General

Here's the first of the questions raised by me.

Some laws refer to ‘advantage gained by an offender’ and others refer to ‘non-offending side is damaged’.

What is the difference between the two:

1) in concept

2) Awarding an adjusted score. Is it that in the former case the Director awards a split score, taking away the advantage gained by the offending side for its assigned score while retaining the table score for the non-offending side, and in the latter case adjusting the score as prescribed in law 12?

Comments

  • edited October 2018

    Advantage gained by an offender = the amount of extra score the offenders were able to gain as a consequence of their offence (including indirect consequences).

    Damage sustained by non-offenders = the amount by which an irregularity reduced the non-offender's (pre-adjustment) score (including indirect consequences only if they weren't self-inflicted).

    In most situations, one side are the offenders, the other side are the non-offenders, so the two values balance each other and can be treated the same way. However, occasionally they don't balance:

    • Sometimes neither side is an offending side, e.g. because the offence was committed by a different partnership entirely (say a partnership was talking too loudly about the result on a board, or put their cards back into the board face up, that could screw the board up for both partnerships at the next table). So both sides are non-offenders. Typically in such a case, one side will benefit, and the other side will be damaged, but the side that benefits is not an offending side and thus (if the board can still be played normally) doesn't have a score adjustment unless they violate the Laws in some way themselves.
    • Law 12C1e talks about the situation where a partnership has both damage due to an irregularity (e.g. their opponents made use of unauthorised information), but also a gambling action (e.g. a speculative double of the contract the offenders reached illegally, in the hope that if the contract made the whole thing would be ignored in the new projected auction). In this situation, the advantage gained by the offenders includes both the fact that their offence let them reach a better contract, and the points from the non-offenders' gambling double (because the double couldn't have been made if the offence hadn't happened). On the other hand, the damage sustained by the non-offenders includes the fact that the offenders ended up in a better contract, but does not include the points lost to the gambling double (because that isn't something the offenders did to them; it was self-inflicted). So in this case, the two values don't balance (leading to a "split score").
    • Law 11A talks about a similar situation: If the non-offending side fails to call a Director after an irregularity and the offending side ends up benefitting in a way that could have been prevented if the Director were called, then the damage is considered self-inflicted from the point of view of the non-offenders (they could have called the Director), but for the offenders, it's considered to be advantage gained from the irregularity. So the values don't match in that case either.

    Because bridge is a zero-sum game (i.e. one side doing well causes the other side to do badly), offenders gaining an advantage always causes damage to the non-offending side (although as explained above, the values don't always balance), except in the Law 11A situation. So when you adjust the score for the offenders, you adjust it for the non-offenders too. However, the adjustments don't have to balance, as if there's also self-inflicted damage, it'll get adjusted away for the offenders but not for the non-offenders. Likewise, if a non-offending side are damaged but the offenders aren't their opponents on that hand, the adjustments won't balance because only offending sides have their scores decreased.

    (The other situation in which scores are adjusted in a non-balanced way is when procedural/disciplinary penalties are given, as those are only ever counted against the offending side. However, penalties and adjustments are rather different concepts and work rather differently in practice. Most relevantly, adjustments effectively "change the score that resulted on the hand" and end up affecting things like matchpointing and IMPing, whereas penalties are applied after all the scoring has already been done and tend to cause the scores for the session as a whole to not balance, e.g. they can cause VP totals to not add up to 20 like they normally would.)

  • @ais523 said:
    Advantage gained by an offender = the amount of extra score the offenders were able to gain as a consequence of their offence (including indirect consequences).

    Damage sustained by non-offenders = the amount by which an irregularity reduced the non-offender's (pre-adjustment) score (including indirect consequences only if they weren't self-inflicted).

    In most situations, one side are the offenders, the other side are the non-offenders, so the two values balance each other and can be treated the same way. However, occasionally they don't balance:

    • Sometimes neither side is an offending side, e.g. because the offence was committed by a different partnership entirely (say a partnership was talking too loudly about the result on a board, or put their cards back into the board face up, that could screw the board up for both partnerships at the next table). So both sides are non-offenders. Typically in such a case, one side will benefit, and the other side will be damaged, but the side that benefits is not an offending side and thus (if the board can still be played normally) doesn't have a score adjustment unless they violate the Laws in some way themselves.
    • Law 12C1e talks about the situation where a partnership has both damage due to an irregularity (e.g. their opponents made use of unauthorised information), but also a gambling action (e.g. a speculative double of the contract the offenders reached illegally, in the hope that if the contract made the whole thing would be ignored in the new projected auction). In this situation, the advantage gained by the offenders includes both the fact that their offence let them reach a better contract, and the points from the non-offenders' gambling double (because the double couldn't have been made if the offence hadn't happened). On the other hand, the damage sustained by the non-offenders includes the fact that the offenders ended up in a better contract, but does not include the points lost to the gambling double (because that isn't something the offenders did to them; it was self-inflicted). So in this case, the two values don't balance (leading to a "split score").
    • Law 11A talks about a similar situation: If the non-offending side fails to call a Director after an irregularity and the offending side ends up benefitting in a way that could have been prevented if the Director were called, then the damage is considered self-inflicted from the point of view of the non-offenders (they could have called the Director), but for the offenders, it's considered to be advantage gained from the irregularity. So the values don't match in that case either.

    Because bridge is a zero-sum game (i.e. one side doing well causes the other side to do badly), offenders gaining an advantage always causes damage to the non-offending side (although as explained above, the values don't always balance), except in the Law 11A situation. So when you adjust the score for the offenders, you adjust it for the non-offenders too. However, the adjustments don't have to balance, as if there's also self-inflicted damage, it'll get adjusted away for the offenders but not for the non-offenders. Likewise, if a non-offending side are damaged but the offenders aren't their opponents on that hand, the adjustments won't balance because only offending sides have their scores decreased.

    (The other situation in which scores are adjusted in a non-balanced way is when procedural/disciplinary penalties are given, as those are only ever counted against the offending side. However, penalties and adjustments are rather different concepts and work rather differently in practice. Most relevantly, adjustments effectively "change the score that resulted on the hand" and end up affecting things like matchpointing and IMPing, whereas penalties are applied after all the scoring has already been done and tend to cause the scores for the session as a whole to not balance, e.g. they can cause VP totals to not add up to 20 like they normally would.)

    Perfectly logical. But, as part of my ongoing education in this field, I have read more than five hundred appeal cases in case-books, both EBU and ACBL, many if not most involving adjusted scores, and nowhere have I come across an explanation of score adjustment, even where split scores are allotted, being described as taking away an advantage vs compensating for damage. Quite possibly there is an underlying, unstated thought process for this, but one would have expected to see an explanation by the Director stating that he was adjusting the score by so much, being the advantage gained by the offending party, or damage suffered by the innocent party. That makes me wonder whether there is application of mind over the difference between the two approaches. And if there is a difference in the logic and method of score adjustment, then how come the lawmakers did not specify this in law 12? Or have they simply used different terminologies that mean the same thing?

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