Hey DMK!

We've had a flurry of challenges lately - this ranking ladder tournament has exceeded everyone's expectors, and has generated more games in the past week than in the prior 3 winters combined. We've had 8 ranked matches and have 3 more pending. All this activity has forced us to evaluate and fine-tune our rules regarding challenges--and like Dobbie told me, "This is a good problem to have."

1st: Challenges must be issued to a member without any current pending matches. You can't challenge "the winner" of a match--wait until somebody has won and then challenge that person. I just don't want things getting to the point where we're challenging "the winner of (the winner of (the winner of Grant versus Dobbie) versus Steve) versus Chris." We have to draw a line somewhere, and I think the best way to do it is not to allow it at all. If you're interested in the results of a match for the purposes of issuing a challenge let the players know; I think by and large you'll be accommodated very quickly. (Or let me know and I'll get back to you as soon as I hear the results.)

2nd: I want to reiterate that no challenges should be issued or accepted while you've got a match pending. This is to make sure everyone is getting their chance to play, and I'd hate to see somebody who is waiting have their match cancelled becuase the player they've been waiting for took an impromptu up match (or down match for that matter) and is no longer in range.

That said, there was an interesting situation today that I am ruling as legal because it met the spirit of this rule (if not the letter.) Robert Hoelscher (5) had a pending match with Steve Feathers (3) scheduled for next weekend, but Steve had the opportunity for an impromptu match with Grant Scott (2) and wanted to take his shot at the #2 tag, while Grant (fresh off a loss to Dob) wanted a down match so he could qualify to rechallenge for the title. Steve knew that if he won then  his scheduled match with Bert would be void, so he made a deal with Grant that whoever lost would have to  keep the appointment with Bert, guaranteeing that Bert would get the match he had been waiting for. On it's face this violates the rules, but the flip-side of the coin is that Steve & Grant had an opportunity to play, and what is this whole ranking tournament is about if not getting our members excited about the game and playing matches? Also, Steve  & Grant tried to get in contact with both Bert and myself prior to playing but we were both unavailable.

What I'm trying to get at here is that if you have the opportunity to play, then play--but make sure that the results of the match don't impact anybody else's chances to play and advance in the rankings. I would have much preferred that Bert had been involved in the conversation before the match was played, and in the future will require that in a situation like this the 3rd member acknowledges and agrees to the possible change before it takes place.

3rd: By popular demand we are instituting a new rule for first time players. If you have not yet played in a ranked match then you are free to challenge ANY ranked player (provided of course that they don't have a match pending.) This means that new players can drop into the middle (or top) of the ladder at any time. However, this is a ONE TIME exemption so be careful, because if you lose then you'll retain your unranked status and have to restart by challenging 8, 9, or 10 per the rules.