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Disputed hesitation EBU

#1 User is offline   VixTD 

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Posted 2017-December-05, 07:48

Eight-table cross-IMP pairs tournament, nine-board rounds, scored by VPs:

1 was 16-18 or 22+, any shape.

Result: 5X(W)=, NS-850 and 93 X-IMPs.

South reserved his rights because of what he thought was a slow pass by East over 4. West claimed not to have noticed any hesitation. The director was not called because he was sitting North and so was present at the table anyway. (There was no other director available to call.) In North's opinion the STOP card was (of course) used correctly, and East did not take significantly longer than the time the card was on the table, but the problem is that over 90% of club players take no notice of the STOP requirements. They tend to flash STOP card briefly when using themselves and return it straight to the box, and don't wait 6-10 seconds after their opponent uses it. If West is one such player, the pause over 4 conveys UI to her partner. Although all the players know each other well and play against each other every week, it's difficult for the TD to judge whether this East always pauses or never pauses (unless they need thinking time), or only pauses when playing against the director (there are some players in this category).

West was never asked why she bid 5, but South pointed out that it was odd that she chose to introduce her club suit at the point rather than earlier in the auction.

Any idea how to sort this sort of thing out, generally? How would you tend to rule if you established that there was a hesitation?
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#2 User is offline   WellSpyder 

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Posted 2017-December-05, 09:47

I don't think you can penalise East for following the stop rules unless you have evidence that this particular player generally does not do so. So if the TD isn't sure whether East does or does not normally pause for the required time then I think he should rule no BIT.

If you do decide that there was a BIT then clearly you want a poll to judge whether pass is a LA for West. I suppose you might also wonder what the BIT might show - after all, you wouldn't normally expect a player who could only raise to 2H to be considering 5H now, so perhaps you would want a poll on that, too. But I guess my gut reaction is that a BIT would indeed suggest bidding over passing, and also that pass has to be a LA when vulnerable.
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#3 User is offline   ArtK78 

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Posted 2017-December-05, 12:26

It doesn't matter if 99.999% of club players don't pause the required length of time over a skip bid. It doesn't even matter if the stop card was used. East is required to pause about 10 seconds over a skip bid. The TD (at the table) believes that East " did not take significantly longer than the time the (stop) card was on the table" before taking his action. If anything, that makes East's pass rather quick as opposed to slow.

How can an argument be made that East made a "slow" pass over 4?

No adjustment.

Maybe South should not be defending 5 on this auction.
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#4 User is offline   steve2005 

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Posted 2017-December-05, 13:59

View PostArtK78, on 2017-December-05, 12:26, said:

How can an argument be made that East made a "slow" pass over 4?

If the slow pass does not fit you must acquit!
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#5 User is offline   steve2005 

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Posted 2017-December-05, 15:15

View PostVixTD, on 2017-December-05, 07:48, said:

West was never asked why she bid 5, but South pointed out that it was odd that she chose to introduce her club suit at the point rather than earlier in the auction.

Was South asked why they wanted to defend at imps without 3 defensive tricks opposite a partner who is weak with a fit?
Seems a more pertinent question.


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#6 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2017-December-06, 02:48

I think that if there is a dispute about a BIT you must establish the facts. If there is really no one else who can serve as director in a case like this, then I think that the director is forced to rule in the other side's favour and propose a change in the club's constitution at the next AGM.
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#7 User is offline   VixTD 

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Posted 2017-December-06, 07:40

View PostArtK78, on 2017-December-05, 12:26, said:

It doesn't matter if 99.999% of club players don't pause the required length of time over a skip bid. It doesn't even matter if the stop card was used. East is required to pause about 10 seconds over a skip bid. The TD (at the table) believes that East " did not take significantly longer than the time the (stop) card was on the table" before taking his action. If anything, that makes East's pass rather quick as opposed to slow.

How can an argument be made that East made a "slow" pass over 4?

I thought I made the argument quite well.

If East's normal tempo over a jump bid is to call immediately unless they have something to think about, a pause will convey unauthorized information to partner that they have something to think about. This seems pretty obvious to me.

