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CLAIMING on BBO Problems arising in BBO when claiming and solution

#1 User is offline   fa1 

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Posted 2013-December-20, 09:11

I enjoy playing on BBO, particularly tournaments without robots. One frequent problem I have to face is an opponent claiming without providing a line of play, when there are lines of play that would lead to loosing one or more tricks. I reject those claims. But this does not seem to help much. Invariably, my opponent insist in claiming again with no explanation! She/he may insist in claiming a number of times, I had a case when she/he insisted 8 times! By then the time allotted expires and the director adjust the hand invariably allowing the claim. This is because the director does not know the claimer to be confused and assume she/he would play the best line.
I think there is an easy technological solution to the problem of incorrect claiming: first, of all only one claim should be allow; second, after a rejected claim without explanation the defender rejecting will be allowed to play the cards of each players according to the Law of bridge; third, when a line of play has been provided, the director is call at the table to supervise the correct application of the line of play of the claimer, which is going to be carry over by the rejector, which of course has the right to make it fit her/his interest at will.
This simple solution is in agreement with the law of bridge and it would cause not much trouble. In fact, the change in the BBO program can be simply implemented by any low level programmer; also, in my experience most claims are without explanation and hence the director intervention would not be required. Some hands will require the Director intervention right were it is most needed and will mark interesting table situations. Overall it should greatly improve the claiming experience.
What do you think?
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#2 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2013-December-20, 09:53

Hi fa1, welcome to the forum!

I think the claim procedure works quite well.

As I understand it, the director usually doesn't honor the claim but rather lets GIB play the hand, which is potentially unfair to one or the other pair. But it is hard to think of a better solution. Btw it is not related to whether there was a rejected claim or not. The director will have to assign a score whenever time is short, regardless of whether there was a claim or not.

Your suggesting of letting the defender who rejected the claim play the full hand is not in according with the law: the declarer can't be forced to take a ridiculous line. Ideally, the director should take the claim into account, making declarer chose the worst among reasonable alternative lines of play, but this would be very hard to implement. And most directors don't have the time and/or the skills to do it manually.

Maybe the software should somehow encourage claimer to state a line, especially when a repeated claim is made shortly after a rejected claim.
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#3 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2013-December-20, 11:24

BBO claims have been pulled by tradition to a lot looser than the Law requires, partly because typing out a line of play can be slower than speaking it, and partly because it's just easier, when we're not in the Blue Ribbons.

If the obvious line of play works to the claim, tradition on BBO says "accept it" even if there's a less obvious line that doesn't.

This causes conflicts with people like you (the original poster) who don't know this and expect things to go to the Law Letter. It also causes issues when we do online Real Life qualifiers where the CoC state the Law will be followed, and BBO regulars claim as they always would (and get ruled against).

You can say, rather than just reject the sixth time, "state a line of play, please" (you might get a "did you learn to play this game yesterday?"-style retort, but don't play against them if you wish to follow the Law (that goes with my standard suggestion to not play against rude players)). But going with tradition, at least in the boring old games, is probably easier on your heart.

Note that in tournaments there is a TD that adjudicates claims; in regular club play, there isn't. So that won't work.

I do note that there is a kind of "discovery claim" that is usually done accidentally, which is why the Law is as it is, that happens a fair bit on BBO (just because it happens). I'm not happy about it, but I'll put up with it - it's not the Blues after all. If I get the rejected claim, I'll play out my regular line and not try to work out why they'd reject (which means that I won't pick up that 5-0 break I didn't think about); those that don't against me get marked.
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#4 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2013-December-20, 16:56

I reject claims without description when there is a (reasonable) LOP or a possible distribution that would result in a different number of tricks. This avoids the discovery claim possibility.
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#5 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2013-December-20, 20:57

View Postfa1, on 2013-December-20, 09:11, said:

I think there is an easy technological solution to the problem of incorrect claiming: first, of all only one claim should be allow
This suggestion of fa1 makes sense to me.

View Posthelene_t, on 2013-December-20, 09:53, said:

As I understand it, the director usually doesn't honor the claim but rather lets GIB play the hand, which is potentially unfair to one or the other pair. But it is hard to think of a better solution.
That solution seems to favour declarer too much.

View PostZelandakh, on 2013-December-20, 16:56, said:

I reject claims without description when there is a (reasonable) LOP or a possible distribution that would result in a different number of tricks. This avoids the discovery claim possibility.
IMO, online declarer-claim protocol is simple and works well.

It encourages claims, doesn't require fluency in defenders' languages, and speeds up the game.

When defenders don't like the claim, they can reject it and play on, double-dummy, like Zealandkh does. This protocol is similar to off-line Rubber-bridge law. It is simpler than off-line Duplicate law and should cause less hassle. As Zelandakh points out, defenders can easily frustrate "fishing expeditions".

