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And Again Charlie's Choice

#1 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2024-January-13, 19:20


ChCh took advantage of an incomplete designation here at the North London club this week, or so SB claimed. West led the king of spades, which RR managed to duck and continued with another spade. RR called for "a top club" and paused when West played the jack. East, MM, had given count, as she always does. RR now said "And again" and ChCh immediately led the nine of clubs. With East having both red aces there was no defence.

SB was unhappy. "You participated in the play", he claimed. "RR would have led a top club and his words "and again" meant another top club, not another club."

ChCh was there. "RR specified a suit, by implication, but not a rank, so I played the lowest card," he responded.

How do you rule?
I prefer to give the lawmakers credit for stating things for a reason - barmar
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#2 User is offline   axman 

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Posted 2024-January-14, 06:35

View Postlamford, on 2024-January-13, 19:20, said:


ChCh took advantage of an incomplete designation here at the North London club this week, or so SB claimed. West led the king of spades, which RR managed to duck and continued with another spade. RR called for "a top club" and paused when West played the jack. East, MM, had given count, as she always does. RR now said "And again" and ChCh immediately led the nine of clubs. With East having both red aces there was no defence.

SB was unhappy. "You participated in the play", he claimed. "RR would have led a top club and his words "and again" meant another top club, not another club."

ChCh was there. "RR specified a suit, by implication, but not a rank, so I played the lowest card," he responded.

How do you rule?



PL>> RR called for "a top club" and paused when West played the jack. East, MM, had given count, as she always does. RR now said "And again"

L46B1a speaks to euphemism requiring the top club be played as "and again' commands the top club be played.

SB>> RR would have led a top club

Here SB has made an improvident controversy- drawing attention to CC interference. Improvident because it is a factually incorrect statement: in fact, RR led (45B) a top club (delineated above) while his allegation provided no facts in support of improper participation in the play ('would have' connotes that RR did not designate a card, while indeed having already designated the card CC could not have affected such designation).

Here, dummy's 'response' to 'and again' was to place in a played position a card other than declarer designated. An infraction to which 45D speaks. If remedy is sought prior to both sides playing to the next trick, the offending trick(s) is corrected as prescribed by 45D1. Otherwise (45D2) the play stands and continues.

As such, the disposition of the tricks depend upon the point in time remedy was sought.
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#3 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2024-January-15, 12:34

And that awful Law 46B yet again :(

I think it depends partly on whether "And again" is or not a frequent and accepted way of calling for a similar card from dummy in the NL club. If so then I agree with SB that it has to mean "And a top club again" rather than "a club". If not then it indicates neither suit nor rank and SB would surely be aware that he could designate a small diamond instead. In either case they were foolish to play on. Called at the end of the hand, I would let 3NT stand.
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#4 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2024-January-15, 14:07

View Postpescetom, on 2024-January-15, 12:34, said:

And that awful Law 46B yet again :(

I think it depends partly on whether "And again" is or not a frequent and accepted way of calling for a similar card from dummy in the NL club. If so then I agree with SB that it has to mean "And a top club again" rather than "a club". If not then it indicates neither suit nor rank and SB would surely be aware that he could designate a small diamond instead. In either case they were foolish to play on. Called at the end of the hand, I would let 3NT stand.

The point is that SB did not want to designate a small club. I don't think "and again" has any meaning at all, but if it does, then it means, "the same suit". I don't think SB can get declarer to play a high club, fatally. Even RR is able to work out that he should not argue his different intention was to play a high club.
I prefer to give the lawmakers credit for stating things for a reason - barmar
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#5 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2024-January-15, 15:39

View Postlamford, on 2024-January-15, 14:07, said:

The point is that SB did not want to designate a small club. I don't think "and again" has any meaning at all, but if it does, then it means, "the same suit". I don't think SB can get declarer to play a high club, fatally. Even RR is able to work out that he should not argue his different intention was to play a high club.


And again is pretty clearly the same as the last designation ie high club when you have more high clubs. If the club holding was Kxx it would be lowest, if it was AKx/KQx it would be the other honour.

