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BBO-vs-Laws Of Duplicate Bridge Laws Of Duplicate Bridge Still Apply

#1 User is offline   naskippy 

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Posted 2020-October-19, 12:55

Since the inception of playing Virtual Club Games on BBO I have seen various different attitudes from Directors in various clubs of which I am allowed to play. On BBO, a lot of the "Director Calls" are eliminated due to the way BBO software is setup. This would be things like there is no more Lead Out Of Turn, Two Cards Played At Same Time, Play Out Of Turn, and various other Laws Of Duplicate Bridge that BBO has build in them of which a Club Director need not be worried about making rulings on. However, BBO does NOT all and encompass all the rules of the Laws Of Duplicate Bridge, thus why we continue to have Directors in our Virtual Club games. I address this issue as since we started having Virtual Club games on BBO many inappropriate rulings imposed on myself and on others/opposing pair. Examples would I have personally seen: Demanding that a player play out a hand after a valid claim with explaination and the opponents refused to accept. Repeated slow play by a pair causing repeated adjusted boards throughout the game. LONG hesitations inconsistent with a players hand. Partner I did not know if I should be Hearts or Spades comment in table chat...they are defending and giving unauthorized information...etc. etc. etc. Just because we are playing a Virtual Club game on BBO does NOT mean the Laws of Duplicate Bridge are somehow just thrown out the window! I have seen on multiple occasions the Club Director come to the table and make a statement to the effect "We are playing on BBO, the rules are different here". WHAT THE HECK?!?!?!? Absolutely no way are the rules different here on BBO in a Virtual Club game. The Club Director should absolutely rule or adjust a board or impose penalty just as if it were in a physical club game situation at their club.

This needs to be addressed with Club Directors and they must understand they still have a job to do as the Director of the game and that the Laws of Duplicate Bridge are not thrown out the window just because we are in a different environment on BBO. I would not address this in this forum if I had not seen this repeatedly by various Club Directors and witnesses inappropriate ruling or bad bad board adjustments or the lack there of. I do also want to point out that when BBO makes a board adjustment they are NOT always correct after a slow play hand. The Club Director does need to adjust these board to be equitable in accordance with the play of the hand, and remember BBO is a computer program and BBO does not always get it right when making a board adjustment after a slow play situation. I have seen this many times and have had some Directors that could see the issue make the appropriate adjustment...most won't and that needs to also change.
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#2 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2020-October-19, 13:04

If you don't like the quality of the directors in tournament A, perhaps you would be happier frequenting tournament B instead?

And, if you want to try to get tournament A to change their directorial style, then you probably need to take this up with the folks who run said tournaments.
Alderaan delenda est
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#3 User is offline   naskippy 

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Posted 2020-October-19, 13:14

View Posthrothgar, on 2020-October-19, 13:04, said:

If you don't like the quality of the directors in tournament A, perhaps you would be happier frequenting tournament B instead?

And, if you want to try to get tournament A to change their directorial style, then you probably need to take this up with the folks who run said tournaments.


As I felt this did not apply to just me in the few different area Virtual Club games that I play in and seeing these issues with some Directors that this is most likely taking place in a vast number or other games too. BBO is not always correct and there is still a job to do by our Club Directors. That was the point and my posting was not directed at any certain Club Director or game. I have also seen the things I described in may ACBL games I have played in, not just Virtual Club games. Why do I say nothing directly to these Directors in the ACBL or Virtual Club games when I see these types of issues happen to me or others? Well, very simple. Some are quick on the trigger to ban you from future play...which is another issue for a different forum topic. I recently had an issue with a pair for slow play by the opps and called the Director. This was in a game halfway across the country of which I am a non-member and just a guest due to having friends that play in that club. He literally called me on the phone after the game, a person/Director I do not know nor him me and told me "We have lots of old players in our game, please do not complain again about slow play and BBO adjustments". WTF!!!!! How dare he call me on the phone with such a message. I can only assume he called me by looking me up on some ACBL information. How inappropriate. There should be some kind of sanction for calling ACBL members like that out of the clear blue sky and making such an inappropriate comment to someone.
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#4 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2020-October-19, 13:26

The ACBL doesn't even use certified tournament directors to run their games.

