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A request

#1 User is offline   jillybean 

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Posted 2022-November-17, 09:49

I'll start with a little background.

I learned most of my bridge on BBO, Beginner Intermediate Lounge and BBO forums. It was here on Forums that I discovered the Laws and found the Rulings topics about BITs, MI and UI absolutely fascinating. I got a copy of the Laws of Duplicate Bridge, searched out Appeal Casebooks from various governing bodies and took a Club Directors course.

You can imagine my horror when I started playing at clubs and the majority of the players and Directors seemed completely unaware of the Laws or simply didn't want to rock the boat.

There appears to be much disparity between how people would rule here and what actually happens in live games, with the exception of 'top flight' events. I'm an average club player, I don't play so much now, but before Covid I would play at clubs and tournaments fairly regularly. Once or twice I played in, and was spat out of, National events and some Regional events where the players were very ethical. I can't remember any specific Director calls in these events as they were extremely rare. This was very different from my experience with lower level tournaments and Club games.

To help me separate reality from "online forums", I would appreciate the Directors, when responding to ruling questions, to include where, country, region or even club, what level they are directing and if their answer reflects how they rule at the table or if the answer is their interpretation of the Laws.


For example, here is a quote from another thread. Law 41 says you should make an opening lead face down after 3 passes but pescetom makes it clear that the law is ignored in some places.

View Postpescetom, on 2022-November-08, 07:46, said:

Maybe this should be under Simple Rulings, or so it looks at first sight.
Law 41 says that he should make his opening lead (face down) after the third consecutive pass. It seems he did that, so no infraction there. If he was lightning fast about it then there is potential UI to partner.
If he also faced the lead without giving anyone a chance to seek clarification then he violated Law 41 (unless his RA mandates face up leads), although that behaviour is widespread and condoned in some places.


Thank you.
Searching for your own mistakes is the only way to learn this game. - Fluffy

And no matter what methods you play, it is essential, for anyone aspiring to learn to be a good player, to learn the importance of bidding shape properly. - MikeH

SLOW DOWN! This is not a speedball :)
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#2 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2022-November-17, 16:25

View Postjillybean, on 2022-November-17, 09:49, said:

You can imagine my horror when I started playing at clubs and the majority of the players and Directors seemed completely unaware of the Laws or simply didn't want to rock the boat.

There appears to be much disparity between how people would rule here and what actually happens in live games, with the exception of 'top flight' events. I'm an average club player, I don't play so much now, but before Covid I would play at clubs and tournaments fairly regularly. Once or twice I played in, and was spat out of, National events and some Regional events where the players were very ethical. I can't remember any specific Director calls in these events as they were extremely rare. This was very different from my experience with lower level tournaments and Club games.

....

For example, here is a quote from another thread. Law 41 says you should make an opening lead face down after 3 passes but pescetom makes it clear that the law is ignored in some places.


I don't accept your premise that the Laws get more respect on BBO than at club level, at least in this part of the world.
You could also have found a more appropriate quote and legal example to kick off the discussion, if necessary.
A face down lead is clearly preferable for a load of reasons, but the fact that the Law allows RAs to specify a face up lead speaks volumes about how difficult this is to impose in much of the world and how relatively unimportant it is.

View Postjillybean, on 2022-November-17, 09:49, said:

To help me separate reality from "online forums", I would appreciate the Directors, when responding to ruling questions, to include where, country, region or even club, what level they are directing

I think that over the years almost every Director who posts (or used to) here has made these things fairly clear, I could make a list (and quite impressive too). But I agree that forum readers should know (once and for all, not every time we respond) and if that is your objective I'm happy to repeat my own humble details. I'm in Italy and I've been directing for 4 years and have passed the first two levels of national certification: next year I hope to pass the third and be entitled to direct on the floor at national level, right now I direct mainly at club level and the occasional regional event. I am also a scorekeeper for WBF. I have substantial experience of directing online, both BBO and RealBridge.
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#3 User is offline   jillybean 

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Posted 2022-November-17, 18:19

View Postpescetom, on 2022-November-17, 16:25, said:

I don't accept your premise that the Laws get more respect on BBO than at club level, at least in this part of the world.
You could also have found a more appropriate quote and legal example to kick off the discussion, if necessary.
A face down lead is clearly preferable for a load of reasons, but the fact that the Law allows RAs to specify a face up lead speaks volumes about how difficult this is to impose in much of the world and how relatively unimportant it is.


