2018 FIE Congress rule change proposals published

Discussion in 'Fencing Discussion' started by mfp, Oct 27, 2018.

  1. mfp

    mfp Podium

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    It's interesting that the "PROPOSALS OF MODIFICATIONS TO THE RULES" for the 2018 FIE Congress includes a list of several identified as "Proposals of the Athletes Commission".

    That's curious since the FIE Statues state:

    6.5.7 The Athletes Commission

    The mission of the Commission of Athletes is to examine all questions of interest to the athletes and to present suggestions or recommendations to the Executive Committee. It may not present proposals to the Congress

    The "Proposals of the Athletes Commission" presented to the Congress might (should?) be objected to as contrary to the FIE Statues.

    The FIE Statues further state about the Athlete's Commission:

    On the other hand it may present proposals to the Executive Committee or to the other commissions of the FIE and for this reason it has the right to assign one of its members to represent it in each of the other commissions.
    So note that while the Athlete's Commission has the right to assign a member to other commissions and present proposals to the other commissions, that's not the same as presenting proposals to the Congress. It seems the Athlete's Commission is supposed to use its reps on the other commissions and convince one of the other commissions to present proposals to the Congress. "It may not present proposals to the Congress" is clear.
     
  2. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

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    So...it presented its proposals to the EC and the EC liked them, and the EC presented them to the Congress?
     
  3. mfp

    mfp Podium

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    They could have gone that route but ...

    The Executive Committee, which is responsible for the preparing the entire document for Congress as well as their own EC proposals, listed proposals under a "Proposals of the Athletes Committee" section and didn't adopt them under the "Proposals of the Executive Committee" section. Then under the "Proposals of the Athletes Committee" section, the EC weighed in with "In favour", etc. Committees don't weigh in with "in favour" or "not in favor" at the end of their own proposals to Congress. They treated the proposals as "Proposals of the Athletes Committee".
     
  4. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

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    Sounds like some subterfuge going on.
     
  5. jkormann

    jkormann Podium

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    I can see this if they have the sabre fencers start with their back foot on the 2-meter line. We did it as an experiment at the Univ and it slowed down the action enough that people could see what was going on.
     
  6. malediction

    malediction Made the Cut

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    FWIW, I think the doom and gloom about the foil off-target rule and the changes to the noncombativity rule are premature. I want to see both in action at test events.

    As it is, foil has the longest bouts in my experience. Frequent off-targets prolong the bout. While the amount of fencing time that passes might be low, the amount of real time that passes is quite high. On the other hand, foil bouts are quite energetic with a lot of back and forth, so I find them entertaining to watch. Because foil is fun to watch already, I don't think removing off-targets is necessary, but I do think it could be pretty interesting and is worth trying. Anything to make it take less time.

    As for epee noncombativity, I think the proposed rule is pretty great. The current rule encourages some fencers to "bounce it out" in the first 2 or 3 periods, especially if neither fencer feels confident attacking the other. This leads to bouts with 3 sleepy minutes leading up to a frantic final minute. Might as well just limit epee to a single 3-minute period. It's not particularly fun to watch epeeists do next to nothing for 3 minutes.

    The proposed noncombativity rule breaks the symmetry of the current noncombativity rule, and creates a strong incentive to fence even when equally matched. This should make epee more energetic and fun to watch. The threat of a black card for both tied fencers means they can't just "bounce it out" until the last moment. Thus, both fencers are strongly encouraged to seek the lead through engagement. The red card going to the trailing fencer, when the fencers are not tied, is also perfectly reasonable. If a defending fencer would win defending attacks, they'll still win if the trailing fencer is forced to attack them more. The only difference is the score differential in DEs. The trailing fencer, on the other hand, is encouraged to engage, thus ensuring there are no extended breaks in the action. Ergo, there's a strong theoretical basis that this rule wouldn't change the outcome of DE matches, and there is a strong reason to think bouts would be more active and fun to watch. If it works out as I predict, I can only think that would be a good thing for the sport (and it would hopefully put to bed any future changes to the noncombativity rule).
     
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  7. Allen Evans

    Allen Evans Podium

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    Has any previous rule change implemented by the FIE resulted in a significant uptick in public interest in our sport?
     
  8. ReadyFence

    ReadyFence Podium

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    I would say no. As a former member of the unsuspecting public, I had ZERO knowledge or even awareness of fencing before my kids started doing it, even though Mariel Zagunis had already won two Olympic golds for the US at that point.
     
  9. mfp

    mfp Podium

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    While the members of Athlete's Commission are some of the world's best fencers, their skills at game / rule design and evaluation aren't so hot.

    After quick study, several unintended and exploitable consequences of the proposals can be found. The proposals have issues all around but are exceptionally bad for team matches.

    An example ...

    They assign a red card to the trailing team after a minute without a touch. That, combined with the threat of a black card / exclusion from the competition for one of the trailing team's fencers (and maybe the team itself) after 3 team "P-reds", provides a perverse incentive for the leading team.

