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All comments by Steve Willner
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Hi, Gordon. There's a key point that I'm not sure your text is capturing.

If an insufficient 3NT was bid, then corrected to 4NT under L27B1a allowing the auction to continue, and partner of the IBer “guessed” to pass, then indeed L27D allows an adjusted score. (L23C does the same when the auction continues after a “comparable call,” although such situations will be much less likely because of the definition of comparable call.) I expect this situation is what the document was getting at.

It's a different matter if the call chosen is one that bars partner from the auction. In such a case, the withdrawn call is UI to partner, but unless the UI is “used,” there will not normally be an adjusted score even if the OS gets lucky. (A typical example: partner is going to be barred no matter what, so the offender guesses 3NT. If that turns out well for the OS, the score stands.)

An important but rare exception to that “guess and keep your score” principle is L72C: when the offender “could have known” that an illegal call might be a good idea. For example, suppose the player in your example bids an insufficient 3(!), then corrects to 4NT with partner now barred. (Perhaps a villain is taking no chances that partner might not “guess” to pass.) L72C removes the profit from this tactic.

As to the text, I think I'd just omit the words from ‘however’ to ‘i.e.,’ and write “Should the additional information … affect ….” This (I think) clarifies that the discussion is only about cases where the auction continues. “Bar partner and guess a contract” cases are different.

What I'd like to see (perhaps in the “separate article” mentioned) is interpretation of when “assistance gained through the infraction” applies. The OP case in this thread is a good example. Another might be when the contract is the same but declarer is different, and that turns out lucky for the OS. Basically, how broad or narrow are we to construe “assistance?”
Aug. 15
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“as like with the first session, we fell significantly as the later results came in”

Does that suggest some of those with the good later results may have had illicit knowledge of the deals? Or is there some other reason the later results might be better than average?
Aug. 14
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Several comments:

1. The EBU has, as usual, done a nice job telling its players what the rules are.

2. One quibble I have with the first EBU reference Bud gave is that it seems to suggest that the Director can adjust the score even when the OS has not made a comparable call (and therefore one of them has been required to pass). If the player guesses to play (say) 3NT, barring partner, and that's a good score, the OS keep it unless L72C (new) applies to the original infraction.

3. Above are several incorrect references to UI. When a comparable call is substituted, the withdrawn illegal call is AI to everyone. If information from the withdrawn call turns out to have been important, L23C allows score adjustment. This has some similarity to the UI rules but is less severe.

4. Nothing guarantees that a comparable call is available. That depends on the withdrawn call and the bidding system in use. If no comparable call exists, whichever OS player is not required to pass has to guess a contract. That's the same as ever but will be less frequent now.

5. The Laws never forbade playing different systems over infractions, though ACBL regulations did. In the new Laws, Bud quoted Law 40B2(a)(iv): “The Regulating Authority may disallow prior agreement by a partnership to vary its understandings during the auction or play following an irregularity committed by the opponents.” (I expect the ACBL to adopt this option, though doing so is a terrible idea.) The RA is given no comparable authority to forbid varying agreements after one's own side's infractions. As John Adams points out above, that would lead to logical inconsistency. The idea, I think, is that the rectification is supposed to take away any advantage gained by the infraction, regardless of what agreements one might make.
Aug. 14
Steve Willner edited this comment Aug. 14
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As others have mentioned, this case hinges on the meaning of “assistance gained through the infraction.” I think we need an official interpretation.

A broad meaning of “assistance” would be any change of result in favor of the offending side (OS). If that's the intended meaning, the score should be adjusted.

A narrow meaning would have something to do with expectation. If the expected result of the illegal pass itself was to gain, the Law 72C (new Laws) applies, so we needn't worry about that. Perhaps it has to do with expected result of 2NT versus 1. In an auction with no infraction, I don't expect many players to bid 2NT (edited; I had written 1 by mistake), so I think the expectation for 2NT is to lose relative to a normal auction. This does not constitute “assistance” by the narrow meaning, and there's no cause for adjustment.