I think that over the years almost every Director who posts (or used to) here has made these things fairly clear, I could make a list (and quite impressive too). But I agree that forum readers should know (once and for all, not every time we respond) and if that is your objective I'm happy to repeat my own humble details. I'm in Italy and I've been directing for 4 years and have passed the first two levels of national certification: next year I hope to pass the third and be entitled to direct on the floor at national level, right now I direct mainly at club level and the occasional regional event. I am also a scorekeeper for WBF. I have substantial experience of directing online, both BBO and RealBridge.

When I made the comment about how people rule "here" compared to live games, I was referring to rulings given to queries on BBO Forums vs what happens in live games. I'm not comparing rulings in BBO games to live games. The example of face down lead was given not to kick off a discussion about LAws but to give an example of how the question was answered in "accordance with the Laws" then qualified with what actually happens at the table - the particular infraction is widespread and condoned.

Thanks for the BIO, I think it would be useful for everyone to know who is posting answers to queries here, I'm sorry I have missed past introductions. A list is perhaps best pinned under the Bridge Laws Forum so that it is apparent to everyone, including newcomers. I know there are a number of highly qualified and experienced Directors who contribute here.
Searching for your own mistakes is the only way to learn this game. - Fluffy

And no matter what methods you play, it is essential, for anyone aspiring to learn to be a good player, to learn the importance of bidding shape properly. - MikeH

SLOW DOWN! This is not a speedball :)
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#4 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2022-November-17, 20:46

When you ask about a ruling situation here, we tell you what the law says. We can't control what a table director does in a live (f2f or online) event.

Even here, different directors may have different opinions about certain things, like whether to give a procedural penalty in a specific case.
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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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#5 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2022-November-17, 21:43

I've given you the answer to bad club directors before, and it hasn't changed.

I've given you the reason why bad club directors before, and it hasn't changed either.

I am very much involved in my club down South, but I am not on the club committee, nor do I do anything but give technical advice when asked about game management matters (and Law advice when consulted on a ruling, of course) - because while I am a "much better than bad" club director, who runs a well-liked and well-attended game, I would be an absolute *disaster* as a club owner, and the whole thing would fall in shambles around my feet within a year. And I know it, and the (smarter members of the) club know it too. And a perfectly run, technically correct, 3 table game isn't better than a good enough, basically correct game that 15 tables of people enjoy and come back to. And most clubs aren't big enough for the owner not to be the director - and the owner of those that are will fire the guy that took the 15 table game down to 6, even if he's better at the one ruling a week that isn't obvious.

But as proof of my first comment, I will note that the directing here outside the game I am responsible for has improved significantly, simply because they see how someone else handles it, and have taken the good from my example while keeping the things they are much better than I at, or adapted it to their style. And I have learned from them as well, and expect to continue to.

If you're wondering why the average standard of club directors (especially the ones who have clearly just done something at least possibly wrong, in an unusual situation, because the hundreds of thousands of acceptable-or-better director rulings at clubs every day Just Don't Get Posted to these august forums) isn't that of part-time tournament directors with decades of experience (or full-time TDs with decades of experience!), well, I think you've just answered your question. You could just as well ask (and I guarantee people have!) why the (only part-time, only Assistant) tournament director running our 10-table a session Sectional isn't as good as Those Guys with 20-30 years full-time, including being invited to DIC NABCs or direct at Bermuda Bowls.

You, and I for that matter, were spoiled by living in Matt and Steve's (and before them, Phil's) world. And I got JD as well, and experience of how TDing changes with a higher level of playing skill through Doug and Vince and Mike, but you probably had people influenced instead by Martin and Elaine (and what I did learn from them about aspects of directing that were completely Not A Thing That Exists is amazing, and what I didn't get a chance to learn about is a heartache) or Roger and Margo... I did not realize before escaping that little area of Bridge, and by their retirements, how special that was and is.

Not that the Directors I work under and with now aren't right up there, or that they have nothing I can learn from.
When I go to sea, don't fear for me, Fear For The Storm -- Birdie and the Swansong (tSCoSI)
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#6 User is offline   jillybean 

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Posted 2022-November-18, 08:08

View Postblackshoe, on 2022-November-17, 20:46, said:

When you ask about a ruling situation here, we tell you what the law says. We can't control what a table director does in a live (f2f or online) event.

