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All comments by Michael Rosenberg
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Thought you'd say that - almost word for word.

The question is: do I have the right not to deduct the item?
May 9, 2012
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Greg:

Your post appears to ignore the fact that Andy, I, and now Peg think the Laws as written say the spade five is NOT played card.

Since we're getting into philosophy - you say:

“People's unwillingness to follow laws that they disagree with conjoined with the expectation that it is acceptable for them to not do so (for whatever reason, usually either because the law is “stupid”, lack of enforcement, or lack of enforceability) is, in my opinion, one of the most fundamental problems of contemporary Western society.”

I think there is one clear exception. When people don't follow the law AGAINST THEIR OWN SELF INTEREST, it may be permissible. For example, if I believe a certain expense should not be deductible on my income tax, even though it legally is, my choosing not to deduct it is not a problem for contemporary society - in fact I am helping it.
May 9, 2012
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Maybe I'm dense, but I still don't see where you answered my question. I will now extend it, as I did for Phillip.

If YOU were the person responsible for making the law, would you have the law be that the five of spades accidentally dropped on the table is a played card?
May 9, 2012
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Ross:

The card was not “placed” on the table. It fell on the table.

No matter how you parse it, it appears that the Laws do not specifically address a dropped card. Those who believe as you do probably find your arguments persuasive. Those who believe as Andy does, they probably find his arguments persuasive.

I said (a long time ago) that I don't know what the actual Law is in this case, and I don't care. What I do believe is that the law should be that the spade five is not a played card. I am still waiting for anyone to say that the laws should be such that the spade five is a played card.
I only asked two people that directly. Phillip, who refused to answer (even when pressed), and Peg who did not resond to that specific question.
May 9, 2012
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Interesting My conclusion on reading of 45C1 is exactly the opposite. A defender card “held”. How can a dropped card be said to be “held”?
May 9, 2012
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Steve B.

Maybe declarer didn't “grab the trick”. Maybe he had no idea that he was allowed to concede it. And, whether he did or not, you are still talking about the symptom.

Greg H.

No, you did nothing blasphemous or disgraceful (or even wrong).

There is clearly nothing wrong with enforcing the laws, as long as you do so in an entirely consistent manner.

It is MY position of NOT enforcing particular laws in an entirely consistent manner that is open to question. (Though I would remind everyone that there seems to be disagreement about what the law actually is in the case originally presented.)

For me, it is undesirable to have an automatic penalty for an illegal play. Or for a totally accidental play such as a card dropping out of someone's hand.
I think the rule should be there is only redress if there is actual damage (including UI) - with any doubt accruing to the non-offenders.
I would estimate (a total guess) than in over 90% of such cases there is no actual damage
May 9, 2012
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Unfortunately, a Director call (for tempo-related or misinformation issues) is generally perceived AT ANY LEVEL (including world-class experts) as an accusation.
Personally, I love it when my opponents call the Director against me (I gotta be different). And I only call when I feel I really must.
But maybe Gordon is correct that the way to improve the situation in the long run is to start calling more (in the short run, it might lead to pistols at dawn).
May 9, 2012
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Steve,

Attacking the declarer for not conceding, or attacking those who believe in following the letter of the law is attacking the SYMPTOM. Maybe the declarer was an inexperienced player who didn't know how many hearts were left (this could even happen in a National Championship); or maybe declarer's mind was wandering.
I have zero doubt that, the cases of, Phillip and Peg, they believe what they believe regardless of any self-serving factor. They simply think things operate more fairly and efficiently their way.
The DISEASE is having a dropped card be a played card, or having it be possible that a grand slam makes off the trump ace.
It's the automatic score penalties for extraneous/non-legal events that we need to “cure”.
May 9, 2012
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I disagree. The discussion (at least my part of it) suggests that, if someone takes a long time time and their partner takes an abnormal action (or a dubious action that was clearly suggested by the break in tempo), the score will be adjusted.

