Advance Byes

Author: Larry Eldridge

December 1998

I.                    Advance bye taking for events with more than four rounds.

A.            Obviously, after the fiasco of the Stan Crowe, we have to change our bye policy. Let's assess the situation:

1.             One school of thought says there should be no such thing as a half-point bye. And there is some validity to this argument. They've become common, though, even in weekend tournaments. And for a club like ours, they are probably a "necessary evil." They are not a good thing, though, so we have to limit their use to what they are intended for -- times when a person legitimately can't make it.

2.             The fairest way to set it up is a rule that says you have to request ANY half-point bye before the tournament starts. That's the way they do it in weekend tournaments. But this is probably a bit harsh for a weeknight club, since a lot of unforeseen things can happen during four, five, or six weeks to force a player to skip a round. So we modify it as follows:.

B.            Any bye request for the last half of a tournament must be made at least two weeks in advance. In other words, take the rule we already have for the last round, and expand it to include other late rounds. The "last half" of a tournament would mean Rounds 3 and 4 of a four-rounder, Rounds 4, 5, and 6 of a six-rounder, and, given our experience in the Stan Crowe, Rounds 3, 4, and 5 of a five rounder  (although personally I would hope we didn't have any five-rounders!).       This policy would prevent the "strategic byes" and manipulation we saw in the Stan Crowe. But it also might make it tough for ordinary members who, say, have something come up suddenly in Round 3 and can't make it, and who have to take a zero. So we modify the rule again:

C.            The "two weeks in advance" rule applies only to players in or tied for the lead, or within a half-point of the lead (these are the only players who would conceivably take a bye for strategic reasons). Anyone else can still take legitimate half-point byes under the current rules.

D.            I think these changes and modifications would create a policy that would solve all the problems while still permitting flexibility in scheduling for all members. On very rare occasions, a master fighting for the lead might have a truly legitimate last-minute reason for taking a bye and would have to take zero points instead of a half. That would be unfortunate, but also very unlikely to happen.