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ACBL Tech File
Laws Commission Rulings

 

This document is provided courtesy of the
American Contract Bridge League

2990 Airways Blvd. S Memphis TN 381163847
9013325586
S Fax 9013987754

     NOTE: to view the latest revision of the handbook,
download the latest version of ACBLScore

                                             ____________________ 

LAWSCOM.033 (PAGE 1) 

     LAWS COMMISSION

     KO TEAMS SITTING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION

     If pairs at one table of a KO match sit in the wrong directions, that

     segment of the match will have to be replayed immediately (even if

     this is inconvenient to the teams) provided there is enough time prior

     to the start of the next session.  If time does not permit replaying

     the full segment, then as many boards as can reasonably be played must

     be played.  (Laws Commission - July, 1982)

 

     UNAUTHORIZED INFORMATION GAINED FROM PARTNER'S EXPLANATION

     In situations where a player gains information from his partner's

     explanation to a question, whether or not there was an alert, that

     information is unauthorized and the director may award an adjusted

     score if advantage was taken.  (Laws Commission - 5/84)

 

     EXPLAINING AN AGREEMENT BEFORE OPENING LEAD THAT DOES NOT DESCRIBE THE

     HAND HELD

     While there is a legal obligation to correct an incorrect or

     incomplete explanation, care must be taken to phrase the correction in

     such a way as to not mislead the opponents.  The TD may still adjust

     the score because of the original failure to alert or explain

     correctly at the proper time by the proper person when an opponent is

     misled even though the player is mandated by Law to correct the

     explanation.  (Laws Commission - July, 1995)

 

     LAW 12.C.1 - AWARDING AN ADJUSTED SCORE

     The Laws Commission feels that the phrase "at most 40% of the

     available matchpoints" should refer to a pair being awarded the

     remaining matchpoints when they have committed an offense against a

     pair whose percent score is greater than 60% (i.e., Top minus 63% of

     Top when the non-offending side has achieved 63% on all other boards

     played).  (Laws Commission - Spring, 1998)

 

     NOTE: Therefore, our practice will be to reduce the A- appropriately

     when the A+ turns out to be in excess of 60%.  This will only be the

     practice in pairs events, not individual events.

                                             (Office Policy - April, 1998) 

     Comment: There is a consensus that the irregularity referred to in

     12C2 may include the event that transmitted the unauthorized

     information.  (Laws Commission - Fall, 2003)

 

     LAW 21 AND OTHERS - MISINFORMATION

     It happens, with disappointing frequency, that one side is not give

     correct information by an opponent.  The incidence is probably greater

     during the auction than during the play, so let's look at those cases

     first.  This incorrect information usually comes from:

      1. A failure to Alert (or an Alert when none was due).

      2. An incorrect answer to an opponent's question.

      3. A mismarked convention card.

     Once this unfortunate situation occurs, what next?  The director

     refers to Law 21 B.1, which tells us:

     "...a player may, without penalty, change a call when it is probable

     that he made the call as the result of misinformation given to him by

     an opponent...provided that his partner has not subsequently called."


 

 

                                                      LAWSCOM.021 (PAGE 2) 

                                                      ____________________ 

     Please note that for one to be allowed to change a call, there are two

     requirements:  Partner has not subsequently called, and the call MUST

     HAVE BEEN THE RESULT OF THE MISINFORMATION.  You are not allowed to

     change your call simply because you were given misinformation; you may

     change it only if you would have made a different call had you gotten

     correct information.  If you do elect to change your call, the burden

     of proof that your original call was the result of the misinformation

     may fall upon you -- you are not permitted to change willy-nilly.

 

     Often, a player wishes to change his or her call even though partner

     has made a subsequent call, but the director cannot allow that; he

     must direct that the auction continue and look into adjusting the

     score if damage appears to have resulted.

 

     It is wise for the director to ask a player who can no longer change

     his call (away from the table) if he would have acted differently had

     he been properly informed.  This will provide a much better basis for

     adjusting a score, or for declining to do so, since somehow our view

     of what we would have done often becomes a bit different when the

     entire deal becomes known.

 

     One should not blurt out that one would have done something different

     -- no one at the table is entitled to that information.  If the

     director neglects to ask you in such an instance, you might ask him to

     speak to you away from the table.  This isn't perfect, of course,

     since even the request to talk with the director might give

     information to partner, but it may prove the least of evils.

