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LusoBrasil Online TD training session 2 notes

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Posted 2006-March-19, 12:47

2 useful websites TDs should probably be familiar with. for bridge laws. You probably need to know laws before you can really direct bridge. for BBO TD format. How to adjust scores, set up a match, etc. Please read this document to find out. Its a little outdated, but most of it is very relevant.

Lusobrasil's lecture itself:

About claims:
The problem in table bridge is that when there is a contested claim the fact that someone contests it gives information to the claimer that he cannot of course use.

Only way to treat this in a sensible way is how it is actually done, play stops, opps state why they disagree and the TD adjusts the result if opps are right.

Claimer is bound to normal (including careless) lines of play, opps can be brilliant with open cards. But they can┬┤t say "I require claimer to play this or that".

In online bridge there are similar problems. When someone claims the fact that the claim is rejected gives unauthorized information to the claimer.

He doesn┤t know from where it comes, but he knows something is not running...

An extreme example: Claimer is in dummy with xxxx in a suit, and AKQ109 in hand. No entries to dummy. "All mine".

Someone objects. Claimer could think: "I will of course cash AKQ, only way for someone to object is to have the J long onside or offside. If it is offside I┤m done, so it must be onside for me to have a chance.

If play continues, someone someday will try to finesse! The only way to deal with claims online, in a way that avoids this kind of problems, is to adopt a policy similar to what happens in table bridge:

Claimer states a line of play with the claim statement. If opps reject the claim, they simply call the TD that adjudicates the result.

About undos:

The easiest and simplest approach in tournament play is to have "undos not allowed". I understand that the policy of each "organization" may strongly push for undos allowed (and that is a good thing for the general ambiance).

With undos allowed a lot of information problems can happen, because there are three bits of info that are unauthorized for one of the partnerships:

A) The card is exposed

B ) The player didn┤t want to play that one.

C) The player has a different choice to play.

B.1) There was a genuine misclick

B.2) There was a mistake from the player, not paying enough attention

B.1 is one thing, B.2 is completely different. And sometimes it is impossible to distinguish between the two.

For example, when there is something like AQ in dummy, declarer goes for the finesse but LHO plays the K. Without noticing it declarer plays the Queen. Of course he would "never" play the Q under the K.

A smart TD will ask privately "why did you play the Queen? I presume you didn┤t see the King"... But a smart declarer will say, anyway, "Of course I saw it, I wanted to click the Ace". It will be impossible to know.

When an undo is requested the TD should be called. When it is a clear case of misclick, and if the tournament is on "undos allowed", the TD should give a green light to players stating the unauthorized info stuff anyway.

When it could be a case of paying not enough attention, or change of mind, the TD should NOT allow the undo, and state the unauthorized info stuff about partner not being permitteed to use the info that player had another thing in mind - partner "never saw" the undo.

Actually, it would be a good thing to not allow the undo to be seen from partner┤s point of view unless the request comes after partner played already a card AND the LHO of the "undoer" says he is willing to accept the undo. In this case, the unauthorized information problem would vanish and most of the problems too.

In the example case, I would not allow the undo unless I was pretty sure that the player genuinely wanted to play the Ace and that there would be no future problem with unauthorized information on the Queen.

A good TD is a good "question-asker"...
The way to ask the questions sometimes makes all the difference in the world, for getting the facts straight
It is classical for example in hesitation problems:
If you ask "did you hesitate?"
Player will say "no, immediate bid"
If you say "how long do you hesitate? 1 minute, 30 secs, 10 secs..."... he will say "not much, maybe 10 secs only"
I once had a player that said "I didnt hesitate..."
then I asked "but if you had !sxxx !hxxxx !dxxx !cxxx?"
He replied "ah, then I would pass immediately... ":-)
The player was not "hesitating". In his view that was different from "thinking"
So... think on the question to ask before asking. Facts can show up on a much brighter and clear light

Some typical examples on rulings:

Silly system, but illustrating a point: Bidding goes, with opponents silent and actually with nothing to bid at anytime: 1!c (strong, taken as nat by partner) 1!h (nat, taken as !s, positive by partner) 6!s (nat of course, taking into account the meaning understood from 1!h) 6NT (I dont know what is happening). 12 top tricks. Opps feel damaged because of the different explanations.

