Scottish National League 2013
Conditions of Contest
- These Conditions of Contest apply to the Scottish National League.
- The SBU wishes to establish the National League as its premier competition. It is open to all teams, regardless of standard, and is an event in its own right. The winners will receive a trophy and there will be a first prize of £1000 (subject to at least twelve teams entering).
- For the 2013 season the winning team will be offered places in the Open team at the 2014 European Team Championships. Also the highest placed Senior and Women teams, all of whose members are eligible for that category and subject to conditions below, will be offered selection for their respective event.
- The winners of the National League may elect to be selected for the 2014 Commonwealth Nation Bridge Championships instead of the European Team Championships.
- The selectors are keen to use the results of the National League to select the European teams, but reserve the right to hold further trials if team(s) do not accept places in the Open or Senior or Women teams or they do not meet the conditions below.
- For the 2014 Home International Series there will be separate trials for Camrose (first weekend), Lady Milne and Senior Camrose teams. These trials, and the 2013 National League, will be used in selection of the team for the second Camrose weekend.
- These Conditions of Contest are established by the Selection Committee of the Scottish Bridge Union. References to ‘the Committee’ mean the Selection Committee of the SBU. The Committee acts on behalf of, and is responsible to, the Executive Committee of the SBU Council.
- The decision of the Committee in relation to the interpretation of these Conditions of Contest will be final.
- The Committee reserves the right to determine a course of action at its discretion in the event of any matter arising which is not covered by these Conditions of Contest, or in the event of unforeseen circumstances arising.
- In the event that a decision under these Conditions of Contest is required during the event, a decision may be made on the Committee’s behalf by the Tournament Director in Charge.
- The National League is played under the current Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge, with such modifications as have been approved by the World Bridge Federation.
Scope of the League
- The National League is a trial for the Open, Women and Seniors Series of the 2014 European Team Championships. The winners of the First Division in principle earn selection, on a part or wholly self-funded basis, to represent Scotland.
- The first two weekends of the 2013 season will comprise a complete round-robin of entered teams. Based on an entry of approximately sixteen teams, the top eight teams will be placed in the First Division and remaining teams in the Second Division. The teams will play a full round-robin in their division on the third weekend.
- Based on divisions of approximately eight teams each, the winners of the Second Division shall earn promotion to the First Division. The bottom team in the First Division shall be relegated to the Second Division. Lower divisions, if any, will function similarly. The Committee reserve the right to alter the number of teams promoted or relegated in the event that the size of the league is fewer or greater than eight teams. Notification of any such alteration will be given in advance of the commencement of the League. In the event of a First Division team withdrawing at the end of the 2013 season, the Selection Committee will determine which team should replace them.
- It is the intention that the winners of the League will be invited to represent Scotland. In years where there is not a major EBL or WBF event, it is expected that the winning team will be invited to represent Scotland in the second Camrose weekend.
- If the winning team of the First Division is eligible for selection for the European Team Championships but does not accept the offer to play, then it will not automatically receive an invitation to play in the second weekend of the Camrose.
- All players must be members of the Scottish Bridge Union in good standing.
- All players must qualify (by 1 January 2014) to represent Scotland under the current international regulations of the World Bridge Federation, the European Bridge League, Bridge Great Britain and the Scottish Bridge Union.
- Entrants must provide such evidence as the Committee may require as to their eligibility.
- Entries from teams of four to six players should be sent to the Secretary of the Selection Committee, Anne Perkins, email . The closing date for entries is 30 July 2013. Changes to the composition of a team will be subject to the Committee’s discretion.
- The Committee reserves the right to accept further entries at its absolute discretion.
- All entries should be accompanied by the full entry fee. Entries are not confirmed until the entry fee has been paid.
- The entry fee for 2013 is £300 per team. This includes table money for all weekends.
- Entry fees for Scottish junior players will be reduced in accordance with standard SBU competition policy, that is, half-price for U25s.
- It is a condition of entry that all players disclose to the Committee any limitation that would in any way restrict the freedom of the Committee to select a team to represent Scotland.
- If a team loses one or more members as a result of death, serious incapacity or other exceptional circumstance, including the loss of good standing or eligibility, then that team may apply for a permanent replacement player or pair.
