I am not sure if here is a correct place for this kind of question.

We had team-matches last weekend(total VP score being 20 for each match). In the first match our teammates in the other table were not ready on time. The rule was like this: -1 VP for each 5 minutes. They were exactly 23 minutes late and so the directors agreed for -5 VP penalty for the match.

Then we played and could only take 4 VP out of 20. Score was 16-4 (we lost). Then directors applied -5 VP late penalty and we got -1 VP for the match.

Directors said that if we hadn't play the match we would get 0 VP. We played and got -1 VP. They say that the idea behind the decision is 'We tried out our chance. By playing we may have earn more than 0 VP, so negative VP is possible.'

But I am looking from a different perspective. With a sporting perspective (I think) a team should not get less point than not-playing the match.

Can anybody enlighten me about this issue?

I am asking this here because I noticed that they were not confident about the decision. At the end of the weekend we were eliminated from the tournament for just 0.9 VP.

Thanks in advance

  • 2
    These are rules that depend on the local jurisdiction. It would help to know what that is. In North America (under the ACBL), the penalty is in IMPs, not VPs. Apr 5, 2016 at 6:12
  • @AlexanderWoo Thank you very much. This was the answer I needed. Penalty in IMP's means that VP can not be less than zero.
    – serdar
    Apr 5, 2016 at 6:44

1 Answer 1


Until a few years ago most Victory Scales awarded negative VPs to a blitzed team. (This link makes reference to such.)

However, by not being at the table on time, ready to play, your teammates are introducing a very disruptive effect on the entire tourney. Your opponents have paid to have an opponent and you have declined to show, for no good reason, and with inadequate warning to allow alternate arrangements to be made. Read the fine print - once you paid your entry fee you contracted to appear and play according to the conditions of contest. Accept your medicine and learn better for next time.


Alexander Woo's comment to the questions inspired me to check out the ACBL General Conditions of Contest for Swiss Teams. In those it is clear that penalties for tardiness to arrive are assessed in IMP's even when the match scoring is in VP's, although the penalties for slow play are assessed in VP's.


  1. A team that fails to seat four players by the announced start of a match is subject to penalty. The record of a team whose opponents incur a penalty will not be affected (improved).

  2. In addition, one board shall be removed from play eight minutes after the start of the match and another board removed seven minutes thereafter. Three IMPs will be awarded the non-offending team for each board so removed. If a team has not seated four players when one-third of the time of the match has expired, that team shall forfeit the match. At any method of scoring, the teams are assigned a result as though the nonoffending team had won by three IMPs and the loser is assigned zero. ....

  • Thank you for your suggestions. But my question was to compare two situations(maybe one is more disruptive than the other) Being late vs not playing the match. I just wanted to know if there is a universal rule for this? Maybe we are just subject to (probably not written) tournament rules. If we are not talking about rules but just talking about ethics, then not playing shouldn't be better than being late. My question is: Are we just subject to the tournament rules? Or is there a general rule for this situation?
    – serdar
    Apr 4, 2016 at 14:52
  • 1
    You are conflating "not playing the match" with "not entering the contest". Certainly there is no penalty for "not entering the contest" (except possible forfeiture of a title). But once you contract to enter the contest you have also contracted to abide by the rules - a significant one is to be ready to play at the buzzer. Failure to play a match after contracting to do so disrupts every other entrant, and fully deserves not only the penalty you got, but arguably more besides. Apr 4, 2016 at 14:59
  • I think there is a misunderstanding. We entered the contest. There were 11 matches in the contest. Directors said that if we did not play any of the matches we would got 0 VP for that match. This is the situation I would like to compare.
    – serdar
    Apr 4, 2016 at 17:22
  • 1
    Thank you for your update and general conditions link. With this update my doubts are resolved.
    – serdar
    Apr 7, 2016 at 20:32

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