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A Chancy Chimp SB gets shafted

#1 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2019-February-15, 08:46



The North London club had its multiple teams this week, and SB was host and ended up playing with a visitor from the Walthamstow Club, Walter the Wart-Hog. The auction seemed uneventful enough, and ChCh led the ace of spades and WW-H tabled the dummy and rushed off to get some berries from the kitchen.

"I have told you before, and I will tell you again, that you should complete the auction with a final pass, ChCh", chastised SB. He had noticed that the contract required spades to be 4-4 and was disappointed that dummy did not have four so was more prickly than usual.

"You are right, as always." replied ChCh. "Perhaps we should call the director?" There was something curious about ChCh's manner. "No, that is not necessary," replied SB. "I have been criticised by the committee for trivial TD calls." "Well we better had", insisted ChCh. "Director, please." OO came to the table. "How can I help?"

"Bad habit of mine", started ChCh. "I led before the auction had technically finished. The final pass was not made."

"I don't think it is going to matter much", responded OO. "If you pass, then we are in the same position and you will have to lead the ace of spades." "I suppose you could double, but I will probably rule that you could have been aware that the premature lead could damage the non-offenders." "OK, I will bid 7", replied ChCh.

"Good gracious!" responded OO. "Well, now, South is silenced for one round, as North has already put down the dummy in 3NT, but North can make any call he wants". WW-H had returned from the kitchen with his bowl of berries and doubled and the auction ended when West redoubled. By now SB had worked out that he had been duped but there was nothing he could do, as 7NTx-5 was unlikely to be a good score, so 7XX became the final contract.

"So, can you clarify, please, that all of North's cards were prematurely exposed during the auction and I direct how he plays them?" asked ChCh with a wicked grin. "That is right," replied OO.

"OK, can you lead a trump please, WW-H", and I will, if the opponents are happy, play both North's and East's cards to save time." After five rounds of trumps, North had to part with his diamonds on the last three of those. ChCh now cashed six rounds of diamonds, on which North was forced to throw his four hearts and the ace and king of clubs. On the last of these, SB was down to A JT and was, as they say, inexorably squeezed.

"+2940" chuckled ChCh. "I seemed to benefit from leading before passing out the hand, but could not have known that this would cause North to expose all thirteen of his cards, even if he looks the clumsiest person to have set foot in this club."

For once SB was lost for words. Do you allow the score to stand?
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#2 User is offline   pran 

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Posted 2019-February-15, 10:03

View Postlamford, on 2019-February-15, 08:46, said:



The North London club had its multiple teams this week, and SB was host and ended up playing with a visitor from the Walthamstow Club, Walter the Wart-Hog. The auction seemed uneventful enough, and ChCh led the ace of spades and WW-H tabled the dummy and rushed off to get some berries from the kitchen.

"I have told you before, and I will tell you again, that you should complete the auction with a final pass, ChCh", chastised SB. He had noticed that the contract required spades to be 4-4 and was disappointed that dummy did not have four so was more prickly than usual.

"You are right, as always." replied ChCh. "Perhaps we should call the director?" There was something curious about ChCh's manner. "No that is not necessary," replied SB. "I have been criticised by the committee for trivial TD calls." "Well we better had", insisted ChCh. "Director, please." OO came to the table. "How can I help?"

"Bad habit of mine", started ChCh. "I led before the auction had technically finished. The final pass was not made."

"I don't think it is going to matter much", responded OO. "If you pass, then we are in the same position and you will have to lead the ace of spades." "I suppose you could double, but I will probably rule that you could have been aware that the premature lead could damage the non-offenders." "OK, I will bid 7S", replied ChCh.

"Good gracious!" responded OO. "Well, now, South is silenced, as North has already put down the dummy in 3NT, but North can make any call he wants". WW-H had returned from the kitchen with his bowl of berries and doubled and the auction ended when West redoubled. By now SB had worked out that he had been duped but there was nothing he could do, as 7NTx-5 was unlikely to be a good score.

