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Bridge must change

Poll: BRIDGE MUST CHANGE (7 member(s) have cast votes)

Bridge must change

  1. yes (7 votes [100.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 100.00%

  2. no (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

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#1 User is offline   tibu 2 

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Posted 2021-January-30, 14:46

Bridge is not a gentleman's game. In all sports, when one cheats, or is unfair, the penalties are immediate. In rugby an expulsion can carry 99 years of suspension. In soccer and tennis, drugs use is penalized with years of suspension. In bridge the cheater is penalized without being able to play with that pair. That is the spirit of bridge. We all know teachers who were sanctioned and still play and teach. That spirit, which I do not share, is largely transferred to non-professional bridgists. How many times do you see, even in BBO, that a TD favors a couple because they are friends. The morale of bridge must change. Those of us who don't play it as a profession do it fairly. Bridge should start debugging once and forever. In BBO everything is done by the system, the work of the TD is social and making adjustments and even so arbitrariness is committed. It is true that the system is very bad, but it is not the fault of the lack of judgment of the operators. It is the players who must drive a change.
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#2 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2021-January-30, 17:42

View Posttibu 2, on 2021-January-30, 14:46, said:

Bridge is not a gentleman's game. In all sports, when one cheats, or is unfair, the penalties are immediate. In rugby an expulsion can carry 99 years of suspension. In soccer and tennis, drugs use is penalized with years of suspension. In bridge the cheater is penalized without being able to play with that pair. That is the spirit of bridge. We all know teachers who were sanctioned and still play and teach. That spirit, which I do not share, is largely transferred to non-professional bridgists. How many times do you see, even in BBO, that a TD favors a couple because they are friends. The morale of bridge must change. Those of us who don't play it as a profession do it fairly. Bridge should start debugging once and forever. In BBO everything is done by the system, the work of the TD is social and making adjustments and even so arbitrariness is committed. It is true that the system is very bad, but it is not the fault of the lack of judgment of the operators. It is the players who must drive a change.

The notion that directors favour friends or famous players has been around at least as long as I’ve played tournament bridge, so over 45 years.

I’m not saying it never happens, and it is important to draw a distinction between club directors and tournament directors....not having played in online match point events I can’t comment about them other than to say that a lot of games would likely be akin to club games.

In club games, often the TD simply isn’t very knowledgeable so makes errors from ignorance. Also, the club level director has pressures, conscious or otherwise, not to alienate regular customers, many o& whom don’t understand rulings, so he or she may not apply the rules rigorously as one might want.

My experience with directors at ACBL events and at international events has been almost universally good. Do I agree with every ruling I’ve seen? Actually, pretty much yes, when it comes to the rules as opposed to bridge judgement.

These days I’m one of the ‘experts’ in most fields in which I play...just the sort of person that, supposedly, gets preferential treatment from TDs, especially at tournaments in my part of the world. I may be biased, but I don’t think I get preferential treatment. I do suspect that, from so much experience, I know the correct ruling a little more often than do my opponents, especially in mp ev3nts or early in a Swiss, which would explain why some opps get upset, especially in UI cases where many think an adverse ruling is a suggestion they cheated.

As for the notion that amateur players don’t cheat, I wish it were so. But it isn’t. It is said that about 3-5% of the pairs in online ACBL events are cheating, and I don’t think many of them are professionals. I know, well, an amateur who has accepted a sanction for self-kibitzing.

As for immediate punishment, that’s only possible in undertakings where a violation is readily and clearly identifiable. Many professional sports conduct drug tests as a matter of routine. Why? Because in earlier times, illegal drug use was epidemic. It took years of rumour before any sport got serious. Look at baseball in NA, or cycling in Europe, or any eastern block Olympic team.

In most sports, the participant is playing fully visible to the audience. Bridge, especially online, is or has been (there are some efforts underway to have players be on camera) played very privately. Even face to face bridge used to be and still is, except at the highest levels, played with no monitor and no visual record, which is why it took so long to catch the top professional cheaters. Online cheating, by way of self-kibitzing or instant messaging with partner, etc, is very, very difficult to detect unless the cheaters are stupid (as many were). One needs a lot of hands @nd even more analysis and even then it c@n be difficult be sure. There hav3 been some very long and hotly debated threads about this on Bridewinners.

