Terminology – what is a “null point”?

The concept of a null point is an important one, yet it is virtually unknow to English-speaking petanque players. So— What is a null point?

At any time during a mène (end, round) the game must be in one of two states.

  • One of the teams has the point.
  • Neither of the teams has the point.

In French, when one of the teams has the point, we say— “team X has the point” (l’équipe X a le point).

If neither team has the point, we say— “there is a null point” (il y a un point nul) or “the point is null” (le point est nul).

It is as simple as that. When neither team has the point, the point is null.

There are two situations in which the point is null. One is when the best boules of each team are equidistant from the jack, so that neither boule is closer than the other. The other is when there are no boules on the terrain. There are special rules for how to continue when the point is null— see our post on Which team throws next.

So, you ask— Why have I never heard the expression “null point”?

The answer is— Because the English version of the FIPJP rules does not contain the expression “null point”. It should, but it does not.

The last sentence of Article 16 of the French rules is this:

Si aucune boule ne se trouve plus en terrain autorisé à la suite d’un tir ou d’un appoint, il est fait application des dispositions de l’article 29 relatives au point nul.

This is the only place where the expression point nul occurs in the rules. A correct translation of this sentence is:

If no boule is left in the in-bounds area after a shooting throw or a pointing throw, apply the provisions of Article 29 concerning a null point.

In the English version of of the FIPJP rules, the sentence is:

If after shooting or pointing no boules are left on the designated playing area, the arrangements concerning a dead end as defined in article 29 apply.


An equidistant-boules situation. Neither team has the closest boule— the point is null. Note that the jack is not dead.

1 thought on “Terminology – what is a “null point”?

  1. I remember this from playing in LA.

    On Tue, Jan 4, 2022 at 7:37 PM All About Petanque wrote:

    > Jules Lenoir posted: “The concept of a null point is an important one, yet > it is virtually unknow to English-speaking petanque players. So— What is a > null point? At any time during a mène (end, round) the game must be in one > of two states. One of the teams has ” >

    Like

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