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What does "ruff" mean? Controvertible Controversy

#1 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2018-January-01, 18:44


Teams.

SB's New Year's Resolution was to take every advantage of even the smallest slip by RR and this began in today's New Year Charity Teams at the North London Club. RR was unsure whether 3S by Charlie the Chimp, North, was forcing. He recalled learning that "ABBA" was best placed as forcing but didn't really know what that meant, so decided to add a fourth. West, TT, led two top diamonds and SB tried petering with the eight then the seven (normal count). West continued with a third diamond. SB's effort was pearls before swine as RR had not noticed the spot cards, and the Rabbit decided he could not afford to ruff high. "Ruff with the, er, two" he said. "It's the three actually," responded ChCh, dummy, and ruffed small. SB was on to this like a flash.

"There was an incomplete designation by RR, who did not specify the suit to be played by dummy," he began. "In addition, there is a two in dummy, and this must now be played as the declarer's different intention was not incontrovertible. Furthermore, the word "ruff" is not defined in the laws, and, effectively, RR's designation was just the deuce. In particular the fact that both North and South bid hearts and spades could have led RR to believe the former were trumps". He paused for breath. "Would you like OO to cross the "t"s and dot the "i"s?" he enquired. "I am sure that -100 is routine." "DIRECTOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOR, please", he yelled and Oscar arrived.

How do you rule?
I prefer to give the lawmakers credit for stating things for a reason. - barmar
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#2 User is offline   pran 

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Posted 2018-January-02, 00:04

View Postlamford, on 2018-January-01, 18:44, said:

How do you rule?

Tell SB to act as a bridge player and not as a lawyer.
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#3 User is online   nige1 

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Posted 2018-January-02, 01:49

Assuming investigation reveals no new facts, the director should apply the law to rule in SB's favour. These rules urgently require clarification and simplification to encourage players to start to abide by them and directors to start to enforce them.
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#4 User is offline   sanst 

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Posted 2018-January-02, 03:33

How does the director or SB know that RR didn't notice the spot cards? Although "ruff" is not in the law book, it's an order to play a trump. That RR mistook the three for the two is not so strange. Rabbits are farsighted and thus have serious problems noticing that difference. I have that same problem when I forget my glasses. I can't even see the difference between clubs and spades.
So, without proof of RR forgetting that spades is trump, I would rule that he designated a suit and a rank, but that that card is not in the table, and give RR the choice between the three of spades and the two of hearts. CC was wrong in remarking that it's the three, but the effect would have been the same if he had said "I haven't got that card" or something along those lines.
With an attitude like that, what is SB doing at a charity game? Doesn't he know what the word means or is he like a, long deceased, player here in town, who was the nicest, most charming man but completely changed once he had cards in his hands, criticizing his partner in very strong language?
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#5 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2018-January-02, 04:41

View Postsanst, on 2018-January-02, 03:33, said:

How does the director or SB know that RR didn't notice the spot cards? Although "ruff" is not in the law book, it's an order to play a trump. That RR mistook the three for the two is not so strange. Rabbits are farsighted and thus have serious problems noticing that difference. I have that same problem when I forget my glasses. I can't even see the difference between clubs and spades.
So, without proof of RR forgetting that spades is trump, I would rule that he designated a suit and a rank, but that that card is not in the table, and give RR the choice between the three of spades and the two of hearts. CC was wrong in remarking that it's the three, but the effect would have been the same if he had said "I haven't got that card" or something along those lines.
With an attitude like that, what is SB doing at a charity game? Doesn't he know what the word means or is he like a, long deceased, player here in town, who was the nicest, most charming man but completely changed once he had cards in his hands, criticizing his partner in very strong language?

SB was quick to draw attention to 46B3b which he quoted in full without pause for breath to save OO looking it up:
"3. If declarer designates a rank but not a suit:
<snip>
(b) In all other cases declarer must play a card from dummy of the designated rank if he can legally do so; but if there are two or more such cards that can be legally played declarer must designate which is intended."

There was only one card of the designated rank in dummy and SB argued, and would have appealed if necessary, that OO had no choice but to designate the two of hearts as a played card, as declarer's different intention was not incontrovertible. The duty to show that the three of spades was intended lay entirely with RR. OO felt he was bound by this law as it was clear that no "suit" had been designated. And as for "charity", SB's approach is that he has no interest in adopting charity or charm. Rules are there to be followed.
I prefer to give the lawmakers credit for stating things for a reason. - barmar
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#6 User is offline   pran 

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Posted 2018-January-02, 05:33

View Postlamford, on 2018-January-02, 04:41, said:

SB was quick to draw attention to 46B3b which he quoted in full without pause for breath to save OO looking it up:

SB overstepped his rights severely, his only right (and also his duty) is to call the Director and let him do the ruling.

I have seen clubs "die" because of SB attitudes. Players usually want to play a friendly game of bridge, not fight the laws in a courtroom.

