Author: Larry Eldridge
Advance bye taking for events with more than four rounds.
Obviously, after the fiasco of the Stan Crowe, we have to
change our bye policy. Let's assess the situation:
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.
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:.
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:
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.
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.