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Director's ruling on slow play

#1 User is offline   swanway 

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Posted 2012-March-30, 01:54

EBU

In our bridge club we have a clock that clearly times each round. 15 minutes is allowed for two boards and 21 minutes for three boards. We have a club ruling that states that if the opening lead has not yet been made with three minutes to go then the board is not played (we do not play late boards). The Director stops the board from begin played because there is not sufficient time to play the hand. I must make it clear that if the opening lead has been made and playing the hand has started then they are allowed to continue. However, if they are still bidding then the board is cancelled and the Director has to decide the appropiate penalty depending who is at fault. It now appears that this is not legal or so we are told. Appparently if they have started to bid a hand then they must be allowed to continue. Surely this cannot be correct. You would have bridge games finishing at 2am as the slow players take control of the timing.

Summary.

As a club do we have the authority to stop a board being played if there is less than three minutes to go and the players are still bidding the hand? We will let the hand be played if the opening lead has been made before the three minute mark.

Would appreciate your comments
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#2 User is offline   Trinidad 

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Posted 2012-March-30, 03:55

Your club's procedure is indeed illegal.

Think of it like this: The opponents bid to 6. The clock says 3 minutes and 10 seconds to go in the round. You hold KQJ in a side suit, which is the obvious lead.

A) You are playing against the worst pair of the club. If the slam is good everybody will have bid it and make it with an overtrick. You will get a decent result on the board. If the slam is bad, it is likely to go down and you will also get a good result on the board. Your king will hit the table like lightning.

B) You are playing against the experts in the club. They have taken some time to bid to the slam and you can see that they know it is a good one that the rest of the club won't bid. You can expect a very bad result if you play this hand. 3:03, 3:02, 3:01, 3:00 BEEEEP, 2:59... "Sorry guys".

Tricks like this should not be possible.

Once players have taken the cards out of the board, let them play it. If you are afraid that the game will run late, there is a simple remedy: Penalties. If a pair is somewhat late, warn them that the next time they will get a penalty. When the next time comes, tell them that they get a 10% of a board penalty and that the next time it will be 20%. If a pair is seriously late, penalize them right away.

Rik
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#3 User is offline   gordontd 

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Posted 2012-March-30, 04:25

View Postswanway, on 2012-March-30, 01:54, said:

Surely this cannot be correct. You would have bridge games finishing at 2am as the slow players take control of the timing.

It is correct, for the reasons given above, but your fears are unfounded. You can take a board away before it's been started, and that's what you do when pairs get behind. You can alternatively fine persistently slow players.

When a table is late finishing, tell them that if they haven't caught up by the next round you will take away a board or fine them.
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#4 User is offline   bluejak 

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Posted 2012-March-30, 08:39

It is quite normal for tables in clubs to get up to five minutes behind and catch up without the overall time being much affected. However, if the club wishes to put a rule in place that no new boards are to be started within four minutes of the end of the round, that is legal. I have never played in a club that has found it necessary, though.
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#5 User is offline   gordontd 

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Posted 2012-March-30, 08:53

View Postbluejak, on 2012-March-30, 08:39, said:

However, if the club wishes to put a rule in place that no new boards are to be started within four minutes of the end of the round, that is legal. I have never played in a club that has found it necessary, though.

I'm sure many players would find it frustrating, knowing that they are capable of playing a board in four minutes in order to catch up, to not be allowed to do so.
Gordon Rainsford
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#6 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2012-March-30, 09:03

Players want to play. Being told they can't play a board is frustrating. But some of the machinations I've seen are blatantly illegal, for example "Do not start any new boards"... "Let's play it. The Director won't notice" or "Everybody else is still playing". The clock dings, I refuse to start a new board. Really pisses people off. A couple of times, I've even pointed out Law 72B1. They don't care. All they see is that they've been prevented by "outside forces" (IOW, they are not, cannot possibly be, to blame) from playing a hand. The only way to change this is to enforce the rules uniformly, including issuing penalties where appropriate.
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#7 User is offline   bluejak 

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Posted 2012-March-30, 09:11

View Postgordontd, on 2012-March-30, 08:53, said:

I'm sure many players would find it frustrating, knowing that they are capable of playing a board in four minutes in order to catch up, to not be allowed to do so.

