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Late Start in USA - Spain Match

Edit: The following represents my personal views. I am speaking in no official capacity as a member of the US team nor a member of the USBF.

Edit: The penalty was reduced at the discretion of the WBF Championship Committee.

 

You may have noticed that the SPAIN-USA match did not start on time on VG. Greco-Hampson started bidding the first deal but stopped a few bids into the auction. Bathurst-Lall never started the first board.

This is because the Spanish team (or some segment of it, they never identified exactly who was leveling the accusation) refused to sit against Bathurst-Lall, alleging that they have a concealed partnership agreement never to pass in third seat when nonvulnerable. They claim to have looked at 500 deals and Bathurst-Lall never passed in third seat, NV. They requested that we change the lineup and refused to play until we did.

We refused, of course, and SPAIN eventually decided to play, 33 minutes after the session start time. Some facts/opinions:

  • There is no merit to this accusation.
  • It was utterly inappropriate to make such an accusation at that time and in that form.
  • Our lineup was submitted within 30 minutes after the session concluded last night (about 9pm), so SPAIN had around 20 hours before the session to make any complaints about our lineup through the appropriate channels.
  • Our players were in the vicinity of the playing area 30 minutes before the session started. SPAIN did not address any of us (nor the directors) at any point before game time.
  • Failing to sit for 33 minutes results in a 32-IMP penalty to SPAIN. Edit: This penalty was confirmed by a director at the time, but it was reduced to 10 IMPs as noted above.
  • We will still play 32 boards over the last two segments.
  • We must begin with board 7 because we cannot play deals that were opened on a VG table (1-6). We will play six replacement boards after concluding 7-16.
  • There may be a meeting of the Championship Committee (or some committee) to make a definitive ruling.
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