Hands misboarded by persons unknown.

Normal Mitchell movement, players up + hands down. First 2 rounds hands played correct orientation third round onwards N/S hands have become E/W. Some players not available to ask when problem discovered. How should director rule? It is a normal club night and at both of the possible offending tables declarer had bid and made a grand slam not reached at any other table, hence where a score adjustment is made 1 pair will be punished severely [losing a top] whilst the other pair will be rewarded by removal of a bottom. Should the director hold off till discussed with all players and if not should he contact players to advise them of any penalty?


  • edited November 2017 Small sub-fields
    If the size of the group is at most three and is at most a third of the total number of scores Neuberg’s formula is not used. Instead a group of two scores is scored with a top as 65% and a bottom of 55%, and a group of three scores is scored with a top of 70% and a bottom of 50%; with intermediate and tied scores scored as for ordinary match-pointing.

    EBU White Book

    (Neuberg's formula is shown in - Bridge software can usually handle this)

    The thing is - just because someone got a top out of 2 tables who played the board, it soes not mean that they would have scored a top throughout the whole field.

  • As I read it, it was actually a flat board the two times it was played in the correct form - the grand was bid both times.

    I'm not quite sure what "both of the possible offending tables" means: only the last table to play it in its correct form could have misboarded it, so when you have established that, you have established who is to blame. Both sides would necessarily have had to do something wrong by putting their hands back in the wrong slots, though if one player had done something like rotating the board by 90 degrees, contrary to law 7A, he should be given primary responsibility for the problem.

  • In the interest of brevity I perhaps left out relevant information. In total the board was played 7 times , twice correctly 5 times incorrect orientation only 2 pairs playing + making 7 spades. Whilst I fully respect Gordon Rainsford, his opinion is flawed. The last table to play it correctly are prime suspects, however it is entirely possible that the second table could have removed the cards at the wrong orientation, and then replaced them after changing the board orientation. This scenario requires 2 errors rather than 1, but is not a satisfactory level of proof, in my opinion, to conclusively blame either pair.
    Regardless of that whichever table was guilty of the error, if penalties are applied in this case 1 pair are severely penalised whilst the other are actually rewarded by getting more than a zero .

  • I don't think it matters whether it was 5-2 or 2-5 for scoring purposes. Are you saying that the twice it was done incorrectly a grand slam was made, once in each set, or both times in the larger set.

    I've just run this on Scorebridge

    7 pairs, top = 12

    The two who played it correctly scored 7 and 5. (7 for the grand slam)
    The Grand slam on the other way scored 10-2 with the rest 5-7

    Although you feel annoyed that the person who got a top didn't score 100% and the person who got a bottom didn't score 0%, you have to remember that you are comparing hands and the pair that got a bottom never had the opportunity of finding out whether other players in the same set would have done equally as badly.

  • Rulings do not require conclusive proof: they are based on the balance of probabilities.
  • Richard, the more I think about this the more implausible I think your alternative explanation is, but perhaps you can explain exactly what it is that you suggest might have happened? If I read what you wrote correctly, it would not only require that two adjacent tables both mis-boarded the same board on subsequent rounds, each in the opposite rotation, but that the first one would have had to do so before they played it! I think just reading this should make clear how unlikely it is as an explanation!
  • Gordon, I agree that the simplest explanation is that the first possible offending table removed cards correctly and then after play replaced them at the incorrect orientation. [I was East and dummy and specifically remember pushing the board in correct orientation slightly toward partner to accommodate my 7 card suit. I am certain the board remained in correct orientation during play, and think it very unlikely that it was rotated before reboarding cards but could not swear to that.
    However the alternative is much simpler than you suggest, ie at the 2nd possible offending table, cards are removed at reverse orientation and after playing the hand one player "corrects" the orientation thinking the board had been misplaced during play rather than before. This was only a club night pairs so of no real consequence, however I am curious about how TD should manage it. Should players involved be asked for an account? Failing that should they be notified in person or by email/phone that scores had been adjusted?

  • edited November 2017

    Certainly the TD should try to find out what might have happened. But your suggestion doesn't seem to to be any simpler, any different or any more likely than the remarkably unlikely scenario I presented, for the simple reason that if that was all that happened, it couldn't account for the first TWO instances having been played in a different orientation from the rest. And of course, even your explanation doesn't mean the second table did nothing wrong.

    Having thought about it some more, perhaps when you talk about the second table you actually mean the third table? That would produce some sort of plausible explanation that is not as unlikely as the scenario I thought you were presenting. Investigation should help determine which of the two possibilities seems more likely to have occurred, but conclusive proof is not required to make a ruling.

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