The caveat about timing applies.
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#6 User is offline   jillybean 

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Posted 2024-January-15, 22:35

Hold on, are we making up our own laws?
law 46 tells us how declarer is to designate a card from dummy.

A. Proper Form for Designating Dummy’s Card When calling for a card to be played from dummy declarer should clearly state both the suit and the rank of the desired card.

"Another One" is an Invalid and Incomplete Designation.

46B5 applies here
If declarer indicates a play without designating either a suit or a rank (as by saying ‘play anything’ or words of like meaning) either defender may designate the play from dummy.
"And no matter what methods you play, it is essential, for anyone aspiring to learn to be a good player, to learn the importance of bidding shape properly." MikeH
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#7 User is offline   smerriman 

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Posted 2024-January-15, 22:54

'And again' is incontrovertible to me, with again referring to what was just stated / what just occurred. I cannot fathom anyone interpreting it as anything else, nor anyone stating it intending to mean something else.
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#8 User is online   sfi 

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Posted 2024-January-16, 00:08

View Postlamford, on 2024-January-13, 19:20, said:

How do you rule?

3NT-1 on the continuation of another top club as declarer asked for. IMO declarer's intention was incontrovertible, so we don't need to go any further in Law 46B.

My only question is whether we award North a penalty for violating correct procedure, and I'm fairly likely to do that unless it is clear that it is an innocent mistake from a novice player. In that case the penalty comes in the form of a teaching moment rather than a score adjustment.
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#9 User is offline   shyams 

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Posted 2024-January-16, 04:27

I think this example posted by lamford is both interesting and useful.

If such a situation did arise in real life (it may well have), perhaps the TD should refer it to their national boards for clarification. For example, the EBU has a "White Book" (for use by Directors) and examples like this one may deserve inclusion (with notes) for the benefit of all TDs.

Agree with Jillybean that the designation is incorrect and must not stand. Additionally, I believe ChCh's play (and his attempt to justify it) is invalid.

Having said that, the corrective action is not so straightforward. Ideally a TD would have asked RR to properly designate a card. However, by now, ChCh's action may well have alerted RR to the problem and may lead to RR designating a low card. E/W definitely deserve redress (but I don't know under what Law).
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#10 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2024-January-16, 09:22

There seem to be two schools of thought. One is that "and again" means "another high club". The other is that it has no meaning. If the former then a high club is played. If the latter, RR gets to choose.
I prefer to give the lawmakers credit for stating things for a reason - barmar
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#11 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2024-January-16, 09:25

I mean, the answer is to invalidate Law 46B, and make any call that isn't 45A invalid and dummy doesn't do anything.

Given that the chance of that actually happening - or being followed even if the Law was changed; or being enforced more than a week longer than it took for the first "name player" getting frustrated by this "stupidity" and griping to the local equivalent of the ACBL BoD - is about that of me becoming Prime Minister of Canada, we have to deal with 46B hopefully catching most of the usual cases.

And if you choose to use your "rights" under Law 46B and make an "incomplete or invalid designation", you have chosen to let the Director interpret your intention (using the numbered examples as guidance) if the opponents (or in this case, dummy) have a different interpretation. If you have a problem with that, see my first paragraph for the simple answer that takes the TD out of the equation.

Here I agree with most, declarer's intention was incontrovertible. If the Chimp has a problem with it, he should teach the Rabbit to call all the cards specifically (but we all know that won't solve the problem the Chimp has with RR's designations :-).

I'm reminded of all the "club" becoming "it's obvious he's running the suit and meant high club". If any of those fly (and they do, more often than I would like, but official case studies rule), "and another" can't mean "it's obvious he's safety-playing against the 4-1 break and meant low club" - anyone who wanted to do that would have made it clear - "*low* club" or "8, please".
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#12 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2024-January-16, 13:51

View Postlamford, on 2024-January-16, 09:22, said:

There seem to be two schools of thought. One is that "and again" means "another high club". The other is that it has no meaning. If the former then a high club is played. If the latter, RR gets to choose.

In both cases the defence should not have played to it, as I pointed out.

If they only complained after the hand I see no basis to modify the score.
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#13 User is offline   shyams 

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Posted 2024-January-16, 20:02

View Postmycroft, on 2024-January-16, 09:25, said:

I mean, the answer is to invalidate Law 46B, and make any call that isn't 45A invalid and dummy doesn't do anything.

I think this is impractical for most in-person bridge tournaments. I haven't played much in-person bridge in the past decade; when I played in the '00s & '10s, I can assure you that almost all vocalised designations were "incomplete".

If a kibitzer was hearing me declare (but not seeing the actual cards), he would hear "top", "low spade", "low", "ruff", "low club", "top", "low trump" etc. as the designation over 90% of the times. I don't think my designations are unusual; most players I knew used similar designations to play from dummy.

A huge advantage of the incomplete designations is that players at adjacent tables get very little information vs. if declarer calls out "club Ace", "spade 2", "spade 4", "heart 2", "club 3", "diamond Ace", "heart 7" for the same tricks as above (hearts are trumps).
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#14 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2024-January-17, 08:53

Did you stop reading after the first line? or just stop quoting?

Yes, I know. Yes, the lawmakers know. That's why Law 46B exists. That's why Law 46B is (by and large) a good thing.

But the responsibility you take, when you choose to take advantage of it, is that if there is a question, the director will determine what you called for. If your intent was incontrovertible, the director will be able to see it and you get what you intended (but on the other hand, the defenders will almost never question). If not, and the director requires you to do something "I never would have done, do you even *play* bridge?" - well, L45A tells you how you could have avoided the problem. You choose not to do that? For whatever reason? Oh well; won't be the biggest mistake you make today. But it will be *your* mistake, no matter what your friends say in the bar after.

There is exactly one person I know of that consistently L45As - and it isn't me. It bites me about half as often as I establish my revoke - and I have an issue where I know what I want, but the mouth switches clubs and spades. Oh well; there was something I could have done, too.
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#15 User is offline   jillybean 

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Posted 2024-January-17, 09:47

snow day
Law 46 clearly tells us how declarer is to call a card from dummy, by suit and rank.
I quickly learned from the better players that it was uncool to do this, “play” , “spade” , “yep” was what the better players did and so we quickly adopted this too.
I don't disagree with it, it speeds up the play, and as shyams says, it prevents the adjacent table from getting a preview of dummy.

The laws support Declarer when he says “play”,“yep” when following suit, he is asking for the lowest card, “win it” means win the trick with the lowest rank possible, when declarer is leading from dummy “spade” indicates the lowest spade. It's incontrovertible.

In my mind, “and again” here means a top club however its unconventional enough to provide dummy an opportunity to participate in the play. Dummy plays a low club, declarer immediately realizes he should have played a low club so of course when the opponents object, declarer can now say, well of course I wanted a low club.

This may now become a subjective decision for the Director and another situation of no risk to the offending side. If you accidentally or deliberately break the laws it's likely that you won't get an unfavourable ruling and if you do, it was worth a try.

Apply Law 46 and declarer will soon clean up their method of designating cards from dummy.
The application of the laws is too fuzzy for my liking.
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#16 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2024-January-17, 10:21

Yes, I think the posted case is interesting. Again, thank you Lamford for your work bringing these holes in the Laws to light.

Yes, in isolation, this is another "no-risk play".

But again, Directors aren't stupid (despite what we are told on a daily basis), and rarely is anything "in isolation". There's history, and habit, and recognition, and reputation.

I mean you even see it in the first sentence of the posted case. You don't even have to get to the verb to know that this is going to be a story about "barely ethical expert manipulating how the game plays to help his (clearly oblivious) partner do the right thing". Someone's telling a story about the Chimp, what other kind of story would he be telling (at least, when the Chimp isn't in the room)? You know it, I know it, Lamford knows it, surely the other members of the North London Club know it in spades. And, you know? Even Oscar the Owl knows it, birdbrain though he may be.

And the thing about reputation? It affects all those "no-risk plays", and even some with risk. Something that you or I might get the benefit of the doubt on the Chimp, or the person that told me (knowing who I was and going to a tournament I was directing next month) that "if you're not using partner's explanations, you're leaving matchpoints on the table" - won't. They'll lose a lot more rolls of those "no-risk" dice than the average player, sometimes even if in this case they're telling the straight and honest truth. They just have a higher bar to clear, due to their past manipulations and line-riding/crossing.

And, of course, my comment on that other case also applies: "I assume the first words the Director utters at the Discipline Committee hearing are 'he did this exact thing 15 months ago'" (in that case, because the first words I said reading the case was "didn't he pull that same stunt last year?") Make enough of these "no-risk plays", and you find the risk starts with L90 and eventually the Director keeps reading (frequently via referrals to said Discipline Committee).

I do in fact know several players who have been disinvited from clubs either for a time or permanently for behaviour that was mostly "no-risk" - in isolation at least.
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#17 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2024-January-17, 13:59

This is a judgement ruling, so the table needs to be told of their right to appeal it (Law 83). As to the actual ruling, I hate to agree with SB, but "and again" in this context to me means "play another top club". I would so rule, citing Law 46B1a.
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#18 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2024-January-17, 15:42

View Postshyams, on 2024-January-16, 20:02, said:

If a kibitzer was hearing me declare (but not seeing the actual cards), he would hear "top", "low spade", "low", "ruff", "low club", "top", "low trump" etc. as the designation over 90% of the times. I don't think my designations are unusual; most players I knew used similar designations to play from dummy.

I can certainly imagine worse, I don't think those designations raise particular problems.

Our players are an anarchic bunch, but surprisingly they are even more consistent here: basically they say either "spades" (to indicate a low spade) or "king of spades" (as Law "requires"). A few will say "ruff" or "ruff with king", but even that would be frowned on by some opponents. Nobody ever calls for "top" or "high" without rank, perhaps because it sounds odd in Italian however you phrase it - a few will say "play an honour", but only when they are equivalent.

View Postjillybean, on 2024-January-17, 09:47, said:

Law 46 clearly tells us how declarer is to call a card from dummy, by suit and rank.
I quickly learned from the better players that it was uncool to do this, “play” , “spade” , “yep” was what the better players did and so we quickly adopted this too.

I quickly learned that "spades" meaning the lowest spade was better accepted and unambiguous, so accepted that.
Never been confronted with "play" let alone "yep", I would call the TD on both (46B5 and 45D/43A( c) respectively).


View Postjillybean, on 2024-January-17, 09:47, said:

I don't disagree with it, it speeds up the play, and as shyams says, it prevents the adjacent table from getting a preview of dummy.

I do disagree with it, and even disagree that it speeds up play significantly: saying "Jack of hearts" instead of "hearts" takes maybe half a second more (often compensated by less hesitation on dummy side).

I'm also not convinced by the "adjacent table overhearing rank" argument. Yes we have people (as in all the world) who would cheerfully listen to the next table, but even if (as in our case) it is normal to call out the top honours I doubt it would often help much for a (multitasking) player at next table to form a picture of the hands and contract. And it must be so much easier just to listen for the final result.

View Postmycroft, on 2024-January-16, 09:25, said:

Given that the chance of that actually happening - or being followed even if the Law was changed; or being enforced more than a week longer than it took for the first "name player" getting frustrated by this "stupidity" and griping to the local equivalent of the ACBL BoD - is about that of me becoming Prime Minister of Canada, we have to deal with 46B

Maybe. I hear you on the griping and the the cowardliness of RAs, but that's no reason not to write a better law or attempt to enforce it. I have other windmills to tilt and could live with a compromise here: maybe two legal ways to denominate, suit and rank or suit indicating lowest rank?
I can't live with a law that mandates a procedure and then specifies alternatives.
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#19 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2024-January-17, 16:37

The wording of Law 46B should be changed: "If you don't want to follow Law 46A you can instead..."
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#20 User is offline   jillybean 

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Posted 2024-January-17, 17:56

:)
"And no matter what methods you play, it is essential, for anyone aspiring to learn to be a good player, to learn the importance of bidding shape properly." MikeH
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