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GNT Format: Going Forward

The bizarre events in recent weeks have enabled me to receive a slew of comments in regard to existing and optimal GNT formats for Districts.

Based, in part, on considerable input, I offer the following 11 recommendations:

1. There should not be a uniform format that applies to all Districts due to significant geographic differences and the differences in the potential number of teams entered.

2. Best practice is for the final day of the event to come down to an even number of teams, 2 or 4.

3. If the final day of the event is contested by 3 teams, one team should be excused at halftime in order to minimize any potential issues with one team not given “full effort” (aka, “dumping”) after halftime. In event that no team is ahead in both matches at halftime, the District shall specify whether the two survivors are determined by net total IMPs or quotient.

4. In event of 3- or 4-team “final days”, there should be at least 30 boards played before halftime in order to give reasonable credibility to the outcome. Thirty boards is the same number played in the first half of Spingold and Vanderbilt matches.

5. If there is a qualifying Swiss, prior to the final day, some incentive shall be employed to avoid dumping. Each District can decide whether carryover of a designated percent of qualifying results, or selection of opponent (if a 4-team final day or an 8-team penultimate day) is optimal.

6. The Conditions of Contest shall be posted on the District website no later than 30 days prior to the event with the name posted of a tournament organizer available to answer any questions prior to the event.

7. The ACBL shall provide a template of language to be selected by the Districts, as fits the District’s selected format and number of teams entered. Such language shall be the basis for each District’s Conditions of Contest.

8. Not later than 60 days before the event, each District shall be compelled to provide a copy of Conditions of Contest to the national ACBL office. An employee or designated volunteer by the ACBL shall have up to 30 days to review said Conditions of Contest before allowing the District to post online.

9. The Captain of each entered team shall meet with either the tournament organizer or the Director In Charge immediately before the commencement of each day’s play. Any potential ambiguities are to be explained. The Captains will have the opportunity to ask questions. This approach is analogous to baseball, where both managers meet with the umpires immediately before the game.

10. An appeals process during and after the event should be unambiguously specified in the Conditions of Contest.

11.Since the Grand National Teams is one of the most important events run by a District, appropriate staffing decisions should be made by the District.

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