# BBO Discussion Forums: Law 31 - Too Strict? - BBO Discussion Forums

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## Law 31 - Too Strict? ACBL

### #1Phil

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Posted 2012-August-31, 14:45

NS are conducting a long uninterrupted slam auction. After a series of passes by EW, East doesn't get the pass card out, and South makes a call out of turn.

I am called to the table and L31 appears to apply. An opportunistic East decides to make a lead directing double of North's cue bid / RKC inquiry / etc. and per L31(A2((a) or (b)), South has the choice of two unappealing options:

1. Can repeat the same denomination of the cue bid and partner is barred for one round, or,
2. Does something different and partner is barred for the rest of the auction.

In practical terms South has to place the contract at this point.

Doesn't that sound rather extreme?
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### #2gordontd

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Posted 2012-August-31, 15:12

Phil, on 2012-August-31, 14:45, said:

NS are conducting a long uninterrupted slam auction. After a series of passes by EW, East doesn't get the pass card out, and South makes a call out of turn.

I am called to the table and L31 appears to apply. An opportunistic East decides to make a lead directing double of North's cue bid / RKC inquiry / etc. and per L31(A2((a) or (b)), South has the choice of two unappealing options:

1. Can repeat the same denomination of the cue bid and partner is barred for one round, or,
2. Does something different and partner is barred for the rest of the auction.

In practical terms South has to place the contract at this point.

Doesn't that sound rather extreme?

Is it really so hard for South to wait for East to call before bidding?
Gordon Rainsford
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### #3barmar

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Posted 2012-August-31, 17:35

I agree with both of you. It shouldn't be so hard to wait, but it does seem like the punishment is excessive, at least in the case where the player repeats their original call. In most cases, the bid has the same meaning as it would have if made in rotation, so partner hasn't learned anything extra. In case it doesn't have precisely the same meaning (e.g. 1 (1) 1 -- out of rotation could be 4+, in rotation it's 5+ if you play negative doubles), the original out-of-rotation call should be deemed UI to his partner.

Perhaps logic analogous to that used when correcting insufficient bids could be used -- I think this case would be less problematic.

### #4barmar

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Posted 2012-August-31, 17:36

Another thing: while the premature bid probably hasn't given much information to partner, it HAS given information to the player whose turn it was. And this should be AI to him, so the opponents have already gained a little bit from the irregularity.

### #5pran

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Posted 2012-September-01, 01:19

I don't believe we want too many "if" exceptions in the laws to handle special cases.

The fact that a law in some cases seems to be extremely "unfair" is no reason to add an exception for this particular case. Each such exception will inevitably raise the question whether or not it applies in a marginal situation.

(And as already commented: What is the problem with waiting for your turn to call?)
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### #6RMB1

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Posted 2012-September-01, 10:13

Phil, on 2012-August-31, 14:45, said:

1. Can repeat the same denomination of the cue bid and partner is barred for one round, or,
2. Does something different and partner is barred for the rest of the

Option 1 is subject to Law 29C. If the cue-bid is artificial (e.g. it may be a shortage) then Law 31A2 applies to the denomination shown not the denomination bid. I guess this amounts to the same thing in this case (where the offender had already agreed trumps) - but if the cue-bid showed support and a control it might be less clear.

As to the appearing harsh - this sort of coup by non-offenders occurs in Mollo's books from the 1960s - there has not been a great clamour to change since then.
Robin

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### #7Phil

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Posted 2012-September-01, 13:54

pran, on 2012-September-01, 01:19, said:

I don't believe we want too many "if" exceptions in the laws to handle special cases.

The fact that a law in some cases seems to be extremely "unfair" is no reason to add an exception for this particular case. Each such exception will inevitably raise the question whether or not it applies in a marginal situation.

(And as already commented: What is the problem with waiting for your turn to call?)

I suppose, but does anyone feel that

... ...
... ...
4N (no call) 5*

*out of turn

is really the same as

(no call) - 1?