If you want competent directors, look somewhere else.

I've heard decent things about the EBL
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#5 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2020-October-19, 13:28

View Postnaskippy, on 2020-October-19, 12:55, said:

The Club Director should absolutely rule or adjust a board or impose penalty just as if it were in a physical club game situation at their club.

Unless this has changed for virtual club directors without notification to lesser directors, BBO does not even support imposition of penalties.
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#6 User is offline   naskippy 

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Posted 2020-October-19, 13:46

View Postpescetom, on 2020-October-19, 13:28, said:

Unless this has changed for virtual club directors without notification to lesser directors, BBO does not even support imposition of penalties.


A Director does have the right to award an adjusted score for slow play and various other situations. The Director does not lose his power simply by being on BBO. Frequently at clubs the Director can adjust a board to and A+/A- and repeated offences could even be adjusted to the loss of a half board or more. This is simply one example. A Director can also do adjustments of this nature for various infractions of the Laws Of Duplicate Bridge. Their hands are NOT tied.
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#7 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2020-October-19, 14:14

View Postnaskippy, on 2020-October-19, 12:55, said:

Since the inception of playing Virtual Club Games on BBO I have seen various different attitudes from Directors in various clubs of which I am allowed to play. On BBO, a lot of the "Director Calls" are eliminated due to the way BBO software is setup. This would be things like there is no more Lead Out Of Turn, Two Cards Played At Same Time, Play Out Of Turn, and various other Laws Of Duplicate Bridge that BBO has build in them of which a Club Director need not be worried about making rulings on. However, BBO does NOT all and encompass all the rules of the Laws Of Duplicate Bridge, thus why we continue to have Directors in our Virtual Club games. I address this issue as since we started having Virtual Club games on BBO many inappropriate rulings imposed on myself and on others/opposing pair. Examples would I have personally seen: Demanding that a player play out a hand after a valid claim with explaination and the opponents refused to accept. Repeated slow play by a pair causing repeated adjusted boards throughout the game. LONG hesitations inconsistent with a players hand. Partner I did not know if I should be Hearts or Spades comment in table chat...they are defending and giving unauthorized information...etc. etc. etc. Just because we are playing a Virtual Club game on BBO does NOT mean the Laws of Duplicate Bridge are somehow just thrown out the window! I have seen on multiple occasions the Club Director come to the table and make a statement to the effect "We are playing on BBO, the rules are different here". WHAT THE HECK?!?!?!? Absolutely no way are the rules different here on BBO in a Virtual Club game. The Club Director should absolutely rule or adjust a board or impose penalty just as if it were in a physical club game situation at their club.

This needs to be addressed with Club Directors and they must understand they still have a job to do as the Director of the game and that the Laws of Duplicate Bridge are not thrown out the window just because we are in a different environment on BBO. I would not address this in this forum if I had not seen this repeatedly by various Club Directors and witnesses inappropriate ruling or bad bad board adjustments or the lack there of. I do also want to point out that when BBO makes a board adjustment they are NOT always correct after a slow play hand. The Club Director does need to adjust these board to be equitable in accordance with the play of the hand, and remember BBO is a computer program and BBO does not always get it right when making a board adjustment after a slow play situation. I have seen this many times and have had some Directors that could see the issue make the appropriate adjustment...most won't and that needs to also change.


Disclaimer - I don't work for BBO, I'm not a Director but I do understand where you're coming from.
OK, clearly you are pretty upset about something that has happened recently.
It should be noted that much the same unpleasant behaviour that you find in the club also exists on all of the various virtual hosting platforms (of which BBO is just one).
People give unauthorised information (coffee-housing/out-right cheating etc) in the club as well as online. Online they 'think' they are being more 'sophisticated' because it's harder to see.

