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Dual Meaning Signals EBU

#1 User is offline   Tramticket 

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Posted 2018-August-31, 02:22

In the August issue of the EBU's magazine English Bridge (P9), Ron Klinger advises:

Quote

If you are known to hold a 5-card or longer suit and partner leads, say, the ace or dummy wins the trick, a good idea is to play that an odd card encourages the suit led, while an even card is suit-preference. When you have 5+ cards in the suit led, the chances are excellent that you will have a card which can send the message you want.


But the EBU's Blue Book (7.F.3) states:

Quote

Dual meaning signals (when following suit) are not permitted.

Examples of prohibited dual meaning signals:
(a) One message (typically attitude) is given according to whether the card played is odd or even; a different message (typically suit preference) is given according to whether the card played is high or low.


This rule appears to apply at levels 2, 4 and 5.

Am I missing something? Or is the EBU promoting a method that is banned by it's own regulations?
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#2 User is offline   gordontd 

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Posted 2018-August-31, 04:48

View PostTramticket, on 2018-August-31, 02:22, said:

Am I missing something? Or is the EBU promoting a method that is banned by it's own regulations?

This has been raised and discussed on the EBU TD Forum and there will be a correction in the next issue of English Bridge magazine.
Gordon Rainsford
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#3 User is offline   Tramticket 

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Posted 2018-August-31, 04:52

View Postgordontd, on 2018-August-31, 04:48, said:

This has been raised and discussed on the EBU TD Forum and there will be a correction in the next issue of English Bridge magazine.


Thanks Gordon.
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#4 User is offline   Kungsgeten 

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Posted 2018-August-31, 07:17

We play, in the same situation, suit preference by playing a low or high card. Playing a middle card is encouraging.
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#5 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2018-August-31, 07:33

Another illustration of the lunacy of unnecessarily complex, rules, especially system-regulations, ignored by most players, but assiduously studied by a few secretary birds, who then masochistically handicap themselves by conscientiously complying with them :(
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#6 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2018-August-31, 10:33

The alternatives seem to be willful disobedience, or not playing in games where those rules exist.
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#7 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2018-August-31, 17:20

View Postblackshoe, on 2018-August-31, 10:33, said:

The alternatives seem to be willful disobedience, or not playing in games where those rules exist.
An impractical alternative would be to stringently penalize infraction of such rules.
But that would unrealistically expect directors to be know the rules, to actively police the tables, and to impose appropriate penalties.
Perusal of old threads about "opening 1N with a singleton", "Opening 3rd in hand without opening values", "using illegal bidding designations", and so on, illustrate that suspect actions are rarely reported and directors rarely award redress to putative victims.
Paradoxically, players and directors are more likely to criticise the victims as "unethical" just for calling the director :)
The only sensible alternative:is my earlier suggestion: Law-makers and regulators should radically simplify the rules. They could make a start by dropping sophisticated and unnecessary rules that most players break (deliberately or carelessly -- only a mind-reader can know for sure). These rules add no discernible value to the game but unfairly disadvantage the minority who comply with them,
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#8 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2018-August-31, 17:56

View Postnige1, on 2018-August-31, 17:20, said:

But that would unrealistically expect directors to be know the rules, to actively police the tables, and to impose appropriate penalties.

It's unrealistic to expect directors to do their job? Well, then, call me unrealistic.

View Postnige1, on 2018-August-31, 17:20, said:

Paradoxically, players and directors are more likely to criticise the victims as "unethical" just for calling the director :)

I've never seen that, and I've certainly never done it, as a player or a director.

View Postnige1, on 2018-August-31, 17:20, said:

The only sensible alternative:is my earlier suggestion: Law-makers and regulators should radically simplify the rules. They could make a start by dropping sophisticated and unnecessary rules that most players break (deliberately of carelessly -- only a mind-reader can know for sure). These rules add no discernible value to the game but unfairly disadvantage the minority who comply with them,

The only possible response to this is "which rules are you talking about?"
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#9 User is online   pescetom 

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Posted 2018-September-01, 07:28

View Postgordontd, on 2018-August-31, 04:48, said:

This has been raised and discussed on the EBU TD Forum and there will be a correction in the next issue of English Bridge magazine.


I read that forum but can't say I came away convinced that the rule is either clear or justified.
EBU Blue Book - 7 F 3 Dual meaning signals
Dual meaning signals (when following suit) are not permitted.
Examples of prohibited dual meaning signals:
(a) One message (typically attitude) is given according to whether the card played is odd or even; a different message (typically suit preference) is given according to whether the card played is high or low.