Even here, different directors may have different opinions about certain things, like whether to give a procedural penalty in a specific case.


The correct, by the book ruling is of course needed and expected. Procedural penalties are from a completely different level of the game than what a Club and Sectional player will likely ever see, I'm not asking for detailed analysis of rulings. What I am asking for is transparency from Directors who are aware that the Law they have just quoted is not typically followed, to say so.

Mycroft, likewise. I understand that club owners have a business to run and that playing by the Laws is perceived as bad for player retention. I am not expecting the people who run local games to be the superhuman Directors as we have in D19 tournaments, and that's not a problem because they are not posting answers to ruling questions here.

I'm happy to hear the Directing in your neck of the woods has improved greatly, I'll have to make a road trip.
Searching for your own mistakes is the only way to learn this game. - Fluffy

And no matter what methods you play, it is essential, for anyone aspiring to learn to be a good player, to learn the importance of bidding shape properly. - MikeH

SLOW DOWN! This is not a speedball :)
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#7 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2022-November-18, 15:36

Playing by the Laws is not bad for player retention. But as I was told in my Tournament Assistant training, "you've learned by now that directing is primarily a Customer Service job, and only secondly a technical one. Yes, we need to get the movements right and we need to get the rulings right, but perfect technical behaviour without customer service is a failure, because the players won't come back. If you haven't learned that by now, this is us telling you."

And given all the other demands on their time and skill, a club director that gets "90+% of the rulings 90+% right" is doing well enough for all practical purposes, especially as the rare complicated rulings they don't get right (or they get 50% right, or possibly even 60%-40% right :-) it is very likely that the players don't notice; and the other rare rulings they don't "get right" are judgement rulings that are impossible to "get right" in everybody's eyes, just "right enough" or "reasonable" or ... But they sure do notice if they're not greeted warmly by name at the door, or the coffee isn't on, or they don't get called once a month asking about how they're doing, or offered lessons, or all the other hundredandfifty things successful director/owners need to do to stop the player going to the next game/online/find a new hobby.

One of the things that I have had to learn - many many times, and again and again as the games I run change - is how to "play by the Laws" best for the table in question. You're going to get the correct technical ruling from me (or if you're not, I'm going to make it clear what the correct technical ruling is, and "but since this is a fun club game, and we're here to play cards, if everybody's happy with it, I'll allow ... instead"), but the way the correct technical ruling is explained, and when it's explained, will vary depending on whether it's a Flight A table, or Flight A against new-to-the-Open, or Flight A intimidating new-to-the-Open (and this time using the director to help), or Flight A pushing around the new-to-the-Open (maybe legally, maybe "technically correct, but hoping you won't notice what wasn't said", maybe otherwise), or a whole table of novices, or "hold the opponents strictly to the Law" (whether or not they're also "hold themselves strictly to the Law, even if the opponents don't notice") versus the 90-year-old with bad eyesight and shaky hands, or...

Because the primary goal is to get everyone back to the game next week. And you can have people not come back because they got the wrong ruling for the fourth time, or "nobody in this game, including the director, feels that it's necessary to play a Lawful game"; but I guarantee you have people - lots of people - who won't come back because they feel they were being Bridge Lawyered, or the Director imposed an "obviously ludicrous" claim or judgement ruling (which was technically correct, but maybe could have been salvaged by a better delivery or explanation), or having "the strong players" "can't just get enough just by being better, they have to call the cops on every little thing as well".

So yeah, as I say to Hrothgar when he complains about the club director-quality directing he gets in the BBO ACBL *club*, if this matters enough to you, play in tournaments. That's where you're going to get the technical accuracy you may not get in the club - and hopefully you'll also get the reasonable explanation and delivery as well. But there's a reason club games cost 100 pesos, and tournaments cost 250-300 (and the NABC+ events 500+screen surcharge).

So yes, I can try to remember to make clear when "this is correct, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's missed/ruled this way instead at a club". I've said it before - it should be obvious that one of the hazards of being a player who directs is that they get lots of opportunities to shut up and accept a bad ruling.
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#8 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2022-November-19, 13:44

I can't count the number of times I've declined to appeal a bad ruling because my partner didn't want to bother with it. Including before "both members of the pair must agree to the appeal" became law.
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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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#9 User is online   helene_t 

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Posted 2022-November-19, 16:57

Our directors rarely make rulings. Most irregularities are ignored, or resolved by the players.

