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Wagar final Misinformation

Poll: Wagar final (20 member(s) have cast votes)

Agree with

  1. TD (3 votes [15.00%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 15.00%

  2. AC (5 votes [25.00%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 25.00%

  3. Michael Huston (8 votes [40.00%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 40.00%

  4. Other (4 votes [20.00%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 20.00%

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#1 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2014-July-27, 14:31

Sunday's NABC Bulletin APPEAL CASE 3. Subject: Misinformation. Event: Wagar Women's KO. Session: Third quarter of final
About her second pass, South said to West, "Means nothing".
When the ♣8 was led, North lowered the screen and told East that her partner (South) usually does not have a four-card major.
Table result: 3N-3 NS+150
Director ruling: ditto
Committee ruling: NS -430, EW -150
Facts: The director was summoned at the end of play. East (the declarer) felt that she had been told that South could not have a four-card major and that if the club was a doubleton, South's distribution had to be 3=3=5=2. The director determined that play to the first five tricks proceeded
Trick 1: ♣8-♣7-♣A-♣4
Trick 2: ♥K-♥2-♥4-♥6
Trick 3: ♥Q-♥8-♥5-♥A
Trick 4: ♣T-♣J-♣Q-♣5
Trick 5: ♦2-♦4-♦5-♦8
The ruling: East-West had received an accurate description of their opponents' methods, but did not fully understand what they were told. If that is the case, there was no misinformation, and, therefore, the table result must stand, 3NT by East, down three, North-South plus150.
The Appeal: East-West appealed the ruling. All four players attended the hearing. East-West
stated that East's English is poor and that she didn't understand the meaning of the term "usually." Based on the given information, East expected South to have 3=3=5=2 and she played the deal accordingly.
North-South contended that the second pass by South was explained by South to West as "pass means nothing." After the opening lead, North closed the screen window and pointed to the word "usually" on her written explanation in an attempt to emphasize it. (The full written statement was: "Usually she doesn't have 4H or 4S.")
The Decision: The Appeals Committee decided that North, though trying to be helpful, explained an agreement that she and her partner did not explicitly have, and therefore she gave misinformation. East was also culpable; she should have asked for more information, as she didn't understand the word "usually". In addition, her play of a diamond to the 5 was a "practice finesse" that could never gain. As per Law 12, the offending side gets the most unfavorable result probable – the declarer gets the benefit of the doubt, with best play should would emerge with 10 tricks. Accordingly the result is adjusted for North-South to 3NT by East, making four, North-South minus 430.

Also per Law 12, the non-offending side does not receive the benefit of the adjustment if they committed a serious error unrelated to the irregularity. Accordingly, the table result stands for East-West, 3NT by East, down three, East-West minus 150.
Note: No one on the committee knew the state of the match during their deliberations.
The Committee: Adam Wildavsky (Chair), Lou Reich, Michael Huston, Joel Woodridge and Ray Miller
Dissent by Committee Member Michael Huston: This decision has two distinct parts: the determination that there was misinformation and the determination of the resulting adjustment. I choose to dissent on the former. Communication between bridge players who do not speak each other's languages must be a twoway street. A non-native speaker cannot be allowed to extract only 70% of the meaning of something said and hold his or her opponent entirely liable for failure to communicate completely – especially when (s)he has evidence that only part of the meaning has been extracted. In this case, North wrote a note explaining a partnership tendency that was not an explicit agreement and she did not say or imply that it was an explicit partnership agreement. This was proactive, full disclosure. Further, her written statement was not inaccurate -- at that point, East ignored the word "usually." When the screen window came down and North pointed repeatedly at the word "usually", East had considerable evidence that she wasn't understanding the written explanation. With a duty to clear up communication problems, East had much reason to believe she was not processing North's attempt to communicate. In my opinion, when East made no effort to close the communication gap, she should be held to proceed at her own risk. There may have been a technical irregularity in North's zealous attempt to fully reveal what was going on, but that should not exempt East from her responsibility to close the obvious communication gap so that the game of bridge can determine winners.

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#2 User is offline   PrecisionL 

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Posted 2014-July-27, 14:35

Yikes, I will rethink being actively ethical like Irina.
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#3 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2014-July-27, 19:49

Right or wrong, the AC are brave because the reaction to their verdict on Bridge-winners (and so far, here) is predictable.

