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 fleeting 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.
7. The N42PA, a prominent 42 club reigns supreme in the direction the game of 42 has taken over the years. Its definition of "talkimg across the table" in 2019 to include private agreements between partners away from the table was the best I've seen since the N42PA was founded in 2005.
Players who learned indicating tactics as part of the game (no collusion) apparently get a pass. I was one of them in 1985. Our group knew them and used them; however, it wasn't until later that that I learned others outside our group were not privy to what was acceptable in our group. There are still social players in the 42 community who play by localized learned rules. The public internet in the 1990s and the N42PA influenced needed changes.
During the last couple of years, it has become apparent to me that many players are not interested in the fine points of the game. They are only interested in playing the game and enjoying the fellowship of other players. Some players might never reach the winners′ circle in sanctioned tournament competition and need to improve their observation skills at the playing table, bearing in mind their opponents might think Rule #17 does not apply to them.
Forty-two (42) is a fun game and meant to be enjoyed by its players. I believe the rules (as written by the N42PA) should apply to all participants in sanctioned tournaments. I now believe that indications in the game, e.g., double(s) held, are acceptable as long as N42PA rule #17 is complied with. (See also link in Note 6, Category Three suggestion.)
Have fun and enjoy the game. Forty-two (42) might not become a world class game like Bridge (also derived from the card game Whist), but it is what it is, a beloved game that originated in Texas. Indicating doubles is a matter of choice, subject to restrictions defined in N42PA rule #17.
Again, my only interest in this discussion is to help make 42 the best game it can be. Now, with large cash prizes in some sanctioned tournaments, it seems only prudent to have well defined and standardized written rules (available to all participants in sanctioned tournaments) to benefit the best of the best in tournament competition.
I rest my case. If others disagree with my logic, feel free to contact me via the email address posted above. I will post pertinent comments (with your permission).
8. I have requested the N42PA leadership to explain why the N42PA rules and by-laws do not state that the N42PA rules apply to all participants in tournaments sanctioned by the N42PA. I could get no guidance from the N42PA leadership how to formally propose standardization of the N42PA rules for all tournaments sanctioned by the N42PA, even rejoining the N42PA to do so, if necessary.
Yes, I know I do not paticipate in formal tournaments. My interest is helping make the game of 42 the best it can be, social and tournament competition alike. (A former tourney director once stated that "42 is not about tournaments, but tournaments are about 42." I understood and fully support his comment.)
A board member of the N42PA stated the rules do apply to all participants in sanctioned tournaments (verbally announced in tournaments "hosted" by the N42PA); however, there is no official documentation supporting that (that I'm aware of). A notable 42 player and author wrote the N42PA website is a "good place to review detailed rules established across all their sanctioned tournaments;" however, he did nor reveal his source.
The purpose of this posting is to get feedback from participants in open tournaments sanctioned by the N42PA. I understand that playing 42 (in any environment) is fun, regardless of potential cash prize winnings which can be a major attraction when N42PA pro (professional) members compete for the national championship, their annual closed Tournament of Champions (TOC), for pro-qualified N42PA members only.
N42PA playing rules are important and should be complied with in all tournaments sanctioned by the N42PA. Rule #17 being the most significant since 2005. Former fleeting social media postings by active N42PA members have not been helpful in my understanding their reluctance to standardize N42PA rules in open sanctioned tournaments; nor why the N42PA by-laws are not amended to reflect the requirement. (See Note 1 above.)
Your comments are solicited, even if you're not a member of the N42PA, or have no interest in tournaments. Forty-two (42) is a Texas tradition that has expanded into today's internet and social media, including the N42PA, a vibrant 42 club requiring paid membership and pro status to compete in its national championship tournament. (N42PA membership is not required for open state and world sanctioned chanpionship tourneys.)
9. I received comments from a highly respected player in the 42 community. He was a tournament director and is a former N42PA board member. His comments were scathing and unflattering; however, I appreciated his candid feedback. He indicated I need to be an N42PA member and play in tournaments to make a worthy contribution in the 42 community.
I adhere to the philosophy that 42 is not about tournaments, but tournaments are about 42. My goal is to help make 42 the best game it can be in both social and tournament environments, and I sure would like to do it in cooperation with the National 42 Players Association, a recognized leader in the 42 community.
Both N42PA members and non-members alike compete in tournaments sanctioned by the N42PA. The N42PA club rules are known by the N42PA members; however, not all non-members are privy to those rules. Reportedly, when the N42PA "hosts" a sanctioned tournament, it verbally announces before competition begins that the N42PA rules apply. (One participant reported paper copies of the N42PA rules were not available onsite, before or during registration.)
The N42PA rules contain Rule #17, definition of "talking across the table" to include side agreements between "creative" partners. The sanctioned Texas state championship tourney, exempt from the N42PA rules, do not contain that rule. To me, that is the most important addition to the N42PA rules since the N42PA was founded in 2005, and it should apply to all participants in tournaments sanctioned by the N42PA, members and non-members alike.
Some corresponding tourney players have expressed concerns about private signaling agreements between partners. N42PA rule #17 addresses that. It's time to get the word out to the non-N42PA members who compete in sanctioned tournaments. Stats show that N42PA "Pros" make it to the winners circle more often than non-N42PA members in open tourneys sanctioned by the N42PA. (Some players interpret "talking across the table" literally, just at the table.) Non-member participants might not be aware of Rule #17 or think the N42PA rules apply only to N42PA members.
Rule #17 needs to be known to all players in sanctioned tournaments. If non-members are not aware of the rule, they might eliminate each other in sanctioned competition, opening the door for the N42PA "Pros" to advance because they know what to look for when competing against less "streetwise" players. Maybe that's what sanctioned tournaments are all about, and I should just butt out of the conversation? (Stats show that N42PA "Pro" players have won first places in state championship tourneys in 2017-2019. I did not pursue the stats after the pandemic lockdown in 2020.)
Do the stats indicate that non-N42PA players need to join the N42PA and acquire "Pro" status to become more competitive in tournaments sanctioned by the N42PA? Yes, unless winning is secondary to having fun and enjoying the fellowship of other 42 players, the tradition that existed before the N42PA was founded. N42PA "Pro" members qualify to win large cash prizes in their annual closed Tournament of Champions (TOC), aka the national championship. Qualifying "Pro" points are earned by playing in tournaments sanctioned by the N42PA, against N42PA "Pro" players and non-N42PA members alike.
If you are not a member of the N42PA, do you see how this works? Open tournaments sanctioned by the N42PA are for the benefit of the N42PA club. The non-N42PA members who play by straight 42 rules might not win, but they are afforded the opportunity to have fun and enjoy the fellowship of other players (as before the N42PA was founded in 2005). Open tourney sponsorships are often profitable, and N42PA sanctioning of those tourneys is beneficial to its membership (to acquire "Pro" points to qualify for their annual closed TOC which awards its winners large cash prizes).
For your own edification, the next time you participate in a championship tournament sanctioned by the N42PA, go to the N42PA membership standing page and see if the winners were "Pro" members in the N42PA. If more explaination is required, please send email. If I don't hear back from anybody (including the N42PA), I will assume there is no disagreement, and I will move onto other endeavors. If there is disagreement, I will address it in this thread. (Facebook 42 is too fleeting a controlled forum, especially with vocal N42PA members, to address this topic objectively in social media. IMHO.)
N42PA board members can be contacted via the listing at the N42PA website. As of this writing, the mail links did not work in my computer. Perhaps you have to be a member and sign in to contact the N42PA officers for information. (I'm no longer a member.)