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Rule-breaking

#1 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2021-August-16, 05:04

View PostGilithin, on 2021-August-15, 17:34, said:

I always find the argument that bridge cannot be played by the rules because it would reduce membership to be disingenuous.
I agree.
It's frightening that many TDs argue otherwise.
A game is its rules :)
The rules of Bridge urgently need radical clarification, simplification, and unification.
Hence, by all means, argue for sensible rule-change -- as I do.
But deliberately breaking rules, to gain advantage, is cheating.
It's easier to understand the cheating pandemic in the light of such a wide-spread top-level attitude,
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#2 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2021-August-16, 09:13

You know my answer already (to both people).

I will just reiterate my total backing to one of these statements - I definitely argue for sensible rule-change, and encourage others to do so when they see something (even if it's not something I consider right, if we'll get closer than we are, it's sensible).

What I fight over is "a total overhaul is sensible, and the only option." Especially when I have my doubts over its possibility in theory, never mind when it's introduced to people. But sure, let's go for that. You start by creating a first draft example.

I guess one more thing: what about all the "deliberately breaking rules" that are *not* to gain advantage, but because it's not (to them) worth doing? And being passively-aggressive about it, sometimes for 20 years, when it's attempted to be enforced? I mean, a number of the rules people "don't feel like following" are for the safety of the people not following them, so ignoring it is *to their own disadvantage*!

[Edit to add: Nigel, between brain fog and other world issues, plus of course not seeing anything that happens in either SBU or British Bridge, I can not recall any specific things you have argued for. I am taking, as an assumption, that's 100% on me and my (lack of) visibility. Apologies if I haven't made that clear.]

[Edit again: There was definitely a suggested change to claim rules. Which I applaud for the raising. Which gained "clarity" and "simplicity" by "giving declarer a really impressive advantage". As you can tell, I'm not in favour, but I do laud making the proposal. From flawed suggestions can come better ones that would never have been thought of without the sown seed. Sorry Nigel for it passing out of my mind.]
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#3 User is offline   sanst 

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Posted 2021-August-17, 06:08

View Postnige1, on 2021-August-16, 05:04, said:

I agree.
It's frightening that many TDs argue otherwise.
A game is its rules :)
The rules of Bridge urgently need radical clarification, simplification, and unification.
Hence, by all means, argue for sensible rule-change -- as I do.
But deliberately breaking rules, to gain advantage, is cheating.
It's easier to understand the cheating pandemic in the light of such a wide-spread top-level attitude,

I've not seen anybody arguing that bridge can't be played by the rules because it would reduce membership. What has been writen by me is, that dealing out default penalties would send a lot of players to clubs where the TD's take circumstances, including the players' quality and experience into consideration.
My experience with players that are not very good, to put it mildly, is that they break the rules almost constantly. Hesitating with a hand on the bidding cards, sighing, "I don't know" and all that is quite common and most of their opponents don't think there's anything untoward going on because they do the same. The list is almost endless and contains items you can't believe. The use of UI is standard and nobody cares. If a TD is called, usually by a somewhat better player, they think and sometimes say "We are not amused" or words with a similar meaning and have the feeling that they are accused of cheating. That's even the case if there's a revoke, which is quite often 'solved' by picking a card out of the hand and replace the revoke card with it, usually making a complete mess of the board. These people play purely for fun and don't want to be penalized or even strongly spoken to. The best you can do, if necessary, is explain what the rules are and why and keep your tone as friendly as possible.
At he top level, wherever you draw the line, the situation is quite different. Here the players should know the rules. And even there, as most of us know, it can be pretty hard to decide that there was a possible use of UI. It's just that directing isn't easy and can't be done by applying algorithms.
I don't know that there is a pandemic of cheating. There are quite a few cases of cheating online at top level. There are also some alleged cases at the Dutch online club, where members are banned for life on unclear statistical grounds, where information about validity, accuracy and reliability of the methods used (Hammond's) are not available and the methods are not published, let alone peer reviewed. If you want to ban cheating from online bridge, you have to resort to measures that most amateurs wouldn't accept like constant video monitoring.
You keep claiming that the laws need to be revised rigorously, but don't tell what should be changed, why and what it should be. You don't seem to know that over the course of decades the laws have been adapted and fine tuned to cover the irregularities as good and equitable as possible. If you simplify them to the extent that seems desirable to you, we would end with a game in which all and every mistake is punished by the bridge equivalent of "off with their heads". The Queen of Hearts would reign supreme... :D
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#4 User is offline   axman 

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Posted 2021-August-17, 09:15

View Postsanst, on 2021-August-17, 06:08, said:

You don't seem to know that over the course of decades the laws have been adapted and fine tuned to cover the irregularities as good and equitable as possible.