If the reasoning behind the rule is that cited by Abbeybear
"Methods of signalling which require players to play a card that they may or may not hold to send the message they want to convey are, frankly, a menace. The reason, of course, is that when a player does not hold the "right" card to send the message he wants to convey, it is only human nature that he he has to take some time to decide which "wrong" card is going to be least damaging. Partners learn, consciously or otherwise, to give less weight to slow signals."
then it's hard to see why the rule was not formulated generically against methods where a player may not hold cards appropriate to transmit expected messages, rather than against "dual meaning" which is not further defined and where the only example provided assigns an unambiguous single meaning to each card.

It could also be argued that assuming a priori that people will transmit UI whenever a choice is difficult is unacceptable in itself and/or incoherent with how we treat other analogous aspects of bridge. When one makes a takeout double for instance, partner may have a "right" suit that it is automatic to bid or she may have to decide which "wrong" suit is going to be least damaging, yet nobody rules against takeouts.

Has this rule been around for long, and are there similar rules in other RAs?
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#10 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2018-September-01, 11:25

View Postnige1, on 2018-August-31, 17:20, said:

Paradoxically, players and directors are more likely to criticise the victims as "unethical" just for calling the director :)

View Postblackshoe, on 2018-August-31, 17:56, said:

I've never seen that, and I've certainly never done it, as a player or a director.
There are several cases on Bridge-winners. For example Internationals from many different countries seem to open hands below WBF opening standards. Commentators criticised the Spanish team for complaining to directors about a US pair's 3rd-in-hand opening bids. The WBF exonerated the US pair. Many commentators said that the Spanish team's actions were unethical. Some said that, if they were team-captain, then they would bench a player who did not open such sub-minimum hands.
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#11 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2018-September-01, 13:36

That's not the way I recall it, Nigel, but I don't want to rehash the incident here.
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#12 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2018-September-03, 12:32

View Postblackshoe, on 2018-August-31, 17:56, said:

It's unrealistic to expect directors to do their job? Well, then, call me unrealistic.

If the regulation is confusing, and guidance on how to interpret it isn't provided by the RA, then yes, it's unrealistic to expect consistent enforcement.

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Posted 2018-September-03, 12:42

View Postbarmar, on 2018-September-03, 12:32, said:

If the regulation is confusing, and guidance on how to interpret it isn't provided by the RA, then yes, it's unrealistic to expect consistent enforcement.


At a regional level tournament yesterday my LHO waited until I had bid, pulled out the Pass card, then (!) alerted his partner's double (an alert not allowed under national rules) and proffered an unrequested explanation that the double was not for penalty.
I called the Director, who shrugged, opponents looked at me as if I had done something shameful.

I can understand the Director's predicament. He had already seen a lot worse than this, in a long and hard fought tournament with a 1000 euro top prize. There was no clear damage yet and no certainty that it would occur, and if it did I would probably call him back. But I do sometimes wonder if those making the Laws give importance to the possibility of enforcing them.
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#14 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2018-September-03, 21:15

View Postblackshoe, on 2018-August-31, 17:56, said:

The only possible response to this is "which rules are you talking about?"


Yes, i’d Like to know too.
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#15 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2018-September-04, 17:45

View Postnige1, on 2018-August-31, 17:20, said:

The only sensible alternative:is my earlier suggestion: Law-makers and regulators should radically simplify the rules. They could make a start by dropping sophisticated and unnecessary rules that most players break (deliberately or carelessly -- only a mind-reader can know for sure). These rules add no discernible value to the game but unfairly disadvantage the minority who comply with them,

View Postblackshoe, on 2018-August-31, 17:56, said:

The only possible response to this is "which rules are you talking about?"

View PostVampyr, on 2018-September-03, 21:15, said:

Yes, i'd Like to know too.
There are a many unnecessary rules that result in contentious rulings but add no discernible value to the game. Some examples:
  • Rules against asking questions for partner's benefit -- what harm does it do? unless the asker confesses, only a mind-reader can be sure.
  • Protect yourself rules -- why should you alert opponents to their possible misunderstanding and handicap partner with UI?
  • Rules that provide default interpretations for illegal actions. e.g illegal call designations. Irregularities shouldn't reside in a legal limbo -- they should be legal or forbidden
  • Rules that deprive a victim of redress if the director judges his subsequent action to be egregiously bad or wild and gambling -- why should the victim's actions be restricted when his opponents break the law? Another rule that is overdependent on subjective judgement.
  • Rules that condone bidding and play errors that you can convince the director are mechanical e.g. calls out of turn, insufficient bids, illegal calls. -- Careless rationalists get away with their mistakes. Honest players are penalized.)
  • Rules that give a player a choice after an infraction. -- These create unnecessary complications (about equivalent calls, changing understandings after an infraction, and so on).
  • Rules subject to weighted rulings. -- These help to restore the status quo but they fail to deter careless infraction and tend to reduce redress for damage.
  • Almost all local regulations, especially system-regulations. -- Essential regulations should be centralized in the law-book itself.
A simpler rule-book would be shorter, less subjective, and less confusing. More players and directors would be able to understand it. The game would be more fun -- for players at least.
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#16 User is offline   gordontd 