"So, can you clarify, please, that all of North's cards were prematurely exposed during the auction and I direct how he plays them?" asked ChCh with a wicked grin. "That is right." replied OO.

"OK, can you lead a trump please, WW-H", and I will, if the opponents are happy, play both North's and East's cards to save time." After five rounds of trumps, North had to part with his diamonds on the last three of those. ChCh now cashed six rounds of diamonds, on which North was forced to throw his four hearts and the ace and ten of clubs. On the last of these, SB was down to A QJ and was, as they say, inexorably squeezed.

"+2940" chuckled ChCh. "I seemed to benefit from leading before passing out the hand, but could not have known that this would cause North to expose all thirteen of his cards, even if he looks the clumsiest person to have set foot in this club."

For once SB was lost for words. Do you allow the score to stand?

No, I would use

Law 72 C said:

If the Director determines that an offender could have been aware at the time of his irregularity
that it could well damage the non-offending side, he shall require the auction and play to continue
(if not completed). At the conclusion of play the Director awards an adjusted score if he considers
the offending side has gained an advantage through the irregularity.

and rule that ChCh could have been aware of a possible advantage like what developed here when he deliberately "led" his A without first closing the auction with a PASS. His insistence of calling the TD just corroborates my suspicion in this respect, so I would definitely adjust the result and even consider a (significant) PP to ChCh for his conduct.

I fail to see how South can make more that 5 tricks in a 3NT contract and would adjust the result on the board to 3NTS-4 which is 400 to East/West.
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#3 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2019-February-15, 10:36

View Postpran, on 2019-February-15, 10:03, said:

No, I would use

and rule that ChCh could have been aware of a possible advantage like what developed here when he deliberately "led" his A without first closing the auction with a PASS. His insistence of calling the TD just corroborates my suspicion in this respect, so I would definitely adjust the result and even consider a (significant) PP to ChCh for his conduct.

I fail to see how South can make more that 5 tricks in a 3NT contract and would adjust the result on the board to 3NTS-4 which is 400 to East/West.

I think you managed to catch a few minutes when I entered the names and for some reason that transposed East and South. I cannot see how it did but your diagram was indeed there briefly; I was changing the diagram at the same time.

I cannot see how you can rule that West could have been aware that leading during the auction especially against SB could work to his advantage. Had SB called the TD there and then, North would not have put down the dummy. If West bids something other than Pass, North could now bid 6H which makes with the ace of spades as a major penalty card. So there was no way the premature lead should ever benefit EW. It only did so because North subsequently exposed all 13 cards during the auction, so your ruling is ridiculous.
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#4 User is offline   weejonnie 

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Posted 2019-February-15, 16:40

Blue Book (unless the Griffins have moved abroad due to Brexit)

3Z C 3 Some players do not always complete the auction properly by laying a pass card on the table in the pass out seat. Usually this does not cause a problem. When a player acts in such a way as to indicate they have passed and an opening lead is faced they have passed. An action may be deemed by the TD to be a pass (e.g. general ‘waft’ of the hand, tapping cards already there, picking up the cards).

White Book

8.22.2 Failure to use a pass card correctly
The L&EC considered what happened when players did not properly complete the auction by playing a final pass card. It was acknowledged that many players at all levels do not always complete the auction in the prescribed way (examples included touching a pass card already on the table, sweeping up the cards before any lead has been placed on the table). But it was confirmed that if a player acted in this way and a lead had been faced then in accordance with Law 41C the play period had begun irrevocably.

I hereby rule that the action of leading the A is deemed to be a pass as well as an opening lead.
The hardest director decisions inevitably are caused by the first failure to call at the appropriate time.
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#5 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2019-February-15, 17:03

View Postweejonnie, on 2019-February-15, 16:40, said:

8.22.2 Failure to use a pass card correctly
The L&EC considered what happened when players did not properly complete the auction by playing a final pass card. It was acknowledged that many players at all levels do not always complete the auction in the prescribed way (examples included touching a pass card already on the table, sweeping up the cards before any lead has been placed on the table). But it was confirmed that if a player acted in this way and a lead had been faced then in accordance with Law 41C the play period had begun irrevocably.

