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Disagreement over Explanation Switzerland

#1 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2017-September-24, 12:43



IMP pairs, played behind screens. Qualifying phase of Switzerland's national pairs. The double was not alerted on either side of the screen. Before his final pass, North asked East about the double. According to East, she said either "spades" or "pique" in response. According to North, East gave a little shrug and said penalty. West lead a spade and E/W cashed the first six tricks.

After the hand, North asked again and was told that the double asks for a spade lead and "everyone plays it that way." He called the director, claiming that he would've removed to 5 if he had known the meaning of double.

How do you rule in this sort of situation? If it makes a difference:

1. Paper and pencil were available, but many people were not making use of it in the event.
2. The rule on alerting the double is that without screens no double is ever alertable. Behind screens such doubles are supposed to be alerted (but it is likely E/W did not know this).
3. All players at the table are supposed to be strong/experienced players, although the standard in Switzerland is lower than in some other countries.
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#2 User is offline   pran 

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Posted 2017-September-24, 16:05

View Postawm, on 2017-September-24, 12:43, said:



IMP pairs, played behind screens. Qualifying phase of Switzerland's national pairs. The double was not alerted on either side of the screen. Before his final pass, North asked East about the double. According to East, she said either "spades" or "pique" in response. According to North, East gave a little shrug and said penalty. West lead a spade and E/W cashed the first six tricks.

After the hand, North asked again and was told that the double asks for a spade lead and "everyone plays it that way." He called the director, claiming that he would've removed to 5 if he had known the meaning of double.

How do you rule in this sort of situation? If it makes a difference:

1. Paper and pencil were available, but many people were not making use of it in the event.
2. The rule on alerting the double is that without screens no double is ever alertable. Behind screens such doubles are supposed to be alerted (but it is likely E/W did not know this).
3. All players at the table are supposed to be strong/experienced players, although the standard in Switzerland is lower than in some other countries.

In my world the written questions and answers are the best evidence on what has actually been asked and answered.
Absent such evidence I would rule that although there was agreement that questions were asked no evidence support any claim of misinformation.
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#3 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2017-September-24, 17:01

"no evidence support any claim of misinformation"

Pfui. Testimony is evidence.
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#4 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2017-September-24, 18:11

I would give some weighted score as I don't think it's evident that North would bid 5. 4 is also possible.
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#5 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2017-September-24, 18:16

View Postblackshoe, on 2017-September-24, 17:01, said:

"no evidence support any claim of misinformation"
Pfui. Testimony is evidence.

In response to North's question, East is obliged to disclose her agreement.
Even if correct (doubtful), East's explanation was unclear to North.
"Everybody plays it that way" is another example of the notorious GBK
(with which only opponents -- and sometimes the director -- is familiar).

The bottom line: The problem is a consequence of East's infraction:
East flouted regulations by failing to write down her explanation.
Hence the director should adjust to something between 5+1 and 6=
He should also consider a procedural penalty.
Directors must start to enforce the rules about written explanations.
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#6 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2017-September-24, 20:01

View Postnige1, on 2017-September-24, 18:16, said:

Directors must start to enforce the rules about written explanations.

Can't disagree with that. B-)
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#7 User is offline   pran 

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Posted 2017-September-25, 01:44

View Postblackshoe, on 2017-September-24, 17:01, said:

"no evidence support any claim of misinformation"

Pfui. Testimony is evidence.

Conflicting testimony should be dismissed unless corroborated by other evidence. What other evidence do we see here?
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#8 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2017-September-25, 06:31

View Postpran, on 2017-September-25, 01:44, said:

Conflicting testimony should be dismissed unless corroborated by other evidence. What other evidence do we see here?

Among East's other infractions were
  • Failure to alert her own double (West should also alert the double).
  • Failure to explain her call in writing.
  • Failure to make sure that North understood her (alleged) explanation (especially where language differences might be relevant).

IMO, the director shouldn't "dismiss" conflicting testimony without first trying to evaluate it. For example when a BIT is disputed, hestitators seem prone to truth-economy.


Here, East's protest "Everybody plays it that way" might acknowledge her previous inadequate disclosure.
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#9 User is offline   VixTD 

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Posted 2017-September-25, 06:59

View Postnige1, on 2017-September-24, 18:16, said:

The bottom line: The problem is a consequence of East's infraction:
East flouted regulations by failing to write down his explanation.
Hence the director should adjust to something between 5+1 and 6=
He should also consider a procedural penalty.
Directors must start to enforce the rules about written explanations.

North made no claim that their side would have reached a slam, and it doesn't look likely that they would. Helene's answer was more reasonable, that the director should consider a mixture of 4 and 5 contracts. I wonder if some of the table result should also be added, if it's not clear to remove 3NTX. North's peers should be polled.

If the director is considering procedural penalties, it should be for both sides, as North also failed to use the notepad as required.
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#10 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2017-September-25, 08:36

View PostVixTD, on 2017-September-25, 06:59, said:

If the director is considering procedural penalties, it should be for both sides, as North also failed to use the note pad as required.

What did North need to use a notepad for? Do you mean for not demanding that East write the answer on paper?

#11 User is offline   VixTD 

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Posted 2017-September-25, 10:46

View Postbarmar, on 2017-September-25, 08:36, said:

What did North need to use a notepad for? Do you mean for not demanding that East write the answer on paper?

To ask the question for East to answer. The WBF screen regulations read:

Quote

A player may, by written question, ask for an explanation of an opponent’s call; the screen-mate then provides a written answer.