Sometimes, people are slow because they are 90 years old with a slow internet connection and have multiple sclerosis.
Sometimes people are slow because they live in Namibia and there is what is euphemistically known as 'load-shedding' - not something you see in the club unless someone had a sandwich that disagreed with them.


In any event, long hesitations online don't mean as much as they mean in the club. There is no emotion that can be read into them. Even the computer program pauses. It does not mean that the East hand has the King of diamonds.
If you are talking about a SPECIFIC virtual club, then this forum may not be the right place to discuss your problem. BBO is a wholesaler. Clubs buy space on the platform and show the Directors (contractors) how to use it. BBO assumes no liability, as far as I know, so your complaints fall into a void.
There is no world governing body of Bridge, only a collection of regional bodies - each one has its own madcap rules. In the USA you drive on the wrong side of the road and don't speak English,

It's not my fault. But there are still 52 cards in the deck, so usually, we can all manage to play Bridge together.
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#8 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2020-October-19, 14:18

View Postnaskippy, on 2020-October-19, 13:46, said:

A Director does have the right to award an adjusted score for slow play and various other situations. The Director does not lose his power simply by being on BBO. Frequently at clubs the Director can adjust a board to and A+/A- and repeated offences could even be adjusted to the loss of a half board or more. This is simply one example. A Director can also do adjustments of this nature for various infractions of the Laws Of Duplicate Bridge. Their hands are NOT tied.


An adjusted score is not a penalty, nor can it adequately substitute a penalty.
A director under the laws of bridge has also the power (and sometimes the duty) to impose a penalty.
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#9 User is offline   naskippy 

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Posted 2020-October-19, 14:32

View Postpescetom, on 2020-October-19, 14:18, said:

An adjusted score is not a penalty, nor can it adequately substitute a penalty.
A director under the laws of bridge has also the power (and sometimes the duty) to impose a penalty.



I do not totally agree. I am a Director and an adjusted score is a Penalty. If you did not do something wrong I would never give you an Ave-. Thus since you did something wrong and forced me to act as a Director it is in fact a penalty. Also, an Adjusted score can be a penalty. Example: You claim and you give a bogus line of play to make the contract or do not realize there is a trump out etc. An adjusted score can be a penalty. The opps call and explain this is a bogus claim and why and the director should adjust the board. This is a law that must be followed and thus a directors action would be considered a penalty as the declarer did not get their expected result. I can't agree with you and your rebuttal.
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#10 User is offline   sfi 

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Posted 2020-October-19, 14:49

The two of you seem to be speaking a different language, quite literally. You're using penalty in the normal English way, but "Penalty" is specifically defined in the laws and does not refer to an adjustment for either of the cases you mention. The definition for penalty is:

Penalty	(See also ‘Rectification’) - penalties are of two kinds:
	disciplinary	those applied for the maintenance of courtesy and good order (see Law 91), and
	procedural	penalties (additional to any rectification) assessed at the Director’s discretion in cases of procedural irregularities (see Law 90).


BBO allows the director to rectify the score. One can award an adjusted or an assigned score, but even there it's limited. The director cannot split or weight scores. But the director does not have the ability to assign additional penalties.

For example, if a pair explains their bid incorrectly, I will often adjust the score. If they do this habitually and after a warning, I may assign a penalty of 3 IMPs or 1/4 of a board at matchpoints. BBO doesn't have the functionality to let me do the second.
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#11 User is offline   weejonnie 

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Posted 2020-October-20, 06:35

As a director of a virtual club, here are some comments.

1. Slow play: if there is evidence that a player has slowed the game down deliberately (and this can be found from the table history) then by default I will apply law 70A (doubtful points ruled against the claimer) as if that person has claimed. I also ask if anyone queries the result of a board adjustment and, if asked to check, will disallow low-percentage plays e.g. dropping a King (unless the King of clubs) offside.