These days, in all serious events in NA, each table is recorded by a camera and the video is accessible by the TD, should there be a dispute about breaks in tempo or other matters.

There are always going to be those who see rules as a challenge...how c@n I get around them? There are others who see the rest of us as suckers...they cheat for a variety of reasons.

The best we can do is to take steps to minimize the opportunity for cheating, and to ensure that the penalty for conviction is harsh. But bridge is a human and social activity. We’ve already seen that cheaters who are personally popular with other professionals and with rich clients get treated far more leniently than many observers think right. It’s unfortunate, imo, but we’re not about to chang3 human nature, least of all for a ‘game’

Anyway, that’s my two cents worth.
'one of the great markers of the advance of human kindness is the howls you will hear from the Men of God' Johann Hari
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#3 User is offline   TylerE 

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Posted 2021-January-30, 17:52

View Posttibu 2, on 2021-January-30, 14:46, said:

In all sports, when one cheats, or is unfair, the penalties are immediate.


I think you are being rather optimisitic. Lance Armstrong won 7 Tour de France's while doping. Probably at least half the rest of the field in those races was too...
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#4 User is offline   tibu 2 

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Posted 2021-January-30, 18:55

Just to be fair, if a player is caught cheating, he should be penalized. The fact that professional players and national masters are imposed the penalty of not playing with that couple anymore is a joke. They should be penalized by preventing them from playing in national and international tournaments for several years. As minimum.
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#5 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2021-January-30, 20:08

View Posttibu 2, on 2021-January-30, 18:55, said:

Just to be fair, if a player is caught cheating, he should be penalized. The fact that professional players and national masters are imposed the penalty of not playing with that couple anymore is a joke. They should be penalized by preventing them from playing in national and international tournaments for several years. As minimum.

I’m not sure from whence you got your understanding about penalties for professional players. Yes, historically some pairs were ‘punished’ by being forbidden to play with each other. However, in ACBLand that was usually because they denied cheating, and the evidence was not considered, by the ACBL or its insurance company, strong enough to risk very expensive litigation.

More recently, with video analysis, a lot of volunteer work watching video and decoding signals, and statistical analysis convictions are easier to get and cheats less prone to sue (fantoni and nunes being notable exceptions), and the penalties are a lot more severe.
'one of the great markers of the advance of human kindness is the howls you will hear from the Men of God' Johann Hari
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#6 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2021-January-31, 14:36

I'd start by quoting my response in the other thread. If you're just noticing this stuff now, then you weren't paying enough attention back in the FTF days. Don't worry about it, 90% of players didn't notice, and of the 10% that did, 50% of the people they told it to didn't get it even with the explanation.

It just turns out that with a massive move to something different, there were different ways to "take advantage", and different ways to notice. And new gets noticed, especially when you have full records of every call and card. Look at how "much more" cheating there was in poker when it went online, and they were able to run statistics on thousands of hands.

As far as "a game for gentlemen" (I'd be more inclusive usually, but in this case, the original wording is relevant), yes, bridge absolutely had that at its core (as did whist before it). That's why until 1950 there weren't ethics phrases written down, and they didn't have the strength of Law until 1973. Like all games for gentlemen, the way to deal with the shadier sort was social, not procedural. The clubs would refuse the custom of the truly suspicious, and would blackball people known to associate with them. After a while one doesn't get invited any more to the "right places", and everyone knows why, and if you don't, they'll tell you.

Oddly enough, it was only when "players" (people who thought they were good enough at the game to be paid for it) were allowed into the highest level of "games for gentlemen" that the organizations started adding codes of ethics into the rules, and creating actual punishments for those who chose "we don't care if we're known as boors, as long as we're known as boors that win". Cricket, (nope, never been a scandal in The Game for gentlemen), Rugby (question. Why League?), Soccer (you're actually using that as an example? The home of dives and hacks and partitioned stadiums?).

