Q: "Brian Kibler mentioned that he didn't play in the last 3 rounds of Swiss at Nationals, instead he intentionally drew into the top 8. What is the DCI policy on this, has there and will there ever be a reconsideration or a revision of this policy?"
--Matt Gunn, Cincinnati, OH
A: From Chris Galvin, Director of Organized Play:
"Hi, Matt. You ask a challenging question. While the policy is clear, opinions are divided on this topic both internally here at DCI HQ as well as among judges and players.
"Current DCI policy is that intentional draws are legal at any point in the match. This policy applies to concessions as well. What is not legal is offering consideration for an ID or concession. That constitutes bribery, which is against DCI policy. Cash or the promise to concede a match in the future are the most common considerations. However, if you simply decide to offer an ID and your opponent decides to accept, with no quid pro quo as the lawyers say, you're within the rules.
"Why does the policy work this way? Primarily because there is no reliable way to enforce any other policy. This is easier to understand when you think about concessions, but the same logic applies to draws, which can be forced through 'clock management behavior.' If the DCI made it a rule that you can't voluntarily concede a match that you wanted to concede, you could play in such a way as to throw the game. This would then put the tournament judge into the position of having to evaluate your play decisions to determine whether or not you were violating the policy. Every decision you make about blocking and attacking schemes, targeting, or whether or not to play a card would be subject to review. By the very nature of the game, we don't want to put tournament officials into a position of second guessing play judgment calls made by competitors. Here in the DCI, we've been turning this issue over and over since the start of the Pro Tour in 1996, and it always comes down to this issue. Because of this thorny situation, we do not foresee changing the policy in the future.
"Note that tournament Magic is not the only individual competition to have some amount of controversy surrounding this sort of cooperative behavior. It is also common in racing, especially cycling. Lance Armstrong hasn't won the Tour de France all those years simply because he's an amazing athlete. He has an entire team which is alternately helping him out or slowing down his closest competitors, not trying to win the race themselves. His competitors, meanwhile, have their own teams which just aren't as good at dealing with Lance. If the DCI ID rules bug you (like they sometimes bug me), thinking about it in this light might change your perspective."