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Taking advantage of a 'Law' situation is this ethical?

#1 User is online   661_Pete 

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Posted 2018-November-05, 05:17

I'm putting this here rather than in the 'Laws and Rulings' session, because it's more about an ethical dilemma than a question of Law. Mods: move it if it ought to be.

With me in fourth seat, game all, the bidding went: Pass (pass) 1 (2) 1NT (!)....

Once I (who had bid the 2) alerted my LHO to the insufficient bid, she apologised and drew out a Pass card. It was a genuine mistake. Nevertheless I then called the TD because I felt we now needed a ruling. The TD correctly explained to me the options, and that it was down to me to choose.

Clearly the 'softest' option, for LHO to amend her bid to 2NT, wasn't on, presumably she had no heart stopper. I therefore opted to accept the 1NT bid effectively annulling my 2. My partner then bid 2 (probably the wrong thing to do) and the auction eventually ended with my RHO on 3.

This went 1 down which was a poor result for us seeing as we had at least a partscore in - and even a partscore would have been better than 100 pts. I know now that if I'd not accepted the 1NT, my RHO would have been prevented from bidding again and we could have bid our hearts without interference. That would have been deliberately exploiting the opponent's mistake, but so what?

So I later asked the TD if there was any chance of an adjustment, but subsequently retracted my appeal. At the end of the day, I decided it was my fault for accepting the 1NT - or my partner's...

Was I right? At least I think I have a clear conscience - at the cost of a poor result on the board.
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#2 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2018-November-05, 05:25

I believe asserting your rights is almost never unethical. It is what you are supposed to do.
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#3 User is offline   gordontd 

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Posted 2018-November-05, 05:47

View Post661_Pete, on 2018-November-05, 05:17, said:

With me in fourth seat, game all, the bidding went: Pass (pass) 1 (2) 1NT (!)....

Once I (who had bid the 2) alerted my LHO to the insufficient bid, she apologised and drew out a Pass card. It was a genuine mistake. Nevertheless I then called the TD because I felt we now needed a ruling. The TD correctly explained to me the options, and that it was down to me to choose.

If this is what the TD said then that was not a correct explanation of the options. It would be for your partner to choose and, because of the premature correction, the only options would be to accept the 1NT bid, or else for it to be replaced by the Pass of the premature correction, in which case the player's partner would be barred from bidding for the rest of the auction.

As Cyberyeti says, it's never unethical to call the director when there is an infraction -it's required.

In this case, an adjustment might subsequently have been given on the basis of Director's Error - Law 82C.
Gordon Rainsford
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#4 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2018-November-05, 09:00

View PostTramticket, on 2018-November-05, 07:03, said:

[Deleted]

Sorry, this was nonsense.

You could have simply deleted the post instead of editing it to [deleted]. I enabled users deleting their own posts a few months ago, so we wouldn't need posts like this.

#5 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2018-November-05, 09:06

LHO probably also didn't have 11-12 HCP, so you might have turned the lemon into lemonade by doubling 3. Conscience clear and you probably get a top.

#6 User is online   661_Pete 

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Posted 2018-November-05, 11:07

View PostCyberyeti, on 2018-November-05, 05:25, said:

I believe asserting your rights is almost never unethical. It is what you are supposed to do.
I understand what you're saying. But my name's not Secretary Bird. I'm rather more shy! :blink:

Anyway, I'm decided on one thing: if this sort of thing happens again, so long as the TD give me a choice, I won't necessarily choose the 'soft' option B-) . Lesson learnt!
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#7 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2018-November-05, 12:18

View Post661_Pete, on 2018-November-05, 05:17, said:

I know now that if I'd not accepted the 1NT, my RHO would have been prevented from bidding again and we could have bid our hearts without interference. That would have been deliberately exploiting the opponent's mistake, but so what?


It would have been accepting the redress that the law offers you when opponent makes this mistake, what is unethical about that?
Your RHO would have been prevented from bidding again, but not your LHO.
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#8 User is offline   steve2005 

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Posted 2018-November-05, 13:31

This is just silly. In a football game do people feel sad if someone goes offside and gets a 5 yard penalty.
No. Forget it, is just part of the game.
Sarcasm is a state of mind
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#9 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2018-November-05, 14:31

View Poststeve2005, on 2018-November-05, 13:31, said:

This is just silly. In a football game do people feel sad if someone goes offside and gets a 5 yard penalty.
No. Forget it, is just part of the game.