Mike has done a better job than I ever could about the "TD's help their own", but I have a couple of things from the TD side:
  • I'm not sure Mike would consider me a friend, exactly, but we know each other well. I can still remember the ruling where I went back to the director's table and said "I can sure tell he's a litigator. The argument was wrong, and he's not getting the ruling changed, but it sure was a *convincing* wrong argument."
  • I warn all my partners that they're never getting a judgement ruling in their favour unless it's clear, whether playing with me or playing with someone else in my game. I can't afford to show bias toward them, and neither can the other directors to me.
  • Experts do get advantages in the Law: there are things that are "for a player of their ability" or "of their peers", and so they get a better "careless bridge". What they complain about is when new players do things that they would be nailed to the wall for, and they get away with it because they *don't* know better, or all their hesitation means is that they have never seen this auction before.

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#7 User is offline   AL78 

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Posted 2021-February-01, 04:00

Having directed at my local club once a month for many years, the idea of being biased towards one or more players when ruling is alien to me. I have always gone by what the rule book says, used objective judgement in the case of judgement rulings, and if I havent't felt confident enough on one of the trickier rulings, I find one of the county directors in the room and get a second opinion. A biased director is like a localised form of corruption.
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#8 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2021-February-03, 10:12

I appreciate the sentiment, but the idea of an unbiased director is a beautiful theoretical construction, same as an unbiased player. The Laws are carefully written knowing that players are biased in their own thoughts, and will do so completely without intent. So Law 73C discusses "carefully avoiding" using unauthorized information, because if you just "do what you would always do" without it, you will use it. Law 16 does not mention intent; if in the presence of UI, you take an action suggested by the UI when there is a logical alternative not so suggested, the Director adjusts (Laws people: I know I'm skipping some important words. They're not relevant to this argument). If they recognize this in players, and directors are trained to recognize it, why then would anyone believe it's any different for the director?

The director will "understand" their partners better; and that may lead to "oh, that makes sense" when the opponents' arguments also make the same amount of sense but don't land the same. The director will definitely be biased toward bridge at their level: one of the things I told a new TD (but one of the best players in the city) is that you know you can't use your judgement in ruling players better than you, but you have to realize you can't use your judgement when ruling with players much lower than you as well - both in "well the right play is obvious" (not to a C player) and "well, what to do here is obvious" (once you've seen the situation 100 times. It's their first). So you consult on judgement rulings - all judgement rulings if possible. With both players and directors, again if possible.

We all attempt to be unbiased. We all fail. Knowing that we fail will help us in our attempt to be unbiased. But also, sometimes the appearance of lack of bias is more important than actually being unbiased, so you tweak your "how to be unbiased here" filters a little harder to the left than you would normally (which, frankly, you might realize late at night was in fact the right thing to do, because...).

One of the odd things about this game (probably coming from its history as a "game for gentlemen") is that there's an active disinterest, at all levels of the game, to learning the actual Laws, and playing to them (rather than their personal idea of "what's right"). As a result, people who do know the Laws and wish their opponents to play to them get called "bridge lawyers" and "trying to get through the director what they can't get at the table". Because the appearance of that, combined with "of course you're ruling in [TD playing today]'s favour - you're his friend and he's working with you tomorrow", plus the fact that in the end It Really Doesn't Matter at any level I, and 99.9+% of players, play at; if there's an element of "the Law may be on your side on this one, but we're ruling score stands anyway" in some of the rulings at my table, I get to chalk it up to What's Better for the Game.

One of my regular partners is also my spouse. She's learning over time the "right way" to play, and getting frustrated at the same things I've always been frustrated by (wonder why). She asked me several times why, if "use of UI" was so obvious to me, I didn't call the director, and how "well, I thought this was bad, but mycroft seems okay with it, so I guess it wasn't" happened. I tried explaining this, and if she thinks it's a problem, she has to call (right or wrong), and not look to me to lead. I couldn't explain it. So, eventually, I sent her to DBP (top-tier ACBL TD, who I have had the privilege of working with several times, but not often enough), and she came back saying "she doesn't see the problem either." I then went up with my partner to DBP, and said "So I was the one that sent [partner] to you to ask why, in cases where it's not blindingly obvious, *I should* not call the director." She got it then; I wandered away while partner got the explanation; things have made more sense since then.
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#9 User is offline   0 carbon 

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Posted 2021-February-03, 15:31