I think this assertion is not merely contentious, but dubious.

While adaptation has occurred it has not been in the direction of 'as good as possible'. A more apt description is in the direction of pandering to an audience that is little understood. For instance, we are told that it is undesirable to utilize UI, yet the laws go to great lengths to not merely incentivize it but insist upon it. My perception is that that many sense something is not the way it ought be and are unable to see that it is law that is unjust.

My experience has been that 'improving' a piece of law here and a piece there will not and cannot have a satisfactory outcome. This is so because when it is discovered that the problem is not solved it will be said that it is because the changes did not work instead of the failure to fix everything that is wrong. Notably the WBFLC embarked on such** an undertaking (unofficially in 2002), found it too much work and abandoned the effort in 2005.

**actually, this assertion is dubious because the objective was more to reorganize the words so they would read better (for the most part retain the old meaning- rather than improve the underlying principles)
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#5 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2021-August-17, 09:57

What I have seen - in the Laws, at least - is an emphasis on getting a table result if possible, and returning to "table result" if possible. Optimistic me says "people almost always just make mistakes or didn't understand how 'use of UI' works, punishment won't stop that" and lauds "avoidance of 'ruling gifts'." Cynical me says "we've tried to tell people what their responsibilities are, and universally they don't care [*]. 50 years of punishing Laws haven't fixed this, all it's done is get people complaining about 'getting results from the TD they couldn't get at the table'; so let's reduce the punishment and try to keep the game going."

I repeat something I've said before - there is literally no-one who plays an entire session of bridge without violating one of the Laws or regulations (blackshoe comes close, though, likely). I mean, we have a Law that tells you what one type of breaking the Laws is deemed to mean!

And I absolutely agree with axman's last - the organization of the Laws is unfortunately unhelpful; but the decision made was "reorganizing them would cause more problems with history and with the people with 30 years of experience with the Laws than it would benefit new, and 2-years-experience readers." I have no comment here - and I'm not being snarky. I have no dog in this fight, I can see both points, and all results seem equally less than good. Nigel disagrees with me here - and he's probably right :-).

* From the novice game, where frankly we expect mistakes, and they have no idea what UI would be, never mind how to use it; to the 30-years-in-the-club game, where they don't notice, whether it's them using UI or their opponents; to world-class games, where according to several Name Pros, 'of course, 3rd and 5th means leading the 2 from KT82, that's Just Bridge' (okay, I'm paraphrasing aggressively here, but do look at what they *are* saying).
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#6 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2021-August-17, 12:42

View Postaxman, on 2021-August-17, 09:15, said:

For instance, we are told that it is undesirable to utilize UI, yet the laws go to great lengths to not merely incentivize it but insist upon it.

I have to challenge this contention. Where and how do the laws do this?
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#7 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2021-August-17, 12:46

View Postmycroft, on 2021-August-17, 09:57, said:

(blackshoe comes close, though, likely).

Thanks. I do try, but you may be giving me too much credit. B-)
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#8 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2021-August-17, 13:13

View Postsanst, on 2021-August-17, 06:08, said:

You keep claiming that the laws need to be revised rigorously, but don't tell what should be changed, why and what it should be.
This "Changing Laws and Regulations" forum contains arguments for many specific rule-changes:
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#9 User is offline   Gilithin 

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Posted 2021-August-17, 14:14

It seems to me that most UI issues could easily be solved by just putting North and East in one room with the Souths and Wests in another. Use a tablet to pass the virtual bidding tray electronically. It does make the card play a little more awkward but nothing that cannot be solved. It would also have the benefit of reducing plays out of turn and, where they do happen, isolating the effects to just one other player.