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Posted 2018-September-05, 00:48

View Postnige1, on 2018-September-04, 17:45, said:

There are a many unnecessary rules that result in contentious rulings but add no discernible value to the game. Some examples:
  • Rules against asking questions for partner's benefit -- what harm does it do? unless the asker confesses, only a mind-reader can be sure.
  • Protect yourself rules -- why should you alert opponents to their possible misunderstanding and handicap partner with UI?
  • Rules that provide default interpretations for illegal actions. e.g illegal call designations. Irregularities shouldn't reside in a legal limbo -- they should be legal or forbidden
  • Rules that deprive victims of redress if the director judges their subsequent action to be egregiously bad or wild and gambling -- why should the victim's actions be restricted when his opponents break the law? Another rule that is overdependent on subjective judgement.
  • Rules that condone bidding and play errors that you can convince the director are mechanical e.g. calls out of turn, insufficient bids, illegal calls. -- Careless rationalists get away with their mistakes. Honest players are penalized.)
  • Rules that give a player a choice after an infraction. -- These create unnecessary complications (about equivalent calls, changing understandings after an infraction, and so on).
  • Rules subject to weighted rulings. -- These help to restore the status quo but they fail to deter careless infraction and tend to reduce redress for damage.
  • Almost all local regulations, especially system-regulations. -- Essential regulations should be centralized in the law-book itself.
A simpler rule-book would be shorter, less subjective, and less confusing. More players and directors would be able to understand it. The game would be more fun -- for players at least.

Maybe you would like to produce such a simpler rule-book and we can see if the game is more fun.
Gordon Rainsford
London UK
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#17 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2018-September-05, 10:32

If all those rules were really unnecessary, they would have gone away long ago. The fact that they've persisted for decades, with only minor tweaks in each revision, suggests that many players think they're important for the game. This is a mind sport, the kinds of objective rules that apply to physical sports are not always appropriate. E.g. in soccer the ball either goes into the goal or it doesn't, we don't care about what the player "meant" to do.

The law about incomplete designations may not be necessary, they simply acknowledge that this is how people have been playing the game for many years. We could change the Laws so that certain incomplete designations are officially legal, rather than irregularities with a prescribed interpretation, but there's so much variation in the kinds of incomplete designations people make that it would be difficult to enumerate them all. Most players don't find any problem with the current rule -- I've been playing for 30 years and have NEVER seen a director call about an incomplete designation, except in threads here. The same thing for most of the other issues you raise -- in my opinion, the problems are more theoretical than actual.

I'm not saying that they never cause issues. But I just don't think the problems are serious enough that they have a significant impact on the game. I generally agree with the lawmakers' philosophy that we should try to restore equity and get the "normal" bridge result, rather than penalize minor infractions.

Maybe the problem is that we have the same rules for friendly club games and high-level tournaments. LOLs at the club aren't interested in penalizing their opponents for slips of the fingers, but if you're playing in the Vanderbilt you're expected to be on the top of your game and be more careful.

#18 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2018-September-05, 11:23

Many sophisticated subjective rules add no obvious value to the game of Bridge.
They are more likely to result in contentious rulings and unhappy players but...
They make the director's job more challenging and they generate tens of thousands of fascinating posts in discussion groups like this.
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#19 User is offline   pran 

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Posted 2018-September-05, 11:50

View Postnige1, on 2018-September-05, 11:23, said:

Many sophisticated subjective rules add no obvious value to the game of Bridge.
They are more likely to result in contentious rulings and unhappy players but...
They make the director's job more challenging and they generate tens of thousands of fascinating posts in discussion groups like this.

Is this opinion based on your objective experience or your subjective assumptions?

I received my TD certification in 1980 and have over the years directed at all levels from "friendly club games" to Norwegian masters finals without experiencing any of the problems you seem to expect.

There are indeed situations where I (deliberately) rule differently depending on the level of the event (when the Director's judgement of the situation is essential for the ruling), and I have been commended by fellow (high-ranked) Directors for my different levels of tolerance in such situations.

I fully agree with Barmar and I feel that:

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.

is too often overlooked.
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#20 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2018-September-06, 10:48

View Postnige1, on 2018-September-05, 11:23, said:

They make the director's job more challenging and they generate tens of thousands of fascinating posts in discussion groups like this.

View Postpran, on 2018-September-05, 11:50, said:

Is this opinion based on your objective experience or your subjective assumptions?

The former :)

I've played Bridge for about 70 years and participated in law-discussions from rec.games.bridge and bridge.laws.mailing.list onward.
Sven Pran often disputes rule-interpretation with other top law-experts.
Rule-makers and directors seem unconcerned by their regular disagreement over rulings in simple cases with agreed facts.

Arguably, simpler rules might be clearer to players and directors and result in fewer contentious rulings.
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