I hereby rule that the action of leading the A is deemed to be a pass as well as an opening lead.

If ChCh had "failed to use a pass card correctly", I would agree with you completely. But there is a requirement for ChCh to act in such a way AND to make a lead, so both are pre-requisites. However there was no "waft", no "sweeping up the cards" - in West's case at least they were still present - and no "touching of a pass card", so there is no provision for the TD to interpret some action as being a pass, as there was no such action. Your ruling is therefore illegal, and would have been appealed if you had made it. OO correctly ruled that the final pass had not been made and that there was a premature lead during the auction - there was no suggestion from SB or the OP that a surrogate pass had occurred. Indeed SB pointed out that ChCh had often just led in the pass out seat before. And once OO has so ruled, ChCh is entitled to make any call he wishes and the auction is still live, but the ace of spades will be an MPC if he is a defender. He can only follow the TD ruling on finding of fact. The Blue Book clearly states: "When a player acts in such a way as to indicate they have passed AND an opening lead is faced they have passed". Only the second part of this occurred.

I would suggest that when you answer you address what actually happened, rather than what might have happened in a different scenario.
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#6 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2019-February-15, 18:12

In the UK, it's normal to leave all the bidding cards out until after the opening lead is faced, right? So practices like "sweeping up all the bidding cards" are not a common way to indicate the final pass.

The language in the regulations seems to be describing the case where the final passer and opening leader are different players -- the final passer has to suggest passing, and then the opening leader makes his lead. But in the case where they're the same player, I would rule that the lead itself also satisfies the "act in such a way" requirement.

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Posted 2019-February-15, 18:30

I also don't think ChCh could have been aware that his action would damage the opponents.

There's already a good chance that he's setting the contract by taking 5 spades off the top. Even if he can predict that North will put down the dummy and they'll all become penalty cards, the chance that this will be enough to allow him to make something, let alone 7, is infinitessimal. Even after seeing North's cards, there's no way he can know that his partner has a running diamond suit after "unblocking" North's AKQ.

So if you disagree with my earlier suggestion that the lead is also deemed to be the final pass, then I think you have to rule in favor of ChCh. He got amazingly lucky and it's rub of the green. He could not possibly have known that he was turning a likely plus into a larger (in fact, huge) plus.

#8 User is offline   pran 

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Posted 2019-February-15, 18:30

View Postlamford, on 2019-February-15, 10:36, said:

I think you managed to catch a few minutes when I entered the names and for some reason that transposed East and South. I cannot see how it did but your diagram was indeed there briefly; I was changing the diagram at the same time.

I cannot see how you can rule that West could have been aware that leading during the auction especially against SB could work to his advantage. Had SB called the TD there and then, North would not have put down the dummy. If West bids something other than Pass, North could now bid 6H which makes with the ace of spades as a major penalty card. So there was no way the premature lead should ever benefit EW. It only did so because North subsequently exposed all 13 cards during the auction, so your ruling is ridiculous.

Yes, the corrected diagram makes more sense.

ChCh's intention was in my opinion clear enough: End the auction and begin the play. This was obviously also North's understanding of the situation, and he acted in turn by correctly facing his cards.

There would have been absolutely no problem if ChCh simply had lived up to this. Instead he changed his irregularity from an excusable minor and common irregularity of bypassing his closing pass before just making his opening lead to the far more severe irregularity of deliberately exposing one of his cards during the auction.

Because of a technicality this turned out to give him a big and undeserved advantage which the Director should take away. A director who is unhappy with Law 72C can always go straight to Law 12A1.
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#9 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2019-February-15, 18:36

View Postbarmar, on 2019-February-15, 18:12, said:

In the UK, it's normal to leave all the bidding cards out until after the opening lead is faced, right? So practices like "sweeping up all the bidding cards" are not a common way to indicate the final pass.

