Synopsis of N42PA Involvement in the 42 CommunityMy focus on fair play in 42 tournaments started following a flap years ago when some Texas 42 players were accused of cheating in a Hallettsville state championship tourney. I was drawn into the conversation as webmaster of Texas42.net, even though I do not play in open tournaments sanctioned by the National 42 Players Association (N42PA).
My curiosity got me looking into the issue. The alleged offenders were eventually separated from their club; however, after learning more, I understood how this could have happened. "Talking across the table" was NOT defined in the N42PA rules or any other rules I had seen. Some players interpreted it to mean literally no talking across the table.
The new N42PA rules define "talking across the table" to include private conversations between partners away from the table (Rule #17). The definition to include talking away from the table was long overdue, and the N42PA leadership deserves kudos for adding that clarification in the N42PA rules.
I want to help make 42 the best game it can be. There's no doubt in my mind that Rule #17 is the most significant rule addition since the N42PA was founded in 2005. It is concise and covers the waterfront. It should influence the 15% of Facebook 42 polling participants who voted online that anything is fair play if there is no rule prohibiting it.
The National 42 Players Association (N42PA) describes itself as a social/recreation club. I've often wondered why the N42PA had not named itself the National 42 Players Club which, to me, indicates a more regional attraction (within driving distance for its members). Texas and New Mexico are the only states with sanctioned 42 tournaments.
In my view, the main purpose of the N42PA is to sanction tournaments for its members to participate in to earn points for its annual closed national Tournament of Champions (TOC), to promote the game of 42, and to enjoy the competition. Members who earn at least 16 points in sanctioned tournaments qualify to play in the TOC per the N42PA by-laws.
N42PA operating expenses are financed mostly through membership dues and its club tournament entry fees. The N42PA pays sizable cash prizes (as much as $2400) to its two winning teams in its annual closed TOC, considerably more than other sanctioned tourneys award their winners. (Only qualified N42PA "Pro" members can compete in the TOC.)
Club membership is $30/member per year, and the TOC entry fee is $50/team. Club members numbered less than 150 per the N42PA website, Dec 2018. The number of members that qualified to play in the 2018 TOC was about 140. (Approximately 30 teams competed in the closed 2012 TOC for the national championship.)
Open tournaments that play by the straight 42 format can be sanctioned by the N42PA. Sanctioned tournaments receive support from the N42PA, and their tourneys were listed at the N42PA website with registration information. This arrangement benefits both the N42PA (qualifying points for its members) and those who sponsor open sanctioned tourneys.
There are more than 10,000 active 42 players in the 42 community. How can the N42PA claim national champions in its membership and not invite non-member state champions to compete? The N42PA sanctions open state and world championship tourneys; however, the national championship tourney is open only to qualified N42PA members.
Maybe there should be an open national tourney? The annual open Hallettsville Texas state championionship tourneys have had as many as 368 participants, and N42PA membership was not required to play in them or previous annual open sanctioned world championship tourneys in Northeast Texas.
N42PA members play by N42PA rules. The rules, including Rule #17, define fair play in tournaments sponsored by the N42PA. I've been unable to establish with certainty that the N42PA rules apply to all tournaments sanctioned by the N42PA. (The 2019 N42PA website listed 51 internal and external tournaments, including warmups.)
A concerning loose end I have is whether the current N42PA rules apply verbatim to all1,3 tournaments sanctioned by the N42PA. N42PA leaders indicate they apply, but it's not clear to me how sanctioned tourney players have knowledge of this, especially Rule #17. (Many open sanctioned tourney participants are not members of the N42PA and are not familiar with the N42PA website where the rules are linked.)
On-site pre-game verbal announcements are limited in effectiveness. If the written N42PA rules are not publicized or provided to registrants prior to or during registration, how do the participants in open sanctioned tournaments know about Rule #17? I understand Hallettsville is exempt from the N42PA rules. Hallettsville state tourneys preceded the N42PA. Its rules are similar in scope; however, they do not include N42PA Rule #17.
I want to help promote interest in the game of 42 and the N42PA, and I want to include assurances at my website that the N42PA rules apply verbatim to all tournaments sanctioned by the N42PA. This would help inspire confidence that the N42PA is leading the way in advancing standardized definitive straight 42 rules in tournaments that it sanctions.
My website was originally created for social players and wannabes; however, it had a lot of tourney player visitors (with feedback). I want to use Texas42.net to advertise the merits of the N42PA and to help increase participation in the game of 42. (Links to the N42PA website are already in place at Texas42.net.)
My motivation is to advance the game of 42 in cooperation with the N42PA. I also examine the N42PA's contribution over the years in the 42 community. If you see anything in this synopsis (or this website) that you think is inaccurate or misleading, please advise. I want to get it right. (Trying to verify some information has been difficult.)
FB comment: "The tournament of champions is exactly that - a tournament of past champions of the year. The Texas State and New Mexico State are state tournaments welcome to non pros and pros alike. I don't understand why you are trying to confuse the two."
Proft: The TOC is the national championship tourney open only to qualified N42PA members. State championship tourneys are open to the public. If not N42PA members, state champions cannot compete in the national championship tourney. (Revised 1 Feb 2021)
FB comment: "Do you just object to the naming of winners as national champions?"
Proft: Yes. Non-member winners of state championships should be invited to compete in the TOC national championship tourney. (They would probably have to join the N42PA and pay the TOC entry fee to compete.)2
FB comment: "... you demand that all communication be in the form of email only. This is an extremely poor medium to have an in-depth discussion."
Proft: Yes, but it sure beats phone calls and Facebook comments that provide no reliable historical records to retrieve for reconciling misunderstandings between parties.
1. It would be helpful if the N42PA rules were prefaced with a statement that the N42PA rules apply to open tournaments sanctioned by the N42PA.
2. I bumped the 2017, 2018, and 2019 N42PA memberships against the Texas and New Mexico state champions. With only one exception, all state champions for those years were members of the N42PA (92%). Unable to explain the exception; not sure how to interpret the results.
3. The N42PA is a 42 club that sanctions open tournaments that play by the "straight 42" format. Sanctioned tourneys are necessary for its members to compete in to play in its annual closed Tournament of Champions (TOC), a.k.a. the national 42 championship.
4. Archived records from 2014-2019 indicate three-fourths (75%) of Hallettsville state champions were members of the N42PA, and two-thirds (67%) were members of the Austin 42 Club. This certainly suggests that membership in these two clubs is a plus in winning a Texas state championship.
5. If you are a Board member of the N42PA, you are encouraged to provide corrections and/or clarifications to any of the statements in this document (email address linked above). I will respond and make corrections and/or clarifications as appropriate (and verifiable via N42PA documentation available online to the 42 community).
6. The following link is added as a reference to help clarify context not addressed in this document: Background Overview.