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Vancouver 1999 "Oh, Sh&#" ruling using today's laws

#1 User is offline   BudH 

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Posted 2019-May-09, 20:21

6C by South<br>1. H7, K, 3, 2<br>2. D9, A C2, 2<br>3. C3, 7, Q, D4<br>4. "low spade", K, ...........


Many of you may remember the board above as Board 4 with Joanna Stansby declaring 6 from the Spring 1999 Vanderbilt and being famous for the "Oh, sh&#" ruling.

The present wording of Law 45C4(b) for changing an unintended played card from dummy includes the following:

"Declarer may correct an unintended designation of a card from dummy until he next plays a card from either his own hand or dummy. A change of designation may be allowed after a slip of the tongue, but not after a loss of concentration or a reconsideration of action."

The play was (1) singleton heart led to dummy's king, (2) low diamond from dummy to RHO's ace and ruffed by declarer, (3) low club to dummy's queen, and (4) declarer calls "low spade", RHO plays the K, declarer says "Oh, Sh&#", etc. (more below on the "etc")

Under the present laws, it appears clear to me if declarer, before playing any card from her hand following RHO's K, calls the Director, this appears to be a clear cut use of Law 45C4(b) with declarer being allowed to change the "low spade" to a "low club".

However, let's assume instead that declarer knows she could now claim 12 tricks and absentmindedly calls "low spade" at Trick 4, but this time she does NOT notice RHO's K, and then places the A on the table and is about to claim when dummy says "no spades, partner?", quickly followed by declarer realizing what has happened and calling the Director.

It appears the A is a played card, even though it will need to be replaced to follow suit, which would mean dummy's mis-called card cannot be corrected, and RHO is then free to give LHO a heart ruff to beat 6.

I personally dislike this part of the new wording of this law, and think it should be re-worded such that if the next trick has not started as in this case, that dummy's called card (first or second card played to the trick) can be corrected - however, it appears in my hypothetical example, declarer can't correct dummy's called card.

Does my interpretation appear correct?
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#2 User is offline   sanst 

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Posted 2019-May-10, 03:18

AFAIK there were many TDís who thought the decision - you can replace the low spade for a club - faulty. Itís clear that the WBFLC has a problem with the wording of this law. That shouldnít amaze us, since what they want - to establish that the card named was never intended - requires to check the brain process of the leader, which is, luckily, impossible. It would therefore be preferable to drop this law, since itís rarely allowed to change the play.
I think youíre right about the law as itís now, so even less chance of a change of designation. One more argument for dropping this law.
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#3 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2019-May-10, 07:44

View Postsanst, on 2019-May-10, 03:18, said:

AFAIK there were many TD’s who thought the decision - you can replace the low spade for a club - faulty. It’s clear that the WBFLC has a problem with the wording of this law. That shouldn’t amaze us, since what they want - to establish that the card named was never intended - requires to check the brain process of the leader, which is, luckily, impossible. It would therefore be preferable to drop this law, since it’s rarely allowed to change the play.
I think you’re right about the law as it’s now, so even less chance of a change of designation. One more argument for dropping this law.


I agree. Checking the brain process to determine the origin of a mistake is not only impossible but arguably unnecessary and in any case inconsistent with the way mistakes are treated in some analogous contexts - had she "ruffed" diamonds with the 6 then "Oh, Sh&#" would have been equally justified but 47F2 says no replacement.
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#4 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2019-May-10, 08:24

The laws on "mechanical" error are ridiculous. Few players admit to slips of the mind although they are probably more common than slips of the hand. Mind-reading laws reward players who are dishonest or good at rationalizing. Bridge is a game of mistakes so why should the law make a special exception for this kind of careless mistake?
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#5 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2019-May-10, 08:38

View Postnige1, on 2019-May-10, 08:24, said:

The laws on "mechanical" error are ridiculous. Few players admit to a slips of the mind although they are probably more common than slips of the hand. Mind-reading laws reward players who are dishonest or good at rationalizing.

This week at the club a novice admitted to a slip of the mind when he bid 2 over his partner's opening 1. I suppose he hasn't yet learned that you're supposed to lie here.

Luckily they play WJS, so his partner with 17 HCP didn't have an ethical problem when she didn't look for slam.

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Bridge is a game of mistakes so why should the law make a special exception for this kind of careless mistake?

The kinds of "mistakes" you're supposed to be punished for are logic, strategy, planning. We don't consider the physical processes involved to be overly significant.

#6 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2019-May-10, 10:33

View Postbarmar, on 2019-May-10, 08:38, said:

This week at the club a novice admitted to a slip of the mind when he bid 2 over his partner's opening 1. I suppose he hasn't yet learned that you're supposed to lie here.

I'm no longer a complete novice but refuse to learn that too. But I'm not sure I follow you here. Are you saying that he intended to bid 2 but by a slip of his mind bid 2 and then pointed out his mistake? In that case, couldn't the Director fit this into the 'slip of tongue' prevision of 25A2, assuming novice didn't have a suit of spades of course?
It's interesting that Maurizio di Sacco translated 'slip of tongue' as 'lapsus' in the Italian version of the Laws, which makes more sense and points in this direction.
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#7 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2019-May-11, 15:38

View Postpescetom, on 2019-May-10, 10:33, said:

I'm no longer a complete novice but refuse to learn that too. But I'm not sure I follow you here. Are you saying that he intended to bid 2 but by a slip of his mind bid 2 and then pointed out his mistake? In that case, couldn't the Director fit this into the 'slip of tongue' prevision of 25A2, assuming novice didn't have a suit of spades of course?

He had 12 HCP and 5=1=4=3 shape, so his correct bid was 1, but he mistakenly jumped to 2 (perhaps thinking it was 2/1). He admitted that it wasn't a slip of the fingers, but a brain fart.

#8 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2019-May-12, 07:15

View Postbarmar, on 2019-May-11, 15:38, said:

He had 12 HCP and 5=1=4=3 shape, so his correct bid was 1, but he mistakenly jumped to 2 (perhaps thinking it was 2/1). He admitted that it wasn't a slip of the fingers, but a brain fart.


OK, but in that case I don't see how they were lucky - don't they now have to settle for a partial when they had game? Looking for slam because they play strong jump shifts might even have worked out if she has the right 17 point hand, although I guess the Director might have to take it off them then.
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#9 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2019-May-13, 08:42

View Postpescetom, on 2019-May-12, 07:15, said:

OK, but in that case I don't see how they were lucky - don't they now have to settle for a partial when they had game? Looking for slam because they play strong jump shifts might even have worked out if she has the right 17 point hand, although I guess the Director might have to take it off them then.

They found their normal 3NT game. Her hand was strong and shapely enough to rebid 3 over the ostensibly weak bid, and then he bid 3NT (6 is makable, only 1 pair bid it). We weren't damaged, as he didn't make any of the available overtricks, so we tied for a top.

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