- A registered team of less than six players may add players at any point before or during the season subject to rules on general eligibility.
- If a player leaves one team to join another after the closing date, and this affects either team’s automatic place in the First Division, such teams would be subject to selection review unless they were automatic both before and after the change.
- The Committee shall have absolute discretion with regard to such applications, and may grant it subject to such conditions as it thinks fit.
- A team which is unable to field four players may apply to the Committee for authorisation of a substitute. The Committee shall have absolute discretion with regard to any such application and, in particular, may attach such conditions as it thinks fit relating to the use of a substitute.
- The Tournament Director in Charge may authorise an emergency substitution on the day itself, in which case a full report shall be made to the Committee. The Committee will have an absolute discretion to decide the extent (if any) to which the results of the match(es) affected should be allowed to stand and whether the team in question will be allowed to continue in the League.
- Teams are required to participate in all three weekends and to complete all their matches. Failure to comply with these requirements without reasonable excuse may jeopardise participation in the League or selection to represent Scotland in future years.
- Details of the impact of a team withdrawal are in Appendix G.
- To be a qualified player for the title of National League or Division champion, the player must play at least 50% of the boards (rounded down in the case of a fraction). There is no requirement that a player must play against every team. The same standard applies for the purpose of Team Continuity detailed below and for the purposes of eligibility for selection detailed below.
- A team will be selected for the European Team Championships if all the following are met:
- It is the highest placed eligible team for the Open, Women or Seniors series
- There are at least two pairs who played at least 50% of the boards. Any remaining members of the team will only be selected automatically if they played at least 50% of the boards.
- The team played in the First Division and was not relegated
- If the selected team contains fewer than three pairs who have met the minimum playing requirements, then the Committee shall, in consultation with the team, select pair(s) to fill the remaining places from amongst players who have competed in the League.
- In the event that the selected team does not accept an offer to play then the Committee shall select pairs from amongst the players who have competed in the League. However, especially when the number of eligible pairs playing in the First Division is small, the Committee reserve the right to invite pairs and/or teams to participate in a subsequent trial or play-off.
Timetable and format
- The first two weekends will comprise a full round-robin of participating teams. Based on an entry of sixteen teams, each match will be sixteen boards.
Weekend 1: 7-8 September, 2013
Format: Eight 16-board matches
Weekend 2: 16-17 November, 2013
Format: Seven 16-board matches
- The leading eight teams after the first two weekends will be placed in the First Division, with remaining teams placed in the Second Division. There will be full carry-over of the VP scores from the matches against teams placed in the same division.
- The third weekend will comprise a round-robin of seven 16-board matches.
Weekend 3: 7-8 December, 2013
Format: Seven 16-board matches
- Regulations concerning seating rights are contained in Appendix A.
- Scoring will be by IMPs, converted to Victory Points on the (new) WBF 20-point victory point scale as detailed in Appendix H.
- Cross-IMPing of all matches will be done and these results will be used as a guide to selection in the event that there are not three eligible pairs from the winning team.
Composition of future divisions and team continuity
- Promotion and relegation for this season will be one up/one down, based on divisions of approximately eight teams. In future seasons it is expected to be two up/two down.
- To maintain team continuity from one season to the next, any of the following is sufficient. A player is qualified if he satisfied the playing requirements for the previous season, and satisfies all the general conditions of eligibility.
- Three qualified players from a team of four or five qualified players
- Four qualified players from a team of six qualified players
- If a team has such a quorum it may add any further players it chooses to form its 2014 team without restriction (the maximum total number of players on a team remains six). There is no absolute requirement for the core 2013 qualified players to play any minimum number of boards during the 2014 season.
- Any remaining First Division places will be decided by the Committee at its discretion, considering the number of qualified players on the teams, and the teams’ bridge merit as judged by the Committee.
Systems and Conventions
- This is a Category 1 SBU competition.
- Brown Sticker conventions and HUM systems are permitted subject to the provisions of Appendix B regarding system disclosure and seating rights. Opponents of such methods should note that written defences are permitted and may be referred to at the table (see Appendix Bfor full details).
- Copies of all systems must be lodged with the Committee in advance. See Appendix Bfor full details.
