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Long Ago and Far Away

I just finished reading Sabrina's frustrating story about a lack of clarity regarding qualification details for events. And while reading her story and comments, I could not help but think of a story that realy was long ago and far away (Reno), where I experienced an event that angered me more than perhaps any other at a tournament.

We had a nice 6 man team for the Mixed BAM. We made the boards at our table (remember; I told you it was long ago!) and then left for another table, being E/W.  We knew the routine; you go to the new table, you check the same boards that you made at your table to make sure they are correct, then get your new boards and play.

But, when we arrived at the table where we were to start, there were no hand records nor boards on the table!  I knew our opponents well; they were an excellent partnership, though older and having health issues. One had a cane; the other a wheel chair. 

I asked my friends where the hand records and boards were, as we were supposed to make sure the boards were accurate.  "They've already been done," we were told. "

Hmmm," I thought to myself.  Perhaps part of my friends' ailments included an inability to make the boards.  The directors must have done them for them. 

So when we got our boards, we began to play. We played a few rounds, when suddenly, a director came over and pulled us away from the table.

Apparently, not only had no one checked the boards; the boards had not been made!  After a few rounds, someone recognized the boards from a different event - and called the director.

Since the boards had originated at our table, both pairs (and their teammates) were then told that they would have 2 full boards of penalty.

I was livid. I explained that I had asked about the hand records and the boards, and had been informed that they'd already been done.  Didn't matter.  "You were supposed to make the boards and you did not," I was told.

That was correct ... But at this point, I was not a terrifically experienced player - and I was 100% correct that there were no boards TO be made!  Shouldn't some responsibility have been placed upon the directors who moved these boards?  And shouldn't that perhaps mitigate the loss to us?

The answer was no and more no.

When the smoke cleared at the end of day #1, we'd missed qualifying by .5 of a board. Of course, I would still have been angry had we qualified, but with less carryover due to the two zeroes....  But this did seem so wrong to me.

I recount the story because I agree with some of the comments made on Sabrina's post - in particular these. I wish that the League could more often than not use straightforward language. I wish that when a director errs (as was in this case, when boards were not on the table), that this would indeed absolve players of some responsibility.

Yes, our game is very tough - not only the game itself, but the myriad of regulations, rules, guidelines, etc. - many of which come with strong penalties when not followed. I am a big believer in the rules; period. Yet, at the same time, the rules themselves should be as clear as is possible. And when someone else is also at fault, I do think that players ought not have to bear all the blame.

Please feel free to share your views on these topics; why I wrote this!

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