In shocking news this morning, the ACBL announced that it was stripping the Vanderbilt title from the AMOILS team after Darren Wolpert was declared ineligible. Wolpert, who played with captain Leslie Amoils, was not a "paid up ACBL member" at the time of the event, which is a requirement for all team members according to the Vanderbilt’s Conditions of Contest, said the League. Wolpert’s ACBL membership expired in January 2012 and was not renewed prior to the NABC in March.
Bridge Winners investigative reporters uncovered the Vanderbilt Conditions of Contest, which had been locked in a filing cabinet for several months, and found the following damning paragraph:
ACBL Director Mike Roberts points disapprovingly at the Vanderbilt Conditions of Contest.
ACBL National Tournament Director Mike Roberts was sympathetic, but not willing to make an exception. "The rules are very simple and clear and apply to everyone, even to the winners." [Full disclosure: Darren Wolpert is the brother of Bridge Winners co-founder Gavin Wolpert.] "It’s a shame, but the rules are the rules." When asked why this was not discovered earlier, Roberts said, "We simply do not have the time nor the resources to check this sort of stuff for every player who enters an event like this. I mean, come on, it's right there on the first page of the CoC." Roberts then went on to quote the entire conditions of contest from memory.
The Vanderbilt title will not pass to the runner-up DIAMOND team; it will simply be vacated. “There is no mechanism for the title to transfer from one team to another after an irregularity like this is discovered,” said Roberts. “The Conditions are clear that to win the event you must win the final match. So there will be no winner of the 2012 Vanderbilt.”
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