--------------------

it does not seem like an unreasonable caveat to allow the director to waive the penalty.
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### #8pran

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Posted 2012-September-02, 01:32

Phil, on 2012-September-01, 13:54, said:

I suppose, but does anyone feel that

... ...
... ...
4N (no call) 5*

*out of turn

is really the same as

(no call) - 1?

--------------------

it does not seem like an unreasonable caveat to allow the director to waive the penalty.

Legally it is the same.

If the call out of turn is not accepted and RHO passes in his turn then the offender must repeat the call he made out of turn. If this call is legal then there is no rectification (Law 31A1).

If RHO instead selects to make any (legal) call other than PASS then Law 31A2 applies with full impact. Is this unreasonable?
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### #9Vampyr

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Posted 2012-September-02, 12:03

barmar, on 2012-August-31, 17:35, said:

Perhaps logic analogous to that used when correcting insufficient bids could be used -- I think this case would be less problematic.

Hopefully this so-called "logic" will be eliminated in the next Lawbook.
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### #10barmar

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Posted 2012-September-02, 14:32

Phil, on 2012-September-01, 13:54, said:

It does not seem like an unreasonable caveat to allow the director to waive the penalty.

81C5 gives the director general authority to waive penalties at the request of the NOS.

### #11pran

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Posted 2012-September-02, 15:46

barmar, on 2012-September-02, 14:32, said:

81C5 gives the director general authority to waive penalties at the request of the NOS.

Law 81C5 said:

to waive rectification for cause, in his discretion, upon the request of the non-offending side.

If Law 31 is violated by a player who apparently expected PASS from his RHO but that player does not pass when the call out of turn is not accepted then I have a huge problem seeing what cause the Director can find for waving rectification?

(Unless of course the game is a social event where nobody cares about more than the absolute minimum of laws.)
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### #12barmar

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Posted 2012-September-02, 16:06

Bacause of "no harm, no foul" if he repeats his bid and it has the same meaning regardless of the interference.

### #13semeai

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Posted 2012-September-02, 21:06

barmar, on 2012-August-31, 17:35, said:

I agree with both of you. It shouldn't be so hard to wait, but it does seem like the punishment is excessive, at least in the case where the player repeats their original call. In most cases, the bid has the same meaning as it would have if made in rotation, so partner hasn't learned anything extra. In case it doesn't have precisely the same meaning (e.g. 1 (1) 1 -- out of rotation could be 4+, in rotation it's 5+ if you play negative doubles), the original out-of-rotation call should be deemed UI to his partner.

Perhaps logic analogous to that used when correcting insufficient bids could be used -- I think this case would be less problematic.

I completely agree. I think if you inappropriately make a call (insufficient, out of turn, whatever), and then when things have been corrected and you make a call again, if the new call shows the same set of hands or a subset of the hands the original call would be made on, there should be no penalty. This can be at the discretion of the director so that the OS doesn't steamroll the director in confusing artificial auctions, but I'd not want it to be something the NOS has to consent to.

[And if you make a call that can be made on a hand that the original call would not be made on, then partner should be barred etc.]

The revoke law was made less punitive. I see no reason why the laws regarding insufficient or out-of-turn calls should not similarly be made less punitive when there is no harm.
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### #14iviehoff

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Posted 2012-September-04, 05:07

semeai, on 2012-September-02, 21:06, said:

I see no reason why the laws regarding insufficient or out-of-turn calls should not similarly be made less punitive when there is no harm.

The aim of the recent revision of the rule on insufficient bids was precisely that, ie be not punitive when there is no harm. Unfortunately most people think it is an unholy mess, and no one, to my knowledge, has been able to make a constructive suggestion of how to fix it while still retaining its good intention. So the reason why the rules on fixing calls out of turn shouldn't be fixed in the same way is precisely that: distinguishing cases where there is no harm is in all likelihood the same unholy mess as with the insufficient bid law.
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### #15bluejak

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Posted 2012-September-06, 13:24

Phil, on 2012-August-31, 14:45, said:

NS are conducting a long uninterrupted slam auction. After a series of passes by EW, East doesn't get the pass card out, and South makes a call out of turn.