Where is the damage? Just because the explanations don┤t match the hands, or the agreed system (they don┬┤t seem to have one here) that doens┬┤t immediately grant the right to an adjusted score.

Players in this example landed in the top spot by chance, but opps would have done nothing different, for whatever amount of extra information given to them. No damage from the different explanations, no adjustment.

Example hand

Scoring: IMP

West North East South

- 3 Dbl RDbl
**td call

On the RDBL North says "why did you redouble?". South kept silent all the time. TD is called. North is warned for not talking on the table, especially this kind of talk, and play continues.

In the end East doubles, and 4!s is made. EW require an adjustment. Where is the damage? Was any of the NS actions changed by the comment? No.

Was any of the EW actions influenced by the comment? Even if it was, EW take their own inferences from the NS action, haste, hesitation, remark, gesture (in table bridge), or the like, at their own risk. So if East says "I doubled because of the comment", that "is his problem". He would be entitled to redress only if the comment could have been made deliberately to gain something from the EW actions, which in no moment appeared to be the case.

Consequent and subsequent damage:

Consequent damage is damage that results directly from an infraction. For this there may be redress. Subsequent damage is damage that stems from what happens after the infraction and not directly related. And for subsequent damage there is no redress.

The WBF inclusively recommends that when there is consequent and subsequent damage in the same hand, redress is given only to the consequent part (normally in the form of some imps or mps being transferred).

Hesitations: In online bridge it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between a genuine connection problem and a hesitation.

When there is an hesitation the partner cannot choose from logical alternatives one that could demonstrably be suggested by the hesitation. When he does that TD must use his judgment to eventually adjust the score, based on what would have happened if that action was not taken and giving the benefit of the doubt to the non offending side. This is "more or less easy".

Well, it is not. Judgment calls are a tough thing... Anyway, they┬┤re part of the job.

What if the player says "I had a connection problem"? Sometimes there are conn problems that dont get a red light but result in delays. My approach is this:

"I am very sorry that you had a connection problem in the precise moment where there was a tempo-sensitive auction going on, and I must rule that your partner might have used that (of course accidental) variation in tempo"

For partner the approach is "Of course I believe that you particularly didn┬┤t use the variation in tempo, but a player in your situation, with taht auction, might have taken the actions you took with the help of it". I just say "might have", like the laws state.

We never call a player "unethical" or worse. That requires a lot of proof. We should use the approach of "might have done" that is used in the laws. This way we can adjust against a player without having to call him anything or getting a lawsuit...

However, when in my soul I "know" something might be going on, I normally find a way to tell the player(s), politely, that in case they might be doing it they should know that I know that they know that I know that...

Differences in approach:

There are a lot of cultures around in terms of TDing. Some countries are typically stiff on applying penalties, some are more "easy going". As we can not apply penalties in BBO, this reflects on the easiness with which one adjusts results. My two lectures were geared towards convincing this marvellous audience that adjustments are not penalties are should be given where is damage and where damage results from an infraction. If this approach is followed, the different cultural approaches ease off a lot.

When penalties are enabled the culture and style differences will surface. My approach is to regard always TDing as a service to players. Impoliteness, rudeness, etc., should get the appropriate "reward". Infractions that are genuinely involuntary should get some leeway as long as the player knows it is an infraction and does all his best to avoid it again.

Humanizing the TD job is the way to go on these matters.