🌏🌎🌍Cheaters play/bid absurdly well based on seeing their partner's cards.  Monthly history is usually above 60%. They do better defending than declaring. Check defence for psychic plays. Check 80‑100% successes for odd bidding/alerts/plays.  
🌏🌎🌍Check past month using www.bridgebase.com/myhands/ and check some hands. Check their "partners".  When i find cheaters, i go thru their tourneys over the last month and inform the hosts. Inform Abuse ID
🌏🌎🌍Some rings of cheaters have 55‑60% ‑ but the lower results are playing with players outside the ring. When playing with Ps inside the ring, results are >60% Notice that they are "withdrawn" from many tourneys,no doubt by TDs  
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#10 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-February-03, 15:50

View Postmycroft, on 2021-February-03, 10:12, said:

One of the odd things about this game (probably coming from its history as a "game for gentlemen") is that there's an active disinterest, at all levels of the game, to learning the actual Laws, and playing to them (rather than their personal idea of "what's right"). As a result, people who do know the Laws and wish their opponents to play to them get called "bridge lawyers" and "trying to get through the director what they can't get at the table". Because the appearance of that, combined with "of course you're ruling in [TD playing today]'s favour - you're his friend and he's working with you tomorrow", plus the fact that in the end It Really Doesn't Matter at any level I, and 99.9+% of players, play at; if there's an element of "the Law may be on your side on this one, but we're ruling score stands anyway" in some of the rulings at my table, I get to chalk it up to What's Better for the Game.



I don't know about the laws in your jurisdiction, but the laws in Australia are written in such a way that 'the man on the Clapham omnibus' finds it impossible to make any sense of them.
There is a guide to DIrectors that I saw for sale. The first line started:
"A revoke is not established..."
Seriously? Who cares when something is not established!
From the 2017 World Bridge Federation:
"The members of the WBF Laws Committee were:
John Wignall
Adam Wildavsky
Laurie Kelso (Secretary)
Ton Kooijman (Chairman)
Max Bavin
Maurizio Di Sacco
David Harris
Alvin Levy
Chip Martel
Howard Weinstein"
It's hard to take any 'laws" seriously when I know that no women were involved. This is probably why you call it a 'Gentleman's game': all the rules are written by men.

The very first thing in the WBF laws states: "Adjusted Score A score awarded by the Director (see Law 12). It is either "artificial" or "assigned"."
This is not plain English.
1C. "The Backs of the Cards: The backs of all 52 cards in a deck should be identical. They may incorporate words, a logo or a pictorial design but the image used should possess a centre of symmetry."
When I started playing I pulled out my cards and discovered that one of the backs was a completely different hue to the others. The Director said, "I know, paddle on".
Is this rule different in Club Bridge?
How about this one. It's my favourite. I've never seen it enforced.
"Extraneous Information from Partner
Any extraneous information from partner that might suggest a call or play is unauthorized. This includes remarks, questions, replies to questions, unexpected alerts or failures to alert, unmistakable hesitation, unwonted speed, special emphasis, tone, gesture, movement or mannerism."

I played against one player who, when it came time for his bid, starting performing such amazing facial contortions that I thought he was having a seizure. When I asked him what the problem was he replied: "I'm allowed to think".

I could go on, but the reason that players do not bother to learn these laws and regulations comprehensively is because they are incomprehensible.

As Hamlet said, "Though I am a native here and to the manner born it is a custom more honoured in the breach than the observance" - Bridge laws in a nutshell.






non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek, J'ai toujours misé sur l'étrange gentillesse des robots.
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#11 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2021-February-03, 18:54

The bridge laws are quite simple actually, and the defined terms are all there in the book. There aren't as many of them as there are in bridge bidding jargon - finesse, throwin, Blackwood, Bergen, Cappelletti, ...

There's likely not as much jargon as there is in, say, an introductory Physiology lecture at a university; and certainly the concepts aren't as hard.

I won't go through your examples in any detail. "Who cares if a revoke is established"? Well, since the very next section is "Once a revoke is established, it may no longer be corrected..." and the next Law is "Procedure after Establishment of a Revoke". So - pretty much anybody who plays this game? As would be obvious within a minute of reading?

As for 16B1, there's nothing to enforce. And as long as the table agrees there's unauthorized information present, and the TD gets called when their partner *uses it* (that's 16B1a), consistently, if it's being done to assist their side, it might change.

