Zero Tolerance

"This is a policy recommended by the ACBL and followed at many clubs and tournaments. It strives to promote a friendly atmosphere at the table, while eliminating unacceptable behavior, including rudeness, intimidation, gloating, profanity, and a variety of other offenses. Automatic penalities are part of the program. If you think an infraction of Zero Tolerance has occurred at your table, please call the director."

Unit 143 practices Zero Tolerance at ALL of its games.

Question: "What does ZERO TOLERANCE mean?"
Answer:  Kindness, Courtesy, and Respect.

In a nutshell, it's about making people feel more comfortable around you. People get caught up in wanting perfection; after all duplicate is a competitive game. But it is also an event which needs to take into account the needs of the entire room, including your partner.

A happy partner plays better than a sad or angry one, and no one is perfect. World-class players make mistakes; Life Masters make mistakes; newcomers make mistakes. Bids can mean different things, and even well-established partnerships can fumble. The bridge table is NOT the place to give a lesson -- or to find out what partner was thinking -- even under the guise of "discussing the hand."

Some people can discern correctly when it is "discussion" and when it is intended to punish partner -- and others can't. If you're worried that you may be subject to a "Zero Tolerance" Director call, you could always fall back on a few guidelines some pairs follow. They limit themselves to 4 statements, said in a calm voice:

If someone is acting in such a way as to impair your enjoyment of the game (besides earning a top board!), then calling the Director is the appropriate way to handle it. In practice, most experienced players will turn to the offender and ask for the behavior to stop. ("Could we play this hand, please?" is an implicit request for the end of a discussion.) They only call the Director if that does not work. If the offense is at a nearby table, and it is affecting you, you may still call the Director to your table. And when the Director arrives, your statement can be something like, "The behavior of that person is ruining my enjoyment of the game."

Which brings us full circle. Kind, courteous, and respectful behavior cannot violate Zero Tolerance.


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