In an attempt to clarify the events of the sixth round of this year’s WTC between Norway Hugin and France Falbala, the Committee interviewed all involved parties. The following is an excerpt from the report by our head judge, Jason Enos, in an attempt to explain the reasoning behind his decision:
With the game between Norway’s Skorne vs France’s Convergence player ending with a contentious end, the head judge was called. Now arguments as to the actual rules dispute and the legality of the escalation to the Head Judge were considered.
- The floor judge was correct in his initial call but the escalation is still entirely reasonable by either player.
- The escalation may have been requested by a 3rd party – this brings up an issue whether the head judge should have been called at all.
In the case of a 3rd party noticing an error in a game, advising a judge and that judge raising it with the head judge is reasonable. However, here the 3rd party requested a head judge call for a judge call both players were happy with to be escalated.
While understanding this is a team environment and a captain may feel he should escalate a judge call, games are still individual one-on-one games. If players are satisfied with a judge call, then 3rd parties should not interfere.
While we can learn lessons from these incidents, and we will, I can only look at the decision in the complaint:
The Head Judges final call that Norway forfeit the game.
This comes down to three issues:
- Was the Head Judge correct to order the game forfeit?
- Is it reasonable to reverse a round result in absentia?
- Were the Norway team aware that the game was still “in progress”?
For the Head Judge call I feel the only response is to declare a game loss for a player who abandons a game. No other call is appropriate or could possibly be considered.
While it is a shame that this decision reversed the round result, again because Norway were absent it is the only call available to the Head Judge. In this case the floor judge and another PP Judge involved were in agreement.
The third point is a problem. Simply put, if team Norway left assuming the games were all over then they are fine to leave and their winning result should stand. The escalation after this would not be legal. This is the part of their complaint with merit and indeed should lead to a reversal if this is found to be the case. This is the area I have looked at most closely, examining evidence given in writing and on the day.
From the French Team, the Floor Judge and 3rd party observers we heard that the Norway Team captain said as he left “We can’t wait, our taxi is here”.
This indicates they knew there was something to wait for, but left anyway. Based on this, the entire rest of the issue is irrelevant, the game was abandoned and the Head Judge call stands. The current standings remain correct.
I have every sympathy for the Norway Team, but in the final analysis, the Judges cannot be expected to penalise their opponents due to their choice to leave the venue mid round and we cannot allow leaving the tournament to be a way to avoid a judge checking the game was played correctly. We made many allowances to try to help the team finish all their games before they left, but simply put, they left before the round was over and this denied proper judge oversight in their game.
As the WTC committee, we stand by our head judge.
The decision stands, Norway Hugin forfeit the game. Current final standings for the WTC are correct.
Furthermore, we want to express our disappointment and disapproval at the very public attack on the reputation of our judges, who commit the same amount of money and effort to be present at the WTC as everyone else, but instead of playing, are only there to ensure everything runs smoothly. Furthermore, to not give the Committee the opportunity to settle the matter directly with the aggrieved party is also disrespectful and can be seen as an attempt to publicly bully the Committee into a decision. We do not accept how Norway chose to handle this complaint. In the future, all complaints should be brought to the Committee first in order to amicably find a solution.
We regret that things went this way. We are confident that if both parties would have been present for the judge process to run its course, an acceptable solution for both parties would have been found.
-The WTC Committee