2. Misleading Information: Usually caused by a player not self-explaining meanings of the call: will apply Law 21B (although I may consider whether a player should have asked about an explanation if the call has a popular conventional meaning).

3. An adjusted score by default is the restoration of equity. Now we can see the traveller, the director can decide whether there has been damage and, if so, adjust the score as appropriate.

4. Penalties: don't really happen that often - about the main one would be a deliberate breach of 73C or 16B or (much worse)73B2. (UI and self-kibitzing). breach of etiquett (abusive and rude language) is one that I would like to have applied - although different RAs no doubt have a different philosophy and penalty. the problem is: you can't apply a penalty to one pair without rewarding the other one.

5. Claims: will look at the claims statement (if there is one) and apply 70A - of course this needs me to be called to the table.

6. Complicated adjusted scores: Well this can be done by creating an xml file and loading it into a bridge-scoring programme - it won't affect BBO masterpoints but could affect the awarding of RA masterpoints. This takes a lot of effort though for minimal changes and you can amend the score how you like to try and get close to what you think would be the net effect of your adjustments e.g. if you think a top is likely 60% of the time and a bottom 40% then you could set it as AV+AV-

7. Undos - Law 25A is still in effect if undos are allowed for misclicks and BBO gives players the benefit of undos being possible (if allowed by the CoC) for misclicking of a card. (I usually find this happens on the opening lead when a player clicks a card as BBO sorts trumps on the left.) This is obviously against Law 47 but is understandable. (I recommend players select 'confirm calls' and 'confirm cards played' on their options.

With the reduction in rulebook irregularities (LOOTS, IBs, Penalty Cards etc)a TD can handle more tables (40 is a manageable amount) - in fact the majority of TD time is spent sorting out disconnections.
No matter how well you know the laws, there is always something that you'll forget. That is why we have a book.
Get the facts. No matter what people say, get the facts from both sides BEFORE you make a ruling or leave the table.
Remember - just because a TD is called for one possible infraction, it does not mean that there are no others.
In a judgement case - always refer to other TDs and discuss the situation until they agree your decision is correct.
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#12 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2020-October-20, 10:27

View Posthrothgar, on 2020-October-19, 13:26, said:

The ACBL doesn't even use certified tournament directors to run their games.

If you want competent directors, look somewhere else.

I've heard decent things about the EBL


I was not aware that the EBL were holding online events, but if so I think they would not be frequent, since European events take place only a few times a year and sometimes they are national championships.
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#13 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2020-October-20, 10:35

View Postweejonnie, on 2020-October-20, 06:35, said:


With the reduction in rulebook irregularities (LOOTS, IBs, Penalty Cards etc)a TD can handle more tables (40 is a manageable amount) - in fact the majority of TD time is spent sorting out disconnections.


How so? I am a director of a virtual club, and while there are disconnections, they do not require any input from me.
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#14 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2020-October-20, 13:49

View Postweejonnie, on 2020-October-20, 06:35, said:

the problem is: you can't apply a penalty to one pair without rewarding the other one.

That is, strictly speaking, not the case, unless you're using a score adjustment to effect a penalty (because you can't actually impose a penalty on bbo). If you are using a score adjustment to effect a penalty, well, that's not in accordance with the laws.

F2f, when you penalize a contestant (a pair in a pairs event) the penalty goes against the contestant's final score, and does not affect any opponent's final score (though it may affect opponents' final standing, particularly if you're doing a "one winner" movement).
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#15 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2020-October-20, 14:22

View Posthrothgar, on 2020-October-19, 13:26, said:

The ACBL doesn't even use certified tournament directors to run their games.

As has been explained before, the BBO ACBL *club* uses ACBL *club* certified Directors (some of whom are also ACBL TDs, current or former). ACBL *Tournaments* such as last week's Regional At Home use ACBL TDs.

