Early Start

Bridge starts at 19:30 prompt according to a Club. That Club asks all members to be seated by 19:20. However apart from one member on the night in question, everyone is seated and ready to play by 19:20 so the TD starts play at 19:25. All tables are in play at 19:25 except one table where until the last second (19:29.59 to be precise) when the last player turns up and the first board is started.

At 19:37 the TD goes to the table which is just finishing its first board and says that they are not to play the second board because of starting late. However, and all the other tables have finished their second board technically there is still time to play that second board - should they have been allowed to play that Board or were there any other options?


  • It's up to the TD to make that decision, but it doesn't seem unreasonable that the rest of the field should not have to wait for a player who arrived 10 minutes after the requested time.

  • If the game is supposed to start at 19.30 and one player arrives at 19.29.59 he is technically not late! Discourteous perhaps for not being seated by 19.20, but not late for the game. I would allow time for the first round starting from 19.30 and 15 minutes or more depending upon the number of boards to be played in the round. If that table does not finish the requisite number of boards in the allotted time then make the decision whether to allow play or not. As written, they still had 8 minutes left to play the second board.

  • TagTag
    edited February 2018

    Are there clubs here in England which don't have a tea-break at half-time? I'd just have them play it at the half.

    Regarding start-times, the players know they should be there by 7:20, so the TD is not being unreasonable in starting at 7:25. The player arrived prior to 7:30, so avoids any penalty arising from that but, as Gordon points out, there's no good reason to hold up the whole movement for the tardy player. If they don't have a half-time break then I'd ask the opps whether they'd care to play it at the end of the evening but they may freely decline and I'd award 60-40.

    Regarding whether the player is actually tardy, my feeling is that 7:20 is bums-on-seats time, ready to play. I view him as tardy and liable for the consequences of that lateness.

  • Much worse if both members of a partnership arrive without warning after the requested time.
    I agree with SDN unless the club have guidelines otherwise.
    Think (hope) I would warn the 'offender' not to start the 2nd board after 19:38/39 which is something I'll bear in mind.
    If the question is an actual occurrence good to hear of a club that can play a 2 board round in
    12 minutes.

    The 2 clubs I play at (in England) both start at 19.15 with no break.
  • @Tag said:
    Are there clubs here in England which don't have a tea-break at half-time? I'd just have them play it at the half.

    None of the three I've played in during the last few months have a tea break.

  • At my club, we request players to be sat at 7.05 for a 7.10 start. That is so that the TD can determine the number of tables and set the movement. At 7.05, we just need one member of a partnership to be sat if we know their partner is coming, and it's ok if a pair have phoned to say they are on their way. We start at the time we say we do. Are you sure you actually need as long as 10 minutes? If, as it seems, you also only need 5 minutes, why not make it officially 7.20 for 7.25, or 7.25 for 7.30?

    I've played in duplicate sessions at about 60 clubs in England over the years. Very few have tea breaks.

    Barrie Partridge - Senior Kibitzer in Bridge Club Live - Pig Trader in IBLF

  • The occurrence of this incident should encourage the club committee to consider whether it wishes to give guidance to the TDs who direct at the club. At my club the nominal starting time is 7.30, but the rule is that players not seated by 7.25 without having notified that they are running late run the risk of not getting a game. But if we were waiting for someone known to be on the way we wouldn't actually start before 7.30.

  • Personally, I think it is bad form to start a session prior to the start time. Why have a start time if ignoring it?

  • Thank you all for your input.

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