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Charlie's Cunctation tempus edax rerum

#1 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2021-October-15, 04:53


Lead T. Table Result 4S-1

A visitor from Australia, Walter the Wallaby (no relation to Walter the Walrus), logged on to the North London Club website for the online half of the Hybrid weekly session that the club now runs. Charlie the Chimp had recently discovered the "Confirm play or bid" function on BBO and saw an opportunity to score a goal against someone unaware that he has the ethics of a snake.

He led the ten of clubs and declarer won in hand and advanced the ten of spades. About three or four seconds passed before Charlie played the jack, and declarer misguessed the suit by playing for West to have KJ8x, when he has to cover as well. After declarer played a spade to the queen on the second round the contract could no longer be made.

"Why did you break tempo with a singleton jack?" asked WW. "POMs have been sent to Australia for less than that."

"I didn't" replied ChCh. "I had the "confirm play" selected and on this occasion it did not appear instantly. Must have been a software glitch." He continued: "In any case, there is a record of the time taken for all my plays in the table record, and I always take about 2 seconds over every card because of the "confirm play"; so there was no significant BIT."

OO arrived. "Hmm", he said. "I don't think there is any case law as to whether waiting for the "confirm play" widget is a "demonstrable bridge reason". I will have to consult".

How do you rule?
I prefer to give the lawmakers credit for stating things for a reason - barmar
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#2 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2021-October-15, 09:54

Many years ago, I was in a "rulings Q&A" at a nationals run by Charlie McCracken, one of the ACBL's "forever TDs". He told a story (quoting, obviously, from memory):

Quote

So, this player always:
  • pulls up a card about half an inch
  • looks at it for a second or two
  • pulls it completely and plays it.
Is it deceiving declarer if he also does this with a singleton? What if it was trick 1 on the first board ever played against this declarer?


There were of course many people who said that that was deliberately deceptive, because it "looked like" he had a decision. And there were also many who said "but if he did this with every card, except singletons, not only is he giving away information to declarer, he's passing a lot of UI to partner, no?"

After the discussion, Charlie quoted the Law:

73D1 said:

It is desirable, though not always required, for players to maintain steady tempo and unvarying manner.

Provided the pattern was applied on every trick, it is steady tempo and unvarying manner, and absolutely legal (in fact, absolutely required) to run the same pattern with a singleton. Even if it happens to be the first trick this particular declarer has played against him in her life.

Now, if all cards are "about 2 seconds" and he took an obvious 4 or 5, there's a problem. If all cards are "between 2 and 4 seconds" then that's different.

Yes,

73D2 said:

(as in hesitating before playing a singleton);
but if it's not a change of tempo, it's not "hesitation". You are not required to fast-play singletons, unless you habitually (or even occasionally) fast-play.

Having said that, "confirm play" falls into two problems for me, which means I don't do it:
  • it's really bleeding annoying for the two times a year there was actually a problem (almost certainly both opening leads that got 'trumped out' from under me);
  • I'm a systems administrator, and "confirm boxes" or other molly-guards become finger memory way too quickly, and it's likely I would be double-clicking through the "save" anyway.

But MKINYK, here as well as in the usual use of that term.
When I go to sea, don't fear for me, Fear For The Storm -- Birdie and the Swansong (tSCoSI)
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#3 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2021-October-15, 09:57

Walter the Wallaby may not know that Charlie the Chimp 'has the ethics of a snake'. Does the director know?
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#4 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2021-October-15, 10:00

If he normally takes about 2 seconds, and this time took 3-4, I don't think that could really be considered enough of a BIT to be meaningful. Especially in online play, where there are frequent delays outside the player's control.

And I think you can argue that enabling the "confirm" options is a demonstrable bridge reason -- the purpose is to avoid accidentally misbidding or playing an unintended card.

#5 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2021-October-15, 10:20

View Postblackshoe, on 2021-October-15, 09:57, said:

Walter the Wallaby may not know that Charlie the Chimp 'has the ethics of a snake'. Does the director know?

Everyone at the North London club knows, including OO. But even an unethical player can break tempo through no fault of his own. The suspicion (and only that) was that ChCh recognised the card combination and deliberately took a couple of seconds longer - to "make assurance double sure" as the bard said.
I prefer to give the lawmakers credit for stating things for a reason - barmar
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