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Tournament Rules and Guidelines

Posted By: Phil Simborg
Date: Saturday, 1 December 2012, at 2:59 p.m.

In Response To: Tournament Rules and Guidelines (Casper van der Tak)

Thank you for your feedback and comments. We didn't go into detail about who we are, who we consulted, all the time and effort and literally years of work and study we put into this effort because we didn't want this work to be about us or for people to focus on us, and we didn't want people to think our efforts was to gain acknowledgement or thanks or anything personal. Our motives were pure...we simply thought we could offer a format and suggestions that improved on the current rules by being more thorough and removing some ambiguities that exist in current rules, and we felt we could show everyone the benefits of including standards of behavior and ethics and responsibilities, as we felt that was lacking.

I have continued to avoid getting into debates on specific rules. We prefer legal moves, we prefer on-checker rule, we prefer having a clear definition of what a legal roll is...but we know these are controversial and we didn't want the baby thrown out with the bathwater...we hope that there would be great support from the players and leaders for the overall concept and that the leaders would do something about it--work toward producing and adopting a more complete, universal set of rules and guidelines. If those do not contain our preferences, that's fine. You can't please everyone, and no set of rules will ever please everyone. I don't mind living by rules that I don't agree with so long as it is clear what the rule is and so long as everyone else has to live by the same rules. Of course I would prefer that the rules be to my personal liking, and that is why I have and will continue to express my opinions on individual rules, but I am intentionally avoiding that at this time so as not to alienate people against the overall concept and efforts to move forward positively to produce a clear, unified set of rules worldwide.

I am please to say that overall the reaction to the concept by top players and leaders has been positive, and I believe the wheels are in motion so that some day the federations will work together. Even if they do not, at least I believe they see that whether it is with more extensive explanations in the rules, or with a separate guide, it is possible to remove much of the ambiguity and problems we have had for years with some areas of the game, and hopefully they will incorporate some of these ideas in the future.

I, personally, hope to stay out of the next step and leave it to the powers that be to do what they think appropriate to improve the world wide rules. I have already suffered some personal attacks on my motives and objectives, which I believe were totally uncalled for and unnecessary and not important to the true issues, and I admit I don't accept personal attacks and accusations gracefully. That is probably the main reason I chose to produce this work independently instead of within a formal committee or organization..I tried that once and it was not a pleasant or productive experience. ("A committee of two can accomplish much if one doesn't show up.") As to why Jeb and Chuck agreed to do this with me independently of the USBGF is their business, and I will not presume to speak for them.

What does it matter why we chose to do it the way we did, or who we are personally? Why not focus on the issues and move forward?

Since you asked, I have had years of experience writing rules and ethics for other games and organizations and have always enjoyed contributing in that area.

Jeb and Chuck joined me in this effort because they wanted too...I did not seek them out--they volunteered as soon as they heard I had made a commitment to do this. I accepted reluctantly because I really didn't want a committee, and I was correct that this did delay the process and complicate the process, but in the end I was very glad that I agreed to work with them. They both provided invaluable input and the final document is far better than I could have produced alone. Also, because this is the work of the three of us, and because Chuck and Jeb are so highly respected for their ethics, intelligence, experience, and good motives, I believe more people have taken this work seriously as a result.

So I don't want to go into detail on the process or debate individual rules any further. What happens now is up to the leadership of the Federations, and from what I have heard from them I believe they will do something positive going forward. I am sure they won't do it as fast as I would like to see it happen, but they must deal with their boards of directors and committees and membership and wade through the politics to get it done. I do not envy them for what they have to face, including unfair criticisms of their own motives, when they work so hard to try to make the game better for all of us. I don't want to make their jobs any harder by telling them what to do or how to do their jobs.

We have made our suggestions and offered an example of what we feel are improvements to the rules, and we hope they will be viewed positively, and with an open mind, and we hope we can move forward discussing the issues and not discussing our motives or problems with organizations or getting involved in personal attacks on anyone.

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