Hopefully, such rulings will discourage players from trying to improve their bidding success by using tempo as a weapon.
May 9, 2012
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It's true we don't know precisely what his problem is. What we do know is that, had he bid a smooth 3N, that is where he clearly wants to play. I think my hand is a pretty good example of that.

To look at it another way, what hand do you think WOULD make a smooth 3N bid?
May 9, 2012
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Jeff Aker made a lot more sense to me in less than four lines than Kit did in about seventeen. AND that's with Jeff making an error - Hendik did in fact bring up the issue of the slow bid alerting partner to the “agreement” (boy, does that word NEED quotation marks in this case).

Here's where I disagree with Kit:

1)The alert to 3N does not indicate to me that he interpreted the bid as showing 5 spades - not after a slow bid and a slow alert.

2) The production of system notes does not show to me that “this is the partnership agreement”. Not when it took a long time to alert and at least one partner thought the agreement no longer existed.

3)It isn't clear to kit what one should do if permitted to take advantage of the huddle. It's clear to me to bid. Partner could have:
a) The 5-card spades hand
b) A hand thinking about slam
c) A hand not sure 3N was the best game.

If a) or b), it would be a clear pull (you have a good hand for slam). If c) then less clear - but overall, pulling is CLEARLY indicated.

4) The one thing we know partner does NOT have is something like Kxxx, KQx, KJ, QJxx.
Apparently, in Kit's world, it's OK to have two agreements about 3N. An in-tempo 3N, producing a no-thought pass (both players forgetting their “agreement”) and a slow 3N producing an alert, and a pull with suitable hands. In the latter case, they have system notes to show their “agreement.” In the former case, who would even know there was an issue?

May 8, 2012
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Phillip M.:

Now I know that you are talking about the actual case and not generally, what about Andy B's point (which he has made repeatedly, but has mostly been ignored) that the Laws in fact do NOT say that the spade five is a played card?

Furthermore, this discussion has provoked me into doing something I rarely do - actually look at the Laws. Law 45(A) defines a card played as follows:

“Each player except dummy plays a card by detaching it from his hand and facing it on the table immediately before him”

It would take some fancy lawyering to argue that the spade five was “detached” given the evidence we have heard.

So in answer to your question:

“What if you were West and your opponent allowed you to pick up your five of spades and play a heart? Now you won the event. Could you live with THAT?”

I would say yes. I would feel fine, both morally and legally.

May 8, 2012
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Lynn J.

You are correct - the word unfair was poorly selected on my part.
Maybe “undesirable” would have been closer to what I was trying to convey.
I think it is ok not to enforce a law you believe to be undesirable, as long as you do so uniformly; for example, I wouldn't make either a friend or my worst enemy play a card that I could see had dropped accidentally out of his or her hand. I regard that as “fair” - though I'm fairly certain I would be in the minority
May 8, 2012
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The question beginning “if YOU were the person responsible for making the law…” was hypothetical. Assuming you understood that, I don't see how you can reasonably say “It is irrelevant what I think the law SHOULD be”. Presumably, we want our lawmakers not to think in that manner.
I guess you COULD say that you refuse to answer this hypothetical question - which, so far, is what you have done.
May 8, 2012
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I don't think it matters all that much what the rules are so long as you apply them consistently"
So, are you saying that there is no such thing as a law that is in inherently unfair?

I'll try again to get you to answer my question: if YOU were the person responsible for making the law, would you have the law be that a card played due to a physical malfunction is a played card?
May 8, 2012
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Peg and Phillip,

I'm not certain whether either of you is speaking generally, or about this particular case. I would ask each of you this question.

Do you believe that the rules should be such that a card played due to a physical malfunction should be a played card?

Robb G.

You say “in the case where the “wrong” card slips out it may be the only winning play.”

I totally agree - when that “wrong” card is due to a MENTAL error. Let's say declarer leads a winner from dummy planning to discard a loser and then ruff the next one in his hand. Instead (as often happens), he gets a trick ahead of himself and ruffs dummy's winner. That is a played card. It is a legal play, and the error was mental.