It seems mean to penalise one side for failing to follow the regulations and not the other.
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#12 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2017-September-25, 12:18

View PostVixTD, on 2017-September-25, 06:59, said:

North made no claim that their side would have reached a slam, and it doesn't look likely that they would. Helene's answer was more reasonable, that the director should consider a mixture of 4 and 5 contracts. I wonder if some of the table result should also be added, if it's not clear to remove 3NTX. North's peers should be polled.

If the director is considering procedural penalties, it should be for both sides, as North also failed to use the note pad as required.

Seemingly N-S didn't realise the full extent of the damage they suffered.
But should that constrain the director from restoring equity?
In particular, Including the 3NX-2 table-result in the mix seems to be a travesty of justice.
North should write his request for an explanation. Failure might attract a procedural penalty.
But East's multiple infractions caused the problem.
Arguably, however, it might accord with the spirit of Bridge-Law to punish the victim and reward the law-breaker :)

It's a pity so few ordinary players partake in law-discussions.
Some might benefit from insights into the director consensus on law-interpretation.
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#13 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2017-September-25, 12:43

For what it's worth, the director's ruling was that:

1. Since there was no written record, he cannot be sure what was actually said.
2. It is North's responsibility to make East write down the explanation. Since North failed at this responsibility, he forfeits all rights in such situation.
3. Thus the result was allowed to stand.
4. No procedural penalty was assessed. However, several rounds later the director felt entitled to lecture South (!) on how she is "supposed to be a good player" and should therefore have known to ask West about the meaning of double! South's protest that she did not care about the meaning of double as she was passing in any case was ignored, and the director further admonished South (!) that she should know that such doubles are often lead directional.

Anyway, I was surprised because I always thought the onus was on the explaining/alerting side to make sure their explanation was understood (or at least show evidence that a serious good-faith effort was made). Apparently not here!
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#14 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2017-September-25, 12:50

View Postawm, on 2017-September-25, 12:43, said:

For what it's worth, the director's ruling was that:

1. Since there was no written record, he cannot be sure what was actually said.
2. It is North's responsibility to make East write down the explanation. Since North failed at this responsibility, he forfeits all rights in such situation.
3. Thus the result was allowed to stand.
4. No procedural penalty was assessed. However, several rounds later the director felt entitled to lecture South (!) on how she is "supposed to be a good player" and should therefore have known to ask West about the meaning of double! South's protest that she did not care about the meaning of double as she was passing in any case was ignored, and the director further admonished South (!) that she should know that such doubles are often lead directional.

Anyway, I was surprised because I always thought the onus was on the explaining/alerting side to make sure their explanation was understood (or at least show evidence that a serious good-faith effort was made). Apparently not here!

AWM and I seem to have got it wrong :(
South(!) was the main culprit :(
Pran is vindicated :)
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#15 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2017-September-25, 13:03

View PostVixTD, on 2017-September-25, 10:46, said:

To ask the question for East to answer. The WBF screen regulations read:

In all my years of operating Vugraph I've never seen anyone do this, unless they were asking something more specific than just a general explanation of a call (often as part of a whole "conversation" that's taking place). However, most players provide explanations of alertable calls without being asked in the first place, so I may just have never been in a situation where someone needed to ask. But I get the feeling that they would likely do it simply by pointing to the call in question, and that would prompt the player to explain. If they were to write it down, it would probably be something simple like "X?", as shorthand for "What does the double mean?"

It's also common not to write explanations of some common agreements. If the opponents know you're playing a strong club system (and in the long matches that are usually on vugraph, they do), no one considers it necessary to write "17+" every time they open 1, they just make a hand gesture that represents strength (a clenched fist or pointing upward) and the opposite for the 1 response.

Quote

It seems mean to penalise one side for failing to follow the regulations and not the other.

One of the failures directly led to the misunderstanding, the other didn't.

If two people are speeding on the highway, and one of them causes an accident, is it unfair that he gets a more severe penalty?

#16 User is offline   RMB1 

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Posted 2017-September-25, 17:12

View Postbarmar, on 2017-September-25, 13:03, said:

If two people are speeding on the highway, and one of them causes an accident, is it unfair that he gets a more severe penalty?


Don't know.

Is the purpose of a speeding fine "redress for damage" or deter future reoffending?
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#17 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2017-September-25, 18:23

View Postbarmar, on 2017-September-25, 13:03, said:

If two people are speeding on the highway, and one of them causes an accident, is it unfair that he gets a more severe penalty?

View PostRMB1, on 2017-September-25, 17:12, said:

Don't know. Is the purpose of a speeding fine "redress for damage" or deter future reoffending?

Other things being equal, causing an accident would attract the more severe penalty because courts tend to be restricted by common sense.

The analogy might be flawed unless Bridge rules and rulings are similarly constrained :(
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#18 User is offline   WellSpyder 

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Posted 2017-September-26, 02:48

View Postnige1, on 2017-September-25, 18:23, said:

... courts tend to be restricted by common sense.

Since when????
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#19 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2017-September-26, 03:09

View PostWellSpyder, on 2017-September-26, 02:48, said:

Since when????

I don't know. RMB1 is a better authority. Anyway it's a red herring.

The important precedent to hang on to is that the Swiss director, after consultation with colleagues, ruled "result stands" and admonished South.
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#20 User is offline   VixTD 

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Posted 2017-September-26, 06:35

View Postbarmar, on 2017-September-25, 13:03, said:

In all my years of operating Vugraph I've never seen anyone do this [...]

I don't doubt that for a moment; I expect it's very rare.

View Postbarmar, on 2017-September-25, 13:03, said:

One of the failures directly led to the misunderstanding, the other didn't.

If North's question had been made in writing, as the regulations require, it's more likely that East would have given an answer in writing. (I assuming WBF screen regulations, which may not apply in Switzerland.)
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