Natan (2013-11-30 04:50:50 +0000)
It has come to the Board's attention that a series of irregularities occurred at several attempts in which Marcin Kowalczyk (2011KOWA01) set world records at multiple blindfolded, most notoriously at SLS Swierklany 2013:
1. On the videos of most of these attempts it can be seen that the cubes were not completely covered as required by regulation A2e: The judge places the puzzle onto the mat in an arbitrary orientation and ensures that it is covered completely. The competitor is not permitted to request a specific orientation.
2. On two occasions, the judge is seen engaged in activities that preclude her from paying attention to and properly judging the attempt.
3. On two occasions, Mr. Kowalczyk is seen to start the stopwatch, a task assigned to the judge.
4. On at least five occasions, most, if not all, the cubes attempted were conveniently set on the table in Mr. Kowalczyk's preferred orientation.
The Board considers that points 1 and 2 are procedural errors by the organiser, scramblers, judges and/or delegates involved as may correspond. We regret the deficient way in which these events and attempts were administered but will refrain from any disciplinary action as we understand the voluntary character of the tasks involved, and believe that the people devoting time and effort to the correct and successful administration of competitions should rather be commended. Yet, we urge the community around the world to take whatever roles they are asked to play in a serious and professional manner, even if this is in voluntary service.
Incident 3 is a clear violation and a usurping of functions by Mr. Kowalczyk. Since this gives no advantage, however, Mr. Kowalczyk is only reprimanded for violating regulation B2e: If a stopwatch is in use, the judge starts the stopwatch as soon as the competitor starts the solve.
Incident 4 is the most serious of all. Mr. Kowalczyk has declared to the Board that he never requested a particular orientation. The judge for three of these attempts has declared that she understood 'arbitrary' to mean that she could choose the orientation. This interpretation is in clear opposition to the intent of the regulation, which is to prevent competitors from getting their preferred orientation more often than randomness would have it. With regard to Mr. Kowalczyk's role, we consider that, although a competitor is not obliged to report incorrectness of procedure that he may notice, in the spirit of fair sportsmanship Mr. Kowalczyk should have done so the first time this happened. Instead, he continued to exploit the procedural errors to his advantage, be it big or small. We find this against the spirit of the WCA and formally reprimand the competitor for this unsportsmanlike behaviour. No further disciplinary action will be taken, but the recurrence of any of these incidents will be grounds for disqualification in future attempts.
The WCA Board believes that the occurence of all those incidents was accomodated by the fact that the Multiple Blindfolded event has been held in parallel to other events at the affected competitions, leaving it free to the competitors to start their attempts at any time. We take this opportunity to recommend that delegates and organisers be careful in the planning of competitions in the sense of ensuring that the number and nature of events held allow for good control and supervision for adherence to WCA regulations and standards.
We thank Mr. Kowalczyk and the WCA Disciplinary Committee for their cooperation with this investigation.
WCA Board Member