I am called to the table and L31 appears to apply. An opportunistic East decides to make a lead directing double of North's cue bid / RKC inquiry / etc. and per L31(A2((a) or (b)), South has the choice of two unappealing options:

1. Can repeat the same denomination of the cue bid and partner is barred for one round, or,
2. Does something different and partner is barred for the rest of the auction.

In practical terms South has to place the contract at this point.

Doesn't that sound rather extreme?

No, why? South cannot follow really simple rules.
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### #16semeai

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Posted 2012-September-06, 14:12

iviehoff, on 2012-September-04, 05:07, said:

The aim of the recent revision of the rule on insufficient bids was precisely that, ie be not punitive when there is no harm. Unfortunately most people think it is an unholy mess, and no one, to my knowledge, has been able to make a constructive suggestion of how to fix it while still retaining its good intention. So the reason why the rules on fixing calls out of turn shouldn't be fixed in the same way is precisely that: distinguishing cases where there is no harm is in all likelihood the same unholy mess as with the insufficient bid law.

Why is it an unholy mess? I didn't know it had been changed and just went and read it. It looks really good --- just about exactly what I suggested in my post.

In any case, I'd want that for bids out of turn as well, under law 31A2 (i.e. include the language from 27B1b there).

Added: At the least I'd want same bid after a double/redouble (instead of pass) allowed in 31A2 if it has the same or more precise meaning.

Added #2: One of the main drawbacks of 27B1b I suppose is the fact that the meaning of the insufficient bid could be difficult to determine (you have to ask the player in what context he thought he was acting perhaps). This problem is not really there for 31A2: most likely the out-of-rotation caller thought he was bidding in the auction to date filled in with passes.
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### #17Phil

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Posted 2012-September-06, 14:12

bluejak, on 2012-September-06, 13:24, said:

No, why? South cannot follow really simple rules.

Most laws have a semblance of "the punishment fits the crime" instead of a blanket, "just follow the rules".

I mean, if the collective doesn't want to be bothered with this, I understand.

I guess its more fun to debate the nuances between 'shall' and 'must'.
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### #18bluejak

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Posted 2012-September-06, 14:56

Ok, let's discuss the punishment fitrs the crime. Bridge has some really simple rules about playing in turn, calling in turn, bidding upwards and following suit. Failure to follow these very simple rules spoils the game for other people. The punishment should fit the crime: it should be pretty harsh for these very simple rules when they are not followed. It is ridiculous to allow people to spoil the game and to have no effective punishment. Part of the reason that these things are so common is because there is ineffective punishment.
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### #19semeai

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Posted 2012-September-06, 15:11

bluejak, on 2012-September-06, 14:56, said:

Failure to follow these very simple rules spoils the game for other people.

Except when it doesn't, which is the point of this thread.

Quote

Part of the reason that these things are so common is because there is ineffective punishment.

I'm not seeing a strong connection here. Would people really make fewer rare unconscious slip-ups if they know it'll cost them a board, say? People aren't going to be sitting there constantly thinking "don't revoke, don't revoke" to themselves.
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### #20pran

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Posted 2012-September-06, 16:14

bluejak, on 2012-September-06, 14:56, said:

[...]Failure to follow these very simple rules spoils the game for other people.

semeai, on 2012-September-06, 15:11, said:

Except when it doesn't, which is the point of this thread.

And who is to decide whether it does or doesn't?

A major "error" in this thread is asking for a less strict Law 31 without addressing the important question: Under what circumstances is a violation of Law 31 insignificant?

When a player calls without awaiting the expected pass from his RHO then the violation is obviously insignificant if RHO passes (in his turn), and this is already well taken care of in Law 31.

However, if RHO (for whatever reason) in such a situation selects a call other than pass then the auction is already more or less spoiled. How much can hardly be determined until after the play of the board is completed, so there can be little or no reason to "waive" Law 31 because of an allegation that the call out of turn did not matter.
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