I would go further and say that it is one of the few occasions where offenders actually encounter a disincentive.
Often in bridge it's as if the opponents can do pretty much what they please and at most you can get their goal disallowed.
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#10 User is offline   ggwhiz 

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Posted 2018-November-05, 14:38

The decision on whether to accept the 1nt bid or not belongs to your partner and since it was their turn to bid (and notice the insufficient bid or not) I don't think you should be saying a single word.
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#11 User is offline   billyjef 

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Posted 2018-November-05, 16:30

In regards to the auction, you wouldn't be exploiting the laws to insure you and your partner get to the optimal place where you would have gotten had the offense not occurred (and let the law work for you if the opponents take advantage of the laws for their own offense to find a sacrifice the otherwise wouldn't as it seems they did in this case). That is why we have the laws, to make sure you aren't damaged by an offense, whether intentional or not.
This same spirit is extended to the play as well.
The laws aren't perfect and thus open to exploitation. They are created with the assumption that those engaged in the game aren't malicious. The world has seen, within this decade, that that assumption was naïve.
That said, I do find it distasteful, unethical and damaging to the spirit of the game when players actively exploit the laws to gain something they haven't earned, won or deserved. The group of people I see do this regularly, in my area, as a whole, as if it is their right, are B players (desperate to gain status). Beginners, novices and happy C players are more often than not, blissfully ignorant. "Real" A players, experts and pro's, want to win on their own merits, not by capitalizing on non-tactical mistakes.
So I applaud your conscientiousness. The game needs more people who realize there is a line between where one is being a good sport and lawful and where one is exploiting the law un-sportingly.
My advice, regardless of anyone's advice that it is ethical and part of the game to always take advantage of peoples non-tactical offenses for your own gain, that you do so, or not, in accordance with your own conscience.

Jef Pratt
Surrendering to existential truth is the beginning of enlightenment.
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#12 User is offline   gordontd 

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Posted 2018-November-06, 01:51

View Postggwhiz, on 2018-November-05, 14:38, said:

The decision on whether to accept the 1nt bid or not belongs to your partner and since it was their turn to bid (and notice the insufficient bid or not) I don't think you should be saying a single word.

It's partner's decision whether to accept the insufficient bid, but it's any player's right to draw attention to an irregularity during the auction and then everyone's responsibility to call the TD.
Gordon Rainsford
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#13 User is offline   PhilG007 

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Posted 2018-November-06, 02:44

View Post661_Pete, on 2018-November-05, 05:17, said:

I'm putting this here rather than in the 'Laws and Rulings' session, because it's more about an ethical dilemma than a question of Law. Mods: move it if it ought to be.

With me in fourth seat, game all, the bidding went: Pass (pass) 1 (2) 1NT (!)....

Once I (who had bid the 2) alerted my LHO to the insufficient bid, she apologised and drew out a Pass card. It was a genuine mistake. Nevertheless I then called the TD because I felt we now needed a ruling. The TD correctly explained to me the options, and that it was down to me to choose.

Clearly the 'softest' option, for LHO to amend her bid to 2NT, wasn't on, presumably she had no heart stopper. I therefore opted to accept the 1NT bid effectively annulling my 2. My partner then bid 2 (probably the wrong thing to do) and the auction eventually ended with my RHO on 3.

This went 1 down which was a poor result for us seeing as we had at least a partscore in - and even a partscore would have been better than 100 pts. I know now that if I'd not accepted the 1NT, my RHO would have been prevented from bidding again and we could have bid our hearts without interference. That would have been deliberately exploiting the opponent's mistake, but so what?

So I later asked the TD if there was any chance of an adjustment, but subsequently retracted my appeal. At the end of the day, I decided it was my fault for accepting the 1NT - or my partner's...

Was I right? At least I think I have a clear conscience - at the cost of a poor result on the board.



The Laws of Bridge are an arcane mystery to many players and will continue to be so for a long time hence. Only experience will guide you in this field.
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Bridge is a game where you have two opponents...and often three(!)


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#14 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2018-November-06, 04:43

View PostPhilG007, on 2018-November-06, 02:44, said:

The Laws of Bridge are an arcane mystery to many players and will continue to be so for a long time hence. Only experience will guide you in this field.


