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What to do when a pair leaves early

by David Stevenson


The following question was asked:

In a Simultaneous Pairs tournament one player acted in such an obnoxious fashion that the Tournament Director used his disciplinary powers and suspended the pair for the rest of the session. What should be done to score the boards that this pair played before suspension, and the boards that they would have played afterwards?


Having consulted various top authorities, this was my reply:

There are three methods that might be employed:

  1. Delete all the scores that this pair has obtained. Treat this pair for scoring purposes as though this pair never played. Factor all their opponents' scores accordingly.
  2. Let all the scores this pair has obtained remain. For the rest of the boards that they were going to play give no score, and factor all their opponents' scores accordingly.
  3. Let all the scores this pair has obtained remain. For the rest of the boards that they were going to play give their opponents average-plus.

There is no question that the pair that caused the trouble should be deleted from the final list. But which of #1, #2 and #3 above should be employed? The general opinion is that they are all legal.

It has been suggested that if a pair was cheating and was found out part way through we would employ #1 because they may have cheated on the boards played, and that this case is analogous. I disagree with this strongly: it would be easy to explain to players that we could not let a cheat's scores remain. However, when a player has got a good score in good faith, to take it away from them when there was no irregularity at there table will lead to justifiable upset. It is my view that #1 cannot be considered, and the authorities I consulted agreed with this.

Let us consider #2 and #3. What are the pros and cons? The following comments have been made:

What are the conclusions from this? In my view:

  1. If a pair does not play boards they are scheduled to play then the scoring should be the same whatever the reason, eg late arrival, disqualification, slow play, withdrawal.
  2. Scores obtained fairly should stand, so #1 above should not be considered.
  3. There are arguments for and against #2 and #3 above. It would be reasonable to choose either.
  4. Conditions of Contest should be written which say whether #2 or #3 should be followed in future cases.


Gopher Editor's note:

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