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SB starts summoning UI after the start of the auction

#1 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2020-April-28, 07:09


The North London club ventured into the Lockdown League for the first time last night, and it did not take long for the TD to be called to SB's table.

"We play a weak NT throughout and three weak twos", said SB, West, at the start of the first auction, carefully sending it to both opponents only.
"Weak NT, strong in third, and also three weak twos" replied Gertrude Guggenheim, North, but she sent this to the table.

The auction was uneventful, with North correctly announcing the NT range so that only EW could see, and declarer made the obvious nine tricks, claiming at trick one on the queen of spades lead. But SB was out for blood and clicked on the CALL DIRECTOR button. Nothing much happened for a while as there were major problems with the server, but SB kept on clicking. Eventually, EBU_6 arrived. "How can I help?" she asked.

"Firstly, I can understand why the collective noun for directors is an 'absence'." replied SB, sarcastically. "I thought for a while the CALL DIRECTOR button was not working."

"I was helping newcomers set up," replied EBU_6 patiently, "and there have been major problems with too many teams".

"OK", replied SB, "the reason for my call is that there was UI during the auction. The lady on my left announced that they played strong in third, during the auction, and sent that information to the table rather than just the opponents. Her partner might well be the forgetful sort who would otherwise not remember that they played strong in third at teams." He paused typing for a few seconds.

SB was in his element here: "When a player has available to her unauthorized information from her partner, such as from a remark, question, explanation, gesture, mannerism, undue emphasis, inflection, haste or hesitation, an unexpected alert or failure to alert, she must carefully avoid taking any advantage from that unauthorized information." He continued, "I think after the UI, which was typed after the cards had been displayed, South has to pass the 1NT opening, as she might have been reminded by the remark that it was strong; this is especially so as the conveyer of the UI did have a strong NT. I think you should adjust the score to 1NT+2."

South seemed quite cross. "Gertrude, I don't think we should have entered this event with horrible people like this SB", she responded. "It was advertised as a fun event, and we have a CC loaded which shows that we play a strong NT in third; I am tempted to concede the match 20-0 and withdraw".

"Hold on a minute", replied EBU_6. "I have not ruled yet".

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 online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2020-April-28, 07:13

In an online event, is it not normal to have your own convention card available (certainly there's no way of preventing this) so there is no merit to this call.
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#3 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2020-April-28, 09:43

View PostCyberyeti, on 2020-April-28, 07:13, said:

In an online event, is it not normal to have your own convention card available (certainly there's no way of preventing this) so there is no merit to this call.

This was a point Gertrude made, but SB responded immediately, quoting 40B2d:
"Unless the Regulating Authority provides otherwise a player is not entitled to any aids to his memory, calculation or technique during the auction period and play." He argued that the CC was for EW's benefit, and could not be consulted by the opponents, and although impossible to stop, that would not change the ruling.
I prefer to give the lawmakers credit for stating things for a reason. - barmar
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#4 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2020-April-28, 11:53

Obviously the correct solution is removal from custom include list - for the Lockdown Club, at least. The correct solution for BBO is blackholing a certain IP address.

I would argue that it is only the nature of BBO that the announcement happens while cards are in hand, and that this could legitimately be argued as "before the board starts" and therefore not UI. It is required, but unless you want two copies of the announcement (and what the SB would do with two copies of the announcement that were marginally different (South's said '11+-14 NT, 16-18 in third, three weak 2s', say) and how he would prove that would be exciting)(*), you want to have the announcement to the table, not just the opponents. I would be willing to argue that the "pre-round announcement", if required, is by definition not UI in my tournaments if I have to. [Edit after the response to Cyberyeti: the Regulating Authority has provided otherwise in reference to this specific announcement. If it hasn't, it will now. I'll wake up the relevant Regulating Authority if I have to.]

Having said that, "Forgetting a basic part of your system, absent evidence, is not a Logical Alternative. No damage, no score correction. However I find 5 individual instances of violations of the Proprieties and BB@B regulations, so I'm applying a warning for the first, and the standard penalty to each of the rest. I remind you that you may require playing to the rules, but not through insinuations or insults of the players or directors, and another instance will trigger that forfeit your opponents were talking about. However, I think they will be pleasantly surprised at who gets the 20."

(*) Of course, the fun starts when East announces ("to the opponents only, as is correct") that they play "Weak NT throughout, and Benji".
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#5 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2020-April-28, 12:12

View Postlamford, on 2020-April-28, 09:43, said:

This was a point Gertrude made, but SB responded immediately, quoting 40B2d:
"Unless the Regulating Authority provides otherwise a player is not entitled to any aids to his memory, calculation or technique during the auction period and play." He argued that the CC was for EW's benefit, and could not be consulted by the opponents, and although impossible to stop, that would not change the ruling.


What I'm saying is IMO it is ASSUMED that opps will be looking at them, that certainly happened all the time when I played online many years ago (I don't atm, but may start again if lockdown continues) and people freely admitted it in tabletalk with nobody saying you shouldn't do it. I'd presumed it was explicitly a part of online bridge.
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#6 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2020-April-28, 15:22

View PostCyberyeti, on 2020-April-28, 07:13, said:

In an online event, is it not normal to have your own convention card available (certainly there's no way of preventing this) so there is no merit to this call.


Is that "not" intentional?
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#7 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2020-April-28, 15:28

View Postpescetom, on 2020-April-28, 15:22, said:

Is that "not" intentional?