But if you don't care enough to spend a tiny bit of a Ph.D.s brain understanding something about as long as an average survey paper (and nowhere near as complicated, but probably with more jargon to learn (once)), then congratulations. You're one of the 90%. Just don't come complaining to me when the opponents "should have known it was against the Laws".

And I would expect that Hamlet would be less useful in this situation than Henry VI, part 2.
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#12 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-February-03, 20:55

View Postmycroft, on 2021-February-03, 18:54, said:

The bridge laws are quite simple actually, and the defined terms are all there in the book. There aren't as many of them as there are in bridge bidding jargon - finesse, throwin, Blackwood, Bergen, Cappelletti, ...

There's likely not as much jargon as there is in, say, an introductory Physiology lecture at a university; and certainly, the concepts aren't as hard.

I won't go through your examples in any detail. "Who cares if a revoke is established"? Well, since the very next section is "Once a revoke is established, it may no longer be corrected..." and the next Law is "Procedure after Establishment of a Revoke". So - pretty much anybody who plays this game? As would be obvious within a minute of reading?

As for 16B1, there's nothing to enforce. And as long as the table agrees there's unauthorized information present, and the TD gets called when their partner *uses it* (that's 16B1a), consistently, if it's being done to assist their side, it might change.

But if you don't care enough to spend a tiny bit of a Ph.D.s brain understanding something about as long as an average survey paper (and nowhere near as complicated, but probably with more jargon to learn (once)), then congratulations. You're one of the 90%. Just don't come complaining to me when the opponents "should have known it was against the Laws".

And I would expect that Hamlet would be less useful in this situation than Henry VI, part 2.

So to be clear. In your humble opinion "The bridge laws are quite simple actually."
That's a huge relief.
Than you so much for clearing that up.
I looked at the Bridge laws quite carefully and applied Pilowsky's rule of three.
The law: "If you have to read something that is supposed to be comprehensible more than three times then it is not comprehensible,"
When I apply this rule to scientific papers sent to me for peer-review and are only meant to be understood by a small group of well-trained people, I reject them if they do not meet that minimum standard.

Every time I applied this rule, I found that the other two reviewers reached the same conclusion.

You are having a problem because you are saying that something that you understand inside out is easy.
You then contradict yourself in the next line by saying that 90% of people do not understand it.

If you had a PhD, you would know what this fallacy is called.

Here's a little clue. If the laws and rulings were so obvious transparent and accessible, then why is there a whole forum section devoted to them where the small group of people that 'understand them' - 10% by your reckoning - argue about them endlessly and fail to reach a conclusion?





non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek, J'ai toujours misé sur l'étrange gentillesse des robots.
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#13 User is offline   AL78 

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Posted 2021-February-04, 06:53

View Postpilowsky, on 2021-February-03, 20:55, said:

You are having a problem because you are saying that something that you understand inside out is easy.
You then contradict yourself in the next line by saying that 90% of people do not understand it.


No contradiction, the rules can be straightforward to understand but people don't understand them because they haven't bothered to try. The most common rules that crop up are easy to understand, the easiest one to understand is that if an irregularity has occurred, call the director, you can go through your bridge playing career with just that one rule, that is what the director is there for.
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#14 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2021-February-04, 10:02

The rules are easy to understand. You will notice in that whole subforum, one of the first responses - if not the OP - quotes the relevant Law. They are not always easy to apply. There are corner cases, there are judgement cases, there is "peers" and "logical alternatives" and "normal*" and all the rest.

If you deliberately choose to go into something in the middle, ignoring the glossary of terms and the index both at the beginning and when you run into a term you don't understand, you are going to not understand it.

I agree, there is a patina of Grattanese (named after the former Secretary of the LC, who was somewhat sesquipedalian in outlook) still in there, and even some Kaplanese (which is a shame. He was amazing for bridge, as a player, theorist, teacher and lawmaker; but he did have the attitude that "things I think are wrong should be resolvable by the Laws, so we'll write them so that TDs can make the 'right' ruling." The problem with that is that only the top 1% of directors (not all of those either, because they have to be in the top 10% of players, too) have the ability to see what the "right" ruling should be, and know how to finesse the laws to get it. Many more can see the "right" ruling, it's just that it's not actually right. Many more read the Laws that have the finessable points in them and get confused and don't do the easy ones right. Many more just know they know the Laws, don't read them at the time, and totally miss it). I hope in time we can get the flowery language out of there, and the "cute tricks for top-class directors in rare cases" too, but make it more lawyerly.