 

     If you change your call (as permitted by Law 21 B.1.), your left-hand

     opponent may also change his.  Note that is as far as it can go --

     never more than one call from each side may be changed.  Any

     information from the withdrawn call(s) is to be considered

     unauthorized for the offending side, and the director should stand

     ready to assign an adjusted score if he deems that the result has been

     adversely affected for the non-offenders.

 

     Just as you may change a call based on misinformation, you may also be

     permitted to change a play similarly based.

 

     Law 47 E.2.(a):

     "A player may retract the card he has played after a mistaken

     explanation of an opponent's conventional call or play and before a

     corrected explanation, but only if no card was subsequently played to

     that trick."

 

     Please remember that you must first call the director before making

     any of these allowed changes.  Endeavoring to change your call without

     calling the director may prejudice your position.  You must also try

     to use discretion in what you say to the table in these situations

     (and many others), since what you say may well convey information

     (unauthorized, for your partner) to others, and this could well

     adversely affect your result and/or your future rights to redress.


 

 

                                                      LAWSCOM.033 (PAGE 3) 

                                                      ____________________ 

     LAW 25 - LEGAL AND ILLEGAL CHANGE OF CALL

     Until the opening lead is faced, the last pass of an auction may be

     changed without penalty if the director deems that it was inadvertent.

     This is also true for the fourth consecutive pass in auctions when

     there has been no bidding.  Likewise, the next to the last pass, if

     inadvertent, in both of these situations may be changed without

     penalty.  If a player is willing to limit his score to an average

     minus [B.2.a.2], a purposeful change of a final pass is permitted.

     However, if a player attempts to change his call after the opening

     lead has been face, Law 39 (Call After Final Pass) would apply.

                                            (Laws Commission - July, 1997) 

 

     LAW 27 - BID OUT OF ROTATION

     In the auction 1D - no action - 1H when the bid out of turn is not

     accepted, if the player next to call bids 1H and the player who had

     called out of turn changes his call to double, the low-level double

     should be deemed to specify hearts, thus removing any lead penalties.

     At higher levels, the double becomes less meaningful as an indication

     of hearts and may be based solely on high cards, so the director

     should impose a lead penalty in the heart suit.  The commission also

     pointed out that the fact that the double was made with the knowledge

     that it would bar partner is authorized information to the offending

     side.  (Laws Commission - Spring, 1998)

 

     NOTE: Therefore, our practice will be to treat these "penalty" doubles

     at the one or two level as specifying the suit and removing the lead

     penalty.  (Office Policy - April, 1998)

 

     LAW 45.C.4(b) - CARD PLAYED

     In making decisions under this Law in the future, we have the

     following instructions from the Laws Commission.

 

     1. IN DETERMINING "INADVERTENT," THE BURDEN OF PROOF IS ON THE

     DECLARER.  THE STANDARD OF PROOF IS "OVERWHELMING."  Unless there is

     such proof to the contrary, the director should assume that the card

     called was the intended one.

 

     2. IN JUDGING "WITHOUT PAUSE FOR THOUGHT,"

      a. IF DECLARER HAS MADE A PLAY AFTER MAKING AN INADVERTENT

      DESIGNATION FROM DUMMY, A "PAUSE FOR THOUGHT" HAS OCCURRED. Making

      this interpretation has essentially put in a time limit without

      rewriting the law.  If declarer has made a ply (usually a play from

      hand but it can be a play from dummy to the next trick) after an

      alleged inadvertent call of a card from dummy's hand, we are to rule

      that there has been pause for thought.  Therefore, we may not permit

      declarer to change the play from dummy.

 

      b. IF DECLARER'S RHO HAS PLAYED AND THERE IS ANY REASONABLE

      POSSIBILITY THAT INFORMATION GAINED FROM RHO'S PLAY COULD SUGGEST

      THAT DECLARER'S PLAY FROM DUMMY WAS A MISTAKE, A "PAUSE FOR THOUGHT"

      HAS OCCURRED.  If we determine that the play by declarer's RHO

      suggested to declarer that some type of mistake had been made, the

      Commission is saying that this constitutes pause for thought.  As in

      a. above, we cannot permit declarer to change the play from dummy.


 

 

                                                      LAWSCOM.033 (PAGE 4) 

                                                      ____________________ 

 

     The Vancouver case is a good example: Had declarer's RHO played a low

     spade or diamond there would have been no suggestion that declarer had

     made a mistake.  Playing the king of spades was such a suggestion.

