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More and more clubs and tournaments are using digital tools to mark the scores in games of 501, and auto-tracking devices like Scolia are more common. That makes it even more important to know how to calculate the scores fast to not lose focus and rhythm during the throws. We also know that online technical solutions can have technical problems with downtime as a result. Then it is good to know how to mark (chalk) a game of 501 with pen and paper.

During a training camp last weekend I noticed that we were quite a few players that wasn’t that confident marking the games. With fast throwing players it is important to be confident and know how to calculate fast to get the chalking right. That’s why I checked old requests about darts maths and how to chalk a game, and started to create a game for it. The more you practise the easier it will be. You will both remember combinations and learn how to calculate faster. Since chalking darts games only involves subtraction, the maths isn’t that hard once you know how to think.
Give it a few tries and you will see.

Game idea and how to use it

The idea is to sit down with a piece of paper and mark the scores as they are presented in the game, but you can of course practise doing the calculations and verify that you got it right. You can download the GoDartsPro -01 score sheet here and print it:

GoDartsPro 501 Score Sheet

Click to download

Set the different delays for the game to suit your speed to calculate or press any key to pause/play (or click the pause/play button top right).

How to calculate subtraction faster

Here are some well known help how to do the subtraction calculation easier.
Always start with the numbers in the end and subtract them one by one as in the examples below.

Start simple

If the score is close to 100, it can often be easier to first calculate using 100. Let’s say the score is 437 and the player score 95, and we normally have this calculation:
An easier way is to first calculate 437 – 100 = 337 and then we know that 100-95 = 5 to add, which gives you 337+5 = 342.

Many of us are also having extra difficulties when it comes to calculations requiring changing hundreds.
In cases like 284 – 87, it is often easier to think in two steps like this: 284 – 84 = 200 and then – 3 = 197 (minus 3 for the rest after taking 84 from 87). Or 142 – 49 in steps like 142 – 42 = 100 – 7 = 93 (minus 7 for the rest after taking 42 from 49).

Not all scores will be that easy to mark, so we need to figure out a way to calculate other scores as well.


Start with the numbers 7 and 3 in the end of both rows,
7 – 3 = 4, and then continue with
5 – 1 = 4.
57-13 = 44.

Smaller number vs bigger numbers 1

More complicated calculations need to be handled in a slightly different way.
If the number on the 2nd row (subtrahend)is bigger than the number above (minuend) we need think different.

1 1
3 5 4
8 7

Think of the smaller numbers on the first row with a 1 before them when you calculate,
like this: 14-7 = 7.
Then we need to remember that extra 1 when we continue with the next numbers.
15-8 = 7 and then do – 1 for the 1 we used before, = 6.
Since we have a new 1 (from 15-8) and we know that 87 is more than 54, we need to remove from the 3 as well = 2.
Which gives us the score 267.

Animation to explain the details

Here’s another example:

1 1
2 3 4
1 5 9

Calculate like we did in the previous example and do 14-9 = 5.
Then 13-5 = 8, minus the 1 we just used for the 14, 8-1 = 7.
Then we have 2-1 = 1, minus the 1 we used for the 13, 2-2 = 0.
Which gives us the score 75.

Smaller number vs bigger numbers 2

If the above didn’t make it any easier for you, there’s another way to think and calculate.
Start with the numbers in the end but do the opposite and take the number on the 2nd row (subtrahend)and do – with the number on the top row (minuend).
That gives as a number that we need to subtract from 10. We then need to add the 1 to the next number we calculate.

1 1
3 5 4
8 7

7 – 4 = 3 and 10-3 = 7. Remember we need to add the 1 for the next number 8 as 8+1 = 9:
9 – 5 = 4 and 10-4 = 6.
Since we know that 87 is larger than 54 we need to subtract 1 from the initial 3 as well = 2.
Which gives us the score 267..

Don’t get scared by all the calculations. If you practise calculating and counting like this for 10-20 minutes per day it will soon be a lot easier. But if you still can’t figure out how to calculate you’re left with hitting only 100’s down to a finish and make it easier for yourself and the chalker… 😉

Click here and try Chalk Master today!

This section will be updated regularly with support content and training articles.


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