When (if) defenders become satisfied with the claim, they can concede, so I agree with fa1 that a player should be allowed only one claim per deal.
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#6 User is offline   1eyedjack 

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Posted 2013-December-21, 02:57

View Postnige1, on 2013-December-20, 20:57, said:

When (if) defenders become satisfied with the claim, they can concede, so I agree with fa1 that a player should be allowed only one claim per deal.

Point. Perhaps.
(I certainly get irritated by oppos who later in the play instruct me to "claim again" having earlier rejected.)
But what if declarer wants to reclaim a different number of tricks, his first attempt having been rejected?

The incident narrated by OP is undesirable, and by no means unique, but not so prevalent that I would want to change the solution so as to frustrate in other areas
Psych (pron. saik): A gross and deliberate misstatement of honour strength and/or suit length. Expressly permitted under Law 73E but forbidden contrary to that law by Acol club tourneys.

Psyche (pron. sahy-kee): The human soul, spirit or mind (derived, personification thereof, beloved of Eros, Greek myth).
Masterminding (pron. mPosted ImagesPosted ImagetPosted Imager-mPosted ImagendPosted Imageing) tr. v. - Any bid made by bridge player with which partner disagrees.

"Gentlemen, when the barrage lifts." 9th battalion, King's own Yorkshire light infantry,
2000 years earlier: "morituri te salutant"

"I will be with you, whatever". Blair to Bush, precursor to invasion of Iraq
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#7 User is offline   aguahombre 

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Posted 2013-December-21, 17:47

Playing on after a claim is only one reason on-line Bridge should not be a sanctioned competition.
"Bidding Spades to show spades can work well." (Kenberg)
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#8 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2013-December-21, 18:48

View Postaguahombre, on 2013-December-21, 17:47, said:

Playing on after a claim is only one reason on-line Bridge should not be a sanctioned competition.
I agree with aquahombre that a game is its rules. According to the laws of face-to-face duplicate, many aspects of on-line bridge seem illegal or at least questionable. Best-hand individuals; Alerting and explaining your own calls to opponents; Prevention of many illegal calls and plays; Recall of the last trick; Claim-protocol; and so on.

Most of these rule-simplifications seem to improve the game and make it more fun.
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#9 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2013-December-21, 20:43

View Postmycroft, on 2013-December-20, 11:24, said:

It also causes issues when we do online Real Life qualifiers


I had no idea there was such a thing. What events use this?

View PostZelandakh, on 2013-December-20, 16:56, said:

I reject claims without description when there is a (reasonable) LOP or a possible distribution that would result in a different number of tricks. This avoids the discovery claim possibility.


How?
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#10 User is offline   aguahombre 

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Posted 2013-December-21, 22:21

View Postnige1, on 2013-December-21, 18:48, said:

I agree with aquahombre that a game is its rules. According to the laws of face-to-face duplicate, many aspects of on-line bridge seem illegal or at least questionable. Best-hand individuals; Alerting and explaining your own calls to opponents; Prevention of many illegal calls and plays; Recall of the last trick; Claim-protocol; and so on.

Most of these rule-simplifications seem to improve the game and make it more fun.

And it should be played for fun on line. Also, on OKB TD's make up their own rules for what is alertable at all. Dunno if they do so on BBO.
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#11 User is offline   GreenMan 

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Posted 2013-December-22, 00:19

View PostVampyr, on 2013-December-21, 20:43, said:

I had no idea there was such a thing. What events use this?


At least one ACBL District used an online qualifier for the North American Pairs finals this year. That district is geographically huge -- it includes Hawaii and Guam as well as a large chunk of the mainland -- and an online Q makes much more sense than expecting pairs to fly six or more hours each way.
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#12 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2013-December-22, 01:00

View Postnige1, on 2013-December-21, 18:48, said:

According to the laws of face-to-face duplicate, many aspects of on-line bridge seem illegal or at least questionable. ... Alerting and explaining your own calls to opponents

This is similar to self-alerting behind screens. If it's legal in the Bermuda Bowl, why not online?

#13 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2013-December-22, 01:04

View Postfa1, on 2013-December-20, 09:11, said:

I enjoy playing on BBO, particularly tournaments without robots. One frequent problem I have to face is an opponent claiming without providing a line of play, when there are lines of play that would lead to loosing one or more tricks. I reject those claims. But this does not seem to help much. Invariably, my opponent insist in claiming again with no explanation! She/he may insist in claiming a number of times, I had a case when she/he insisted 8 times!

Did you ever ask for an explanation, or did you just keep hitting the reject button?

I admit that's pretty strange. Most of the time when someone rejects a claim they just play on, knowing that you're defending DD. Eventually you'll see that they're taking the successful line and you should concede. Or they can play a couple of tricks to make the line more obvious, and claim again. This guy was obviously just a glutton for punishment.

#14 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2013-December-22, 01:10

View PostGreenMan, on 2013-December-22, 00:19, said:

At least one ACBL District used an online qualifier for the North American Pairs finals this year. That district is geographically huge -- it includes Hawaii and Guam as well as a large chunk of the mainland -- and an online Q makes much more sense than expecting pairs to fly six or more hours each way.