     Therefore, if declarer speaks up after the play of the king, we are to

     deem there has been pause for thought.  After the play of a

     non-suggestive card (such as a low spade or diamond in the above

     example), we are permitted (but not required) to judge that the

     correction, or, desire to correct was "without pause for thought."

 

     While some "equity" oriented players and TDs may consider this a harsh

     line to take, this interpretation brings Law 45 C.4(b) more in line

     with 45.C.2.  In other words, the requirements for deeming a card

     played from dummy and from declarer's hand are more similar using this

     interpretation.

 

     As in the Laws commission write-up the bottom line is that there

     should be strong presumption that the card called is the card that

     declarer intended to call.  (Laws Commission - Clarified Aug, 1999)

 

     LAW 61 - TIME LIMITS WHEN INQUIRING ABOUT REVOKES

     The Commission addressed the issue of whether a time limit should be

     established on the right of defenders to inquire about possible

     revokes by partner as provided in the footnote to Law 61.  An

     interpretation was made that a defender loses the right to ask such a

     question after he turns his own card face down.  They also recommended

     that the law itself should reflect this in its next revision.

                                          (Laws Commission - Summer, 2003) 

 

     LAW 63.B - ESTABLISHMENT OF A REVOKE

     In determining whether a 1 or 2 trick penalty is in order, the

     director must look to see what would have happened if the revoke was

     not corrected and the hand was played out. Remember that this

     provision does not apply in most ACBL events.

                                           (Laws Commission - July, 1997)  

 

     NOTE: Therefore, our practice will be as per Law 70.B.3.  The director

     will hear the opponents' objections with the defenders or dummy and

     declarer being able to confer to suggest an alternative line of play.

     In general, we should not offer lines of play not suggested by an

     opponent.  When dealing with the beginner/old pro situation, however,

     one might drop a hint as the Commission did say "should not" rather

     than "shall not", "may not" or the dreaded "must not".

                                            (Office Policy - April, 1998)  

 

     LAW 70.B.3 - CONTESTED CLAIMS (CLARIFICATION STATEMENT REPEATED)

     When a claim occurs, both opponents (including dummy in the case of a

     defender's claim) have the right to inspect the opponent's cards and

     confer before they acquiesce.  If the non-claiming side can show a

     line of play, consistent with the claim statement, that produces more

     tricks for their side, the director should award them those tricks.

     The director should not raise objections on behalf of the players

     involved.  (Laws Commission - Spring, 1998)


 

 

                                                      LAWSCOM.033 (PAGE 5) 

                                                      ____________________ 

     LAW 75.D.2 - PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENTS

     When a player's explanation has correctly described his partner's hand

     but not the pair's agreement, and even though the partner is required

     to correct the explanation before the defenders make an opening lead,

     ACBL policy is that the player should make a disclaimer statement

     before giving the corrected explanation.  This may also be true when

     there has been a failure to alert during the auction.  If no

     disclaimer is give, the director may treat the original offense as the

     one doing the damage and adjust the board to protect the

     non-offenders.  (Laws Commission - July, 1997)

 

     LAW 81.C RECTIFYING AN ERROR OR IRREGULARITY (BIDS, LEADS, SIGNALS)

     The Laws Commission issued some guidelines as to how Directors should

     act under Law 81C:

 

     The Director's duties and powers normally include the following:

     6. To rectify any error or irregularity of which he becomes aware in

        any manner, within the correction period established in accordance

        with Law 79C.

 

     A Director should not prevent a player from committing an infraction,

     such as revoking. However, if a revoke is established and no one

     notices it, the Director should wait until after the round is over and

     then inform both sides what happened. He then restores equity.

 

     If a Director is called to the table and asked to give a ruling on,

     say, one part of an auction and he discovers an irregularity in

     another part of the auction, he must consider the auction as a whole

     and correct all irregularities.

 

     Another example:  If a Director becomes aware of a pair playing an

     unauthorized convention, he must advise them and follow through to

     make sure they do not continue to play it.

                                            (Laws Commission - March 1988) 

 

     LAW 90 - PROCEDURAL PENALTIES

     Procedural penalties, either mild or severe, should be issued when

     players depart from accepted procedure.  Usually this would happen

     after due warning.  When a player steps outside the bounds of

     acceptable behavior, the director may assess disciplinary penalties in

     points or by suspending the participant from part or all of the

     current session.  Either penalty may be appealed, but a committee may

     not overrule the director on a disciplinary penalty.

                                            (Laws Commission - July, 1997) 

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