Overview of Mixed Doubles Curling
This video, courtesy of the World Curling Federation and USA Curling, gives an overview of the doubles game with the late Don Whitman and Canadian and World Champion Joan McCusker providing the audio commentary:
Rules Poster for Curling Clubs – Un-officiated Play
For your convenience, the Ontario Curling Council has drafted a mixed doubles rules poster that outlines the rules of doubles curling for general play.
Rules for Mixed Doubles Curling
In mixed doubles, each two-person team shall deliver five (5) stones per end. The player delivering the team’s first stone of the end must also deliver the team’s last stone of that end. The other team member shall deliver the team’s second, third and fourth stones for that end. The player delivering the first stone can change from end to end.
In October, 2015, the World Curling Federation passed new rules for Mixed Doubles curling, which are included in the main Rules of Curling document. The major changes to the rules of mixed doubles have been (1) relaxing the requirements for specific positions of each player during play, and (2) the precise positions of the two stones placed prior to the beginning of each end. Curling Canada Rules for Mixed Doubles are contained within the Rules for General Play.
Modified Free Guard Zone
No stone in play, including the “positioned” stones and those in the house, can be moved to an out-of-play position prior to the delivery of the fourth stone of an end (the fourth delivered stone is the first stone that can remove any stone from play). If there is a violation, the delivered stone shall be removed from play, and any displaced stone(s) shall be replaced to their original position by the non-offending team.
Positioning of Stationary Stones
The major difference between regular curling and mixed doubles curling is the positioning of two stones – one per team – that are set before the beginning of each end. These “positioned” stones that are placed before the beginning of each end are also eligible to be counted in the scoring.
In mixed doubles, the team with the ‘hammer’, or last stone advantage, has a choice with where to place the stationary stones before an end of play begins. In a typical end of play in mixed doubles, the two stationary stones are placed at the far end of the sheet, bisecting the sheet’s centre line, as follows:
Both graphic images used in this article are taken from the October 2018 WCF Rules of Curling.
Which team gets to decide upon which position is also specified in the rules; nominally, the team that failed to score in the previous end has the choice of whether to place their stone in position A or position B. However, the team whose stone is placed in Position A must deliver the first stone of the end, whereas the team whose stationary stone lies at position B will have the hammer.
The significant changes here in the rules are (1) the multiple choices for the “A” position, for the stone outside the rings, and (2) Position B has the stone in the rings now placed in the back-four foot, rather than directly behind the tee line. The rules changes for (1) permit the players to adjust the position of the centre guard to match ice conditions, while change (2) permits additional offense by permitting more than one stone to be “frozen” onto the stone in Position “B”. Note that once a decision has been made for the placement for Position “A” in the first end, that position must be utilized for the entire game.
Alternate Positions for Placed Stones – the Power Play
Another major rule change in Mixed Doubles is the adoption of the “Power Play”, which alters the positions of the two stationary stones. Once per game, the team who has the choice of stone position may elect to call a “Power Play”, whereupon the initial placement of the two stones is to the side of the sheet, as follows:
Both “A” and “B” stones must be on the same side of the sheet, but either side of the sheet can be used for a “Power Play”. As such, the idea behind a “Power Play” is to permit the team with hammer to score two or more points in an end by leaving the middle of the sheet clear of stones. The “Power Play” has been adopted by all national bodies including Curling Canada after having been experimented with over the past several seasons with teams from the World Curling Tour. A “Power Play” cannot be used in an extra end.