From 1st January 2016, for a session to be eligible for the award of Master Points, it is necessary for each pair to be scheduled to play 70% or more of the boards which are in use. This only affects whether a session is eligible for Master Points - the session will still earn Magazine Points and contribute to the NGS as well as being liable for Universal Membership Subscription (UMS, formerly P2P) regardless of whether it complies with the regulation. The regulation is only relevant to pairs sessions - teams competitions are not affected.
Why is this being introduced?
In order for a fair comparison of results there should be a significant overlap of the number of boards which each pair plays. For example, if a 24 table session was played as a single movement, using 48 boards, with twelve 2-board rounds, it would be possible for two N/S pairs to have not played any of the same boards. It would therefore be unfair to compare the results of those pairs, and thus inappropriate to award Master Points for this session. It is considered that if each pair plays at least 70% of the boards which are in use, then ther is enough competition between pairs that the results could be considered to be 'fair', and therefore it is appropriate to award Master Points. It also prevents anyone from gaming the system in order to award extra Master Points. In addition, if everyone plays at least 70% of the boards there will be more scope for discussion of the hands afterwards, and this will add to everyone's enjoyment of the session.
What movements should we use in order to comply?
Most clubs will have an amount of tables, and play a number of boards, which will facilitate easy compliance with the 70% rule. If you play a 'full Mitchell' movement, or 'full Howell' then everyone will play 100% of the boards. If you play incomplete movements there is still a lot of scope for you to be flexible without falling outside the regulation: if you play 24 board games you can have up to 17 tables playing a regular two-board round Mitchell, or you could have up to 11 tables playing a three-board Mitchell. If you reach 18 tables you have the choice of playing a more complicated movement that reduces the number of board sets in play, or playing an extra round so that you play 26 boards, or splitting into two sections. Some other table numbers, or amount of boards you hope to play, may make it harder to ensure that everyone plays more than 70% of the boards. For such situations we have produced a movement chart, which will help advise on the movements which will enable everyone to play enough boards.
How do we deal with 'sit outs'?
You should treat a 'sit-out' as though the pair have played those boards. They were scheduled to play those boards, they just didn't have an opponent to play them against. Example: You have 10 1/2 tables, with no E/W pair at table 11. If you use 33 boards, and play 8 x 3-board rounds, then all E/W will play 24 boards (72.73% of the boards in play), as will two of the N/S pairs. For the purpose of this regulation all the pairs are considered to have been scheduled to play 72.73% of the boards and so this meets the requirements of the 70% rule.
What if we stop earlier than we had planned?
You should try to ensure that at whatever point you curtail the movement everyone has played more than 70% of the boards in use. If you think there is a possibility that you may have your evening cut short you should try to use a movement which keeps the number of boards in use to a minimum. If in spite of this an unforeseen event causes you to cut your evening too short to comply with the regulation, you should contact us to let us know why you weren’t able to complete your scheduled movement and we can allow your Master Points to be awarded. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to give the details. Always try to use a movement in which all pairs play as high a percentage as possible of the boards. This is better practice, and also gives more flexibility if something unforeseen happens.
How do sessions which are part of a Sim Pairs fit with this regulation?
The regulations for involvement in an EBU Sim Pairs state that there must be three tables in play, and all pairs must play at least 18 of the boards which are available. Clubs may therefore use whichever movement they wish to ensure that this happens, and if that is the case then the results will be eligible for inclusion in the national results. If the club also wishes to award Master Points at the club level, however, then they should ensure that the movement used allowed for compliance with the 70% rule. Although hands for an EBU Sim Pairs are available for 36 boards to be made up, clubs can use as many of these as they wish, and the 70% rule relates to however many are 'in play'. So a club may make up all 36, but if only 30 of them are used then each pair would need to play: 18 or more for the event to be eligible for inclusion in the national results; 21 or more for the session to be eligible for Master Points.
What if we hold a session which does not comply with the 70% rule?
If, for whatever reason, each pair played fewer than 70% of the boards in use then unfortunately the session will not be eligible for Master Points. The results must still be submitted, however, as a Universal Membership Subscription payment will still be owing, they will still count for the NGS and the session will still count towards the member's Magazine Points.
What about teams events?
The regulation is only relevant to pairs sessions - teams competitions are not affected.