- Systems lodged in advance as above may only be changed with the prior approval of the Committee, which will normally be granted provided that the Committee is satisfied that neither the original submission nor the change is made to gain an unreasonable advantage, and that the change is made to a method in common use.
- There is a limit of four convention cards per team.
- The SBU Alerting Policy will be used, except when screens are in use when the WBF Alerting Policy will be used.
- Full disclosure is vital. However, players are expected to protect themselves to a large extent. They are also expected to observe the spirit of the Laws as well as the letter.
- Smoking and the consumption of alcoholic beverages of any nature in the playing area is prohibited. No player may leave the playing area during a match to smoke or consume alcohol. There is an automatic penalty of 1 VP for a breach of this regulation.
- Mobile telephones, pagers or similar electronic equipment may not be brought into the playing area, but may be left with the Tournament Director in charge. There is an automatic penalty of 2 VP for a breach of this regulation.
- Players are required to participate in any public presentation of matches arranged by the SBU, including video, Internet, TV, radio or any other media presentation.
- Players may be photographed at any time during the League and agree to the use of photographs or other electronic recordings to publicise the League and for any other reasonable purpose of the SBU.
- Screens will not be used in the first two weekends. Screens will be used in the First Division for the third weekend. The SBU regulations are reproduced in Appendix C.
- Ties will be split in accordance with the regulations set out in Appendix D.
- Penalties for late arrival will be assessed in accordance with the regulations set out in Appendix E.
- Any notices to be given to, or communications for, the Committee should be emailed to the Secretary of the Committee.
- The Committee can be contacted at .
Effective date: 2 June 2013
- Line ups will be blind with each captain submitting a line-up to the TD independently.
- Separate regulations apply when HUM systems are in use (or may be in use) by one team only (see Appendix B).
- All Green, Red and Blue systems must be registered with the Committee seven days in advance of the first weekend.
- Where Yellow (HUM) Systems and/or Brown Sticker Conventions (BSCs) and treatments are played, full details must be provided to the other pairs (through the Secretary) a full 14 days in advance. Any pair failing to provide adequate notification shall not be permitted to play the method. Contact the Committee if you are in any doubt about a system or convention classification.
- Brown Sticker information and forms are available from http://worldbridge.org/brown-sticker-forms.aspx.
- All pairs intending to play, or considering playing, a HUM or Brown Sticker Convention should contact the Committee to ensure that the appropriate notification (including a viable defence) is provided.
- Opponents may bring written defences to the HUM system to the table as an aide mémoire. A pair may prepare written defences against the Brown Sticker elements of any system. Such defences shall be given to the opponents (two clearly legible copies) prior to the start of the match. Written defences against Brown Sticker conventions are deemed to be part of the opponents’ convention card.
- A fully completed WBF convention card must be used. Completion guides, editors and templates are available from http://worldbridge.org/convention-cards.aspx.
- Failure to provide two fully completed convention cards will result in the Director instructing the pair to play the basic SBU Level 1 System for the rest of the session.
- When a team that includes a pair using a HUM system (whether or not such pair will play) is opposing a team that has no such pair, the HUM system team will always line up first, i.e. the opponents of the HUM system have seating rights throughout the match. No special seating rights or line up restrictions shall apply when two teams containing pairs using HUM systems (regardless of line-up) oppose one another.
Description of the Operation
The North and East players sit on the same side of the screen throughout. It is North’s responsibility to place the board on, and to remove the board from, the bidding tray. It is West’s responsibility to adjust the screen aperture. The sequence is this: North places the board on the bidding tray. The aperture is closed (and remains so during the whole of the auction period) so that the bidding tray can just pass under it. The players remove the cards from the board.
Calls are made with the cards from the bidding box. The player places the selected call in the bidding tray, which will be visible only on the player's side of the screen. A player's first call should touch the extreme left of his own segment of the bidding tray, with subsequent calls overlapping neatly and evenly to the right. Players should make every effort to perform these actions as quietly as possible. With screens in use a call is considered 'made' when placed on the tray and released.
After two players on the same side of the screen have made their calls, North or South (as the case may be) slides the bidding tray under the centre of the screen so as to be visible only to the players on the other side. They then make their calls in like manner and the bidding tray is slid back again. This procedure is continued until the auction is completed.
