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Dummy Spots Flaw in Declarer's Claim

#1 User is offline   bixby 

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Posted 2017-September-11, 12:59



In a recent ACBL-sanctioned game, declarer (South), playing a heart contract, claimed, saying "I have the rest -- I'll ruff a club." There were no trumps out.
Both defenders nodded and started shuffling their cards. Dummy saw that declarer could not ruff a club. Was dummy under any legal obligation to point out the error in the claim?
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#2 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2017-September-11, 14:01

Dummy is allowed to dispute a claim. Law 68D2 says

Quote

If it is doubted by any player (dummy included); either ...

I'm not sure why dummy thinks declarer can't ruff a club. But he has to lose a club first, so he doesn't get all the rest, he gets all but one (unless the outstanding clubs are such that the 9 will become good when he cashes the ace).

#3 User is offline   bixby 

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Posted 2017-September-11, 14:06

Sorry, I should have said, "Dummy notices that declarer must lose a club." But that still leaves the question, was dummy legally obliged to point this out?
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#4 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2017-September-11, 15:09

View Postbixby, on 2017-September-11, 14:06, said:

But that still leaves the question, was dummy legally obliged to point this out?

Yes. Law 79A2 says:

Quote

A player must not knowingly accept either the score for a trick that his side did not win or the concession of a trick that his opponents could not lose.

By agreeing to the claim, the opponents were effectively conceding the club trick that they were sure to win. Dummy isn't allowed to accept that trick.

#5 User is offline   bixby 

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Posted 2017-September-11, 20:48

Aha, thank you. That answers the question.
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#6 User is online   gordontd 

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Posted 2017-September-11, 23:50

LAW 9 - PROCEDURE FOLLOWING AN IRREGULARITY
A. Drawing Attention to an Irregularity
...
5. There is no obligation to draw attention to an infraction of law committed by one’s own
side (but see Law 20F5 for correction of partner’s apparently mistaken explanation).
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#7 User is online   sfi 

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Posted 2017-September-11, 23:56

So law 9 says you don't have to draw attention to it at the table, but that doesn't impact your obligation under law 79. You still have to ensure the score is changed. Whether dummy does that at the table or after the session is up to up to the player.
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#8 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2017-September-12, 09:45

Seems to me "must not knowingly accept" applies even if the acceptance is temporary. So I would call the director when the claim is made.
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#9 User is online   WellSpyder 

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Posted 2017-September-12, 10:39

But if each opponent only had one club higher than the 9 then the opponents could indeed have lost the trick they conceded, even if they also had lower clubs they could, and no doubt would in practice, play on the ace. The claim is still flawed, but dummy would not be accepting a trick that the opponents couldn't lose if he didn't point out the flaw....
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#10 User is online   gordontd 

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Posted 2017-September-12, 11:36

View Postsfi, on 2017-September-11, 23:56, said:

So law 9 says you don't have to draw attention to it at the table, but that doesn't impact your obligation under law 79. You still have to ensure the score is changed. Whether dummy does that at the table or after the session is up to up to the player.

Reading this again I'm not sure it applies to this situation, but I think we need to see the EW hands.

And of course there is also:

Quote

LAW 72 - GENERAL PRINCIPLES

B. Infraction of Law

2. In general there is no obligation to draw attention to an infraction of law committed by
one’s own side (but see Law 20F for a mistaken explanation and see Laws 62A and 79A2).
3. A player may not attempt to conceal an infraction, as by committing a second revoke,
concealing a card involved in a revoke or mixing the cards prematurely.

This post has been edited by gordontd: 2017-September-12, 11:39

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#11 User is offline   aguahombre 

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Posted 2017-September-13, 00:27

I don't understand any focus on Law 9 or Law 72. The 'infraction' would be knowing your side can't win the rest of the tricks, and accepting the rest of the tricks.
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#12 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2017-September-13, 09:05

View Postaguahombre, on 2017-September-13, 00:27, said:

I don't understand any focus on Law 9 or Law 72. The 'infraction' would be knowing your side can't win the rest of the tricks, and accepting the rest of the tricks.

I think the specific language in Law 79A2 takes precedence. Otherwise, there would be no point to it.

#13 User is online   lamford 

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Posted 2017-September-13, 20:05

View Postbarmar, on 2017-September-13, 09:05, said:

I think the specific language in Law 79A2 takes precedence. Otherwise, there would be no point to it.

I agree, and it applies equally to a claim of any trick that cannot be won as it does to a wrongly entered score. Most ethical players correct the wrong score or wrong claim, just as ethical snooker players call a foul on themselves.
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#14 User is online   gordontd 

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Posted 2017-September-14, 00:21

View Postaguahombre, on 2017-September-13, 00:27, said:

I don't understand any focus on Law 9 or Law 72. The 'infraction' would be knowing your side can't win the rest of the tricks, and accepting the rest of the tricks.

Yes, I think you are right - I answered hastily and confused this thread with another one on revokes.
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#15 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2017-September-14, 21:57

View Postbixby, on 2017-September-11, 12:59, said:

In a recent ACBL-sanctioned game, declarer (South), playing a heart contract, claimed, saying "I have the rest -- I'll ruff a club." There were no trumps out. Both defenders nodded and started shuffling their cards. Dummy saw that declarer could not ruff a club. Was dummy under any legal obligation to point out the error in the claim?


Is dummy bound to report declarer's mistake.
if the claim-line works against inferior defence?
Click next.
I think it was gnasher who said that the law should be changed so that you have to fess up to your side's infractions.

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#16 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2017-September-15, 06:04

I suspect the Secretary Bird would agree with Nigel. But it seems unlikely that the director would.
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#17 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2017-September-15, 10:30

It's true that 79A2 doesn't even use language like "by normal play", so it might be intended to mean that it can't be lost even with the worst misdefense.

SB would agree with that if he's declaring, disagree if he were a defender.

#18 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2017-September-15, 16:12

View Postbarmar, on 2017-September-15, 10:30, said:

It's true that 79A2 doesn't even use language like "by normal play", so it might be intended to mean that it can't be lost even with the worst misdefense.
SB would agree with that if he's declaring, disagree if he were a defender.

Presumably, in accord with the WBFLC policy of delegating its powers, this law, like other modern laws, gives a similar choice to the director.
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#19 User is offline   bixby 

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Posted 2017-September-17, 08:01

Thanks to everyone who replied. I was dummy. I called attention to the problem with declarer's claim because I thought it was ethically appropriate to do so, but I wondered whether it was required by the Laws, hence this query.

I don't remember the E/W hands exactly, but one of the defenders had J10 left at the time of the claim (The Q and K were gone). This defender could conceivably have discarded a club on a heart lead by declarer, but the previously play had made clear that clubs were the only side suit declarer had left so such a discard would have been very unlikely in practice.

I guess the technically correct ruling does turn, as others have suggested, on the meaning of the phrase "could not lose" in Law 79A2. If it means "could not lose by normal play" then my obligation to speak up was clear. If it means "could not lose by any legal play, even a stupid one," then perhaps I was legally permitted to accept E/W's ill-considered concession. (And if it means "could not lose even by playing cards at random," then there's always the possibility that a defender would have revoked.)

In any event, we agreed on one trick to the defense without calling the Director. I am satisfied with that result, but this has been an interesting discussion.
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