We have had some problems lately with interpretations of the rule regarding spectators (Help Topic 2115).
It has always been the case that spectators are permitted at all matches, unless any player asks that any or all spectators leave. It has never been required that a reason be given. The hosting TD and the hosting league'’ admins have always been immune to removal also. It has always been required that a polite request should precede any use of the “boot”, except that an immediate boot is in order for any spectator who attempts to kibitz. None of this has changed.
Previously, the rule said that spectators should remain silent but certain exceptions to this were given. In specific, we said that a “request to watch” is always acceptable. However, we have heard more and more complaints regarding these “requests”, which can be very distracting, especially when the spectator feels “ignored” if no player responds to the request. For this reason, we have amended that portion of the rule. As of now, spectators should NEVER speak at a tournament table after the match has begun unless one of the players specifically addresses them. This rule, of course, does not apply to the hosting TD, who may speak as required.
We are aware that sometimes a crowd will gather and a great deal of banter of a friendly sort may take place; if all of the contestants in the match agree that this is ok, we have no problem with it — but this should be brought up by the players themselves, and spectators should not insert themselves into the proceedings unless the players specifically say they don’t mind. An example of an occasion where this might often happen would be the final showdown in a BOS or in a TD vs Players tourney. Such mutually agreed upon relaxing of the rule is ONLY permitted in finals matches, so the tourney will not be unduly delayed.
For the specific wording of the amended rule, see Help Topic 2115.