MCACES is a Z-Tolerance club 

<I WILL BE ADDING TWO RECENT RULINGS REGARDING "ALERT, THAT BID MEANS X" (when it didn't!)>  STAY TUNED

 

At the game on 1/7 there were a couple of rulings that caused volcanic eruptions. Here are further comments: 
Ruling 1. 
During the bidding of the 3rd board of the round, one player thought he remembered a revoke on the first board. He said he'd remembered they corrected the score at tournaments, so why not here? (Meanwhile, the opponents were getting extremely irate.)  I'd remembered scoring corrections at tournaments, so I tried questioning the player's partner -- who did NOT remember a revoke. So I ruled that the result stood. They got the correct result, but not the correct way (mea culpa!) The laws say, "There is no penalty for a revoke: ... 
... 4) when one of the non-offenders has made a call on a subsequent deal." (Duplicate Decisions, ACBL) Since they were on 3rd hand, and the call was for 1st hand, there was no revoke. 

Ruling 2
I came to the table, and a small club was on the table. It was explained to me that this was a penalty card and the offender's partner was on lead. I told him he could demand / prohibit the lead of a club from the partner, in which case the card would go back into the player's hand or he could tell him to lead anything, in which case the card remained on the table to be played at first opportunity. (This, by the way, was the correct ruling.) 
As I left the table, there were mutterings about "minor penalty card versus major penalty card...and that director didn't seem to know the difference... " 
"A minor penalty card is a single card 9 or lower and exposed by accident (as in playing 2 cards to a trick or dropping one accidentally.)  It is not an "accident" if a player plays a club instead of a spade." (Duplicate Decisions, ACBL) 

Ruling 3. 

Another revoke issue.  This one had its own effects.  

South Dealer, all vul

                    S - KQ962
                    H - T7
                    D - Q765
                    C - JT

S -  JT75                             S - A3
H -  8                                  H - A952
D - AKJ982                        D - 43
C - K4                                C - Q8753

                    S - 84
                    H - KQJ643
                    D - T
                    C - A962

In this case, East was declarer at 3N.  South led the King of Hearts and then the Queen, when it was allowed to hold.  East figured Hearts weren't going to be a big problem since he'd seen North drop the Ten and he had the 95 left in his hand so he won the Ace of Hearts.  However, as the play progressed, East led a Diamond to the A and then came ducked a diamond  --  East had not left himself any clear way back to dummy when North won the 3rd diamond.  What to pitch?  East forgot and threw a Heart.   North then shifted to the King of Spades. East won and led a Club.  South won and cashed his J of hearts,  East tossed a club on that trick (revoke).  When South led another Heart, East now won the 9 of Hearts.  "DIRECTOR!"   What is the penalty?  

(The play to this point was given to me from several sources.)     

Note that if East had followed suit with the 9 of Hearts, South would have run 3 more Heart tricks and he would STILL have a Spade to lead to partner! So, let's count 'em up.   5 heart tricks, 1 diamond trick, 1 spade trick, 1 club trick = 8 tricks or down 4, which is what I ruled at the table.  Sorry, ruling stands!  

I was totally willing to make an adjustment if one was called for, but . . . Sorry, the ruling was correct. 

For those of you who are NOT aware, we must be cleaned up and out by 2:00.  Calling your own committee is not only an insult to the director but also jeopardizes our agreement with the YMCA.  

 

MCACES Procedure for protests.

1.  We do NOT call committees.  Anyone insisting on committee decision (or attempting to call his own committee at the game) will find that the table decision will stand.  There is only one director listed for the game and that is not you! 

2.  After the game, long or loud arguments with the director will cause the table decision to stand.  No further protest will be possible.    

(Both 1 and 2 are because we have the YMCA for a limited period of time and lengthy discussions / committees jeopardize our NOT welcome.  Furthermore, loud arguments with the director will cause her to decide to take up knitting instead of directing.) 