I've changed my vote because I think the narrow interpretation makes more sense, but as I say, we need an official interpretation.

Some other questions raised above are easily answered:
1. 1 would not have been a “comparable call” for the reasons Bud explained (several times). If you don't see that from the L23A text, look at Bud's “know more about” test.

2. there's little doubt that the outcome was made different by the pass out of turn unless the OS were playing some strange methods that would have put them in 3NT.

3. “damage” is defined by L12B1 in terms of the table result. Here there's no doubt damage existed.

An issue not raised above is that responder could have bid 3NT. This is not a “comparable call,” and opener would have been obliged to pass (once). After this (assuming opponents also pass), L23C does not apply! Therefore the table result will stand unless L72C applies (which it wouldn't here). In other words, if in this sort of case you decide to take your best guess and bar partner, you keep the result.
Aug. 11
Steve Willner edited this comment Aug. 12
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Silver is measured in troy ounces, twelve of which make a (troy) pound. According to
http://www.metric-conversions.org/weight/troy-ounces-to-grams.htm
that would be 373.24 g.

An avoirdupois pound is indeed 454 g.
Aug. 11
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I suspect Nic is describing an app that vibrates the phone on and off in rapid succession. That could send messages by Morse Code or the equivalent. It's an inefficient way to cheat with a cellphone but a possible one.

There's a difference between trying to prevent cheating and making sure other players are not annoyed. For the first goal, one has to forbid _all_ electronic devices, including their use outside the playing area. One also has to inspect players to make sure the prohibition is honored. I doubt that's practical. Avoiding annoyance is much easier.
Aug. 5
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Strange that the Director didn't adjust the score if the facts are as you state. An accidentally exposed small card becomes a minor penalty card, which is UI to partner. Maybe it wasn't obvious that playing low on the trump lead was a logical alternative. (There's no doubt what the spot card suggests.)

Had the exposed card been a major penalty card, the considerations would be different.
Aug. 5
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Words change meaning over time, and “arbitrary” seems to have gained more connotation of “without reason” than it had a generation ago. Perhaps “assigned,” “fixed,” or “predetermined” would be clearer choices today, but I don't think “arbitrary” is wrong. In another generation it might be.
Aug. 4
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In 2012 the 2007 Laws were in effect. The ruling depends on details of how the spot was exposed and in particular on whether it was a major or minor penalty card. Oddly, the restrictions are heavier if the PC is minor.

The ruling is clear if the opponent exposing the card “could have been aware at the time” (Law 23) or if the card was exposed by declarer's RHO after declarer had led to the first trick and before LHO had played (L57). I'd expect nearly all Directors to get a L57 ruling right, but L23 can be overlooked.
Aug. 4
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Thanks, Richard. I subscribed to IPBM for awhile but didn't know of its prior name.

According to the reference (Thanks!), the incident took place in 1972 and in an exhibition match, not the Bermuda Bowl. The 1963 Laws would have been in effect then. I think in those years “equity” for multiple revokes was generally interpreted as based on the beginning of play. I don't have a copy of the 1963 Laws at hand to check whether that was required by the text or not. It would be interesting to see whether Edgar Kaplan wrote anything about the incident at the time.

Much of the evolution of the Laws since 1963 can be understood as re-categorizing undesirable actions from conduct infractions to score-adjustment infractions. The most dramatic example is “use of UI,” which became a matter for score adjustment only in 1975. Extended versions of “Alcatraz Coup” were first addressed in 1997. And as I mentioned above, “second revoke that gains” is clarified in 2017, though it was in principle already covered.
Aug. 3
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That's weird. What edition of Merriam-Webster did you consult? My M-W Seventh New Collegiate (1967) gives “depending on choice or discretion,” which seems fine.
Aug. 3
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I sure do miss _Popular Bridge_! I wasn't aware there was any version other than the American one.