The language in the regulations seems to be describing the case where the final passer and opening leader are different players -- the final passer has to suggest passing, and then the opening leader makes his lead. But in the case where they're the same player, I would rule that the lead itself also satisfies the "act in such a way" requirement.

I would not say it was "normal" to leave the bidding cards there. Usually the defenders remove them but declarer and dummy leave them. The language in the regulations does not suggest at all that passer and opening leader have to be different players, and it could easily have done if had chosen to do so.

And it specifically says that "An action may be deemed by the TD to be a pass". You are saying that "an opening lead may be deemed to be a pass". Why did they not then write: "An action (including any opening lead) may be deemed by the TD to be a pass." My interpretation of the regulation is that there must be an additional indication of a pass apart from the opening lead, otherwise it is just a premature lead, and the wording of both the Blue Book and the L&E minute does not sit well with your interpretation.
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#10 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2019-February-15, 18:46

View Postpran, on 2019-February-15, 18:30, said:

Yes, the corrected diagram makes more sense.

ChCh's intention was in my opinion clear enough: End the auction and begin the play. This was obviously also North's understanding of the situation, and he acted in turn by correctly facing his cards.

There would have been absolutely no problem if ChCh simply had lived up to this. Instead he changed his irregularity from an excusable minor and common irregularity of bypassing his closing pass before just making his opening lead to the far more severe irregularity of deliberately exposing one of his cards during the auction.

Because of a technicality this turned out to give him a big and undeserved advantage which the Director should take away. A director who is unhappy with Law 72C can always go straight to Law 12A1.

I am glad that we agree that there was a deliberate irregularity of exposing one of his cards during the auction, unlike other posters who do not think there was an irregularity as the lead acted as a pass. However there was an even more serious irregularity by dummy who exposed all 13 cards before the auction had ended. Indeed the auction had only reached call 9 of what turned out to be a 17-call auction.

I don't agree that Law 72C is applicable at all here. ChCh did not even think of taking advantage of the missing pass until SB pointed it out, and he saw an opportunity to hoist SB on his own petard. Ever mindful of the best (sharp) practice he called the TD who ruled. And you cannot apply 12A1 because the Laws DO provide rectification for the infraction. Even if had gained, you could not adjust:

12B2 The Director may not award an adjusted score on the grounds that the rectification provided in these Laws is either unduly severe or advantageous to either side.

OO followed the Laws exactly. West committed an infraction by leading prematurely. He was allowed to make his last bid, as the auction was not over, and his ace of spades was an MPC if he became defender. North committed an infraction by putting dummy down during the auction. He suffered the penalty, ultimately, of having 13 MPCs, and the TD was not of the opinion, nor would any sane person be, that West could have known that his, as you admit, minor transgression of leading before the final pass, could have worked so beautifully to his advantage.
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#11 User is offline   weejonnie 

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Posted 2019-February-16, 03:08

View Postlamford, on 2019-February-15, 18:46, said:

I am glad that we agree that there was a deliberate irregularity of exposing one of his cards during the auction, unlike other posters who do not think there was an irregularity as the lead acted as a pass. However there was an even more serious irregularity by dummy who exposed all 13 cards before the auction had ended. Indeed the auction had only reached call 9 of what turned out to be a 17-call auction.

I don't agree that Law 72C is applicable at all here. ChCh did not even think of taking advantage of the missing pass until SB pointed it out, and he saw an opportunity to hoist SB on his own petard. Ever mindful of the best (sharp) practice he called the TD who ruled. And you cannot apply 12A1 because the Laws DO provide rectification for the infraction. Even if had gained, you could not adjust:

12B2 The Director may not award an adjusted score on the grounds that the rectification provided in these Laws is either unduly severe or advantageous to either side.