Ok, so what can you do if you honestly believe you didn't get the correct ruling, particularly about a law which is subject to wide interpretation or where you received a different decision at a tournament? 

Calmly tell the director you wish to protest the decision on board X (where X=the board number). If possible, make a written record of all hands and the bidding with the issues involved. ("At this point, partner hesitated but I made the bid I was always going to make so I think it should stand.")  Do not get offended if the director also listens to the other side's arguments in more detail. 

If there is merit to the appeal, the director (ie. yours truly) will seek help from ACBL and / or other very expert advisors.  That decision will stand and you will be informed. 

If there is no merit, you will be advised.  ("But I play all cards slowly so if I played my singleton quickly, everyone would know it what it was!"  Too bad.  The rules are very clear on this and furthermore, attempts to fool the declarer via HOW you play the card also fall under other laws, so be careful!) 

If we follow these steps, we will all learn more about the laws and will have a much stronger game!

Hesitations... 

There have been a couple of players lately who have hesitated with a singleton.  They think they can sort of "play poker" and try to trick the declarer into playing them for a key card.  One of these players insists that he must "play in tempo" since he hesitates all of the time, so when he has a singleton, he must also hesitate.  I can understand his  case, but it seems with a singleton, he has been caught looking at his hand, then at dummy and back to his hand as if trying to decide which card to play.  After long consideration, he then selects his singleton.  Sorry, this is not acceptable bridge!  

 A player had this angle shot at him and I awarded him an adjusted score.  He wrote Mike Flader (Its Your Rule from the Declarer) who responded with:

This ruling is a tough one to make, but law 73F2 does say, "if the Director determines that an innocent player has drawn a false inference from a remark, manner, tempo, or the like, of an opponent who has no demonstrable bridge reason for the action, and who could have known, at the time of his action, that the action could work to his benefit, the Director shall award an adjusted score (see Law 12C)."   Law 12C states that if the director decides to award an adjusted score due to an irregularity, the result assigned should be, for the non-offending side, that one which was likely had the infraction not occurred.  For the offending side, the result should be the most unfavorable one that was at all probable. 

Hesitations, part 2
Recently I received the following:

Hypothetically ( J ), let's say your partner overcalls a 1 spade opening with 2 clubs.  RHO passes and you, looking at 5 diamonds, 4 hearts, and 18 HCP, bid 2 diamonds.  LHO passes and partner hesitates before passing.  RHO bids 2 spades.  Should you be allowed to bid given the hesitation (of course I know the answer to this, but maybe it will enlighten others no names mentioned)?

Isn't the rule always that you can bid as long as you took no inferences from the hesitation?

Well, the rules actually don't say that!  Law 16A says:

    A. Extraneous Information from Partner

After a player makes available to his partner extraneous information that may suggest a call or play, as by means of a remark, a question, a reply to a question, or by unmistakable hesitation, unwonted speed, special emphasis, tone, gesture, movement, mannerism or the like, the partner may not choose from among logical alternative actions one that could demonstrably have been suggested over another by the extraneous information.

It would be nice if you could just bid as if you had blinders on and you took no inferences from your partners bid.  Unfortunately, that is not the case.  At high levels, they are very strict about this rule -- I was once disallowed from rebidding an eight-card suit because of partners reply to a question (she was wrong in her explanation, but it did not matter -- they would not let me rebid my suit so instead of making 4Dx, we got to go down 4 at 3Sx!)  As a director, the way I interpret this is:  If partner hesitates and then passes, you can bid if you have your bid 100% -- I could ask 3 people AT YOUR LEVEL what they would bid and they would all come up with your bid (not knowing partner had hesitated.)   

Accepting the director ruling.

I think it is time for everyone to read the this section of the laws which deals with improprieties.  When I have been called to the table to make a ruling and I do so and you disagree, tell me -- and then STOP. 

    The following actions are NOT acceptable:

The first three items are covered under proprieties. 

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