Lawyers are a scourge on society, sure, but they know that they have to write things that are obvious when read "correctly" (when it's in their favour to have it clear. The job of the other lawyer is to ensure it's written unclearly enough that what the other side wants to limit doesn't, in fact). It's annoying to read the new ACBL Convention Charts and the new Alert Procedures, I absolutely agree. But when it comes to a specific case, you can usually point to one line that says "yes" or "no".

Do you apply your "three-times" rule to papers out of your specialty? Philosophy Ph.D. theses that you're brought in as outside reviewer on, or Electrical Engineering papers? I think one of the issues people who raise your argument assume is that being fluent in bridge means that the bridge Laws are "in-specialty" for them, so if they don't understand the terms, that's the Laws' fault. No. Bridge fluency will assist in understanding the Laws (about half of them you can basically ignore, because they codify stuff you can't play bridge without knowing, to start with), but it's a new sub-specialty with its own language in addition to bridge.

Frankly, if you read the Laws, throughout, three times, interested in learning, and still don't understand more than 5% of it (not saying you could get the "once in a million hands" case, but the "once a session" cases), I don't think that's on the Laws. My suggestion (not just to you, it's what I tell everyone who asks me about reading the Laws, whether it's to become a TD or to understand):
  • Read it through once, don't bother trying to understand too much. From the glossary, note the terms that don't feel "obvious" to you; when you see them in the text, see if it makes sense then; but if it doesn't, just keep going. Do not take the links, but note the ones that come up a lot. Wait some time (a couple of days to a week).
  • Read it again, but this time, only skim the stuff that is obvious, and concentrate on the ones that didn't make sense before. In the glossary, see if the terms make sense now that you've seen the laws referencing them; in the laws, *follow all the links* and try to understand why they're there. If there's a term you don't understand in the reading, go back to the glossary and nail it down. Again, give it a day or two to settle.
  • Read a third time; this time, every law that isn't "an ace is higher than a king" or "doubled undertricks are 1/3/5 or 2/5, and then 300 a trick", try to imagine a case where the law needs to be applied. If it isn't obvious, walk through that case. If you still aren't comfortable with your understanding, that's when you see the teacher - with a case study and an attempted ruling and a question.

It's not *easy* to do, it's work. But it's no harder than any of the system books on everyone's shelf. Therefore, those for whom it's "too complicated" or "too hard" care as much about it as they do WJ2005, SMP, K/S, or any of the other system books they bought, read once, and decided it wasn't worth learning.

Which is not a bad thing. People care about different things, and they're allowed to. I just find it odd that so many bridge players care so little about the Laws, compared to chess players, soccer players, Magic: the Gathering players,... I don't expect players to be able to be directors; I do expect them to be able to suspect that things are a bit fishy here, and why, and call the director who *does* know enough.
When I go to sea, don't fear for me, Fear For The Storm -- Birdie and the Swansong (tSCoSI)
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#15 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2021-February-04, 10:06

on topic with the OP: 60 000 cheaters in the first wave of bans. I wonder if that's the same 2-3%?
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#16 User is online   barmar 

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Posted 2021-February-05, 08:31

View Postmycroft, on 2021-February-04, 10:02, said:

The rules are easy to understand. You will notice in that whole subforum, one of the first responses - if not the OP - quotes the relevant Law. They are not always easy to apply. There are corner cases, there are judgement cases, there is "peers" and "logical alternatives" and "normal*" and all the rest.

The vast majority of the Laws are really simple. They're easy to understand and easy to apply.

There are a handful of Laws that are difficult to understand, and this is because the situations they apply to are complicated. Bridge is a mind game, and a number of Laws deal with mental states -- agreements partnerships have, information is conveyed by a bid, reasons for and inferences from tempo breaks, authorized vs. unauthorized information, etc.