After all four players have had the opportunity to review the auction (equivalent to the right of having the auction restated) the players replace their bidding cards in their respective bidding boxes.
After a legal opening lead is faced, the screen aperture is opened the minimum necessary to permit all players to see the dummy cards and the cards played to each trick. If a defender exposes a card and, because of the screen, declarer does not see it, dummy may draw attention to the irregularity.
Changes to Bids Made
A call placed and released may be changed under the Director's supervision:
- If it is illegal or inadmissible (in which case the change is obligatory), if screens are in use, as soon as either screen mate is aware of this; or
- If it is determined by the Director to be a call inadvertently selected or
- Under the provisions of Law 25. Under the provisions of Law 25A it should be noted that if a player's attention is diverted as he makes an unintended call the 'pause for thought' should be assessed from the moment when he first recognizes his error.
Alerts and Explanations
- A player who makes an alertable call must alert his screen‐mate, and partner must alert on the other side of the screen when the bidding tray arrives there. The alert must be made by placing the Alert Card over the last call of the screen‐mate, in his segment of the bidding tray; the alerted player must acknowledge by returning the Alert Card to his opponent. A player may, by written question, ask for an explanation of an opponent’s call; the screen‐mate then provides a written answer.
- At any time during the Auction a player may request of his screen mate, in writing, a full explanation of an opponent's call. The reply is also in writing.
- At all times from the commencement of the Auction to the completion of play each player receives information only from his screen mate about the meanings of calls and explanations given. Questions during the play period should be in writing with the aperture closed. The screen is raised after the response has been made.
Modification of Rectifications when screens are in use.
- An irregularity passed through the screen is subject to the normal laws, with the following provisions:
- an inadmissible call ‐ see Law 35 ‐ must be corrected
- if a player infringes the law and, inadvertently (otherwise Law 23 may apply), the irregularity is passed through the screen by his screen mate the latter has accepted the action on behalf of his side in situations where the laws permit LHO to accept it.
- Before an irregularity is passed through the screen the offender or his screen mate shall draw the Director's attention to it. Infringing calls shall not be accepted and shall be put right without other rectification (but see (a)(ii) above); any other irregularity shall be rectified and the Director ensures that only the legal auction is passed through the screen.
No player on the other side of the screen shall be informed of the occurrence unless the application of a law requires it.
- The screen mate should attempt to prevent an opening lead out of turn. Any opening lead out of turn shall be withdrawn without other rectification if the screen has not been opened. Otherwise:
- when the screen has been opened through no fault of the declaring side (and the other defender has not led face up) Law 54 applies.
- when the declaring side has opened the screen the lead is accepted. The presumed declarer becomes the actual declarer. Law 23 may apply.
- when two opening leads are faced by the defending side the incorrect lead is a major penalty card.
- for a card faced by the declaring side see Law 48.
- When an alertable call is made see previous section.
- When a player takes more than a normal time to make his call, it is not an infraction if he draws attention to the break in tempo. His screen mate, however, shall not do so.
- If a player on the side of the screen receiving the tray considers there has been a break in tempo and consequently there may be unauthorised information he should, under Law 16B2, call the Director. He may do so at any time before the opening lead is made and the screen opened.
- Failure to do as (f) provides may persuade the Director it was the partner who drew attention to the break in tempo. If so he may well rule there was no perceived delay and thus no unauthorised information. A delay in passing the tray of up to 20 seconds is not regarded as significant.
- Ties will be split where necessary in accordance with standard SBU procedures as described in the Competition Handbook, April 2010 (PDF).
- A tie which cannot be resolved by these means will be deemed to be an unforeseen circumstance (in which case the Committee will determine a course of action).
- A team is late if one or more playing members of that team is not seated and ready to play at the advertised starting time. Warnings and penalties apply to the team as a whole rather than to any individual or to any partnership within a team.
- The penalties described below apply to each separate match. Warnings and penalties issued during one match are not carried over to the next.
- A team warned or penalised for late arrival retains the full time in which to play that stanza, i.e. the starting time for that table is officially delayed.
- Penalties for late arrival are as follows:-
0+ - 12 minutes late: ½ VP penalty save that a warning will be issued in lieu of a penalty for the first offence of no more than 4 minutes of lateness.
