Recording of psyches and deviations

A few years ago our county started to keep a log of all psyches and other "deviant behaviour" that players requested the TD to record in county events. (Before then I imagine report-of-hand forms were just downloaded onto the TD's personal laptop and forgotten after a few weeks.) Last week a player wanted a psyche / deviation in a club game recorded. When I said it was up to the club committee (as the tournament organiser) to keep its records rather than the county organisation, he argued that the county should keep oversight of all psyches that occur in club games as well, otherwise players could get away with low-frequency psyching in different clubs around the county that adds up to higher-than-acceptable frequency overall. (If you take this argument further, to stop players psyching too frequently in clubs in different county organisations, the EBU or even the WBF would have to be informed of every hand report.)

Do other counties have policies to deal with this? What do you think they should do? Possibilities I can think of are:

  1. Leave it to the clubs and have nothing to do with it.
  2. Actively encourage all affiliated clubs to pass on reports to the county committee for recording centrally.
  3. Accept only reports that the club committees (rather than the players involved) think should be passed on.


  • To be honest, I don't know anyone who actually keeps records (apart from the EBU) as opposed to saying that they do.

  • To be equally honest, I've not seen much evidence that the EBU do either.

    I would say most of the clubs I've played in that have appreciable numbers of serious players (those who play in county events and congresses) have a "psyche book", an actual book with pages rather than a computer folder with electronic forms, but I have to admit I can't remember the last time I've seen one used. The more provincial and social clubs don't.

    Although the White Book suggests that the decision to record hands is up to the TD, I was told that it was standard practice to accede to any request from a player as it mollifies those who feel they have been wronged. The player in question who asked for this deviation to be recorded is a very cynical sort of person who assumes the perpetrator will be trying to get away with this sort of thing as much as they can, and sees my refusal to put it in the county psyche book as collusion in some way. Perhaps I should break it to him that nobody records psyches any more.

  • At the EBU, just occasionally, a pair tick 'never happened before' and the secretary of the L&E is able to find an earlier record of a similar auction by the same pair. But this does not normally do more than raise a smile from some of th L&E committee - there is no further action to be taken and the psyche may go unminuted.

    If the "perpetrator" is trying to get away with poor disclosure then the cynic has a point. If the deviations would be an illegal agreement, then there should be rulings and recording.

  • I was the perpetrator, and it was as minor and innocent and "green" a deviation as you could possibly imagine, but in the general case I think the cynic does have a point, and I have some sympathy for him (although not for his jaundiced outlook on life). I was all in favour of recording the incident, I even filled in the form for the TD and advised him to have another more experienced TD check it, but I wasn't going to include it in the county log unless the club committee request it.

  • I can remember two occasions when this reared its ugly head. One was a player (experienced and good) who psyched and had it recorded and said he had not done it before in this partnership. Only at dinner did the pair who had called the TD find out that precisely the same psyche (a 1NT overcall) had happened earlier in the same session by the same player.
    One player (now no longer with us) ticked the "never before box" and the then secretary of the L&E brought along four other recorded examples with the same partner. That got a bit more than a smile from the L&E. There is, or should be, further action if a player psyches repeatedly especially if partner shows an inclination to field. Nothing will happen however unless there is a pattern. It is, of course tedious to record a psyche and if it is unsuccessful often opponents won't bother but I suspect we all know players who do it often and their partners who are perhaps quite well attuned to it.

  • The EBU record all psyches that they are sent, and a sub-committee of the L&E review all the forms.

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