I would, certainly. But not as frustrating as when the opponents reached 3NT on a misfitting 22 count with no play and I was told the board was cancelled because we had run out of time because the opponents had been late coming to the table.

The only good thing that happened is that my strong letter of complaint to the club committee led to the practice of stopping a board halfway being banned.
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#8 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2012-March-30, 10:05

Our club's policy is to not allow boards to be started with 3 minutes to go in the round, and we use a computer program with voice announcements that says "Do not start any new boards." Occasionally the director will look around the room and notice that most of the tables are behind (so the delay won't inconvenience them much), and add a minute or two to the clock and let them start.

However, we also allow late plays, but only one per pair.

Your fears of games lasting into the night are unfounded. We have some habitually slow pairs (one because they're very good players and spend time working out the best action, others because they're poor and often unsure what to bid/play), but games never end more than about 10 minutes behind schedule. And it doesn't delay the results very much -- we often have a playing director, so we don't start entering scores until the last round is over. The late plays take place while the rest of the scores are being entered.

#9 User is offline   Chris3875 

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Posted 2012-March-30, 14:21

I am very sympathetic with swanway's situation - there is certainly plenty of time allocated at his/her club to allow boards to be played. We also brought in a local rule at our club that if the opening lead had not been made (ie. they were still bidding the hand) when the 3 minute warning bell rang, then the board was to be handed in and the director applies the appropriate penalty. Players are aware of this rule and it is enforced without fear or favour - there is no late play. Maybe it sounds tough, but we have players who travel long distances to play at our club (a large number 80+ kilometres round trip and some up to 200 kilometres) so it is important for them to know that the session will finish between 4.00-4.15pm. Even an extra 2 minutes per round to cater for the players who prefer to discuss how the previous hand should have been bid or played rather than get on with the job can add an extra 20 minutes to the session. This local rule was moved at our annual meeting a few years ago and was accepted by a big majority of the players - slow play had been a problem and continues to be so at another local club who allow play to continue if the cards have been removed from the board. Assuming that we allow 7 minutes for a board to be bid and played, if you let play continue after the cards have been removed, that table could hold up play for an extra 4 minutes - pretty frustrating for players that are adhering to time. Attendance at our club has not been affected since this rule was brought in - on the contrary, our table numbers have risen.
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#10 User is offline   Phil 

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Posted 2012-March-30, 14:44

In our swiss team events at sectionals and regionals, time limits are enforced more stringently than any other event I have ever seen. If you do not start the board with time on the clock, it gets pulled. No questions asked.

I cannot understand a club pulling a board in the middle of a hand.
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#11 User is offline   pran 

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Posted 2012-March-30, 16:29

View PostPhil, on 2012-March-30, 14:44, said:

In our swiss team events at sectionals and regionals, time limits are enforced more stringently than any other event I have ever seen. If you do not start the board with time on the clock, it gets pulled. No questions asked.

I cannot understand a club pulling a board in the middle of a hand.

Pulling a board after the players have looked at their cards is illegal, period (See Law 8B)

I have sometimes found it favourable to advice late players that they are not playing a fair game.

When they look astonished at me I explain that they to their own advantage are using time that has not been available to their competitors. Players that have some pride in playing a fair game usually take the message.
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#12 User is offline   Chris3875 

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Posted 2012-March-30, 19:06

View Postpran, on 2012-March-30, 16:29, said:

Pulling a board after the players have looked at their cards is illegal, period (See Law 8B)

I have sometimes found it favourable to advice late players that they are not playing a fair game.