On the MI front, my view is that system files available to opponents should be much more expansive than they currently are at the professional level. If the tablet app was also programmed to accept a standardised format for such system files it would allow for auto-alerts and to provide electronic explanations for the majority of cases. This is more difficult at the social level but it could certainly be helped by the production of expanded standard template system files by RAs and clubs that have specialised local systems. Such files could be used by club pairs either directly or through minor edits. Even if the system is not used, such efforts would provide a more solid basis for TDs to rule on MI cases as well as generally improving the standard of club players (since they have more information). An additional effect of this would be that the task of fully documenting unusual methods goes to the pair using them. And the fact that the pair playing more standard methods are thus guaranteed to get good explanations would perhaps make unusual methods somewhat more acceptable to social players.

One can but hope. In any case, it seems to me obvious that if bridge authorities are keen for bridge to move forward more or less under the current rules, the answer to most of the rules challenges lies in the proper use of technology. Whether that makes the game more or less popular is a difficult question. On the one side are those that object to separate rooms saying it removes the social aspect of the game; on the other side, the ability to have immediate explanations for unusual bidding systems would make the high-end game much more accessible for virtual kibitzers and the effects of cheating would be considerably reduced.

Finally, if I could I would ask a professional Eurogame designer to re-write the rules of the game in a modern, clean format. The way game rules are written now is light years ahead of the style from 1925 and rather than constantly updating those originals, I would see if it were not better just to redesign from the ground up using modern techniques.
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#10 User is offline   sanst 

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Posted 2021-August-18, 01:38

Maybe I misread Gilithin’s post, but is this a proposal to make the game purely digital where the players have to come to a club, but where the members of a pair are seated in different rooms? It would solve some problems, but I don’t see many people, who play for fun and social contacts, do that.
The propsal to rebuild the laws from scratch is of the same order. You will probably end with the same rules in a different order. But I agree with the idea that online bridge is in need of a set of laws, adjusted to the way the game is played. The online bridge organizations should be involved in this, because they have to implement these laws into their software. That might prove to be an obstacle.
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#11 User is offline   pran 

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Posted 2021-August-18, 05:50

The closest we can get to Glithin's idea is the standard routine in the highest level events today: Playing with screens.

This is just a matter of regulation. (And I do hope it shall never make its way into the laws as such to become the standard procedure at all levels.)
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#12 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2021-August-18, 10:53

IME the attitude of "the online bridge organizations" is that their software is the way it is, and they're not going to go to any great lengths to change it to satisfy some other group's idea of what the rules of the game should be.
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#13 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2021-August-18, 15:50

View Postblackshoe, on 2021-August-18, 10:53, said:

IME the attitude of "the online bridge organizations" is that their software is the way it is, and they're not going to go to any great lengths to change it to satisfy some other group's idea of what the rules of the game should be.


Fortunately that is far from certain and WBF have no such alibi for their inertia. One company has bought out most of the commercial online bridge platforms (including BBO) and has some interest in collaborating with any WBF attempts to standardise and certify things, providing that they are serious and there is dialogue and reasonable timescales and processes. Looking at the upcoming independent platforms, RealBridge is clearly respectful of the letter and spirit of f2f law, presumably willing to collaborate in establishing and implementing online law: Lovebridge is intimately linked to WBF competition and unlikely to rock the boat either.
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#14 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2021-August-19, 15:52

View Postblackshoe, on 2021-August-18, 10:53, said:

IME the attitude of "the online bridge organizations" is that their software is the way it is, and they're not going to go to any great lengths to change it to satisfy some other group's idea of what the rules of the game should be.
IMO BBO, RealBridge and co have done a great job. Of course, on-line regulators had to introduce rules to plug obvious gaps. Also...
  • On-line bridge organisations remove opportunities for mechanical error (mis-clicks) -- even encouraging players to confirm their bids and plays.
  • They reduce opportunity for unauthorised information -- but they could do even better by delaying display of the previous auction, until it's RHO's turn to bid.
  • On-line claim rules aren't perfect but they're a major advance on face-to-face rules.
  • On-line disclosure rules seem better than f2f. Self-alerts and automatic display of convention cards.