Do not, please...
1 - Run tourneys on "no adjustments".
2 - Run tourneys on "Playing TD". It is enough work already to run a proper tournament, and if you want to play just join one of the hundreds of events always going on
3 - Run "automatic penalty of this or that". Automatic things make me nervous, because if you say that you are automatically doing something you unhumanize the job and dont get space to be tolerant when required.
4 - Run "no psyches" unless eventually it is a tournament geared for beginners or a very specific audience. He who never sinned (psyched) throw the first stone...

Do, please...
Run nice and fair events, properly cared for, with polite and competent TDs

Thank you all.
"More and more these days I find myself pondering how to reconcile my net income with my gross habits."

John Nelson.

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Posted 2006-March-19, 13:00


if opps accept a misclaim, whereas declarer cannot possibly make the hand with any normal line , then later realised their errors, what is the ruling? Are there any differences if it happens before or after a new board is played?

I forgot my lawbook on another office, so I will do this by heart...
until the end of the tournament, or any reasonable period of time after that (no 30 minutes because it will not be possible to change results for that long period)
the trick wrongly taken goes back.
In table bridge, the accepted claim, after the start of the next board,
the trick goes back with the burden of proof reversed
this means opps can take it back only if they cannot lose it by any nnormal line of play
(it is easier to get tricks back before the next board)


You have talked about undo's in play, how do you manage undos in bidding the laws seem to deal with these quite differently

he cannot ask for a card. TD judges the claim on it┤s merits
undoes in bidding Tablebridge we are under law 25.
We cannot do exactly the same thing in online bridge (for example, we cannot give table score to one side and 40% at best to the other)
What I would follow in bidding is
A clearly involuntary bid, I would allow without any penalty until prd calls.
After prd calls it is just too dangerous to allow the bidding to come back (it is stirring the magic cauldron and looking for trouble)
A bid that MIGHT be a change of mind, I simply don┤t allow.
But thjis is an example of the limitations of the current version of the software
Here also the "question asker" may shine...
A player with 5 clubs and 5 spades sometimes changes his mind about bidding one spade or club
Before asking why he wants to undo I look at the hand and see if the bid that was made makes some sense...
So as a general principle and until we can give rulings according to law 25
A change of mind I dont allow. A misclick I allow (generically speaking)
This raises a point
"Involuntary" is - I never wanted to bid this.
If a player passes a blackwood reply, absent minded and at that moment wanting to pass, thinking he was playing in the right suit, I dont allow the change.

south opens 1!h pas-4!d-pas then 1 minute thinking and 4!h -pas- ? hand is AJxxx Axxx x Axx, allowed to continue? Thinker had KQxx Kxxxx xx Kx

I allow to continue (we have to!) and then adjust back to 4h plus whatever


chicken how do i choose "forbidden logical alternatives" after hesitation? is there still a 75% rule?

there used to be, in Kaplan┤s time
75% rule has gone because a lot of actions were 60%/40% or the like and the players would come into lose-lose situations
The 97 code had a change in relation to the ┤87 version, where the word "demonstrably" was added
to comply with the practice followed at top level, where there had to be a more clear connection between the hesitation and the action
A lot of times the hesitation carries no useful information. For example, a player might be thinking on bidding on or doubling.
This case, the partner doesnt get a help - if he decides to bid on, partner might want to double, and vice-ver5sa
A LOT of times, really. The tendency to "hesitated? I adjust" should be fought....

How about a player who 'frequently' psyches opposite the same partner, (and does it against novice and intermediate players)?

jbeoddy I find a law to penalize him frequently opposite the same partner
Check the WBF document on psychs. You can get useful ways and ideas to do it.