The directors are volunteers. We are too mean to pay them, and therefore they always play while directing. So even if TD calls weren't seen as aggressive, people would avoid them in order not to disturb the TD. Also, sometimes the TD can't investigate because he is yet to play the board himself yet.

So even if we were to spend some of the money we don't have to send the TDs on a course (which few of the TDs would be willing to spend time on), we would still not get many quality rulings.

Nobody cares, though. It's a social, low-budget club.
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#10 User is offline   jillybean 

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Posted 2022-November-20, 06:33

It's clear that there is little support to add a proviso to responses to ruling questions indicating that this is what the Laws say, however the Laws may not be followed in your game. To a newcomer, that leaves nothing to suggest that they shouldn't expect the Laws to be followed at their club and indeed the ACBL states that sanctioned games must be conducted in accordance to the Laws of Duplicate Bridge.
Games must be conducted in accordance with both the letter and the spirit of ACBL regulations as well as the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge.

I think we are doing an injustice to players and the game by failing to acknowledge this.
Searching for your own mistakes is the only way to learn this game. - Fluffy

And no matter what methods you play, it is essential, for anyone aspiring to learn to be a good player, to learn the importance of bidding shape properly. - MikeH

SLOW DOWN! This is not a speedball :)
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#11 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2022-November-21, 09:50

If there is one thing I have learned on this forum, it is that any generalisation about players/clubs/RAs/regulations is always risky, it's a complex and varied reality. One factor changing things here is that some clubs are private businesses, others no-profits under a competitive sports model, others basically just a group who play cards together: obviously the ability to retain a Director and his own perception of the role vary enormously in the different cases.

View Posthelene_t, on 2022-November-19, 16:57, said:

Our directors rarely make rulings. Most irregularities are ignored, or resolved by the players.

The directors are volunteers. We are too mean to pay them, and therefore they always play while directing. So even if TD calls weren't seen as aggressive, people would avoid them in order not to disturb the TD. Also, sometimes the TD can't investigate because he is yet to play the board himself yet.

So even if we were to spend some of the money we don't have to send the TDs on a course (which few of the TDs would be willing to spend time on), we would still not get many quality rulings.

Nobody cares, though. It's a social, low-budget club.

I started off playing in a club exactly like that.
I left it for larger and affiliated club, assuming that the level of play would be higher (it was) and the Laws enforced (they were not).
So I became a Director to do my part in getting the Laws enforced (and they now are, to a reasonable extent).
My level of play is still a work in progress :)


View Postjillybean, on 2022-November-20, 06:33, said:

It's clear that there is little support to add a proviso to responses to ruling questions indicating that this is what the Laws say, however the Laws may not be followed in your game. To a newcomer, that leaves nothing to suggest that they shouldn't expect the Laws to be followed at their club and indeed the ACBL states that sanctioned games must be conducted in accordance to the Laws of Duplicate Bridge.
Games must be conducted in accordance with both the letter and the spirit of ACBL regulations as well as the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge.

I think we are doing an injustice to players and the game by failing to acknowledge this.

It's not clear to me what you want me to acknowledge.
That the game should be conducted in accordance with the letter (as far as possible) and the spirit (always) of Laws and Regulations?
Of course it should be and we are doing our best, with some compromises that are evident to players who care (and incomprehensible or irrelevant to those who don't).
That there are some compromises?
Any sport makes some compromises at lower levels, none of them write this on the wall for obvious reasons.
You can't expect a hair-splitting offside decision in an amateur soccer match, but you shouldn't fear for your legs either.
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#12 User is offline   jillybean 

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Posted 2022-November-21, 12:45

pescetom, this is not about you :) When answering queries you acknowledge what is written in the Laws is not what you should expect at some games.
"..although that behaviour is widespread and condoned in some places."
Searching for your own mistakes is the only way to learn this game. - Fluffy

And no matter what methods you play, it is essential, for anyone aspiring to learn to be a good player, to learn the importance of bidding shape properly. - MikeH

SLOW DOWN! This is not a speedball :)
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