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Marrakech reviews - VC/RR Law 68C, 70

#1 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2023-September-22, 10:26

I agree that it is all too easy to take potshots at Directors who put themselves on the line for the good of the game, but as many of us here do a fair share of the latter I think we are entitled to examine the Marrakech reviews and discuss them constructively. This would be particularly useful for Laws that are often applied less rigorously at lower levels, such as Law 70, which is central to the VC/RR ruling described on page 1 of
Marrakesh reviews.

I was a bit surprised that TD accepted the statement that clubs split 4-1 when it was not part of (or implicit in) the original clarification statement. It looks to me that 68C, 70B and 70D1 should exclude taking account of this hypothesis and so on this basis it was correct for Directors to change their minds (albeit rather harsh, as even an Advanced player should be able to exclude further clubs in West given the auction and the cards played).

But even after this change of mind by Directors, I find the analysis of the implications of playing (or considering playing) the 8 rather odd. Unless I misread the situation (which is quite possible, smerriman will be ready :)) the only (vaguely) possible case in which playing the 8 is inferior to playing the Q is if W started with T2. So if Declarer was convinced that the split is 4-1 then it makes no difference, and the panic change may well have been linked to worries about how Director would interpret both cards rather than any doubt that either might lose two tricks (which is impossible). And the initial choice of the 8 might suggest that Declarer truly was convinced of the split, rather than the somewhat demeaning hypothesis that she was unaware of the possibility of losing two tricks.

Quote

It looked as though declarer was unaware of the possibility
of losing two club tricks when she made the claim. The decision was changed in 4-1.

On the actual (and highly probable) layout, it seems that to lose two tricks the Declarer must have been obliged to play the K over 8 and 5 (again, unless I am missing something).


Quote

The N/S team asked for a review, arguing that playing 8 is not reasonable when you know the
distribution in this 4-card ending.

I find this argument by NS team surprising too, a bit of an own goal if it was exactly as specified here (and Declarer was seen to consider the 8). If you know the distribution (4-1) then it makes no difference to play the 8: what is not reasonable ("normal" in the terms of 70D and 70E) is following up with the K, which ensures losing two tricks. Whereas if you really know nothing about the remaining distribution (which is the assumption of 70E1) I guess it would be "normal" (careless or inferior) to play 8 to the K.

Quote

70D. Director’s Considerations
1. The Director shall not accept from claimer any successful line of play not embraced in the
original clarification statement if there is an alternative normal21 line of play that would be
less successful.
2. The Director does not accept any part of a defender’s claim that depends on his partner
selecting a particular play from among alternative normal21 plays.

70E. Unstated Line of Play
For the purposes of Laws 70 and 71, “normal” includes play that would be careless or inferior for the
class of player involved.


1. The Director shall not accept from claimer any unstated line of play the success of which
depends upon finding one opponent rather than the other with a particular card, unless an
opponent failed to follow to the suit of that card before the claim was made, or would
subsequently fail to follow to that suit on any normal21 line of play.
2. The Regulating Authority may specify an order (e.g. “from the top down”) in which the
Director shall deem a suit played if this was not clarified in the statement of claim (but
always subject to any other requirement of this Law).


In my RA, the regulations under 70E2 specify "from the top down" and this could be used to justify playing 8 to K, not sure if there is any equivalent regulation in play here.
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#2 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2023-September-23, 09:26

Ah, the dreaded "normal*" applies again.

I was a bit surprised by the writeup - but I have mentioned elsewhere that the writeups are clearly rushed out and minimal. I would hope a more thorough edit job will be done now that the "rush to publish" is over; my experience with these sorts of things makes me more cynical than hopeful.

I had a "didn't mention" claim ruling in a NABC+ event, where the relevant Q could have been in either hand for a 12-14 NT. The directors ruled that this declarer was good enough to get it right on the play. I still don't understand why they agreed with declarer that it was "obvious" (IIRC it had something to do with "we signalled it, and it's not a position where we would false-signal), but I'm not a NABC+-level player. At the table, I followed my own advice of "call the TD, accept their ruling".

I realize the stakes are a bit higher in Marrakesh, and the average play level is also higher than me. But I am still going to accept the TDs' judgement of normal* for this calibre of player.

I notice that the ruling is "video doesn't lie". You might "always get it right", but at the time of the claim, she had to think about it. Having not mentioned it in the claim statement, even though it's clear she does have a count, it's also clear she didn't realize why that would be enough of an issue that the opponents would dispute it for a second.

Now I know that having claimed, "the hand's over" and it takes some time to get back into the hand. But 70D1 seems clear with the added knowledge that the opponents think there is a potential misplay.

In other words (because I've run out of hands, even if Heinleinian), "I'm going to accept the 'judgement of normal*' from the people with the evidence."

if you want my opinion of how I would like the footnote to be interpreted; I think that's also clear from my history. I lean a far distance down the "if you knew about the issue, but were too lazy to put it in the statement, why should I be lazy and just believe you?" This is more a politeness issue (putting it in the statement for the opponents is simple, easy, and clears up claims; "well, it's obvious *I* would get it right, unlike you" less so) than a technical one, but it would both encourage better claim statements and be easier for non-BB directors in the 99+% of contested claims that are at the clubs.

Having said that, I gave the first 70E "unless" ruling I've done in memory last week. But even then, I suggested to declarer that "taking the marked finesse" is worth saying as a claim statement.
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#3 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2023-September-23, 09:35

It would be a lot simpler to just state the order in which you are going to play your cards, as the law requires, than to try to come up with things to say that don't state the order of the cards but will still satisfy the law. I suppose that's in part because I don't believe there are any such things.
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#4 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2023-September-23, 12:48

The law says "statement" and gives ways to interpret "statement".

I agree with you that if the Laws said "order the cards" that would be an improvement, in the cases where you have all the tricks. It doesn't work for "play clubs until you ruff, then I get the rest" - I have no idea what card I'm going to play when, it depends on when they ruff and what they return. But it is a clear, obvious statement.

Cheeky, I know, but I really enjoyed the claim statement: "not pulling trump" (I had a high crossruff)
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#5 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2023-September-23, 21:41

So the law's phrase "the order in which the cards will be played" is meaningless and can be ignored?

Forgive me if I disagree.
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#6 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2023-September-24, 11:10

I will start by apologizing. I did not in fact read through the complete Law, and you caught me. You are right. However.

There's a difference between "running clubs until you take your trump, then win your return and take the rest" and "specifying the cards in order".

Where on that line you are, and where on that line you would disqualify a statement, is the issue. My experience with you is that you would wish to be much more literal than we currently are - a good feature, in general - but also more literal enough that it would slow down play (by not allowing claims until each card can be specified in order), which in my opinion at least is not.

I read your statement as "if you don't do the equivalent of ordering your cards, it shouldn't count" - which, as I am saying, disqualifies the claim at the top of this post, and any claim where what the opponents do changes the play (especially, but not exclusively, any claim where the opponents will take a trick, but can not be forced to take a specific trick.) Given your history (with, say, 45B), I'm probably not the only one. And I could have over-read what you meant; if so, I apologize for that as well, in advance.

But again, 99+% of claims (including this one :-) - and if I can't add another 9, I can at least add a 5 - are clear, resolved without intervention, and speed play. One in a (,two, 5) hundred are disputed to the point of requiring director intervention beyond a restatement of the statement that makes more sense to the opponents ("He said he'd take these three tricks in his hand, and those three tricks on the board. That's 6 - that's all the cards left." "She's giving you your trick." "You're on lead, and he has AJ of trumps left. He will swallow the K if it's played, or win the J and play the A.") Note that I am *not* saying "clarify", nor "interpret", nor "add anything to it that would qualify for 70D or E". In those one-in-x-hundred, if the statement wasn't clear, or enters 70D or E territory, then we get "the director didn't accept my line of play that was obvious to anyone who could play bridge, because I said one word wrong. I'm never claiming again." That happens often enough - and causes problems enough - as it is, without making it easier to convince people to fall to the Dark Side.

You are 100% correct. All claims *should* be accompanied by ... They're not. Even mine aren't. Whether they are, or not, or not accompanied by a statement at all, or misworded, or..., if they're disputed, 70A applies. It's just that "equit[y]" and "doubtful point[s]" become much more weighted against the claimer if they didn't do what they *should* have.

And no, I am not going to give a procedural penalty for a non-obvious or nonexistent claim statement, even if it causes a dispute and a director call, no matter what the preface says. I will if they pull the "claim, put their cards back in the board without showing them", or "It's obvious that I meant to, or it would be to Bridge Players" or anything else that disrespects the opponents. Because again, almost all the time, the penalty for a bad claim statement is "well, if you say it next time, you wouldn't be subject to my bad bridge skill, would you?" (or "you know, if you just mentioned it, you wouldn't have to trust that my bridge skill is not bad enough next time", as fits), and that's usually sufficient. For the next x-hundred claims, I guess :-)
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#7 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2023-September-24, 18:29

Moving this to "Appeals And Appeals Committees"
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#8 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2023-September-25, 12:50

View Postmycroft, on 2023-September-23, 09:26, said:

I notice that the ruling is "video doesn't lie". You might "always get it right", but at the time of the claim, she had to think about it. Having not mentioned it in the claim statement, even though it's clear she does have a count, it's also clear she didn't realize why that would be enough of an issue that the opponents would dispute it for a second.

All in favour of "video doesn't lie", it's a great step forwards and I wish I had it available in my club.
But I'm not sure she got anything wrong in terms of play, and not in the least surprised that when her claim was refused she had to think about it, and found that difficult too. When a claim is refused all sorts of things go wrong in the psyche and at hormonal level, it's normal to say or do something irrational without that indicating you would have had any doubts playing on without claiming. That's yet another reason to follow the Laws, sure, but not an indication that "she was unaware that she might lose two tricks" - I am quite prepared to believe that she was sure that she could not lose two tricks, and was right.

View Postmycroft, on 2023-September-23, 09:26, said:

if you want my opinion of how I would like the footnote to be interpreted; I think that's also clear from my history. I lean a far distance down the "if you knew about the issue, but were too lazy to put it in the statement, why should I be lazy and just believe you?"

So do I, which is part of why this review troubled me, because for once I still think the player got a hard deal if Law 70 means what I read it to mean. Even if we assume that Declarer might believe that West could still have one club (and I can live with Director assuming that, even at this level), it is not reasonable that West might still have two (having opened 3 diamonds, shown 2 spades and 1 club, shown 3 hearts and promised 4). The only way I can see to assign 1 down is to force Declarer to play the K over the 8, and I wouldn't be happy if the Director thought that was "normal" for me, let alone a BB player. Under our national "top down" regulation I could force play of the K, but only if that regulation supercedes the "normal" clause of the Law, which would not be my interpretation.
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