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Adjustments for fielding

by Jesper Dybdal, Naerum, Denmark, and David Stevenson


In the newsgroup, David Stevenson wrote:
If a misbid has been fielded then we adjudge it as "Red" and adjust the score to A+/A- (unless the NOs [non-offenders] have done better than A+ on the board).


In reply, Jesper Dybdal wrote:
On which basis in Law?

It seems to me that "fielded misbid" can be evidence of a concealed partnership understanding, which is a form of misinformation.

I might give an assigned adjusted score (Law 12C2), but only if the opponents were damaged by the misinformation. I might give a PP [procedural penalty] (and/or report the case to an Ethics Committee) for concealing a partnership understanding.

But I don't understand how the result can become A+/A-.


David Stevenson explained:
The general principle is that where a result is obtained at the table then a ruling of the sort A+/A- is unsuitable. Law 12C1 does not apply, but Law 12C2 does and a result must be assigned.

I see a lot of cases where a TD [Tournament Director] or AC [Appeals Committee] does not assign a score owing to idleness or ignorance. There are reports of ACs where there was a hesitation over 4H doubled, and partner pulled it to 4S. The AC then gives A+/A- saying that it was too difficult to work out what would have happened without the infraction. This is codswallop: without the infraction they would have defended 4H*, and if it could reasonably make 8, 9 or 10 tricks it should be ruled as 4H*= to give the balance of doubt to the NOs.

In the more enlightened areas of the world where Law 12C3 applies it might be ruled as 50% 4H*=, 50% 4H*-1. So there is no need for the use of A+/A- in this type of case. Certain authorities [including the ACBL] think it is legal: I don't, but that is not the main objection. It is unnecessary, so why do it?

It is considerably more difficult to assign when the auction has not started properly. Think to yourself of any four hands you like, and here is the auction:

1S Pass 2S

Suppose 1S is a psyche, and 2S fields it. This is illegal under Law 40A, so how do you rule?

Well, if you assign a score, the actual infraction is the psyche [read Law 40A and see why] so you have to assign a result assuming the 1S has not happened. Really, this is too difficult. Basically you are on a total guess with no real data.

The EBU decided many years ago because of this that they would produce a workable system, which is accepted and well-known in England and Wales. They assess each psyche according to a "traffic light code", Red is fielded, Amber is doubtful, Green is purer than the driven snow.

The hand is played out, and if it is judged to be Red then the NOs get A+ and the psyching side get A- less a standard PP, so in effect the board is scored as 60%-30%. If the NOs got more than 60% anyway then they keep their score. One Amber psyche does not get adjusted, but a second makes them all Red.

This is a matter of regulation, and is of somewhat doubtful legality. However, it is a practical, working, and acceptable regulation, and I commend it to other authorities.

Some years back it was realised that the fielding of Misbids could create similar problems, so we have Red, Amber and Green Misbids: the only difference is the PP is not applied, so a Red Misbid gets scored as 60%-40%.

Where we have such a regulation, published, known about, accepted, doing the job that is intended, and covering a situation that is difficult to apply the Law to accurately, I believe it is acceptable to follow it.


Editor's note:

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