Answered: <SG4> Pinning Count Termination from US Open Finals 3


Having watched the finals matches from the US Open, myself and a few others would like a clarification on pinning, and in particular when should a pinning count end. The example from the US Open comes from Finals Match 3.

Video for reference:

(Action referred to is the pinning of a blue robot by a red robot at about 2:30 on the video, in the far corner)

From the game manual:

Our understanding is:

  • Blue was pinned into that corner. Their movement is inhibited and they’re in contact with the foam tiles and the field perimeter. It’s difficult to see exactly when an attempt was made to escape, but at about 2:34 they move to follow the red robot as it backs off slightly so we assume that an attempt was made. Of course, it’s difficult to tell absolutely everything from the video.
  • Hence, a pinning count began (it looks like one of the referees in that corner plus a referee behind the red scoring zones started to count the pin).
  • Red backed away slightly, but it would not seem to be by at least 2 feet, hence the pinning count should have continued.
  • The criteria for ending a pinning count, “A Pin or Trap is officially over once the Pinning Robot has moved away and the Robots are separated by at least 2 feet (approximately one (1) foam tile)” was not met, and hence the pinning count should not have ended, regardless of if the blue robot was still attempting to escape, was touching the field perimeter etc.

In this case, we believe the pinning count should have continued (and it would have reached ~ 7 seconds), however it appears like it was terminated.

Our specific question is as follows:

Assuming that the criteria for beginning a pin was in fact met, should the pinning count have ended? To end a pin, must the pinning robot back away by at least 2 feet, or does the pinning count end as soon as the initial criteria for pinning (touching foam tiles plus another field element, attempting to escape etc) is no longer satisfied? For example, if a robot is being pinned and they’re trying to escape but by doing so their drive dies (hence no longer able to attempt to escape), is it still pinning?

If a pin can in fact end without the pinning and pinned robots being separated by 2 feet, we’d like that to be more widely known (hence this Q+A). We feel like maybe there’s a lot of misunderstanding around this pinning criteria among referees and teams, and it has a lot of potential to perhaps alter how teams behave around pinning (i.e. whether or not they back off by 2 feet).


Please remember that rulings by referees and Event Partners at an official event are considered final, and that the GDC cannot formally rule upon or overturn these decisions after the fact.

As you quoted, per <SG4>, a pin is officially over once the Pinning Robot has moved away and the Robots are separated by at least 2 feet.

This question is answered by the referee training video relating to pinning, starting at 4:00 into the video: