Whose fault?

This is a situation that came up a while back, but has recently come to mind.

Swiss pairs.

North goes to get the next board from the previous table. When he picks it up he notices the East hand has been placed in the pocket upside down, and the Ace of Spades is clearly visible on the top.

He is flummoxed and goes back to his own table for advice (or possibly want of anything else to do) - the board surely cannot be played if he has seen part of East's hand.

Of course it can, but not now all four players have seen AS.

He should have called the director, but is it so bad he didn't?

What is the assigned score, and what procedural penalties should be given?

Can the board now be played? No.
Who is responsible? Certainly East at the previous table, but also North at this table - if North had called the director, there would not have been a problem.

So what is the assigned score: Is it NS 40, EW 60, because North is directly at fault (per WB 8.12.8, although this talks about actions not lack of actions)? This seems harsh, as North has committed no infraction, and previous East is also directly responsible.

Would NS 50, EW 60 be better? If so, what's the justification?

What about a PP for previous East? Did their infraction cause the board to be unplayable? Not initially, but it did once all four players had seen AS.

There is I think a general point about how much we should expect the players to know the law, particularly the less common aspects.

Comments

  • We do not expect players to know the laws - we do expect them to call the TD (especially a non-playing TD) when things go wrong. It does not take much bridge experience to realise that taking a board with an exposed card to a new table who have not played the board is going to be good. The extent to which North is to blame depends on their experience.

    East's action are likely to require an adjusted score - it is quire likely that a board will be passed to another table and placed on the table where all players can see the exposed card - rather than one player noticing the exposed card in transit.

  • Try as we might to drill it into people that they should call the director, many remain unwilling until they run out of other options.

    I think the hand can be played and the knowledge of the ace is authorised to all players by 16A1(d). If the knowledge of the ace influenced the outcome then the director can assign a score. I don't believe that north here is culpable of an offence, although he should have called the TD upon noticing an irregularity.

  • I think this information is extraneous to West and North, unauthorised to South, authorised to East. Authorised to East, obviously, as East will see the Ace in their own hand. Extraneous to West and North under Law 16D. Unauthorised to South under Law 16B: one source of the extraneous information was South's partner, and my interpretation of Law 16B is that it "upgrades" XI to UI in the case where both 16B and 16D's conditions apply.

    I don't think 16A1d applies because the Laws do preclude the use of the information (also, the intent of 16A1 seems to be to cover things like "the player's memory of their own system" and "the player's memory of the laws of bridge", not cases like this). If it did apply, then the knowledge of the Ace wouldn't imply an adjusted score as it's 16D that covers this sort of XI adjustment.

    This specific action by the previous East isn't covered in the Schedule of Standard Penalties, but comparing to Whtie Book 2.8.2f/g/i/j, it appears to be more serious than comparable warning offences and less serious than comparable PP offences. I'm leaning towards a warning if it could plausibly have been caused by carelessness/a lack of concentration (e.g. if the previous table were running late and felt they didn't have time to double-check that the boards were put back correctly), and a PP otherwise.

  • @Tag said:
    Try as we might to drill it into people that they should call the director, many remain unwilling until they run out of other options.

    That's why I think we should do a bit more than just give a warning.

    I think the hand can be played and the knowledge of the ace is authorised to all players by 16A1(d). If the knowledge of the ace influenced the outcome then the director can assign a score. I don't believe that north here is culpable of an offence, although he should have called the TD upon noticing an irregularity.

    I don't think it would have occurred to me to allow it to be played with an ace having been exposed. I certainly don't think it's Ai or that 16A1d applies. It seems like it's 16D we should be looking to.

  • Why are you saying North did not commit an infraction? The mere act of going to the previous table where he can see which hand is dummy and what is on the right is why we drum it into people that they must await the boards and not go looking for them. Some sort of procedural penalty for North in my view.

  • @TawVale said:
    Why are you saying North did not commit an infraction? The mere act of going to the previous table where he can see which hand is dummy and what is on the right is why we drum it into people that they must await the boards and not go looking for them. Some sort of procedural penalty for North in my view.

    There was a gap between the tables (courtesy of a pillar) and the boards were being thrown to about halfway between. Good point though,

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