If I were in a position seeing my club losing members because of SB attitudes I would rather expel the SB from the club in time (of course after a proper warning).
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#7 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2018-January-02, 07:44

View Postpran, on 2018-January-02, 05:33, said:

SB overstepped his rights severely, his only right (and also his duty) is to call the Director and let him do the ruling.

I have seen clubs "die" because of SB attitudes. Players usually want to play a friendly game of bridge, not fight the laws in a courtroom.

If I were in a position seeing my club losing members because of SB attitudes I would rather expel the SB from the club in time (of course after a proper warning).

Curiously, the North London club had to turn 6 people away just before Xmas as it was too full and only had one set of boards. And I spent some time creating a 20 table movement with one set of 32 boards which can now be adopted! So, there is no evidence whatsoever that SB's attitude does anything other than encourage members and visitors wanting to play by the rules of bridge ...
I prefer to give the lawmakers credit for stating things for a reason. - barmar
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#8 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2018-January-02, 09:51

Has SB ever objected to declarer saying "ruff", "ruff low", or "ruff high"? If not, then he does consider "ruff" to be naming a specific suit. The rules don't change in situations where it benefits him.

#9 User is offline   broze 

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Posted 2018-January-02, 10:31

View Postlamford, on 2018-January-02, 04:41, said:

OO felt he was bound by this law as it was clear that no "suit" had been designated.


I disagree. It seems clear to me that saying "ruff" is designating a suit: the trump suit. Therefore the card he asked for is not on the table and the call is invalid under 46.4. I don't see what the fact that "ruff" is not defined in the laws has to do with anything; it's still a designation.
'In an infinite universe, the one thing sentient life cannot afford to have is a sense of proportion.' - Douglas Adams
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#10 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2018-January-02, 10:32

Well said, Barry.
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#11 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2018-January-02, 12:17

View Postbroze, on 2018-January-02, 10:31, said:

I disagree. It seems clear to me that saying "ruff" is designating a suit: the trump suit. Therefore the card he asked for is not on the table and the call is invalid under 46.4. I don't see what the fact that "ruff" is not defined in the laws has to do with anything; it's still a designation.

If ChCh had replied "the card called for is not in dummy", then SB would have been on weaker ground. The fact that RR stated "ruff with the two" already suggests that he got the trumps confused. At the very least, dummy participated in the play and could have been aware it would work to his advantage. It looks clear to me to adjust.
I prefer to give the lawmakers credit for stating things for a reason. - barmar
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#12 User is offline   broze 

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Posted 2018-January-02, 15:05

View Postlamford, on 2018-January-02, 12:17, said:

If ChCh had replied "the card called for is not in dummy", then SB would have been on weaker ground. The fact that RR stated "ruff with the two" already suggests that he got the trumps confused. At the very least, dummy participated in the play and could have been aware it would work to his advantage. It looks clear to me to adjust.


If you forced me to adjust, I would argue this line that dummy has interfered in the play. However, I still don't think it works because in my opinion there is no damage, even if declarer had forgotten what trumps were. Consider what would happen if dummy stays silent or says "that card is not in dummy". Declarer would either remember that spades were trumps or at the very least ask for clarification of the contract. It is taking a very dim view of RR if you think he would say something like "yes it is I can see the heart 2 right there!"

As the course of events would probably be the same whether or not dummy made the comment there is no damage, ergo no adjustment.
'In an infinite universe, the one thing sentient life cannot afford to have is a sense of proportion.' - Douglas Adams
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#13 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2018-January-02, 15:30

Suppose you rule that dummy participated in the play. What does the law say is rectification for that?
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#14 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2018-January-03, 04:38

View Postblackshoe, on 2018-January-02, 15:30, said:

Suppose you rule that dummy participated in the play. What does the law say is rectification for that?

I think 84D:
The Director rules any doubtful point in favour of the non-offending side. He seeks to restore equity. If in his judgement it is probable that a non-offending side has been damaged by an irregularity for which these laws provide no rectification he adjusts the score (see Law 12).

So, I agree that one has to decide whether it is "probable" that RR would have discarded the two of hearts. But also whether "ruff with the 2" is sufficient when there is only one two in dummy. Would "trump with the two", "tickle it with the two" (and don't laugh; a regular international partner of mine often uses the expression) or "hit it with the two" have designated spades?

46A has: When calling for a card to be played from dummy declarer should clearly state both the suit and the rank of the desired card.

This was not done, and no suit was stated. On a previous hand, dummy argued that "discard" a heart allowed him to ruff with a heart. RR cannot have it both ways. If "ruff" specifies a suit which is "a trump", then "discard" must specify a non-trump, and it is not possible to "discard" a trump.
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#15 User is offline   pran 

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Posted 2018-January-03, 04:56

View Postblackshoe, on 2018-January-02, 15:30, said:

Suppose you rule that dummy participated in the play. What does the law say is rectification for that?

