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ACBL Cell Phone Policies & Penalties

In 2017, except for a few dinosaurs like myself, everyone has a cell or smart phone which is an integral part of their life. Indeed, for many, the most important single item in their existence!

ACBL policies have ranged from wide-open to no electronic devices allowed in the room; briefly applied only for NABC+ events; now applies to all events but you can keep your toys as long as they remain invisible and turned off.

My camera (no Bluetooth capabilities) and all medical devices such as hearing aids are exempt. My new hearing aid comes with a tiny remote control. Discreetly touch it and various messages will be heard in my ears only. The nefarious among us can find multiple opportunities for less than ethical behaviour.

Cell phone violation penalties are draconian and supposed to be automatic with no discretion allowed from the Tournament Directors. Personally I think it is ridiculous and definitely not uniformly enforced. Different rules for different folks.

On Day 2 of the LM Pairs a friend of mine realized his phone was not turned off. He discreetly removed it and under the table, turned it off. Not lucky! He was seated too close to an ACBL Tournament Director who saw him and penalized the pair 77  matchpoints (one board).

In a Spingold match I was told that a Grand Life Master's cell phone went off. No one reported it and there was no penalty. The team went on to win the match by one imp.

A policy that is unrealistic and only sporadically enforced (depending on who the TD is and who the player is) is a bad policy. 

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