MCA's Scholastic Bye Policy

When there is an odd number of players in a section, 1 player cannot be paired against an opponent and will receive a full-point bye.  A player can receive only 1 full-point bye per tournament. 

Rather than compete for a 1-point win, a player may request a bye for any round, for any number of rounds, and for any reason. (The vast majority of players do NOT request a bye, however, because they want to play all their games and maximize their ability to win a trophy.) Although permitted an unlimited number of byes, a player will be granted only a single ½-point bye per tournament. (Additional bye requests will be granted as 0-point byes.) A player’s request for a ½-point bye must be received before the pairings for Round 2 are posted. (This prevents a player from seeking to avoid playing against a specific opponent to whom he fears he would lose.) (A player may request an unlimited number of 0-point byes at any time.) A player does not need to provide a reason for requesting a bye. Furthermore, while the player is taking her bye, she does not need to leave the tournament site; nor does she have to leave the tournament room. Indeed, she may even study other players’ openings and defenses, while she’s taking her bye.

MCA considers a player who requests or receives a 0-point bye to have withdrawn from the tournament, regardless of whether the player later re-enters the tournament or whether the 0-point bye is taken during the final round—that is, regardless of whether the withdrawal is temporary (and later reversed) or permanent. Consequently, even though a player is permitted to reenter a tournament after he requests or receives a 0-point bye, and even though a player could hypothetically earn enough total points to win a trophy in a section after having withdrawn from the section’s final round, a player who requests or receives a 0-point bye may win neither a prize (a trophy or title), nor a stipend (for travel to a national tournament) associated with the MCA scholastic tournament.  MCA’s treatment of a 0-point bye as a withdrawal that disqualifies the player from being rewarded for his performance at the scholastic tournament, is rooted in Rule 32C1 of The United States Chess Federation’s Official Rules of Chess: “Unless the director decides otherwise, players who fail to complete the tournament are not entitled to prizes”. Furthermore, tournament points earned by a player who requests or receives a 0-point bye are forfeited not only by the player, but also by the player’s team; the player’s individual points may not count toward the player’s team’s total points.

© 2012 John D. Rockefeller V

MCA Scholastic Director

[last updated: 01.15.2015]


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