Advance Byes Discussion Summary

Author: Mark Kaprielian

January 2002

I.                    Purpose

The document contains some of the follow up discussion held by the board after the publication of the position paper titled   Advance_Byes_2001-11_by_Mark_Kaprielian.doc

II.                  Major Discussion Snippets

A.            11-30-01 email from Jim Krycka

1.             A revised bye policy should strive to

a)             be simple -- ie, easy to understand and implement

b)             promote good pairings

c)             encourage participation by allowing one to revoke a bye request

d)             avoid manipulation of prize money (either by avoiding a particular pairing or by not playing a final round when a point ahead of the field)

2.             I propose that we allow half-point byes to be taken at any time for pairing purposes and secondly, that a player be allowed to revoke a previously requested bye (eg, a business trip gets cancelled and the person has the time to play, but previously requested a bye).

3.             BUT, the penalty for this liberal policy is to reduce the player's prize money in some way if he takes a late bye or revokes a bye.  I suggest that the simplest way is to deduct a half point from the final standings for each occurrence for the purpose of determining prize money.  Make this policy uniform for all sections.  It should be easy for the TD to deduct the half points when allocating prize money by checking those at the top who have late round byes that were not committed before round 2 (or revoked after that).  The rule is simple and a refinement to what we've had in place for two years.  You can take or revoke a half point bye at any time, but do it before round 2 if you don't want it to affect your potential prize winnings.

4.             This policy will only negatively affect players in contention for prize money, but the benefit is that it cuts off the possibility of manipulation.  For example, you don't want someone (say an expert or A player) in the Open section who is doing well to put in byes for the last two rounds and then selectively revoke a bye if he sees a favorable pairing (whereas he will likely outright lose if he is paired against a master) in order to get a placement.

5.             An alternative to the above proposal is to allow revocation of a bye request with a one-week notice.  I think we want to maintain an incentive for our highest raking players in the Open section to play, so if a planned trip is cancelled a week in advance I would prefer them to play for a win in a late round rather than taking an early requested bye.  We might also want to consider allowing a bye request with a one week notice - eg, allowing a bye request (without financial penalty) to be requested for round 6 before round 5 starts.  The potential for manipulation in this case is severely reduced (versus requesting a bye for the round in which projected pairings are known).

B.            12-01-01 email from Harvey Reed - Bye Policy Simplified?

1.             The bye policy is 3-dimensional:

a)             The size of the tournament

b)             The bye restriction to various sections, including no restriction

c)             The type of restriction.

2.             We add constraints of:

a)             There is a default policy

b)             If there is a restriction, in one or more sections, it is the same restriction.

c)             A tournament will come in only 2 flavors, “normal”, and “restricted”. A “normal” tournament will have all sections with default policy.

3.             We now have the following 2-dimensional table:

D=default, R=restriction

Type of Tournament






Restrict all sections





Only restrict the Open section





Open policy, no restrictions




The 3rd dimension “restriction” can come in these flavors:

  1. Byes be committed for rounds 5 and higher by round 2, non-revocable.
  2. Byes be committed for rounds 5 or higher, two weeks in advance, non-revocable.


C.            01-02-02 from Mark Kaprielian

1.             Jim's idea is pretty reasonable in that it accommodates all the conditions.  The only problem I have is that the reduced prize considerations will still probably impact participation negatively by higher rated players AND that while look at cross tables after the fact to determine reduced prizes on the surface seems simple, I don't like it for two reasons:

a)             The reality is that a good number of the top finishers, at least in the top section, are looking to get their prizes as soon as they think their prize can be calculated and then leave the club.   This produces pressure on getting a TD who is most likely to be still playing his own game, to determine who has places where to verify the persons claim and then, if the TD isn't me, to go get me out of my game to write a check an calculate the winnings if they haven't already.   Without a change in this general process, there are going to be mistakes.

b)             As I mentioned, participation is still negatively affected.  For example, lets assume someone in the running needs to take a by for round 3.  This means that not only do they have to win and the stars probably align to get a piece of the pie at the end of round 4, they are going to get a reduced piece of the pie.  Rather than take the long shot at placing, they are induced to just write of the last round.  Of course if they play for the pure joy of the game, placing won't matter to them.  I believe that once someone is in the running, they generally want to have a shot.  With such a reduced odds of placing and even less of a monetary gain, I think they will more likely be discouraged.  I think that basically, we've increased the chances of someone thinking that if they take a bye, it's not "worth" it to bother finishing it out.   If the bye occurs in the earlier rounds, a loss after that bye will trigger the not worth it.


2.             In keeping with Jim's idea of keeping it simple, I think the simplest thing to do is to make the policy work such that:

a)             You can take the two half point byes and use them in any round.  Taking and revoking them require adherence to the current phone call rule of 7:00 or physically on the bye sheet until the moment the TD picks them up and officially closes registration at 7:25.

b)             If people want to wrestle over the paper and hang out to see who's written what when on the bye sheets, let them.  All the TD has to pick up the bye sheets at up at 7:25 and its final.

3.             I think its worth seeing how this works out.  If people want to try and duck people on the big events, let them.

4.             My proposed wording is as follows:

a)             Section VI  D of the P&P currently says

(1)       a)    In Swiss-system play of four or more rounds, a maximum of two half-point byes is allowed. 
(2)       b)    All requested byes must be committed to before the start of the 2nd round and are irrevocable after the start of the 2nd round. 
(3)       c)    Players entering an event late will have the half point byes applied to any missed rounds.

b)             These would be replaced by 

(1)       a)  In Swiss-system event of any number of rounds, a maximum of two half-point byes for the event is allowed
(2)       b)  Players entering an event after the first round will have their half-point byes applied starting with round 1 until all of the allowed half point byes are used.
(3)       c)  Once a player's half point byes are used, any other requested byes shall be zero point byes.

c)             The lengthier wording is to tighten up the conditions and state things previously understood but not stated.

d)             This proposal is a looser variation than the original we changed.  The original kicked in irrevocability with a two week lead on 5 or more rounds.  The idea there was to dampen out maneuvering to a two week lead time.  The boards change to the current policy was to make the dampening happen sooner and consistently, at the start of round 2. 

e)             As has been discussed earlier, the need for dampening has been reduced due to the current nature of our balancing the open section prizes to be lower and closer to the other sections which have gone up.  Granted, if prize money should shoot up again someday, the chances of getting more people at an event who would like to try and manipulate would go up.  Again, I say, let them fight over it.  In the mean time, we provide the most possible flexibility to the entire membership regardless of rating.

D.            01-03-02 from Neil Cousin

1.             As a TD and board member I couldn't agree more with Mark's rationale for making things very simple and support trying this new policy.  It seems like there aren't very many scenarios.  My only question is whether we want to eliminate 1/2 point byes for the final round if not done in advance since it could be used to help one gain financially by avoiding a last round game.