    When there's a few seconds left on the "one minute shot clock", the leading team gets a better payoff if their fencer defends and also avoids hitting the other fencer. Not only does the leading team get another point, they also tag the opposing team with another card that works towards taking out a fencer or maybe the entire team from the competition.

    Remember that team competitions at World Cups aren't simple knockout DE tables -- they fence out places. And that some countries' teams have only 3 fencers.

    Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2018
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  10. AStoddard

    AStoddard Rookie

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    That perverse incentive is very much my concern with the new rule proposal. Any blanket objective requirement - like a touch within one minute - is liable to be gamed at some point.

    I guess the counter argument is that one minute is actually a really long time. A trailing fencer needs to be in the mindset of working actively for scoring actions almost immediately to avoid putting themselves in jeopardy.

    I writing this I wonder if it is cleaner and more effective just to say a referee may declare non-combativity upon observing an unwillingness to actively engage. Priority goes to leading fencer at that time, or is assigned randomly if the score is tied. From that point on if one minute passes without a touch (or a halt) the fencer leading at that point, or with priority if the score is tied, wins the bout. (In the team context advance the winner's score to the current relay target score). No black card implied, the DE or relay leg loss is penalty enough.

    Note the above proposal doesn't shorten the bout or the available time if scoring continues to occur and lead changes can still happen multiple times.
     
  11. mfp

    mfp Podium

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    Think about the perverse incentive that arises from advancing the score to the current relay target score in a team match after a minute passes without a touch.
     
  12. InFerrumVeritas

    InFerrumVeritas DE Bracket

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    That's actually a pretty elegant solution for individual matches, but I think it's a bit of a mess for team matches.
     
  13. AStoddard

    AStoddard Rookie

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    Yes, upon further reflection it could be too big a penalty in epee team matches, which with legitimate fencing can fail to reach a leg target score (although maybe that already implies passive fencing is an issue). The penalty of advancing the score to the next leg could snowball really fast. I was initially thinking only in the context of close matches where the next relay score is in reach for both sides.

    So is there a reasonable penalty in a team match within the NC idea I'm proposing? Definitely assign priority based on the individual leg score rather than the team score. But what does a 'lost' leg mean if not the score advancing to the next leg boundary? A NC penalty call could still be really swingy, but kind of the whole point of my idea is to make one fencer willing to risk being counter-attacked or doubled rather than face a devastating penalty after one minute of no scoring. All of this would only apply after a referee calls NC against a leg and at that point the fencers know what they are risking and one minute allows for a lot of fencing once at least one fencer has to force the issue.
     
  14. mfp

    mfp Podium

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    I'm getting the distinct impression that the Athlete's Commission didn't test out their non-com proposal for team matches. Or at least not with some bright epee kids. It was hysterical.
     
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  15. jdude97

    jdude97 Podium

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    Story?
     
  16. mfp

    mfp Podium

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    Quick summary:

    The first takeaway was that when team scores are tied and two evenly matched fencers are facing each other with a few seconds left on the minute timer, backing off and both taking a P-card can be a reasonable thing to do. Maybe even multiple times if need be. So in some cases, the proposed rule actually works to prolong some of the (supposedly boring) non-combative fencing the current NC rule dispenses with.

    Remember the typical strategy in team fencing is to go for low scoring bouts in tougher, more risky match ups and save headroom to run up points when the strong members of a team fence the weakest member(s) of an opposing team. Fencers figured out that with the proposed non-combativity rule, their biggest return for the team during strong vs weak bouts was for the strong fencer to rack up the touches and try to get to to a couple touches within the target score for the leg -- and do it within a minute.

    They then used the remaining two+ minutes of the leg trying to collect the last points via "P-red" cards on the opponent and his team.

    The first time, the weaker opponent didn't seem to realize what was going on. When people clued him in by yelling at him, there was very little time left in the minute. The weaker fencer then fleched at his stronger opponent, who parried and then half-heartedly riposted very late for a miss as the other fencer ran by. Then pretty much the same thing again. The weaker fencer then came forward just looking to be hit, but his opponent didn't hit and instead beat the blade away and ran past him.

    As they came on guard again with only a couple seconds left on the shot clock, but well over a minute left in the bout, it looked like the stronger fencer was just going to run backwards. His opponent wouldn't reach him in time. At the command "fence", the stronger fencer did indeed run backwards, but the other fencer didn't chase. Instead he took one step forward and ... hit off the side of the strip halting the clock.

    Ok, red card to the fencer for intentional touch not on target. Then came the question and argument whether such a card resets the "one minute shot clock" or not. For scientific and entertainment reasons, and to shorten the arguments, it was decided to try it out both ways, first with the shot clock not being reset. Fencers came on guard, less than 2 seconds left on the shot clock. On "Fence", the stronger fencer starts running back and the other fencer ... reaches over and hit off the side of the strip again. That stopped the clock, got another red card but took the score to the bout target ending argument over the shot clock. Well played, kid, well played. :)
     
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