The laws of Bridge and Local regulations should be amalgamated, purged, clarified, and drastically simplified. Even then directors and players would continue to have trouble with some rules (e.g. UI).

Bridge is a game where you have two opponents...and often three(! -- or four if you count yourself :)
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#15 User is offline   nekthen 

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Posted 2018-November-06, 05:03

This is why the TD should always look up the rulebook before making a ruling, it is too easy to misremember the rule and compound the error.
The other lesson to take from this is that, at Pairs, you often have to double if you think that you have bid to your last making contract, especially in a part score where opps are vulnerable. If you judge that 3 spades is going to be unusually high then you have to wield the axe. If the make, you may have turned 20% to zero, but if they go down you have converted 20% to 100%
At imp scoring obviously the situation is reversed.
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#16 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2018-November-06, 06:52

View Postnige1, on 2018-November-06, 04:43, said:

The laws of Bridge and Local regulations should be amalgamated, purged, clarified, and drastically simplified. Even then directors and players would continue to have trouble with some rules (e.g. UI).


Those who find this unthinkable or too difficult should look at how some other sports are catching up with the 21st century, for example
see this courageous experiment
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#17 User is offline   msjennifer 

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Posted 2018-November-06, 13:21

So far as I know it is within the players right to ask the TD to read out the appropriate rules from the Rule Book. Secondly it was your partners choice whether to accept the insufficient bid or not.Thirdly if the opponents are strangers DO NOT ACCEPT THE INSUFFICIENT BID.I have come across some players who purposely make an insufficient or an illegal bid so as to bar their partner from bidding (by not making a sufficient bid in the same denomination when asked for by the TD) .For example replace the bid of 1NT by say r3C or 3D etc.In that event one can ask for redress if ones side has been damaged by the forced " shut up" of the offenders partner.And another point is the offender can not replace the insufficient bid by a double or redouble.
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#18 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2018-November-06, 13:35

View Postmsjennifer, on 2018-November-06, 13:21, said:

Thirdly if the opponents are strangers DO NOT ACCEPT THE INSUFFICIENT BID.I have come across some players who purposely make an insufficient or an illegal bid so as to bar their partner from bidding (by not making a sufficient bid in the same denomination when asked for by the TD) .For example replace the bid of 1NT by say r3C or 3D etc.


As I understand it, if you wish to make it impossible for them to bar partner from bidding then the only way to do this is to ACCEPT the insufficient bid. If you refuse it, and they replace with something other than lowest sufficient bid which specifies the same denomination(s), then their partner is barred.
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#19 User is offline   msjennifer 

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Posted 2018-November-06, 13:49

View Postpescetom, on 2018-November-06, 13:35, said:

As I understand it, if you wish to make it impossible for them to bar partner from bidding then the only way to do this is to ACCEPT the insufficient bid. If you refuse it, and they replace with something other than lowest sufficient bid which specifies the same denomination(s), then their partner is barred.

Sir,one must fully know whether the accepted insufficient bid is a conventional bid or not.In the given example a 1NT bid may be a conventional forcing bid if there was no 2H overcall.Whether you like it or not illegal information has already been passed by the 1NT bid.As also the 1NT bidders partner already knows that it was the intention to forbid him from bidding and so even holding a hand which deserved one more bid ,he will now pass having known the purpose of the insufficient bid.
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#20 User is offline   sultro 

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Posted 2018-November-06, 16:41

I earned my TD card many years ago, and they have changed the laws many times since. One thing I am still sure of. Call the director as soon as an irregularity is discovered! not after you think they have done something compounding the error. your partner is entitled to know what his options are in accepting the insufficient bid. left hand opponent is entitled to know what options exist if the call is not accepted and what the penalties for exercising those options are. This is a classic example of why the director should be called immediately. left hand opponent has now had 2 chances to pass information to his/her partner before the director got there.

This particular option is the best one in the game. If I want to raise partners hearts without raising the level he bid at, I can accept the insufficient bid. If I want to make an overcall below partners bid, I can also accept. and If i don't, I get to make the opponents find a nearly equivalent bid or bar their partner.

As far as the ethics of accepting the insufficient bid go. You are at a tournament, consider the ethics of not playing to win and giving this opponent an unearned advantage.
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