2017 Laws: Guidelines for the TD

(posted 3-Feb-2019)

Fouled Boards

"The Greyville" 2018 tournament in Durban was directed by me. About halfway during the second session we found an error - the cards of a board were made up incorrectly as N/S cards were in E/W and vice versa. Some five rounds have been played already - what to do now?! That board in the other sections was fine.

Fortunately Law 87 points out to us what to do -

A. Definition
A board is considered to be fouled if the Director determines that a card (or more than one) was displaced in the board, or if he determines that the dealer or vulnerability differed between copies of the same board, and the contestants who should have had a score comparison did not play the board in identical form for such reason.
B. Pairs and Individual Scoring
In scoring a fouled board the Director determines as closely as possible which scores were obtained on the board in its correct form and which in the changed form(s). He divides the scores on that basis into groups and rates each group separately as provided in the regulations for the tournament.

Using the program Scorebridge, this is easily done by using the "split score" method, where those boards played with the erroneous cards are matchpointed as a separate group. Organisers should refrain from assigning averages in a hurry. The emphasis in the new laws is to try and obtain a result as fair as is possible. This argument also explains the various revisions in the 2017 laws to situations like insufficient bids, bid out of rotation, etc. where the "comparable calls" concept applies.

Unplayable Boards

There are many situations where a board cannot be played. These include: Person having to leave halfway in the round due to illness; adjacent table spoke too loudly and the makeable contract was known before-hand; expired time in the round and the board could not be played; boards were played out of sequence - board 12 played and scored as board 11 in the bridgemate and the other results for board 11 were viewed; defective board - where East had 9 cards only and the board could not be fixed in time; etc.

The first thing a TD mjust do is to ascertain degree of fault. In the situation where a player leaves due to illness, the opponents in the ensuing rounds are not at fault whatsoever and should receive AVE+ (60%) or their average if greater. Law 12C2 covers this nicely -

2. (a) When owing to an irregularity no result can be obtained [see also C1(d)] the Director awards an artificial adjusted score according to responsibility for the irregularity: average minus (at most 40% of the available matchpoints in pairs) to a contestant directly at fault, average (50% in pairs) to a contestant only partly at fault, and average plus (at least 60% in pairs) to a contestant in no way at fault.
(b) When the Director chooses to award an artificial adjusted score of average plus or average minus at IMP play, that score is plus 3 IMPs or minus 3 IMPs respectively. Subject to approval by the Regulating Authority, this may be varied by the Tournament Organizer as provided for by Laws 78D, 86B3 and (d) hereunder.
(c) The foregoing is modified for a non-offending contestant that obtains a session score exceeding 60% of the available matchpoints or for an offending contestant that obtains a session score that is less than 40% of the available matchpoints (or the equivalent in IMPs). Such contestants are awarded the percentage obtained (or the equivalent in IMPs) on the other boards of that session.

Sitting the wrong way in a Pairs Contest

This happens mostly when playing a Howell movement or in a "switch round" in a Mitchell movement. I give a warning to first-offenders but penalise a quarter-top for a repeat offense, as that pair must pay more attention. Here are the scenarios that can occur -

  1. It is discovered after the round is over that pairs 3 and 9 sat the wrong way. TD: simply arrow-switch the results. Score them as 9 v/s 3.
  2. It is discovered during the round, i.e. first board played as 3 v/s 9 when the TD was called. TD: Ask them to sit correctly for the following board(s) and simply arrow-switch the first board as it was played 3 v/s 9 instead of 9 v/s 3 as per the bridgemate. The correction must be done on the computer and not on the bridgemate - put an "A" in the first column - or remove the A if this is an arrow-switch round - then change the pair numbers (Scorebridge).
  3. It is discovered early but one player at least has already seen his cards. TD: Let them play the first board as they are sitting. Arrow-switch result as above.

On no account can Averages be assigned. Score the board to correspond their compass positions how they sat.

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