View Postlamford, on 2018-January-03, 04:38, said:

I think 84D:
The Director rules any doubtful point in favour of the non-offending side. He seeks to restore equity. If in his judgement it is probable that a non-offending side has been damaged by an irregularity for which these laws provide no rectification he adjusts the score (see Law 12).

So, I agree that one has to decide whether it is "probable" that RR would have discarded the two of hearts. But also whether "ruff with the 2" is sufficient when there is only one two in dummy.

46A has: When calling for a card to be played from dummy declarer should clearly state both the suit and the rank of the desired card.

This was not done, and no suit was stated. On a previous hand, dummy argued that "discard" a heart allowed him to ruff with a heart. RR cannot have it both ways. If "ruff" specifies a suit which is "a trump", then "discard" must specify a non-trump, and it is not possible to "discard" a trump.

The immediate answer to blackshoe's question is simply:

Law 43B1 said:

Dummy is liable to penalty under Law 90 for any violation of the limitations listed in A1 and A2.

(The remainder of Law 43B includes possible consequences of further improper activities by Dummy.)

I cannot understand the idea that Law 84 is relevant here - it just isn't.
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#16 User is online   nige1 

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Posted 2018-January-03, 06:40

Fascinating. Again, directors, apart from Lambert, award benefit of the doubt to the law-breaker. A minor point: Although players routinely commit such infractions and directors rarely penalize them, IMO, that doesn't justify directors automatically condoning them in contexts where they might cause substantial damage.

Lamford quotes Law 46B3, which said:

If declarer designates a rank but not a suit:<snip>(b) In all other cases declarer must play a card from dummy of the designated rank if he can legally do so; but if there are two or more such cards that can be legally played declarer must designate which is intended."

Lambert's clever choice of characters from Mollo's menagarie, seems to prejudice directors, whose rulings depend more on personalities than on blind justice.
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#17 User is offline   VixTD 

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Posted 2018-January-03, 07:45

View Postnige1, on 2018-January-03, 06:40, said:

Fascinating. Again, directors, apart from Lambert, award benefit of the doubt to the law-breaker. A minor point: Although players routinely commit such infractions and directors rarely penalize them, IMO, that does nit justify directors automatically condoning them in contexts where they might cause substantial damage.


Lambert's clever choice of characters from Mollo's menagarie, seems to prejudice directors, whose rulings depend more on personalities than on blind justice.

RR was clearly aware that there was a trump suit this time, and presumably Charlie is meticulous in setting out the dummy correctly with the trump suit on his right. Is RR really likely to confuse the trump suit in this situation? I would rule that RR's "different intention is incontrovertible" (the part of the law Lamford avoids quoting) and give Charlie a warning for interfering with play (or a fine if he got a warning last time). To do otherwise would make the game unbearable for all the elderly, slightly short-sighted players who frequently can't make out the spot cards in the dummy.
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#18 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2018-January-03, 07:45

View Postpran, on 2018-January-03, 04:56, said:

The immediate answer to blackshoe's question is simply:

(The remainder of Law 43B includes possible consequences of further improper activities by Dummy.)

I cannot understand the idea that Law 84 is relevant here - it just isn't.

I agree with you that Law 43B is much better. Well spotted.
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#19 User is offline   pran 

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Posted 2018-January-03, 07:47

View Postnige1, on 2018-January-03, 06:40, said:

Fascinating. Again, directors, apart from Lambert, award benefit of the doubt to the law-breaker. A minor point: Although players routinely commit such infractions and directors rarely penalize them, IMO, that doesn't justify directors automatically condoning them in contexts where they might cause substantial damage.
[...]
Lambert's clever choice of characters from Mollo's menagarie, seems to prejudice directors, whose rulings depend more on personalities than on blind justice.


It is amazing how often the following clause seems disregarded

INTRODUCTION TO THE 2017 LAWS OF DUPLICATE BRIDGE said:

[...]
The purpose of the Laws remains unchanged. They are designed to define correct procedure and to provide an adequate remedy for when something goes wrong. They are designed not to punish irregularities but rather to rectify situations where non-offenders may otherwise be damaged. Players should be ready to accept graciously any rectification, penalty, or ruling.
[...]

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#20 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2018-January-03, 07:53

View PostVixTD, on 2018-January-03, 07:45, said:

I would rule that RR's "different intention is incontrovertible" (the part of the law Lamford avoids quoting)

That part of the Law was indeed quoted by SB in the OP, so you are mistaken in your parenthetical clause. If RR had just said "small", then he would have indeed made an insufficient designation but when he said "ruff with the 2" he made a sufficient designation as there is only one two in dummy. He designated a rank but not a suit, and the laws cover that situation. To conclude that any player had a different intention here would be wrong, given that NS bid both spades and hearts, given that there is a two of hearts, and most of all given that it is the Rabbit for whom the auction is a dim and distant memory.

There is a tendency in the laws, particularly in the IB rules, to cater for elderly people with failing eyesight and this is no bad thing. However, we don't give redress when they inadvertently try to capture a queen with a jack. Why should we give redress when they call for a two instead of a three?
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