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Did You Know...

... that round four of the SSL Valentine's Meet 2005 offers a rules quiz?

posted Mar 15th, 2005 - The new round of new round of NSL-TV features once again the eleven teams that competed at the SSL Valentine's Meet 2005. Round four brought troubles for some of the teams. The A Class team "No Use PA" did not get the Zig Zag out the Twinotter door very well, and ended up with a zero on the scoreboard.

The Golden Knights Black team had a great round going until the completion of Block 21 on the third page (Zig Zag - Marquis) caused two penalty situations. The judges detected an incomplete Marquis after a rough finish of the block. The center tried to fix the finish and get to the proper grips, while an outside grip was dropped a little bit too early.

The major flaw interrupted the flow of the jump and caused an additional infringement. The following formation of the sequence (10-21-Q), the Phalanx, was incomplete, as well. The transition from the Marquis to the Phalanx did not go as planned and included an extra move in the center, while a grip on the outside was dropped again early.

However, the damage for the Golden Knights was not as dramatic as it was before the recent rule change. The Army team lost only two of the 17 points they completed in working time. The Marquis and the Phalanx did not count as scoring formations. The 17 turned into the official score of 15 points. It would have been a score of 13 points in the past.

Airspeed Velocity's round four, see video
The Golden Knights might have added another point or two to the 17 points in time without the interruption by the infringements. The loss of the flow slowed down the pace significantly. Team captain John Hoover mentioned after the competition that this part of the jump felt like giving up several points.

Airspeed Velocity posted the highest score of the round with 18 points. Both Airspeed line-ups showed once again their unique exit technique for the Diamond of Block 10 (Diamond - Bunyip). Airspeed Odyssey scored 17 points in time and reduced the Army team's lead by two points. The Golden Knights and Airspeed Odyssey were now tied in first place. Airspeed Velocity was two point behind after four rounds.

Golden Knights Gold's round four, see video
The new rule situation became even more interesting when Equinox had completed round four and presented the video to the judges. Equinox launched a Meeker-like formation and then nicely presented the Snowflake of Block 1 to the judges. Unfortunately, the Inter of Block 1 did not work well for Equinox. The vertical maneuver moved the pieces right on top of each other with the result of a serious collision. All grips of the pieces broke.

It took Equinox a few seconds to gain back control, make a decision and then communicate it within the team. The decision created an interesting situation. Equinox did not try to re-build the Snowflake and show the whole block correctly. The SSL team also did not see the necessity to repair the two cat pieces and complete the Inter of Block 1, with the Offset as the seond formation of the block. Actually, Equinox did not even try to build the Offset at all and went from the unsuccessful Inter of Block 1 to the Zig Zag of the following Block 21 and continued from there.

Equinox' infringement situation in round four, see video
The judges seemed to agree with the Equinox decisions. The team completed five points within working time. The same five points made the final score: the Snowflake (1) and the complete Block 21 of the first page (2), plus the complete Block 1 on the second page (2).

The infringement during the Inter of Block 1 on the first page had the result that the Offset did not count as a scoring formation. Equinox decided that there was no reason to build the Offset if it would not count anyway. The team showed a total break before building the next formation, the Zig Zag of Block 21. There was no other infringement after the broken Inter of Block 1.

The new rules do not punish the teams with additional point deductions for infringements. Thus, the score of five points could be the result of this interpretation. However, there might still be a different interpretation for the same situation. The new IPC rules for the 2005 season still include the "Omission" of a formation or an inter:

2.12. Omission is one of the following:
1) A formation or inter missing from the drawn sequence 
2) No clear intent to build the correct formation or inter is seen, but another formation or inter is presented and there is an advantage to the team resulting from the substitution.

In fact, the omission has become even heavier as a penalty situation in 2005. There used to be only a 2-point deduction for the omission. The point deduction was now increased to three points. The lawmakers of the IPC wanted to make sure that teams do not try to take advantage of the recently decreased punishment for infringements:

4.8. Scoring
4.8.1. A team will score one point for each scoring formation performed in the sequence within the allotted Working Time of each round. Teams may continue scoring by continually repeating the sequence.
4.8.2 For each omission three points will be deducted.
The interpretation of the IPC rules onto the Equinox situation also offers a very different outcome. The Offset and the inter from the Offset to the Zig Zag are obviously completely missing. The team also does not show a clear intent to build the Offset or any other formation.
Air Force Quad's round four, see video
It is hard from an athletic point of view to see any advantage for Equinox in general after such a mishap. However, according to the rules, it appears to be a serious advantage for the team to skip the efforts of building the Offset and moving from the Offset to the Zig Zag. The situation could also have the outcome of two points as the final score for Equinox, with a three-point deduction for the omission from the total of five points.

The judges at the Valentine's Meet might have interpreted the Equinox actions as good intentions. The team surely tried to show the correct inter for Block 1 and was surprised by the accident. The communication after the accident indicated different things. There seemed to be an attempt to re-build the Snowflake, which was "over-ruled" by the supporters of the Zig Zag. However, Equinox convinced the judges that there was no bad intention, and the judges must have seen no advantage for the team to skip the Offset and move on. Equinox was fortunate, and five points were posted as the official score.

The NSL audience has the opportunity to provide feedback and discuss this rule situation in the NSL Forum. There is also a poll for a vote approving or disapproving this judging call. Enjoy the new round of NSL-TV.

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