Board Not Played

What is the correct treatment in a pairs competition of a board that cannot be played – neither pair involved is in any way at fault. It has been suggested that each pair should be awarded 50% but this seems to penalise a pair if they had otherwise achieved greater than 50% and vice versa. If there is a missing pair in a movement, for the pair sitting out, the boards are simply no included in the calculation of their score – should the “no play” board be treated in the same way?

Ian Hill- Monmouth.

3 Replies to “Board Not Played”

  1. Let’s see if we can resolve this issue:

    The first issue is whether to deem the board ‘not-played’. This is fairly rare and should only be designated as such if the Director alters the movement whereby for that round the board is no longer scheduled to be played (e.g. curtailing the movement due to time constraints).

    In all other situations the Director should award an ‘artificial score’ (Law 12) if a normal result cannot be obtained. The nature of this is based on who is at fault.

    If none of the four players at the table is at fault the Director awards 60%/60%. For example equipment failure (table collapses, time wasted in replacing a faulty Bridgemate, can’t play the board due to result being overheard from another table etc.). Moreover if either of these pairs achieves over 60% in the session (without that board), the 60% on that board is replaced with their session score (this is a matter of [bridge] Law and cannot be overturned by the Director/Scorer whether you think it’s fair or not).

    If both pairs are partially at fault the Director awards 50%/50% and that is the end of it – no further adjustment. This usually arises if say on a three board round, the players have been too slow in playing the first two boards and don’t have time to play the third board; or if players from both sides haven’t counted their cards and the Director can’t re-arrange the cards fairly without giving unauthorised information.

    If one of the pairs is fully to blame the adjustment wouldbe 40%/60%. Both these may later be adjusted (automatically by the scoring program), if the pairs achieve less than 40% or greater than 60% for the session. One of the more common reasons for this is if neither of the players of a pairing count their cards – one has 14 one has 12 – and the board has progressed to the state where the Director cannot get a reasonably valid score. Another is use of unauthorised information or a pair is damaged, due to opponents infringement whereby any normal result cannot be obtained.

    Of course there are hybrids and grey areas of the above depending how generous or otherwise the Director is feeling – 60%/50% (if a pair arrives late at the table and the Director feels that they were delayed at the previous table by a perpetually slow pair he may be generous and give them 50% (the pair on time obviously get 60%).

    The awkward situation arises if a pair can’t play a board if their scheduled opponents have previously wrongly played the board. That pair get 60% (and any adjustment if their session score is greater than 60%). Easily said, but there may be difficulties in actually entering into the scoring program for a stand-alone pair.

    Also, any of the above 40% situations can also be accompanied by a procedural penalty.

    Hope this clarifies

  2. Re.your comments:

    We are having discussions with our club’s top pair on how to treat boards when there is not time left to play them.

    We often have to tell some of our players that it is to late to play the last board of a set because of the amount of time they have taken in playing the earlier boards.

    I was under the impression, that if neither pair could be blamed for the slow play we should award an adjusted score of 50/50 and not mark the board as not played.

    The answer you gave via the WBU web page seems to suggest some doubt re the above.

    Any advice would be gratefully appreciated.

    David Davies -Monmouth

  3. A board should only be classed as ‘no-play’ if it due to a movement change. This usually affects more than one table, rather than specific pairs. Just because neither pair is at fault does not necessarily mean a no-play situation. To classify a board as ‘not played’ in other circumstances is actually illegal.

    What you need to ask yourself is should the players have been able to play the board as part of the intended movement. If say a table collapses, and it takes 5 minutes to find a replacement, or if a passer-bye spills a drink over the cards, the board could still potentially have been played as part of the intended movement, and it is not a ‘no-play’ situation.

    The usual ‘no-play’situation is if the Director curtails the last round of a movement (he has effectively altered the movement).

    If you do decide on a ‘no-play’ situation, the correct procedure is as you say – treat the board as if both pairs sat-out. In effect you award ‘no-score’ on the board. Both pairs’ actual score on the board is ‘0’, but also their potential maximum session score is reduced, so their percentage score over all the other boards will be unaffected.

    If both pairs are partially at fault – for example they have been slow in playing the previous boards in the round, then the Director shouldaward 50%/50%. If it is a “could have been played but no-fault of the players” situation, then you would award each pair 60% on the board. (If in awarding 60% to a pair, and they score greater than 60% over the remaining boards, the 60% is adjusted upwards to their session score. All reputable scoring software handles this automatically).
    If a pair is partially at fault (they leant on the creaky table too heavily) they should be awarded 50%, and if wholly at fault (they spilt the drink), they should be awarded 40%.

    What you find is that Directors tend to award ‘no-play’ situations more often than they should – this may appear to be the easy way out – but incorrect.


Leave a Reply