F2F bridge regulators seem to have much to learn from on-line Bridge practice, and the WBF has a golden opportunity to make the F2F game even more attractive. e.g. F2F Bridge could augment announcement rules to replace most local disclosure regulations.
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#15 User is offline   paulg 

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Posted 2021-August-20, 01:41

View Postnige1, on 2021-August-19, 15:52, said:

2. They reduce opportunity for unauthorised information -- but they could do even better by delaying display of the previous auction, until it is RHO's turn to bid.

I'm not sure you would survive the time penalties if this were implemented.



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#16 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2021-August-20, 08:33

View Postpaulg, on 2021-August-20, 01:41, said:

I'm not sure you would survive the time penalties if this were implemented.
On-line Bridge should be a timed game. The rules should mandate recording the time for each bid and play. This would speed up the game and facilitate a fair allocation of time-penalties. F2F, this is also worth serious consideration but not as easy: it would require tablets or chess-clocks.
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#17 User is offline   Gilithin 

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Posted 2021-August-20, 08:40

View Postpaulg, on 2021-August-20, 01:41, said:

I'm not sure you would survive the time penalties if this were implemented.

Why do you think that passing a virtual bidding tray should take longer than passing a physical one? The rule I suggested for this was taken with reason directly from current screen rules.
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#18 User is offline   paulg 

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Posted 2021-August-20, 08:59

View Postnige1, on 2021-August-20, 08:33, said:

On-line Bridge should be a timed game. The rules should mandate recording the time for each bid and play. This would speed up the game and facilitate a fair allocation of time-penalties.

Directors of pay tournaments on BBO have access to a tournament log that provides the time for each bid, alert, play and other actions including public and private chat messages.

Interestingly, when I've used it, the recorded facts often tell a very different story to anything provided by the players. Of course the players are unaware of the time they've taken for any action and, in my experience, bridge players are very poor at judging time both online and face-to-face.

As many have written in the past, there are plenty of issues with trying to make bridge a timed game. For example, who is charged when you ask for an explanation of the auction, especially as some players ask about every alerted call to avoid creating UI? Who resolves, in a reasonable time, the issue of a player saying, "no agreement".

What happens when there are connection issues, how can these be fairly assessed and will it create discrimination against the technology challenged and the technology deprived? Should I be blamed because the Scottish Government has provided access to superfast and fibre broadband to you, but will take at least another three years to give it to me?

What happens when players fail to claim, possibly putting their opponents under time pressure?

I know that you do not approve of subjective rulings, but timing bridge is going to require the directors to make even more of them, not to mention the issue of parsing the logs for information.
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#19 User is offline   paulg 

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Posted 2021-August-20, 09:01

View Postpaulg, on 2021-August-20, 01:41, said:

I'm not sure you would survive the time penalties if this were implemented.

View PostGilithin, on 2021-August-20, 08:40, said:

Why do you think that passing a virtual bidding tray should take longer than passing a physical one? The rule I suggested for this was taken with reason directly from current screen rules.


I didn't say it would.

I said nige1 would be slower playing on BBO.
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#20 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-August-20, 15:51

The problem of creating a Bridge clock was solved by the Stepbridge platform years ago.
You have a certain amount of time to play 3 boards, and if the 3rd board is not on the table before the 5-minute mark, the computer assigns 40/60 or -3/+3 to the pair that consumed the most time.
There are no complaints because no person is involved.

When you claim, if the opps try to run the clock, you simply keep playing, so the decision is on their time (a facility oddly not available on BBO).

My only gripe is that the system isn't per board in the same way it is in chess. If the board is not completed, then the penalty should equal the lowest score of the slowest pair so they cannot 'game the system'.
In Chess, of course, you get a zero.
After all, being able to work things out under time pressure is part of the game.
It's not the same as a fun run where you get a certificate by reaching the finish line.
The argument about internet connections is also specious.
If you run out of time, you run out of time. The reason is unimportant.
Do you get extra time in an examination because: "I was thinking", "it was a difficult problem", "I had to go to the bathroom", "The person behind me was making annoying noises".
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