If you look at the history of the Laws, you can see that they've tried addressing these in different ways over the years. The solutions are different, but rarely objectively simpler. It's hard to come up with simple solutions to difficult problems unless you're willing to ignore nuances.

#17 User is offline   morecharac 

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Posted 2021-February-05, 10:52

View Postmycroft, on 2021-February-04, 10:02, said:

The rules are easy to understand.

Mostly. Without an eidetic memory some of them don't blend together well, and the index leaves a lot to be desired when trying to find that once-in-two-years situation.

I was a club-level Director for more than five years and even with the 2017 revisions there were still Laws I stumbled over. What's easy to understand and remember for a player accustomed to high-level play with people who know all the terms and assumptions isn't always so for those who don't travel outside our own area.

I may be one of the few players who find the changes to Calls Out of Rotation to be an improvement because the 2008 version was the best sleep aid I ever found.

I used to joke that the ACBL Laws were written by Talmudic scholars. The most important word that wasn't defined was pretty major: huddle. There's some improvement there but I think if some newer players were given a copy of the Laws and read the definitions first they'd still run across terms that were taken for granted but which mean nothing to them.
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#18 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2021-February-05, 12:44

Okay, I would agree with a lot of that. Not the eidetic memory part, but yeah. Understanding the rules well enough to rule in more than the easy 90% of cases takes a lot of effort, and frankly can't be done without actual experience. Not only are players weirder than you can imagine, but nothing but experience will prepare you for dealing with the people behind the cards.

The Laws are expected to be in your hand when you get to the table, and you are expected to read your ruling out of the Law Book (exception: Opening Leads out of Turn, because of all the page turning that would necessitate). Does that happen? Almost nobody does it all the time, but I sure do if I'm not 100% sure of a ruling.

The way non-eidetic people handle things is to flag (on the side, for easy access) and highlight when necessary the ones that always come up, or the ones that always confuse that director. There's about three cases where I couldn't find the ruling (knew it existed, but could never find it when asked to cite), so the third time that happened, when I did find it, I wrote my own addition to the index, so next time I can find the rule the way I was looking for it.

But for the rest of the bridge playing world, who will never make a ruling in their life, but do need to know when a ruling should be asked for, and when a ruling seems wrong, that level of knowledge isn't necessary. They need to know there are about 10 exceptions to "one trick if you didn't take the trick, two tricks if you ruffed" revoke ruling, so that when one is set as applying by the Director, they can ask to ensure it was right. The directors need to have one level deeper knowledge - they need to know the exceptions well enough that when something like one comes up, they get this feeling they should check. Can I tell you off the top of my head what they all are? No. Trick 12, faced card, next hand, second revoke in same suit (but that one's weird), that's about it. [now having looked] Oops, the obvious one I should have remembered was "offending side didn't take a trick after".

For unauthorized information, they need to know what it is, and what to do when they think it has been used (or what to do when they don't think the opponents will agree that it has been transmitted). For claims, they need to remember to make a claim statement and mention outstanding trumps (maybe also have an idea how it should be ruled when the opponent doesn't). They need to know what I call "the Rule, the Explanation, and the Exception" - when something happens and it is mentioned, call the TD; if it's not mentioned, you don't need to mention it; unless it's misinformation, which the opponents are not reasonably able to notice. If they know all the rest of Laws 9-11, that's good (dummy's exceptions, what the TD will do if you choose not to follow The Rule, it's okay to "win" even if you're the offending side, as long as that wasn't the intent of the offense,...) but not necessary. Knowing that they are bound by the Proprieties (no longer mentioned by name, but Laws 72-76) and maybe at least having read them once.

It's interesting that you mention calls out of rotation. Many people have problems with the change, because it's so different, and they can at least remember the 2008 version. And Comparable Call is in theory simple and in practise insanely difficult. But at the club, if you get it 90% right 90% of the time, nobody's going to be upset. If you catch one of the people who catch you out on it this time, good - it improves your accuracy here, and means you might be 90% right 92% of the time in future. But you won't, and that's not a bad thing, despite all the complaints on these forums that how dare they assign a director that isn't Kojak/Matt Smith level to my club game, and my ruling might not have been perfect.
When I go to sea, don't fear for me, Fear For The Storm -- Birdie and the Swansong (tSCoSI)
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