This is no different from old-style offline bridge, where ACBL clubs require a club director, and tournaments are staffed by Tournament Directors.

View Postpescetom, on 2020-October-19, 14:18, said:

An adjusted score is not a penalty, nor can it adequately substitute a penalty.
A director under the laws of bridge has also the power (and sometimes the duty) to impose a penalty.

Unfortunately, the ability to impose a penalty (at least a score penalty) is one of the things that BBO does not allow their Directors. The ACBL, at tournaments, apply penalties by post-session adjustments in ACBLScore, the same way they would in a live tournament. There are other penalties available to Directors; the primary one is a (temporary or permanent) ban on a player or a partnership.

View Postnaskippy, on 2020-October-19, 14:32, said:

I do not totally agree. I am a Director and an adjusted score is a Penalty.

Then you need to read the Law book again - Adjusted Scores, revoke tricks, and requirements to do or not do something during the auction or play are *rectifications*, not penalties. It seems like a distinction without a difference, but here is where it matters. In particular, read Law 12B and 12C1b.

When we adjust the score because a player took an action suggested by the UI with another LA available, we just return the result that would most likely happen if that action had not been taken - Law 16, then Law 12 (I'm handwaving around weighted scores; but even that is intended to "return a result that weights the likely happenings by their likeliness"). If we believe that the player deliberately used the UI to take that action, that's a violation of Law 73C1, and a *penalty* can be assigned for that behaviour under C2. But that penalty does not accrue to the opponents, the way an adjusted score would (usually; now I'm handwaving over split scores).

Quote

If you did not do something wrong I would never give you an Ave-. Thus since you did something wrong and forced me to act as a Director it is in fact a penalty.

No, you are rectifying the result. "The[ Laws] are designed to define correct procedure and to provide an adequate remedy for when something goes wrong. They are designed *not to punish irregularities* but rather to *rectify situations where non-offenders may otherwise be damaged*." - from the Introduction to the 2017 edition of the Laws (my emphasis).

Quote

Also, an Adjusted score can be a penalty. Example: You claim and you give a bogus line of play to make the contract or do not realize there is a trump out etc. An adjusted score can be a penalty. The opps call and explain this is a bogus claim and why and the director should adjust the board. This is a law that must be followed and thus a directors action would be considered a penalty as the declarer did not get their expected result. I can't agree with you and your rebuttal.

The declarer got their equitable result given their line of play. That's not their desired result, sure, but that doesn't make it a penalty. Frankly, my desired result is +1100 on every hand; when I don't get that does that mean the opponents are penalizing me for my poor play?

Again, the disputed claim rules provide an equitable result given the claim, the statement, and the dispute. 90% of these, even the disputed ones, are "so, this will happen. Here's what the score would be." and everyone's okay with that. Some of them are, certainly, "you didn't mention the trump in a situation where you are deemed to have forgotten it. Whether you did or not is somewhat irrelevant, because that can't be proven in any way. The law says that if you know it, you mention it in the claim statement; if you don't, and it isn't obvious to all, then you 'played it wrong' just as if you played the 4 instead of the Q because you were a trick ahead of yourself." Some are much more complicated. But still: "In ruling on a contested claim or concession, the Director adjudicates the result of the board *as equitably as possible to both sides*, but any doubtful point as to a claim shall be resolved against the claimer." (Law 70A; again, my emphasis)

I may be a bit over-aggressive here, and for that, my apology in advance. It is my strong opinion that calling the director is asking a referee for a ruling, not calling the police for a punishment; a lot of issues with "more social games" are caused by people being uncomfortable "calling the cops on my friends" (so, instead, it's solved through backbiting and quiet jabs (and better shoes)). Directors who think that they are penalizing offenders for bridge irregularities (as opposed to time-wasting, offensive conduct, actual deliberate illegal play, and all those other reasons players get penalized) first, tend not to assign a correct score (because they don't want to "penalize" the offender too much, or because they don't feel the correct ruling doesn't "penalize" the offender enough (both in violation of Law 12B2, but it happens); and second, give out that feeling to the players, which might inhibit them from "calling for a penalty".
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#16 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2020-October-20, 16:54

Over-aggressive or not, Mycroft is 100% right.

