by a player when a protest involving a foul, legal pin fall or a dead ball is made and cannot be resolved by the tournament officials.
- When a dispute occurs on a player's first delivery in any frame, or on the second delivery in the tenth frame after a strike on the first delivery
a) If the dispute is over whether the player fouled, the player shall complete the frame and then bowl one provisional ball at a full setup of pins
b) If the dispute involves alleged illegal pin fall, the player shall complete the frame and then bowl one provisional ball at the setup that would have remained standing had the disputed pin(s) not fallen
c) If the dispute is over whether a dead ball should have been declared, the player shall complete the frame and then bowl a complete provisional frame.
- When a dispute occurs on a spare attempt, or on the third delivery in the tenth frame, no provisional ball is necessary unless the dispute is over whether a dead ball should have been declared. In that case a provisional ball shall be bowled at the same setup, which was standing when the disputed ball was bowled.
Bowling ball, altering surface
- For events with bowling ball restrictions (e.g. 6-ball limited events) bowling ball surface adjustments by hand are acceptable between games provided they are done in the designated area and that the adjustment procedure does not delay the bowler's next turn. Any use of chemicals must be on the „Acceptable list" as listed on WTBA website; www.worldtenpinbowling.com. A full, up to date list of these products is available at WTBA website includes anything listed in the "Acceptable during certified competition" sections. It is not allowed to use anything listed in the "Products Containing Solids or Abrasives" section nor anything listed in the "Not acceptable at any time" sections. The ball must be wiped clean after any adjustments.
- Altering the surface of the bowling ball, besides what is mentioned in 2.10.1, is allowed in a designated area only during the official practice session, during the practice session immediately preceding a competition round, and between competition rounds.
- Altering the surface of the bowling ball during a game is not allowed.
If the surface is adjusted during a game the penalty is zero pin fall in that game
Approaches must not be defaced
- The application of any foreign substance on any part of the approach that detracts from the possibility of other players having normal conditions is prohibited.
- This includes, but is not limited to, such substances as talcum powder, pumice and resin on shoes; also soft rubber soles or heels that rub off on the approach are prohibited.
Errors in scoring
- Errors in scoring or errors in calculation must be corrected by a responsible tournament official immediately upon discovery of such error. Questionable errors shall be decided upon by the designated official.
- The time limit for filing protests on scoring errors shall be one hour from the end of the event or block of games for each day of tournament, but must be before the prize presentation or the commencement of the next round (in an elimination event), whichever is the sooner.
- Each protest under this rule must be specific in itself and this rule shall not be construed to cover a previous or similar violation.
Additional tournament information
- A tournament may have a rule limiting the number of re-racks a player may have in a game and/or block or series.
- A tournament may have a rule to cover tardy players.
- A tournament may have a rule addressing unfair tactics by a player.
- The tournament management should make provision for enforcement and penalty, if any, for violations.
Be ready when it’s your turn to bowl.
Always yield the bowlers on your immediate left and right if they are ready to bowl.
Roll the ball, don’t loft it. Its bad bowling, it hurts the lane – and it’s rude.
Wait until the pin setting equipment has come to a stop before you bowl. Folks who try to time their shot so that it hits the pins a nanosecond after the machine goes up are asking for a hefty damages suit.
If you accidentally step over the foul line and get “lane dressing” on your shoes, wipe them off immediately before bowling again.
Try to keep your post-strike celebrations physical rather than verbal. A little fist pumping and body English is excepted, but loud exclamations may startle a nearby bowler.
Be a good loser.
Be a good winner.
Note: These rules are mandatory and must be followed while playing Tenpin Bowling.