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Are Rules Meant to be Broken?

San Diego is a super spot for a nationals! Gorgeous weather, lovely host hotel, well lit playing areas and lots of spots to dine.  As always, the opportunity to play against the best of the best in the world is a treat, too – even though sometimes it means having your head handed to you.

Yet despite the many pluses, two factors have been an irritant. Both deal with ACBL regulations and laws that are essentially ignored.

The first is convention cards. As we all know, players are supposed to have two identically filled out cc’s on the table.  If not, purportedly a pair must play the standard American yellow card. 

How often is this enforced?  Like – never.  See this discussion from two years ago:  http://bridgewinners.com/article/view/convention-card-reminder-enforced-at-nabcs-does-it-matter-to-you/

My guesstimate from the Open B-A-M was that approximately 15% of players had 2 cc’s with them. Perhaps another 15-20% had one card filled out.  (A few were WBF cards...)  The rest?  Nada.

I confess to not calling a director about this. A year ago, I called a director when a foreign pair playing a quite complicated and unusual system didn’t have one.  They were told to “try to get one some time during the session.”  Uh huh.  Honestly, I felt as if calling would serve no purpose. Were the directors really going to tell our mostly world class opponents that they had to play the standard yellow card?  I think not.  And what was I to do?  Call a director over perhaps close to 7 times per session when the opps with no cc showed up?  I folded.

My second beef is with the woeful attitude toward slow play. Last night, I saw a pair begin a new round with about 7 minutes on the clock. They were about to start their 2nd hand when the round was called.  Another session, my partner and I started almost every round with at most 11 minutes on the clock. The director was indeed called to this table due to the excessive slow play. But – it kept on happening.  Moreover, when I complained a few times to directors, I myself was berated!  “We already know about this,” I was told by an exasperated director.

As I’m sure people know from my other posts, if enough people believe that rules are bad, then change them.  In these cases, however, I think that the rules are reasonable. It is superior to be able to look at a cc to find out the meaning of bids rather than having to ask an opponent.  It is unfair to players who are able to complete their allotted boards in time to be forced to play many rounds with 3-7 minutes fewer than most of the rest of the field.

But unless there are some repercussions for pairs who fail to follow these regulations, guilty parties will continue to ignore them.

Am I a b*&chy whacko for being annoyed by this and thinking it’s wrong?  Or – do others share my concerns?

If lots of people are ignoring these rules, then live with it.
They are good rules, but too tough for them to be enforced.
The rules need to be altered a bit, and then enforced.
The rules are reasonable. If players are not abiding by them, then there should be consequences. Only way to get people to change!

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