I don't remember reading about the incident. TBW presumably gave the details, which we could look up if anyone can narrow down the date. Kantar was in the middle of almost everything weird, so I'd bet on him if I had to bet. :-)
Aug. 2
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That would be a problem for me, I'm afraid. I'm on call for work two weeks out of three. Those of us sharing on-call duties have had exactly one call in 14 years (and that was in 2003). For an NABC, I can make arrangements not to be on call, but that's not practical for a Sectional or Regional. If a call ever comes in while I'm playing in one of those, I'll probably have to leave the event and suffer whatever penalties ensue. I have no problem with that, given the steep odds against.

Suggestions other than “give up bridge” are welcome.
Aug. 1
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Cheating with the phone _off_? How is that possible? Or did you mean “appearing to be off but really partly activated?”
Aug. 1
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Why not Law 12C1b?

I'm not saying it applies, but it allows a split score if you believe declarer's play was “wild or gambling.”
Aug. 1
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If this occurred after the 1997 Laws were in effect, it looks to me as though the score should have been adjusted. The exact route depends on the date, but Law 72B1 in the 1997 edition (becoming L23 in 2007) would apply. In addition, Law 50C would have made the penalty card unauthorized information, so play of the king would be illegal if playing the spot card was a logical alternative (as it appears it was).

Prior to 1997, I think this was indeed a version of Alcatraz Coup with no redress possible unless exposing the trump spot could be proved deliberate. I might be missing something there, though.
Aug. 1
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I believe the ruling in the case Henry describes was probably wrong. “Equity” or “damage” should have been judged as of the instant prior to the second revoke, not as of the beginning of play. Depending on when the incident occurred, this may not have been clear in the Laws at the time (probably Law 64C).

The 2017 Laws have added Law 64C2a. Its language isn't ideal, but I think it makes the point clearer than before. There's also Law 12B1, but one has to be aware that each revoke is a separate infraction.
Aug. 1
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I voted “other.” I have no objection to taking advantage of opponents' unpreparedness, but I think the proposal is technically inferior. If opponents are going to double my control bid, I'd rather the double show a suit in which I have a control rather than a suit in which I lack one. Therefore I don't want to make a control bid to show a control in a different suit than the one named.

I was thinking it might be good idea to double opponents' control bids to suggest a lead (or maybe a sacrifice) in some suit other than the one in which the control is shown, but that has a huge downside. If for example I double a club bid to tell partner “lead diamonds,” there is a very good chance they can redouble and play in clubs or crush our diamond contract if we run. In contrast, if I hold good values in the suit they've actually bid, there's only a small risk they can play there with profit.

This reasoning also says that if one does play the switch advocated by the OP, opponents should use their doubles to show values in the suit bid, not the suit in which a control was shown. That's the natural thing to do anyway, and I'd expect few if any opponents to get confused.
July 28
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As I understand the existing rules, both teams should have been scored avg+ for a total of 12 IMPs on the four unplayed boards. If that wasn't done, it was probably because 12 IMPs seemed too generous, but that's no excuse for not following the rules.

When the new Laws take effect, Law 12C2d will allow RAs to use their own formula for multiple artificial scores. I recommend 3 IMPs times the square root of the number of boards, here 6 IMPs total. That seems a fair compensation to me.

At matchpoints, I recommend the compensation be 50% on all avg+ or avg- boards plus an overall bonus or penalty of 10% times the square root of the number of boards adjusted. That's the same as now for one board but smaller bonuses or penalties for multiple boards.
July 28
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Rainer's 1), 2), and 3) are closely related. 1) is simply a fact; 2) gives a use for the extra step; 3) is one reason that use is important.

If clubs are the key suit, and the ask is 4D, you can still stop in 4NT if the response is 4H or 4NT but not otherwise (unless you give up the queen ask after 4S to make 4NT a signoff). If 4C is the ask, you can sign off in 4NT after any response except void-showing 5C and higher.

I like ace-asking less than Rainer does, so I'd play Minorwood or Redwood only when the _asker_ is unlimited, but that has nothing to do with which bid does the asking.
July 22
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