When they look astonished at me I explain that they to their own advantage are using time that has not been available to their competitors. Players that have some pride in playing a fair game usually take the message.

Australia
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#13 User is offline   Chris3875 

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Posted 2012-March-30, 19:08

I don't know about Law8B - it does go on to say ..... or the Director has cancelled the play of the board.
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#14 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2012-March-30, 19:54

View PostChris3875, on 2012-March-30, 19:08, said:

I don't know about Law8B - it does go on to say ..... or the Director has cancelled the play of the board.


There's more to it than that. The director has the authority to cancel the play of a board, but only when the laws allow him to do so. The director does not have the power to cancel a board already started (which means any one hand is removed from the board — Law 17A) unless it was started in defiance of his instructions (see Law 91).
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#15 User is offline   pran 

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Posted 2012-March-31, 02:38

View PostChris3875, on 2012-March-30, 19:08, said:

I don't know about Law8B - it does go on to say ..... or the Director has cancelled the play of the board.

That is

Law 8 B 2 said:

When the Director exercises his authority to postpone play of a board, for that board the round does not end for the players concerned until the board has been played and the score agreed and recorded or the Director has cancelled the play of the board.

The Director may not cancel nor postpone the play of a board after a player has taken cards from that board.
However law 8B2 allows him to cancel (for cause) the play before play on a board begins also when play on that board was originally postponed.
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#16 User is offline   dcrc2 

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Posted 2012-March-31, 04:28

I believe this is illegal because that's what I've been taught as a director in EBU-land, though I don't find much in the lawbook to back this up.

If the last moment a TD can cancel the board is defined by the start of the auction period as in Law 17A, I do think there is a practical problem. In a club without an automatic timer, the TD might not call out "please do not start any new boards" if it looks like everyone is about to finish. But occasionally a table might have got a whole board behind and a busy TD might only realise this when they start to reach for their cards. It seems better to allow the board to be cancelled at least until the first call has been made.
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#17 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2012-March-31, 21:59

View Postdcrc2, on 2012-March-31, 04:28, said:

It seems better to allow the board to be cancelled at least until the first call has been made.

But if the dealer suspects from his hand that this may be a poor board for them (don't ask me how he can tell this -- maybe he has the MSC death hand), he could go into the tank waiting for the TD to announce "don't start any new boards".

#18 User is offline   dcrc2 

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Posted 2012-April-01, 04:18

View Postbarmar, on 2012-March-31, 21:59, said:

But if the dealer suspects from his hand that this may be a poor board for them (don't ask me how he can tell this -- maybe he has the MSC death hand), he could go into the tank waiting for the TD to announce "don't start any new boards".

No, if you've taken your cards out of the board when the announcement comes, then you are in time and should continue. But an announcement for "don't start any new boards" is not the same situation as a TD actually coming over to your table to stop play. I think the latter should be allowed to happen until the first call is made. This is solely to avoid the situation where a TD thinks that all the tables are finishing and is about to call the move, but then he suddenly notices a table picking up their cards for another board. If he had realised they had another board to play, it would have been cancelled already. (Of course if the TD gets into this situation then he has made a mistake by not realising what was going on, but it seems better to apologise to the table for this error and step in to cancel the board, rather than having to make everyone else wait.)
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#19 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2012-April-01, 06:14

View Postdcrc2, on 2012-April-01, 04:18, said:

I think the latter should be allowed to happen until the first call is made.


This would require a change in the laws. We have another forum for that discussion. B-)
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#20 User is offline   dcrc2 

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Posted 2012-April-01, 06:37

View Postblackshoe, on 2012-April-01, 06:14, said:

This would require a change in the laws. We have another forum for that discussion. B-)

Possibly. Though while I've often heard it said that it's illegal to cancel the board in the middle of the auction, I'm not entirely sure which Laws this is supposed to be derived from. (I don't find your or Sven's references convincing, sorry.) So it is unclear to me whether or not 17A provides the time limit. I hope it doesn't.
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