On one occasion, a player led toward dummy's K10xx, thought, and (aberrantly) called “small”. I played my stiff ace, and declarer then started to say “Oh I meant…” then realized he had gained by his mental error and said no more. Had I won the trick with my (say) stiff nine, I would not have let him take it back.

But I don't see the PHYSICAL error as analogous. There was no mental intention to play that card so, as far as I am concerned, it should not be considered a played card.

You also say “How do you feel when you let the opponents recover their slip but they do not reciprocate when you have a slip?”

I feel fine. I wonder how THEY feel.
May 8, 2012
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John,

You say “Assume he has seven spade winners (or else he's down already)”

Why? Why can't declarer have AQJ10xxx or KQJ10xxx and some heart/club honors (enough to pitch a D and have no losers outside of trumps). Then the only defense is 3 rounds of diamonds, and as long as partner's spot beats the trump six, declarer is down (he won't guess trumps, even if he can)?
May 8, 2012
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Let's take this situation: declarer is in 3N with these cards

AQxx
Kxx
KQxx
xx

xxx
AQxx
AJxx
Jx

Scenario 1: He receives a fortunate D lead, and cashes four rounds of that suit. then he cashes three hearts ending in hand, someone showing out. Declarer takes a spade out of his hand to take the finesse for his contract. Just as the spade is about to hit the table, he suddenly realizes that a heart was discarded on the diamonds, and his thirteenth heart is good!

Scenario 2: same hand, same lead. After cashing, the hearts which break 3-3, declarer tries to play the 13th heart, but instead a club falls onto the table - obviously by accident.

I don't know what the resolution of the rule discussion will be, but here's what I believe the rule SHOULD be. A card that is ACCIDENTALLY exposed due to a PHYSICAL error is in no way a played card. In fact, I think there should be no automatic penalty, but that any advantage gained by the offenders should be nullified, with any doubt going to the non-offenders. Often, it's just an irrelevancy.

But when the card is INTENTIONALLY played (or maybe played)due to a MENTAL error, then it is a played card.

So in scenario one, it is too late for declarer to take his play back. In scenario two, he simply picks up his club.

Going back to the case as originally presented, if Meckstroth, in the final of the Reisinger, were to drop the spade five on the table by accident, I would tell him to pick it up. I don't care what the rules are (though I hope Andy's interpretation is correct). In fact, this sort of thing has actually happened to me (except it was Soloway, not Meckstroth).

And by the way, Phillip - you ask “ Doesn't the team who came in second have a legitimate gripe against you?”

NO
May 7, 2012
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Lawrence,

It would be a huge (and weird) position for Geoff not to bid a slam. Fit is everything - and it cannot be diagnosed with no room. Not even giving partner 4-card C, let's say partner had Qxx, Kxx, Qxxx, AKQ. That is a hand that might not even be worth a try, yet slam is good. Or what about Kxx, AKx, Qxxx, KQx, with the totally wated HJ - Slam is cold on 3-2 clubs (and has play besides).
Unless you can diagnose the club position, you are going to reach this slam with 34 HCP and a five card suit.
Fit is crucial - not just for slams, but for games also. And often, random luck is involved.
May 7, 2012
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“However, on this hand where you expect 5? to be down 1 or 2, it can't be right to pass.”

Your pronoun is wrong - at least in my case. I DON'T expect 5H to be 2 down. It might make. And they might make.
If partner has something like J10xx, AKJ9xxx, xx, —, and declarer is the expected 2-0-5-6 then if the spade king is with opener, both contracts make. If it is onside we make SIX hearts - and they might STILL make if partner leads a high heart.

When I overcall 4H, I expect my partner to bid 5H on the hand you give. I feel a club void is very likely. Partner could have 8-card H. Yes, it could be losing. But it seems much wiser to me to bid.

The actual hand that ovecalled 4H would not have been a 4H overcall for me. Yet it was still ‘correct’ for us to bid 5H on the actual hand.
May 6, 2012
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