I do not think it makes sense to hold an online qualifier for a "real" event -- these pairs get funded by their district, right? This is a big incentive to cheat. Why not just hold a simultaneous event? You could score it over the whole field, as well.
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#15 User is offline   1eyedjack 

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Posted 2013-December-22, 05:08

It is feasible to play online under "exam conditions" with an invigilator. It would still be cheaper than travelling and accommodation costs in many cases.
Psych (pron. saik): A gross and deliberate misstatement of honour strength and/or suit length. Expressly permitted under Law 73E but forbidden contrary to that law by Acol club tourneys.

Psyche (pron. sahy-kee): The human soul, spirit or mind (derived, personification thereof, beloved of Eros, Greek myth).
Masterminding (pron. mPosted ImagesPosted ImagetPosted Imager-mPosted ImagendPosted Imageing) tr. v. - Any bid made by bridge player with which partner disagrees.

"Gentlemen, when the barrage lifts." 9th battalion, King's own Yorkshire light infantry,
2000 years earlier: "morituri te salutant"

"I will be with you, whatever". Blair to Bush, precursor to invasion of Iraq
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#16 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2013-December-22, 07:34

View Postbarmar, on 2013-December-22, 01:00, said:

This is similar to self-alerting behind screens. If it's legal in the Bermuda Bowl, why not online?
I agree it would be sensible but the Bermuda Bowl rules stipulate that you explain to only one opponent.
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#17 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2013-December-22, 08:58

View Postnige1, on 2013-December-22, 07:34, said:

I agree it would be sensible but the Bermuda Bowl rules stipulate that you explain to only one opponent.

because with screens it is more practical this way. The bbo alert system is clearly optimal for online play.
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#18 User is offline   GreenMan 

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Posted 2013-December-22, 13:07

View PostVampyr, on 2013-December-22, 01:10, said:

I do not think it makes sense to hold an online qualifier for a "real" event


Obviously the organizers, who actually have to deal with the situation, disagree.

Quote

these pairs get funded by their district, right? This is a big incentive to cheat. Why not just hold a simultaneous event? You could score it over the whole field, as well.


I think we are working with different definitions of "makes sense." Scoring across the field at half a dozen sites for a national qualifying event seems insane to me.
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#19 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2013-December-22, 13:31

View PostVampyr, on 2013-December-21, 20:43, said:

How?

Say that declarer has AKQJ9 opposite a small card in the trump suit with the side suits solid having ruffed a couple in the short hand. The normal play would be to play from the top. If you only decline the claim when this line does not work then declarer has a no risk play of a first round finesse knowing that there is a 5-0 trump split out there. If you turn down such claims and declarer tries this then they might well go down. Similarly for other attempts of this nature.

As for self-alerts, these are clearly legal since alerting rules are a matter of regulation. This is no different from screen regulatons. You only explain to one oppponent in the BB because the regulations say so, not because it is in the rules. Perhaps one day we will give written self-explanations into an electronic device that sends it to both opponents at once in face to face bridge too. Even within the (very) slow-moving world of bridge it would not surprise me to see such a procedure in place at major events within my lifetime. The stumbling block is the time that would be taken but I think technology will advance beyond this soon enough. It might also have some knock-on effects as to the nature of the screen during the auction.

For that matter, is there any reason why face to face bridge has to be played at a table at all. We could place each contestant in a booth with a web cam and do the whole thing electronically without losing (most of) the cues that separate f2f bridge from online. Voice-chat can be enabled for partners between hands. From a kibitzer point of view such a set-up would not be a bad thing I suspect.
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#20 User is offline   1eyedjack 

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Posted 2013-December-22, 14:52

View PostZelandakh, on 2013-December-22, 13:31, said:

Say that declarer has AKQJ9 opposite a small card in the trump suit with the side suits solid having ruffed a couple in the short hand. The normal play would be to play from the top. If you only decline the claim when this line does not work then declarer has a no risk play of a first round finesse knowing that there is a 5-0 trump split out there. If you turn down such claims and declarer tries this then they might well go down. Similarly for other attempts of this nature

That is a big If (... you only decline etc). The solution to that is to reject the claim when you hold Txx over the 9, expecting to make it on a losing finesse. Sure, as you said, the normal line is to play for the drop. But as you also said, you expect the claim rejection to divert him from the normal line.
Psych (pron. saik): A gross and deliberate misstatement of honour strength and/or suit length. Expressly permitted under Law 73E but forbidden contrary to that law by Acol club tourneys.

Psyche (pron. sahy-kee): The human soul, spirit or mind (derived, personification thereof, beloved of Eros, Greek myth).
Masterminding (pron. mPosted ImagesPosted ImagetPosted Imager-mPosted ImagendPosted Imageing) tr. v. - Any bid made by bridge player with which partner disagrees.

"Gentlemen, when the barrage lifts." 9th battalion, King's own Yorkshire light infantry,
2000 years earlier: "morituri te salutant"

"I will be with you, whatever". Blair to Bush, precursor to invasion of Iraq
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