DISCIPLINE in clubs - ZERO TOLERANCE policy
Many bridge clubs claim to apply a `zero tolerance' policy. What is it and is it enforced?
The 93 rules of bridge apply to all tournaments run by clubs affiliated to the national Federations. They are reviewed only once every ten years. Generally very few changes are made. but the review in 2007 did give much more power to Directors. Primarily to improve discipline in clubs. If strictly applied, the club could claim to be applying a ZERO TOLERANCE policy.
The three most relevant Rules were clear and unambiguous. Those rules are there for the Director to take action when required. They are reproduced in full below to show the high standards of etiquette that are required in clubs - and what remedies are available to the director to sanction offenders. These include, ultimately, the ability to exclude a participant once the tournament has actually started. Be warned
Personally, I have never needed to go to the extreme of giving a player his marching order.** But I accept that, if ever someone left my club never to return because of the bad behaviour of a fellow member, then questions would need to be asked of the director and the committee.
That said, this problem should not arise in the new ACES Academy because there will be an independent Ethics committe to deal with members` grievances.
Finally let me make it clear that the Director is not there to discipline players. On the contrary...
Directors are there to HELP all players.
for the long term benefit and enjoyment of all members
Players should not hesitate to call the Director if they have any query or problem at the table.
Here then are the relevant WBF Rules. To make it more fun for you to read about what you should NOT do, dare I suggest that each reader totals the number of infractions his pair did commit in just the last club tournament they played!!! On the other hand, perhaps not a good idea.
CONDUCT AND ETIQUETTE
A. Proper Attitude
1.A player should maintain a courteous attitude at all times.
2. A player should carefully avoid any remark or action that might cause annoyance or embarrassment to another player or might interfere with the enjoyment of the game.
3. Every player should follow uniform and correct procedure in calling and playing.
As a matter of courtesy a player should refrain from:
1. paying insufficient attention to the game.
2. making gratuitous comments during the auction and play.
3. detaching a card before it is his turn to play.
4. prolonging play unnecessarily (as in playing on although he knows that all the tricks are surely his) for the purpose of disconcerting an opponent.
5. summoning and addressing the Director in a manner discourteous to him or to other contestants.
C) Violations of Procedure
The following are examples of violations of procedure:
1. using different designations for the same call.
2. indicating approval or disapproval of a call or play.
3. indicating the expectation or intention of winning or losing a trick that has not been completed.
4. commenting or acting during the auction or play so as to call attention to a significant occurrence, or to the number of tricks still required for success.
5. looking intently at any other player during the auction and play, or at another player's hand as for the purpose of seeing his cards or of observing the place from which he draws a card (but it is appropriate to act on information acquired by inadvertently seeing an opponent's card).
6. showing an obvious lack of further interest in a deal (as by folding one's cards).
7. varying the normal tempo of bidding or play for the purpose of disconcerting an opponent.
8. leaving the table needlessly before the round is called.
A) Director's Authority
The Director, in addition to implementing the penalty provisions of these Laws, may also assess penalties for any offence that unduly delays or obstructs the game, inconveniences other contestants, violates correct procedure, or requires the award of an adjusted score at another table.
B) Offences Subject to Procedural Penalty
The following are examples of offences subject to procedural penalty (but the offences are not limited to these):
1. arrival of a contestant after the specified starting time.
2. unduly slow play by a contestant.
3. discussion of the bidding, play or result of a board which may be overheard at another table.
4. unauthorized comparison of scores with another contestant.
5. touching or handling of cards belonging to another player
6. placing one or more cards in an incorrect pocket of the board.
7. errors in procedure (such as failure to count cards in one’s hand, playing the wrong board, etc.) that require an adjusted score for any contestant.
8. failure to comply promptly with tournament regulations or with instructions of the Director.
PENALIZE OR SUSPEND
A) Director's Power
In performing his duty to maintain order and discipline, the Director is empowered to assess disciplinary penalties in points or to suspend a contestant for the current session or any part thereof. The Director’s decision under this clause is final and may not be overruled by an appeals committee.
B) Right to Disqualify
The Director is specifically empowered to disqualify a contestant for cause, subject to approval by the Tournament Committee.
** Here is a tip for Directors who have problems controlling unruly behaviour:
Imagine you are a referee at a football match.
Manchester United v Liverpool or Celtic v Rangers.
Before you kick off the session, announce to all competitors that you hold all the trumps. By telling them your Director`s bridge hand has
30 yellow cards and 41 red cards
That will always do the trick.
PS: If players forget which Blackwood system they are playing, when partner announces 4NT you simply call the referee and ask
"how many yellow and red cards did you say there were in your pocket?"