Thereafter, for each portion of 8 minutes late or part thereof, up to 1 hour late, an additional ½ VP penalty and 1-board is removed from the match and scored as +/- 3 IMPs.
Example: 53 minutes late would be a penalty of 3½ VPs and would cause 6 boards to be removed from the match (18 IMPs in total).
- If a team is more than 60 minutes late for a stanza, then that stanza will normally be abandoned and scored as +/- 20 IMPs. Additionally, the offending team will be penalised 4 VPs.
- The warnings and penalties contained in this Appendix may be expunged for cause either in part or in whole for late arrival for the start of a weekend. A team which feels that it can demonstrate good cause for late arrival for the start of a weekend may apply to the Committee for a waiver or relaxation of these penalties.
- A stanza is fouled if teams sit in the same direction in both rooms and the error is not discovered until the end of the stanza (or near to the end of the stanza). Were this to arise, the stanza is abandoned and scored as 0 IMPs to both teams. Additionally, both teams shall be penalised 1½ VPs. Note: this is a relatively modest penalty, as it assumes a degree of responsibility on behalf of the organisation as well as on the players themselves. In aggravated circumstances this penalty may be increased at the sole discretion of the Committee.
- The time allowed for each 16-board stanza is 2 hours. If screens are being used, then the time allowed for each 16-board stanza is 2 hours, 10 minutes.
- In the event of stanzas of some other length being required, the time allowed will be announced prior to the commencement of play in the stage concerned.
- Automatic penalties will apply to any table which runs over the allotted time. The penalty on the table involved will be 1 VP per five-minute delay or part thereof.
- The Tournament Director will apportion the responsibility for the slow play between the two pairs involved and will assess penalties separately to the teams involved on this basis. All penalties will be expressed in terms of ½ VP or multiples thereof.
Example: a table is eight minutes late (2VP penalty). One pair is held to be approximately three-quarters responsible and the other approximately one-quarter responsible. The penalty is 1.5 VPs to the one team and 0.5 VPs to the other.
- If a suitable person is available to act as a time monitor, the Tournament Director may appoint such person to monitor the speed of play at any table (either at the request of one of the teams or on his own initiative). Otherwise the responsibility for monitoring the speed of play lies with the Tournament Director. The Tournament Director may take evidence from independent spectators or officials.
- A team may be penalised at both tables in the same stanza.
- In the event that a team is penalised more than once during the course of a single weekend by reason of slow play by the same pair, the penalty against that team shall be twice that calculated in accordance with paragraph 4 for a second offence, and three times for a third offence. Each weekend is treated separately for the purposes of this Appendix.
- Approximately halfway through each stanza and approximately ten minutes before the scheduled time for the completion of play, the Tournament Director shall notify each table of the time remaining. Although the Tournament Director will endeavour to warn a pair when they are in danger of a penalty being imposed, any failure to do so shall not preclude the imposition of a penalty.
- The Tournament Director has been instructed to apply the penalty provisions of this Appendix strictly, though discretion shall be used where a table has been delayed through no fault of its own (for example, by Bridge Base Online coverage).
- If a team does not complete the majority of its matches, then all results against that team will be expunged.
- Otherwise, any unplayed matches will provisionally be scored 12-0 VPs in favour of the non-offending team, save that at the end of the season the average number of VPs scored per match actually played will be taken into account if this is for the benefit of the non-offending team (if not, then the 12-0 score will stand).
- If the non-offending team has a match average which is more than 2 VPs better than the offending team (the 12 VPs provisionally awarded being 2 VPs more than average), then its score will be increased by the corresponding amount, up to a maximum score of 20-0.
However, the IMP difference for both teams (should it be needed to resolve a tie) shall be deemed to be 0 IMPs regardless of the actual assigned VP score.
Example: team ‘A’ (non-offending) has scored 85.00 VPs from 6 matches (average of 14.17). Team ‘B’ (offending) has scored 50.00 VPs from 6 matches (average of 8.33). The difference in average is 5.84. The match is therefore rescored as 15.84-0.
- Boards played by the non-offending team in a match subsequently cancelled under paragraph 1 shall still count for the purpose of assessing the playing requirements described.
- In the case of an unplayed match or stanza, the non-offending team may nominate which of its players would have played in each such stanza in order to assess the playing requirements.