No, I and the people I used to play against considered it a differernce between the rules for online bridge and F2F, and I'm shocked if it isn't, because it was almost universal then where I played.
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#8 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2020-April-28, 17:16

View Postmycroft, on 2020-April-28, 11:53, said:

what the SB would do with two copies of the announcement that were marginally different (South's said '11+-14 NT, 16-18 in third, three weak 2s', say) and how he would prove that would be exciting

That is SB's other port of call, and he has set up his PC to take screenshots every second, so he will have a complete transcript of the conversation. No doubt he would argue that he would have bid (on some other hand) over a 11+-14 NT, but was put off by the misinformation 12-14 from the other person.
I prefer to give the lawmakers credit for stating things for a reason. - barmar
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#9 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2020-April-28, 22:32

Hugh Farnham would chase SB out into the mine field.
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I have come to realise it is futile to expect or hope a regular club game will be run in accordance with the laws. -- Jillybean
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#10 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2020-April-29, 05:25

View PostCyberyeti, on 2020-April-28, 15:28, said:

No, I and the people I used to play against considered it a differernce between the rules for online bridge and F2F, and I'm shocked if it isn't, because it was almost universal then where I played.


Since a restriction could not be enforced online (how would a violation even be noticed) it should be permitted online. However I think that writing online Laws was an effort that was never completed. With large numbers of people now playing online it is probably time for online laws to be created.
I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones -- Albert Einstein
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#11 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2020-April-29, 08:20

There is a published "online version" of the laws, from 2001 iirc. It's not very good. I agree that more work is needed, but I think wrt "created, that horse has already escaped the barn.

One thing lawmakers would need to think about: most, if not all, online bridge sites implement pretty much the same rules changes (no revokes, no IBs, etc.) How should laws for online bridge address the possibility that some enterprising soul would come up with a different set of changes to the f2f rules?

Dear spell chukker: keep your bloody paws off my bridge-related acronyms, please. :(
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#12 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2020-April-29, 12:58

Of course he would. And that's why "lockdown league" is mysteriously going to have a name not present in the include list. When he asks, he'll be told that this is as good a time as any to spend three months thinking about what his behaviour does to the revenues of my club, and how he's going to prove that it no longer happens in future.

Please note: as always, I appreciate the legal hole-picking!
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#13 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2020-April-29, 14:06

The urgency of emanating serious online laws is a well known bee in my bonnet. But I don't see much legal controversy here, except for the general issue of whether South could consult her own CC if present - which is however irrelevant to the ruling as she still has a wakeup information from an explanation undue to her. I fully agree with SB about the UI, my only doubt (nobody plays weak NT over here) is whether pass is an LA with South's hand after a weak 1NT - but even if not, 2NT must be.
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#14 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2020-April-29, 19:08

Just because a law can't be enforced, you shouldn't assume that people will violate it willy nilly. People seem to be saying that since South could look at their CC with impunity, we assume that they're going to do it, and ignore any Laws that would be obviated by allowing them to do so. This seems wrong.

On the other hand, SB seems to be asserting that UI forces a player to act like an idiot. Players are generally assumed to know their basic system, and UI that happens to be consistent with this should not force them to forget it. Just because someone "might be the forgetful sort", it doesn't mean they actually did. UI that confirms what you already know should not generally restrict your actions.

In particular, the examples of extraneous information is careful to say that unexpected alerts are UI. Expected alerts and explanations are not, because that would force players to forget their agreement wheneverthey hear their partner explain it to the opponents, and that way lies madness.

While Gertrude's announcement was not an alert or requested explanation, I think it fits within the same spirit.

#15 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2020-April-30, 03:22

Also in F2F bridge it is absolutely normal to announce to the whole table before cards are taken out the board your basic system. Online I suspect this period before the hands are taken out of the board doesn't exist (it didn't on the platform I played on), so it would be acceptable to do it at the start.
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#16 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2020-April-30, 12:51

View PostCyberyeti, on 2020-April-30, 03:22, said:

Also in F2F bridge it is absolutely normal to announce to the whole table before cards are taken out the board your basic system.

In England, maybe. Not in North America.
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#17 User is offline   jhenrikj 

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Posted 2020-April-30, 13:40

Don't you have to pre-alert some things in ACBL?
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#18 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2020-April-30, 14:47

View PostCyberyeti, on 2020-April-30, 03:22, said:

Also in F2F bridge it is absolutely normal to announce to the whole table before cards are taken out the board your basic system.

Normal in F2F here too (although not regulated), as it is to ask some questions at the end of play and call the TD if necessary.
Both moments are missing in BBO.
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#19 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2020-April-30, 15:27

View Postjhenrikj, on 2020-April-30, 13:40, said:

Don't you have to pre-alert some things in ACBL?

Yes, but not NT ranges, even if they're variable.

The draft of the new ACBL alert procedures has the following pre-alerts:
  • Any system without a Forcing 2C Opening Bid.
  • Any canape system
  • Playing different systems depending on seat or vulnerability. But different NT ranges doesn't make it a different system.


#20 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2020-May-04, 18:15

View Postbarmar, on 2020-April-29, 19:08, said:

On the other hand, SB seems to be asserting that UI forces a player to act like an idiot.

No, SB is just claiming that the announcement to the table is UI to South, as the correct method is to either say "we have a CC loaded" or to the opponents only "weak NT, strong in 3rd, three weak twos". And he believes that South has to carefully avoid taking ANY advantage of the UI, and therefore she must "forget" that they are playing strong in 3rd. My partner and I play strong in 3rd at teams only, and have forgotten once each in about 2000 hands, so it is a real possibility, which North has avoided by her illegal (and unnecessary) conveying of information to her partner.

73B states: Partners shall not communicate by means such as <snip> extraneous remarks … How would you rule in a F2F event if someone stated "We play strong NT in third AFTER they had removed their hand from the board, and when they did have a strong NT and were in third?" The ruling should be identical.
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