Civil Service v BT 'B'

At the agreed match time (18:30) only 2 CS players were present; one called in realising the his error, the fourth was reminded. They made reasonable estimates of their arrival time and expressed their journeys. Play started at 19:40 and was restricted to 16 deals in two eights, it finished at 21:55, CS 43 IMPs BT 40 IMPs. Before play the captains on the day agreed to levy the CS team according to the EBU general conditions of contest; 3 IMPs per board removed, the match reduced by 2 boards per completed quarter-hour.

The LBHCBA has no rules as such on late arrival or late cancellation. It has an established precedent that, in the League, there are no beneficial forfeitures and cancellations are to be replayed without penalty. No adjustments are made except at season end only in the case of trophies, promotion and relegation. There is a guideline that where costs have been incurred (room booking, refreshments, travel etc.) these should be reimbursed and that the defaulting party should offer concessions of venue etc. in the rearrangement.

I think it would be fair to say that the matter exercised us considerably; we were all keen to resolve the instance in question and conscious that precedent or stricture might arise from any decision made. With that in mind, we would like to emphasis the following principles of the LBHCBA League.

  1. It is competitive but friendly forum for bridge.
  2. The matter of adjustment of League matches is solely the responsibility for the committee.
  3. All matches should start by 19:00. A captain cannot be compelled to start a match half an hour later than the agreed start time or 19:00 (whichever is the earlier).

To enlarge upon the above, it is the intention behind (1) that participants recognise the claims on themselves and their opponents and the vagaries of travel in London and must be tolerant of organisational failings. It is unfair to the other teams in a division to award points beneficially. It is this principle that has established the 'no forfeits' rule and on-the-night penalties must be treated in the same vein and this is the motivation for (2).

Moreover, the committee are strongly opposed to players invoking 'rules' themselves. This prevails over disputes at the table - ask for a ruling - and for irregularities in match procedure (e.g. when teams sit the same way for a stanza [or two] and the case in question). We recognise that there are pressures on late starts that prejudice the waiting team - boredom, irritation, anxiety about a late finish - and for that reason we establish (3). A shortened match may be considered (and two boards removed per quarter hour is a reasonable guide) but teams should endeavour to play the full 24, perhaps in two unequal sessions, but in any case at least sixteen.

How does this leave CS v BT?

We are aware that everyone present was trying to do the best in the circumstances and that was little recourse to advice from the LBH or anyone else. The captains entered in to a private arrangement that should be acknowledged in some respect even though it runs contrary to the League's ethos. Our decision is therefore:

  1. The match be scored at 6-6 (not using the reduced IMP scales for a 16 board match)
  2. Allow the match to be replayed at the choice of BT. If they choose to exercise this option and the match is not played by end of season, then CS will be understood to be the only side at fault and thus may be levied VPs in questions of divisional victory or relegation.