If players are going to disregard the regulations (as most club players do, and not just in this club, I'm sure), they shouldn't get a favourable ruling for doing so. I quite often draw attention to a fast pass over a jump bid in a sensitive auction, and I wouldn't let anyone get away with the defence of "I never observe the STOP regulation, so you can't say my pass was fast", even if it's true. Players shouldn't gain from breaching the regulations, but I don't know how to stop them from doing so, apart from a draconian clamp-down on stop bid pauses, which will never work.
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#8 User is offline   WellSpyder 

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Posted 2017-December-06, 08:52

View PostVixTD, on 2017-December-06, 07:40, said:

If East's normal tempo over a jump bid is to call immediately unless they have something to think about, a pause will convey unauthorized information to partner that they have something to think about. This seems pretty obvious to me.

I absolutely agree. But I think it is critical for this argument to have some evidence about East's normal tempo, not just about the typical tempo in the club.
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#9 User is offline   pran 

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Posted 2017-December-06, 09:00

View PostVixTD, on 2017-December-06, 07:40, said:

I thought I made the argument quite well.

If East's normal tempo over a jump bid is to call immediately unless they have something to think about, a pause will convey unauthorized information to partner that they have something to think about. This seems pretty obvious to me.

If players are going to disregard the regulations (as most club players do, and not just in this club, I'm sure), they shouldn't get a favourable ruling for doing so. I quite often draw attention to a fast pass over a jump bid in a sensitive auction, and I wouldn't let anyone get away with the defence of "I never observe the STOP regulation, so you can't say my pass was fast", even if it's true. Players shouldn't gain from breaching the regulations, but I don't know how to stop them from doing so, apart from a draconian clamp-down on stop bid pauses, which will never work.

If East's normal tempo is to call immediately unless he has something to think about then his violation of regulations in such situations causes passing the UI that he has NOTHING TO THINK ABOUT, and he should be reprimanded for such violations.

It is as such no violation to (occasionally) obey regulations.
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#10 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2017-December-06, 10:18

View PostVampyr, on 2017-December-06, 02:48, said:

I think that if there is a dispute about a BIT you must establish the facts. If there is really no one else who can serve as director in a case like this, then I think that the director is forced to rule in the other side's favour and propose a change in the club's constitution at the next AGM.

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#11 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2017-December-06, 10:38

View Postpran, on 2017-December-06, 09:00, said:

It is as such no violation to (occasionally) obey regulations.

The essence of the skip bid regulation is to be consistent in your tempo over skip bids. If you only occasionally pause, and only when you have something to think about, then you're not obeying the regulation at all. Those pauses have nothing to do with the regulation, and everything to do with your hand, so they convey the UI that the regulation attempts to prevent.

I suspect that a frequent playing director will actually be in a better position to determine whether this is their normal tempo, since they would probably have played against them numerous times before.

#12 User is offline   ggwhiz 

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Posted 2017-December-06, 13:30

A bit is certainly possible by east on their cards BUT I don't know any player that having bid 2 and seen partner bid 3 that would not give some thought to an unforeseen leap to 4 regardless of past history.

That past history may well indicate UI and while pass is not a logical alternative for me with the west cards, neither is the 3(only) bid so I would assume it is for this player and that the further bid was influenced by easts tempo.
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#13 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2017-December-07, 05:09

I find the entire argument here rather strange. What does it matter whether East calls immediately in cases where their RHO merely flashes the Stop card? The only way the given actions could convey UI is if thie East would usually ignore the Stop card when it is left on the table. And since it seems that the TD is almost the only member of the club to follow the Stop card procedure correctly, they are surely in the best position to be able to judge if this is the case.

To my mind, the only person at this table in danger of receiving an adverse ruling is South, who is essentially insinuating that East regularly breaks the regulations. It seems to me that East, who has apparently followed the regulations to the letter, would well be within their rights to ask the TD if the actions constitute a breach of 74A and a subsequent warning or penalty.
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#14 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2017-December-07, 06:34

Agree with Zealandkh, Pran, and Artk78:
  • If East breaks Bridge regulations on other occasions, then rule against him on those other occasions.
  • On this occasion, East abided by the rules: you shouldn't rule against him for that.
  • If North-South insinuate that East gave UI by complying with the rules, then they flout zero-tolerance policy and might deserve a disciplinary penalty.