There is an effort ongoing to come to a set of standards for online bridge which will hopefully include, among other things, how to implement the laws in an online environment. How far that will get I don't know - it's in its infancy. See this post on Bridgewinners.
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#17 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2020-October-20, 17:29

View Postblackshoe, on 2020-October-20, 16:54, said:

Over-aggressive or not, Mycroft is 100% right.

There is an effort ongoing to come to a set of standards for online bridge which will hopefully include, among other things, how to implement the laws in an online environment. How far that will get I don't know - it's in its infancy. See this post on Bridgewinners.



I would be surprised if the BSWG explicit ventures into defining Laws / Regulations.
The focus of the group is much more around technical standards like APIs and the like.

This is not to say that the group might not try and say that "The API for Directing Online Bridge Tournaments that are consistent with the laws of the game must support X/Y/Z). However, I would expect that some other group would need to define what the Laws would look like and the API would come after this.
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#18 User is offline   gordontd 

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Posted 2020-October-21, 00:42

View PostVampyr, on 2020-October-20, 10:27, said:

I was not aware that the EBL were holding online events, but if so I think they would not be frequent, since European events take place only a few times a year and sometimes they are national championships.

I like to think he may have intended to say EBU.
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#19 User is offline   weejonnie 

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Posted 2020-October-21, 03:14

View PostVampyr, on 2020-October-20, 10:35, said:

How so? I am a director of a virtual club, and while there are disconnections, they do not require any input from me.

I run clocked events and definitely prefer players to finish the boards in the time allocated.

Disconnections can range from someone who has finished the round and is using their tablet for a couple of minutes (no problem other than it is discourteous to do so) to people who lose their connection and re-connect in a matter of a few seconds (again no problem - often the tournament description doesn't even have time to change before they are back), to people who lose connection for more than a minute (in which case I replace them - usually with a robot - they come back the first new board after they log back on), to those who quit the tournament due to getting bad results (a serious matter indeed) or an unexpected problem has arisen and they have to leave (the more polite ones tell me first).

I don't know how many tables you direct, but when you are helping to look after 300 people online there is plenty of scope for things going wrong.
No matter how well you know the laws, there is always something that you'll forget. That is why we have a book.
Get the facts. No matter what people say, get the facts from both sides BEFORE you make a ruling or leave the table.
Remember - just because a TD is called for one possible infraction, it does not mean that there are no others.
In a judgement case - always refer to other TDs and discuss the situation until they agree your decision is correct.
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#20 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2020-October-21, 08:05

View Postweejonnie, on 2020-October-21, 03:14, said:

I run clocked events and definitely prefer players to finish the boards in the time allocated.

Disconnections can range from someone who has finished the round and is using their tablet for a couple of minutes (no problem other than it is discourteous to do so) to people who lose their connection and re-connect in a matter of a few seconds (again no problem - often the tournament description doesn't even have time to change before they are back), to people who lose connection for more than a minute (in which case I replace them - usually with a robot - they come back the first new board after they log back on), to those who quit the tournament due to getting bad results (a serious matter indeed) or an unexpected problem has arisen and they have to leave (the more polite ones tell me first).

I don't know how many tables you direct, but when you are helping to look after 300 people online there is plenty of scope for things going wrong.


I do not direct 300 people, but the games I direct charge a fee, so no one would leave voluntarily. Besides, if they did they would have to start looking for a new partner. That is, if they were not barred from the club.

I would be interested in playing in your tournaments. Are they open to all?
I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones -- Albert Einstein
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