Intriguing aspects of the case:
  • There was misinformation. For an experienced partnership, South's "Means nothing" explanation is improbable and North's "Unlikely to have 4H or 4S." contradicts it. Does that imply "Even less likely to have both"? Or would normal partnership style suggest bidding 1 with, say a weak 2443?
  • Provided you go through the motions of "protecting yourself", how much further are you expected to go? Is the onus on them to disclose or on you to keep asking? When I've been told "Just Bridge" and called the director, I've been warned not to harass opponents.
  • The misplay is related to the misinformation. Did the AC judge it to be "Wild and gambling" rather than a serious error?
  • The committee don't appear to have requested or perused North-South system-notes.
  • I hope this ruling doesn't encourage players to be more economical with the truth.

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#4 User is offline   gordontd 

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Posted 2014-July-28, 00:08

It strikes me as odd that the AC consider that the diamond play is not related to the infraction of misinformation. However bad a play it might be, it only seems to have happened because of the explanation given by North, which was not the same as the information given by South, and which seems to be something made up by North with the intention of being helpful.
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#5 User is offline   gordontd 

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Posted 2014-July-28, 00:11

View PostPrecisionL, on 2014-July-27, 14:35, said:

Yikes, I will rethink being actively ethical like Irina.

No doubt that was her intention, but it doesn't help anyone to present your own personal bridge logic as partnership agreement.
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#6 User is offline   Cascade 

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Posted 2014-July-28, 04:26

Not sure what I think the final ruling should be but I think it is clear that the appeal committee were wrong on two points:

1. "explained an agreement that she and her partner did not explicitly have, and therefore she gave misinformation". The conclusion does not follow from the premise. The laws require explanations of more than just explicit agreements.

2. The play (in this case) is not unrelated to the infraction.

Further thoughts:

1. Possibly north was in error because it is not clear to me from the report that there was a question that needed to be answered about the pass. Is there a regulation that requires this proactive disclosure when defending and no question has been asked?

2. Using words like "usually" in an explanation without further clarification seems to be fraught with danger. While I understand Huston's point I think there is an onus on north especially with voluntary information to make clear what sort of exceptions there might be.
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#7 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2014-July-28, 08:08

View PostCascade, on 2014-July-28, 04:26, said:

Is there a regulation that requires this proactive disclosure when defending and no question has been asked?

No.
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#8 User is offline   Trinidad 

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Posted 2014-July-28, 10:56

View Postblackshoe, on 2014-July-28, 08:08, said:

View PostCascade, on 2014-July-28, 04:26, said:

Is there a regulation that requires this proactive disclosure when defending and no question has been asked?

No.

Perhaps not in the ACBL. (I don't know, but I will take Ed's word for it.) But I think that there are several screen regulations around that encourage (if not require) this kind of proactive disclosure, even when no questions are asked. I also think it is clear from many regulations (and Laws) that you should be as forthcoming as you are allowed and as is practical. (And without screens there are good reasons not to be too forthcoming, but these reasons don't exist when playing with screens.)

When I play with screens, I usually disclose proactively, unless I get the feeling that the opponents don't appreciate it (these are usually not the best opponents). But the information that I volunteer without being asked will be based on solid, explicit partnership understandings, or solid inferences from explicit partnership understandings. (In the last case, I will usually explain what the inference is based on.) It will definitely not be based on vague implicit agreements or guesses (which seemed to be the case here).

Just to give an example: With my favorite partner we play 3NT as an "inconvenient cuebid" in well defined auctions. So, e.g. when we have agreed spades as trump by bidding 3, now 3NT shows a heart control. If one of us instead cuebids 4, skipping over 3NT, I would absolutely 100% of the time volunteer that it is a club cue, in principle denying a heart control (and explain that 3NT would have shown hearts).

Given that the rest of our system is fairly vanilla 2/1, opponents will get the expected answer after 95% of our alerts. It is a sure way to discourage opponents from asking when they have to go through the trouble each time to ask, just to hear that there was nothing special going on. After having heard several times that 2 was Stayman, 2 was a transfer to spades, 1NT was forcing, 2 was multi, and 2 was Muiderberg (just like 90% of the contestants play it), they will not ask about a 4 cue that was alerted: Probably it was just a control showing cue (and they are alertable). If I would not offer voluntarily that 4 denies a heart control, I feel that I would not play according to the spirit of the game (which is full disclosure whenever possible).

We also shouldn't forget that there is still the ultimate regulation, more important than any regulation the ACBL or WBF could write: the Golden Rule. Just think whether you would appreciate opponents quickly summarizing what their bids mean, particularly when they are unexpected. I would, so I will assume my opponents do too, unless I get evidence to the contrary.

Rik
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#9 User is offline   Trinidad 

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Posted 2014-July-28, 11:56

The ruling was obviously wrong:

View Postnige1, on 2014-July-27, 14:31, said:

The ruling: East-West had received an accurate description of their opponents' methods

East and West had two very different explanations. West heard: "Pass means nothing". East heard: "Pass usually denies a major". They cannot both be "an accurate description of their opponents' methods", (unless the opponents played two different methods ;) ).

So, this is where the TD goes wrong, IMO. He first will have to establish what the correct explanation of the pass was.

Then it may well be that he concludes that North's explanation to East was correct and South's explanation to West was incorrect, and that South's explanation to West did not have any influence on the result, and then continue his reasoning.

But to rule that two different explanations are both correct is a little difficult.

Rik
I want my opponents to leave my table with a smile on their face and without matchpoints on their score card - in that order.
The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds the new discoveries, is not “Eureka!” (I found it!), but “That’s funny…” – Isaac Asimov
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#10 User is offline   jallerton 

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Posted 2014-July-28, 16:39

A few observations:

1. The TD and AC facts are slightly inconsistent on when North first gave an explanation to East. Either way, it seems surprising if North gave such a detailed explanation of a "normal" sequence unless East had in some way indicated that she would like an explanation.

2. Michael Huston makes some interesting points. Regulations often tend to place the onus on the explainer to make sure that her explanation has been properly understood, but presumably the line has to be drawn somewhere.

3. The actual AC reasoning given for awarding a split score is wrong in Law. Clearly, declarer was convinced by the explanaion that the diamonds were 5-0. The AC has judged declarer's play to be a serious error, but this error was clearly not unrelated to the infraction: without the (alleged) misinformation, declarer would clearly not have taken this line of play. This split ruling would only be justifiable if declarer's line of play were deemed to be 'wild' or 'gambling', but the AC does not mention either of these words.

4. Law 21A states that "No rectification or redress is due to a player who acts on the basis of his own misunderstanding.". The headings are not part of the Laws, so presumably this statement applies to plays as well as calls, but what does Law 21A mean? Is it relevant here?
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#11 User is offline   jallerton 

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Posted 2014-July-28, 16:48

View Postgordontd, on 2014-July-28, 00:11, said:

No doubt that was her intention, but it doesn't help anyone to present your own personal bridge logic as partnership agreement.


It's not that simple. If playing with a new partner, then I agree with you. If playing with a long standing regular partner, this auction has probably cropped up many times. In that case, there's an (implicit or explicit) partnership understanding, which the opponents are entitled to know about.
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#12 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2014-July-28, 20:44

View Postjallerton, on 2014-July-28, 16:39, said:

3. The actual AC reasoning given for awarding a split score is wrong in Law.

It occurs to me that the appeals process should include a review by the DIC or a competent director assigned by the DIC of any decision by the AC, with an eye towards insuring that the AC's ruling is not wrong in Law. I don't know if that's done anywhere, though. Certainly not at club level around here.

I also wonder if ACBL committees still operate, as I understand they used to do, on the principle "throw out the TD's ruling and start over". My understanding is that other places, like the EBU, take the different and more sensible (IMO, anyway) approach of reviewing the TD's ruling to see if they agree with it.
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#13 User is offline   chrism 

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Posted 2014-July-28, 20:58

View Postblackshoe, on 2014-July-28, 20:44, said:

It occurs to me that the appeals process should include a review by the DIC or a competent director assigned by the DIC of any decision by the AC, with an eye towards insuring that the AC's ruling is not wrong in Law. I don't know if that's done anywhere, though. Certainly not at club level around here.

