Advance Byes Discussion Summary

Author: Mark Kaprielian

July 2002

I.                    Purpose

This document summarizes a discussion held by the TDs of the Club.  The purpose of the discussion was to possibly present a recommendation to the Board for action.

II.                  The Topic

The club received an email composed by two club members who wished to suggested that the current bye policy allowing 1/2 point byes to be taken for any round at any time be slightly adjusted back towards the previous policy.  Specifically, they proposed that, for the last round only, a bye request would have to be made before the beginning of the second round. 

The primary purpose of this suggestion was to prevent what had occurred in the last round of a recent event where the leader in the event took a last round by the week before the last round.  This resulted in a worse case scenario of the player tied for 1st place.  It was pointed out that the policy in this case resulted in the bye making the player the sole winner of the tournament without the player having to play anyone rated higher than him.

The TD staff conducted a discussion of the matter.  It was agreed that some tightening of the policy was merited.  Discussion focused on three draft wordings for a change.  Below are the three wordings discussed with the initial logic used to create them.

A.            A bye requested for the last round must be committed to before the start of the 2nd round and is irrevocable after the start of the 2nd round.

This is the intent that has been indicated so far.   A modification of the above to add a conditional trigger at the end produces:


B.            A half point bye requested for the last round must be committed to before the start of the 2nd round and is irrevocable after the start of the 2nd round for any section in which the 1st place prize is $100 or more.

 By stating a dollar threshold we accomplish several things:

1.             The dollar amount indicates the point at which we want to prevent ducking or manipulation at.

2.             It exempts the bottom two sections for the foreseeable future as the prize money there is at $40.  Remember, we keep it low so as to prevent money being the primary motivation yet good results reward the players with something that they've won.

3.             By exempting the bottom sections, we retain maximum flexibility for 2/3rds of the club.   

4.             It accommodates events like quick events which aren't likely to have big cash prizes but could span over several nights.

The down side is of course the same as before when we had the commit by rule.  That is, someone (now only in the Open section) who had real plans to not be present, now will be available but they can not play.

To be more flexible for the majority of players in the Open section, we could have a more complex rule such as

C.            A player who has taken a half point bye not committed to an irrevocable bye before the start of the 2nd round for any section in which the 1st place prize is $100 or more but takes a half point bye in the last round, is not eligible for any cash prize.

 Note:  We have to allow people to commit to the last round bye because they may indeed not be able to make it, so, we can't just say that   " if you take a half point bye in the last round, you can win money".


This creates a number of things that we would need to be concerned with.

1.             What about possible non-cash prizes if we should re-institute a club championship or something.

2.             It creates the concept of an irrevocable bye request versus a normal bye request.   We would then need to very meticulously record this so that no dispute could arise later regarding the type of bye.  This could be a logistical problem and I'll be we get into trouble with it eventually.

3.             It's a bit more complicated but the big boys will be able to figure it out and we'll have to explain to people not usually in a position to duck out how it works

4.             It doesn't exclude the possibility that someone is willing to take a zero point bye and still walk away the clear or tied winner.  Also, it is possible that someone would initially take a half point bye because they think they won't be in the running and then decide to play anyway.   This is kind of a reverse of the problem at hand.   It also becomes disruptive to the normal course of events.

5.             I can foresee the possibility of someone who does not normally play at the club, doesn't speak very good English and leans towards being argumentative, giving us a hassle about not being aware, we didn't remember to announce it, it wasn't posted where or such that he could read it, etc.

III.                Major Discussion Snippets

Please note that in attempting to summarize the discussion, only portions of the emails that express different thoughts on the subject have been used.  Some paraphrasing has been done by this documents Author.

Wording three was quickly dismissed by a strong majority as being too complex.

A.            07-05-02 in an email from Mark Kaprielian

I think Wording B is the tightening we want, it is clear, it does not open up new weirdness and it only affects the small pool of players in contention in one section.   Note though that we must still record carefully the committed byes using the system we had in place before, namely, recording the date the bye was requested.  We didn't have any incidence of problems and everyone will notice after round 2, who took a bye.

There are of course a number of variations of the wording possible.    I view things as thus:

1.             The simplest and most uniform but depending on your personal opinion, not really necessary for the bottom sections

2.             A very targeted and simple approach

3.             Custom and does a lot of things

I think Wording C lends itself to a whole lot of additional discussion.   I think we would need to decide the magnitude of the policy change we would like to see and focus in on either:

a)             Slight modifications to A or B     or

b)             A set of rules for implementing Wording C that covers all the possibilities.

B.            07-06-02 in an email from Gatumba Abu

My preference is A because I believe the entire club should be governed by the same set of rules to avoid any confusion. The cash prize should not be a reason for any exempts because during our big events, the middle section has a prize of over $100.00 if I remember correctly.

C.            07-06-02 in an email from Severine Wamala

There are always rules but administration or enforcing of them is the most difficult. As a policy I always favor simple rules. Thus I go with A. Last round bye taken should be irrevocable. If a player had a business trip that got canceled he/she can still come to the club and play a rated game if there is an odd number. If some one is not sure will be out of town and finds out after the 3rd round, well he/she will get zero bye. Such is life.

D.            07-10-02 in an email from Mike Barry

I think I am in favor of the wording for "A".  I don't think the amount of money is relevant.  I think we should state that a last round bye, which was not signed up for before the start of round 2, would be a zero point bye.  If someone has gotten themselves ahead of the field by a full point, or even a point and a half, then there is nothing wrong with them taking a zero point bye and clinching a tie or first place alone.  In those situations, the player earned it.  My understanding is that player in question won three games and then called in for a half point bye.  The problem there is that we have created a situation where it is more beneficial to stay home than it is to play.  I think that is what we should be trying to correct.  We shouldn't be thinking of ways to penalize someone because they are in first place and can't make the final round.

IV.                Conclusions

Of the seven TDs who participated in the discussion, three were in favor of Wording A and four were in favor of B.  The primary difference between the positions may be boiled down to the following.

A.            Wording A

1.             Pro: Provides the simplest and most straightforward rule that applies to all players. 

2.             Con: A player who discovers that they are now available to play in the last round after committing to a bye, must settle for a side game, if any, on the night of the last round.

B.            Wording B

1.             Pro: Provides the most flexibility to players.   For most events, only the Open section is affected by the rule change.

2.             Con: The rules change based on the Prize amount.  This may prove to be confusing to players and, if not reminded at the start of round 2, may cause greater dissatisfaction with the situation due to the rule being less often invoked for the lower sections, hence familiarity with the rule is less.