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Cayne/Schwartz Appeal & Appeals Committees in the wee hours

What I have been told is that the Committee ruled that the pass was indeed forcing in the context of the Graves/Schwartz partnership. Thus the 5H call was allowed to stand. However, the Committee ruled that the Forcing Pass should have been alerted. Lotan argued that he would not have bid 5S had he been alerted that the pass was forcing. Thus the committee ruled the final contract to be 5H, giving Cayne two more imps and the win by one imp.

Assuming that what I have been told is true, I have several concerns:

A) No one I have spoken with has ever alerted a forcing pass. Surely, at the expert level players one can and should protect themselves by asking. Is a Forcing Pass alertable? I have been told it is not. Perhaps it depends upon how one interprets the regulation.

B) My education of active ethics, partially under the late Canadian expert, Ted Horning, is that double shots should not be allowed and most definitely should not be rewarded. Was not Lotan's 5S call a blatant double shot attempt? Maybe it will be a good save; if not I can get it rolled back by the Committee?

Beyond the specifics of the above case, I have been arguing for decades that middle of the night player based appeals committees are bad for the game of bridge. There are multiple reasons:

1) Many people are not thinking their best at 2 AM in the morning.

2) Conflict of interest. A former ACBL Chief TD told me of an appeal where the committee ruled in favour of a client. The following week the committee member was playing on the client's team at a Regional.

3) The amount of money at play, professional contracts, limits the availability of many top expert players who will not serve on Appeals Committees. That leaves you with... and do Appeals Committee members deserve to be pilloried by the community at large when a controversial decision is reached? They should not be in that position. Player based Appeals Committees are bad for the game of bridge.

I have written extensively on this subject when I served on the ACBL Board of Directors. Specially trained TD panels have been handling all appeals below the NABC level for a long time. The WBF has abolished player based appeals committees. Only the ACBL is adamantly upholding a flawed system which inevitably leads to one "Oh shit" ruling after another. Today's controversial decision will not be the last.


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