OO followed the Laws exactly. West committed an infraction by leading prematurely. He was allowed to make his last bid, as the auction was not over, and his ace of spades was an MPC if he became defender. North committed an infraction by putting dummy down during the auction. He suffered the penalty, ultimately, of having 13 MPCs, and the TD was not of the opinion, nor would any sane person be, that West could have known that his, as you admit, minor transgression of leading before the final pass, could have worked so beautifully to his advantage.


Of course 'dummy' didn't expose anything as according to this logic there isn't a dummy. (A premature lead is not an opening lead)

Dummy 1. Declarer’s partner. He becomes dummy when the opening
lead is faced and ceases to be dummy when play ends. 2.
Declarer’s partner’s cards, once they are spread on the table
after the opening lead.

Declarer the player who, for the side that makes the final bid, first bid the
denomination named in the final bid. He becomes declarer when
the opening lead is faced (but see Law 54A when the opening
lead is made out of turn).

I think that I would have to accept OO'S verdict, allow the auction to go on, and ChCh to keep his score.

HOWEVER. It is not impossible for a player to know of this option and deliberately make an 'opening lead' without doing anything to indicate passing. If 'dummy' puts his cards down without checking that passing is indeed his intention then the player could see that finesses etc are are/not working and then make a call e.g. double/ sacrifice appropriately. This is obviously an extreme case, but in other competitive auctions ChCh might know a lot more about his partner's hand.

(At least it would resolve any ethical problems for his partner after a slow double :rolleyes:
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#12 User is offline   sanst 

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Posted 2019-February-16, 03:43

There’s Law 72B1: “A player must not infringe a law intentionally, even if there is a prescribed rectification he is willing to accept.” That’s exactly what ChCh did and so the TD is obliged to take away the advantage gained. On top of that I would award a stiff PP for this behavior. But the visitor is also to blame, not only for exposing his cards, but for leaving the table before the round was called. A bowl of berries doesn’t count as an emergency, so he should have stayed at the table. Exposing the cards in this situation wouldn’t count as an extremely serious error, but leaving the table for a stupid reason might also lead to a PP.
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#13 User is offline   weejonnie 

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Posted 2019-February-16, 04:01

View Postsanst, on 2019-February-16, 03:43, said:

There’s Law 72B1: “A player must not infringe a law intentionally, even if there is a prescribed rectification he is willing to accept.” That’s exactly what ChCh did and so the TD is obliged to take away the advantage gained. On top of that I would award a stiff PP for this behavior. But the visitor is also to blame, not only for exposing his cards, but for leaving the table before the round was called. A bowl of berries doesn’t count as an emergency, so he should have stayed at the table. Exposing the cards in this situation wouldn’t count as an extremely serious error, but leaving the table for a stupid reason might also lead to a PP.

As usual the court is out on ChCh but he is usually presumed guilty unless proved otherwise: he didn't draw attention to the irregularity and there is no indication that he intended to do other than lead to the final contract. And whilst Law 72B1 is there, it would be very difficult (as in many of these sorts of cases) to prove that my suggestion would be a deliberate infraction since most players have seen the same happen - the only difference being some indication of the final pass without it being made. (It can be refuted very easily by Dummy paying attention and noticing that the final pass had not been indicated)
The hardest director decisions inevitably are caused by the first failure to call at the appropriate time.
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#14 User is offline   pran 

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Posted 2019-February-16, 04:05

View Postlamford, on 2019-February-15, 18:46, said:

I am glad that we agree that there was a deliberate irregularity of exposing one of his cards during the auction, unlike other posters who do not think there was an irregularity as the lead acted as a pass. However there was an even more serious irregularity by dummy who exposed all 13 cards before the auction had ended. Indeed the auction had only reached call 9 of what turned out to be a 17-call auction.
.....

OP said:

"I have told you before, and I will tell you again, that you should complete the auction with a final pass, ChCh", chastised SB.
.....
"You are right, as always." replied ChCh.