Once (and only once), I had a committee call me back after deliberating to ask if a proposed ruling was acceptable in law (it wasn't - a "two-way good" with no director error). They eventually came up with a legal ruling.
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#14 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2014-July-28, 21:25

View Postchrism, on 2014-July-28, 20:58, said:

Once (and only once), I had a committee call me back after deliberating to ask if a proposed ruling was acceptable in law (it wasn't - a "two-way good" with no director error). They eventually came up with a legal ruling.

Perhaps directors need to be more proactive. The thought that a director telling a committee "you can't do that, it isn't legal" will only happen when the committee asks for the director's opinion makes me worry that too many bad rulings will be produced. Maybe I'm just overreacting. B-)
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#15 User is offline   chrism 

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Posted 2014-July-28, 21:45

I think that once a ruling has gone to committee, the committee has the last word, legal or not (subject to appeal to a higher authority, if permitted). For the director proactively to rule on the legality of a committee decision would subvert the independence of the process. If the committee feels that they need further input on the Laws before arriving at a decision, that is a different matter.

Edit: To clarify, the director is not present during committee deliberations unless called back to answer follow-up questions.
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#16 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2014-July-28, 22:20

A committee has the same powers as a director, save that the committee may not overrule the director on a point of law or regulation or on exercise of his Law 91 disciplinary powers (Law 93B3). In particular, the committee is just as much bound by Law 80B2 as is the Director: "The Director applies and is bound by these Laws and supplementary regulations announced under authority given in these Laws."

I am not suggesting that the DIC should be able to overrule the committee on a matter of judgement. But if the committee comes up with a ruling that is not in accordance with the law, they have made a mistake, and that ruling should not be allowed to stand. Who else is going to tell them they can't do that? I would certainly agree that unless there is only one director at the event, someone other than the person who made the table ruling should be doing this.

Another possibility would be to send every committee decision to the National Authority (in the ACBL, the Laws Commission) for review, but I'm sure the LC would balk at that.

I supposed the situation de facto at present is that one of the involved parties would have to appeal to the National Authority on the grounds the ruling was illegal, but how would they know?
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#17 User is offline   Trinidad 

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Posted 2014-July-29, 01:28

View Postjallerton, on 2014-July-28, 16:48, said:

View Postgordontd, on 2014-July-28, 00:11, said:

No doubt that was her intention, but it doesn't help anyone to present your own personal bridge logic as partnership agreement.

It's not that simple. If playing with a new partner, then I agree with you. If playing with a long standing regular partner, this auction has probably cropped up many times. In that case, there's an (implicit or explicit) partnership understanding, which the opponents are entitled to know about.

But in this case there clearly was no understanding (implicit or explicit) since the explanation was significantly different on the two sides of the screen. There was not even an "Oh, I misbid" remark from South. So, it seems that the idea that South's pass (usually) denies a 4 card major came out of nowhere and was not the partnership agreement.

Rik
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#18 User is offline   gordontd 

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Posted 2014-July-29, 01:37

View Postblackshoe, on 2014-July-28, 20:44, said:

It occurs to me that the appeals process should include a review by the DIC or a competent director assigned by the DIC of any decision by the AC, with an eye towards insuring that the AC's ruling is not wrong in Law. I don't know if that's done anywhere, though. Certainly not at club level around here.

I've known ACs in the EBU ask for advice from TDs as to the law on many occasions. I've also known at least two TDs who post here express their concern as to the legality of what the AC seem about to do. ACs seem to welcome it if it's done in the right way.
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#19 User is offline   Trinidad 

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Posted 2014-July-29, 03:27

About ACs and TDs:

The easiest way to ensure that the AC rulings are according to the Laws is to have an independent TD in the AC. This TD will know that his role is to see that the ruling is legal. The other members of the AC focus on the bridge judgement issues.

Rik
I want my opponents to leave my table with a smile on their face and without matchpoints on their score card - in that order.
The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds the new discoveries, is not “Eureka!” (I found it!), but “That’s funny…” – Isaac Asimov
The only reason God did not put "Thou shalt mind thine own business" in the Ten Commandments was that He thought that it was too obvious to need stating. - Kenberg
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#20 User is offline   PhilKing 

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Posted 2014-July-29, 05:14

This hand produced a lot of hot air on Bridgewinners. Most of the comments focused on the alleged fact that North did nothing wrong (I broadly agree). But the main point for me is that had North explained better or not at all, declarer WOULD have made the contract, and surely that is what matters.
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