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#15 User is offline   VixTD 

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Posted 2017-December-07, 07:19

View Postggwhiz, on 2017-December-06, 13:30, said:

I don't know any player that having bid 2 and seen partner bid 3 that would not give some thought to an unforeseen leap to 4 regardless of past history.

If they'd given some thought in advance to what to do over a leap to 4, it wasn't unforeseen.
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#16 User is offline   VixTD 

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Posted 2017-December-07, 07:27

View PostZelandakh, on 2017-December-07, 05:09, said:

I find the entire argument here rather strange. What does it matter whether East calls immediately in cases where their RHO merely flashes the Stop card? The only way the given actions could convey UI is if thie East would usually ignore the Stop card when it is left on the table. And since it seems that the TD is almost the only member of the club to follow the Stop card procedure correctly, they are surely in the best position to be able to judge if this is the case.

Your first point is a good one, although players are not at liberty to bid immediately if the STOP card is removed prematurely. They are still supposed to wait several seconds. And there are a few other players who leave the STOP card out, but LHO rarely waits until it's returned to the box.

View PostZelandakh, on 2017-December-07, 05:09, said:

To my mind, the only person at this table in danger of receiving an adverse ruling is South, who is essentially insinuating that East regularly breaks the regulations. It seems to me that East, who has apparently followed the regulations to the letter, would well be within their rights to ask the TD if the actions constitute a breach of 74A and a subsequent warning or penalty.

It is North (me) who is insinuating that East regularly breaks the regulations, along with 90% of players at the club (and 90% of the players at the club down the road, and the club in the next town). South just thought there had been a break in tempo (hesitation).
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#17 User is offline   VixTD 

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Posted 2017-December-07, 07:43

View Postnige1, on 2017-December-07, 06:34, said:

Agree with Zealandkh, Pran, and Artk78:
  • If East breaks Bridge regulations on other occasions, then rule against him on those other occasions.
  • On this occasion, East abided by the rules: you shouldn't rule against him for that.
  • If North-South insinuate that East gave UI by complying with the rules, then they flout zero-tolerance policy and might deserve a disciplinary penalty.

What are you suggesting we do, Nigel? Issue procedural penalties for everyone who fails to pause over a jump bid? How well do you think that would go down in your club?

Please stop acting as if this is a problem exclusive to my club. It happens at your club as well, and almost every club up and down the country. Almost every club player ignores the stop regulation, and I see it a lot at regional tournaments as well. I don't think that pointing this out is a breach of best behaviour.
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#18 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2017-December-07, 08:05

The problem in practice although not in law is that people remove the stop card after flashing it briefly, if people got into the habit of leaving the stop card on the table for the 10 seconds then removing it, most people will wait till it's removed, and it's easier for the director to sanction people who don't.
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#19 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2017-December-07, 08:14

View PostVixTD, on 2017-December-07, 07:43, said:

What are you suggesting we do, Nigel? Issue procedural penalties for everyone who fails to pause over a jump bid? How well do you think that would go down in your club?
Please stop acting as if this is a problem exclusive to my club. It happens at your club as well, and almost every club up and down the country. Almost every club player ignores the stop regulation, and I see it a lot at regional tournaments as well. I don't think that pointing this out is a breach of best behaviour.

VixTD's argument is persuasive, given the way directors currently interpret and enforce the law.

Perhaps, instead: TDs should adopt a more active policing role. They should pro-actively enforce rules that players tend to ignore. For exampe: bidding box regulations, designating cards from dummy, claiming, and so on.

This would entail more work for TDs. Some object that TDs can't be everywhere at once. Hence, some offenders would suffer more than others. Surely, however, the more offenders who mend their ways, the better.

Also, players resent sporadic and inconsistent enforcement. That seems to result in controversial cases.
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#20 User is offline   pran 

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Posted 2017-December-07, 09:26

View PostVixTD, on 2017-December-07, 07:43, said:

What are you suggesting we do, Nigel? Issue procedural penalties for everyone who fails to pause over a jump bid? How well do you think that would go down in your club?

My suggestion is that BIT allegations should just be dismissed in environments where players do not respect the STOP regulations.
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