So it is clear that this was no uncommon irregularity by ChCh who indeed closed the auction with an implied PASS and thus made a correct opening lead with his A.

I do not agree that North now committed any (serious) irregularity. He simply followed correct procedure when facing his hand as Dummy once the opening lead (from the correct presumed defender) was made.
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#15 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2019-February-16, 05:12

Nonsense. North committed 13 irregularities and they cost about 26 IMPs. He did not pay sufficient attention to the game and deliberately exposed 13 cards when the auction was not over. He said that he was not visiting the North London club again. "Good", said ChCh.
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#16 User is offline   pran 

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Posted 2019-February-16, 05:48

View Postlamford, on 2019-February-16, 05:12, said:

Nonsense. North committed 13 irregularities and they cost about 26 IMPs. He did not pay sufficient attention to the game and deliberately exposed 13 cards when the auction was not over. He said that he was not visiting the North London club again. "Good", said ChCh.

Have you ever as presumed Dummy faced your cards after your RHO (apparently) made his opening lead without first showing his closing PASS?
(This includes any situation where your RHO simply restored his bid cards to the box without first showing the PASS card).

Unless you can honestly answer NO to this question you should see the self-contradiction in your argumentation.
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#17 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2019-February-16, 08:57

View Postpran, on 2019-February-16, 05:48, said:

Have you ever as presumed Dummy faced your cards after your RHO (apparently) made his opening lead without first showing his closing PASS?
(This includes any situation where your RHO simply restored his bid cards to the box without first showing the PASS card).

Unless you can honestly answer NO to this question you should see the self-contradiction in your argumentation.

I have never put down dummy until there have been three passes. Indeed if someone "wafts" a previously used pass card or "points to the pass card", I immediately call the TD for a breach of law 74A3: "3. Every player should follow uniform and correct procedure in calling and playing." and seek a PP. Why have that Law if it is not to be enforced?

Your argument is, in any case, irrelevant. If North wants to take a chance that West intends to pass, and that he has not made a premature lead, perhaps not realising the auction is still live, that is his lookout and he gets everything he deserves. One thing is certain is that this particular North won't make this mistake again!
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#18 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2019-February-16, 10:36

I think the correct resolution to all this is to shoot the director and all four players, and burn down the building. Sowing salt on the ashes is probably overkill, but tempting.
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#19 User is offline   sanst 

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Posted 2019-February-17, 02:55

View Postweejonnie, on 2019-February-16, 04:01, said:

As usual the court is out on ChCh but he is usually presumed guilty unless proved otherwise: he didn't draw attention to the irregularity and there is no indication that he intended to do other than lead to the final contract. And whilst Law 72B1 is there, it would be very difficult (as in many of these sorts of cases) to prove that my suggestion would be a deliberate infraction since most players have seen the same happen - the only difference being some indication of the final pass without it being made. (It can be refuted very easily by Dummy paying attention and noticing that the final pass had not been indicated)

A TD is not a laywer and a bridge club not court of law. You don’t have to prove “beyond reasonable doubt” that the infraction was deliberate, but you should be convinced by the player’s words and behavior that it was. The description of this - admittedly theoretical - case and Lamford’s words I’m certain enough to assume a deliberate action. So “guilty until proven otherwise”, which is a case for an AC. The TD can even make that appeal.
In the case of an unintended call it’s impossible to prove that the call made was never in the mind of the player, that he never intended it. But from the circumstances and the explanation we sometimes decide that the call was unintended.
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#20 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2019-February-17, 17:04

SB's own words indicated that this was a common transgression by ChCh. That does not mean that he was prepared to "pay a penalty deliberately." If SB had correctly called the TD immediately ChCh led prematurely, then ChCh could never gain. OO ruled that the auction was not over and on the finding of fact this is absolute and -2940 is the correct, nay the only, ruling in the absence of a shred of evidence of a "deliberate" offence.

And why do you write "admittedly theoretical"?
I prefer to give the lawmakers credit for stating things for a reason. - barmar
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