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The value of videos

At the ongoing various USBC team trials, cameras were in place at every table.  In addition to helping determine who is at fault for slow play or more unethical things, the video can be very valuable to the director and/or committee for determining facts for rulings.  Even honest players may have an inaccurate perception of what actually happened, which the video can clarify.  I know of at least 5 such cases in the trials (there may be more).  In all cases, North/East are on same side of screen.  Without going into the bridge aspects, the issues were:

1) South claimed that West failed to alert a conventional call, which may have affected South's auction.  West said that he had tapped the table, indicating an alert.  The video demonstrated that West had done nothing at all.

2) West claimed that South had failed to make it clear that he had alerted an artificial call.  South said he had done so, and that West had acknowledged the alert.  The video demonstrated that South had waved the bid before placing tthe card in the tray (not exacly proper protocol, but often done and sufficient if it is clear the opponent sees it), and thet West had nodded his head in acknoledgement.

3) North-South gave different explanations.  West made a losing opening lead, and claimed that a different lead would have been made with the proper explanation.  N-S claimed that they had expected there might have been a mixup, and after the auction was over but before the screen had been raised they had verbally clarified the mixup (this is acceptable and encouraged in the USBF).  The video confirmed that the mixup had been clarified before the opening lead, so West had the proper information when making the opening lead.

4) The defenders claimed that declarer had followed suit out of tempo with a remaining singleton, causing the a defender to misread the position.  The video clarified hat the play was made in tempo.

5) On an uncontested slam auction a player made an alleged slow signoff, and the partner bid on.  The auction was complex, so some kind of delay would normally be expected -- the question was how slow was the signoff.  The video confirmed that the tray was on the bidder's side of the screen for about a minute and a half.

With today's technology, the cost of cameras which will take the necessary videos is very small.  Every major tournament should have cameras at every table, which will resolve most factual disputes.

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