You said--a good TD is a question asker. Can you please give another example to demonstrate what a question asker is?

let me think lol...
I can make an example with systems
A strange explanation of a bid.
Player (experienced) says "the explanation is according to the system, I misbid"
Now, the way to establish quickly if it was indeed a mistaken bid is to ask
the rest of the system, quickly and before player has time to think...
The questions on hesitations, shifting the focus from "was a hesit" to "how long it was"
are also examples.
And when the player plays a Q under a K...
Did you want to play this? Of course not...
Did you play this because you didnt see the king? Yes, that was the reason...


also sometimes the whole bbo system is slow and players do not reject the claim even it appeared as a claim rejected...... that doesnt mean any further information does ...

must solve on a case by case basis. As a general principle, if play stops and TD assigns the final result is the safer way to proceed in all cases


Since online the cards are only shown to the opponents of the claimer - is just having play continued not as fair as ajudicating?

no, because the claimer has the oinformation that something is not according to what he thinks...

If claimer must make a finess for the claim to be good, and opps reject the claim--even though the finess would work if it ...
is tried--should the TD presume that the claimER would try the finesse?

generally, in table bridge If the finesse is right he cashes on top, if it is wrong he finesses. I think this gives the idea... Of course, we consider "normal" lines, although if ...

'UNDO' is allowed to ask for, but opps are in their full right to reject it! My suggestion is Accept undo, if it is an obvious MISCLICK .Question is this a good way to ...
do so ...

That was basically my point above, when I talked about undos... But again, the safer way is to have them enabled, and when there is one request ask for the TD, who will decide on a ...
case by case basis

If both side of teams explain wrong what they mean while they bidding, who is for penalty? First who send wrong information or both teams?

The principle is Each player is entitled to know the agreements on the SYSTEM of the opponents. When you establiish that both partnerships didnt explain bids according to their ...
system, you have to eventually adjust (not a penalty), compensate for eventual damage, taking into account that all players get the agreements of the opps
AND that some of them will think their (wrong) explanation is good and continue bidding according to this... Not easy, most of the time
(nobody lied... someone made a mistake in the explanation, thats the approach)
Can players affected by results of a table have recourse if damaged party don't ask for redress?

Of *another* table, you mean? No. Never.


h_karluk hi sir..1-Is there any minor penalty card or a major penalty card in online ? 2-When is a revoke not a revoke?

online you dont get revokes or penalty cards, so that doesnt applyt


what can be done about players, normally those playing strong !c systems, who REPEATEDLY refuse to elaborate on explanations of bids

each TD should have his own technique on this. Not easy, especially because you mean players with poor english most of the time.
I will tell them something like Explain ME in your mother language, ask someone to translate, and askj this someone to translate
"Every time this happens and you lose time so that you cant play next board, it is your fault and you will get 40% at most",

In real life, players are expected to use english, yes? so this doesn't apply?
and then relay back to them in their mother language this...
WOrks like a charm... Sometimes they even learn english immediately
they are expected, but sometimes they really dont know enough, and I dont think they should be stopped from playing because of that


Are actions taken by declarer during the play due to some misinformation during the bidding consequent or subsequent
consequent. They are related to the infraction.



what if a player states what cards are in his hand. doesn't penalty cards apply?
Depends on teh context that he made it. Maybe he is stating to declarer "doesnt matter what you play".
If it causes damage to opps, adjust accordingly. I might even get a biased eyesight on counting tricks against him, if I think he was making fun out of it, for example.


A defender claims zero and the other have a trick. How to handle this one?

players ask for the td to adjust and the TD adjusts.


Opener opens and partner missexplain. Now opener bids one more for the road and his partner is clear about meaning. Opps bid gambling bid and fail. Is opener entitled to ...
result ...from board or gets weighted score?

real life bad-bad. Opener gets the bad score and opps dont benefit. Notg weighted, you mean *split*

u mean a bad claim must be adjusted?

yes, generically speaking.

breb and how we can treat a claim when is not to declare to play but to defense ? a player can ask for specific card from partener hand to be played , independent of what declarer ...

ah I answered that one before. No "play that one". The TD adjusts based on normal play, careless from the claimer (but not irrational), eventuyally brilliant from opps.
"More and more these days I find myself pondering how to reconcile my net income with my gross habits."

John Nelson.

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