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Claims again

Poll: Claims law reform (6 member(s) have cast votes)

WBF claims law should be clarified and simplified

  1. Adopting basic BBO online protocol, as suggested below (1 votes [16.67%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 16.67%

  2. Some other way (please specify) (2 votes [33.33%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 33.33%

  3. The law is substantially OK, as it is. (3 votes [50.00%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 50.00%

  4. Other (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

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#1 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2020-October-06, 10:09

View Postjandrew, on 2020-October-06, 08:58, said:

When declarer claims, she can see only her hand and that of dummy. Only you, as an opposition player, can see all four hands and make an appropriate decision about accepting/rejecting the claim. As long as you make no comment which might help declarer, she is in no better position to make the best play when you reject her claim and force her to play.Of course, she should have announced her line of play when claiming and, in theory, if she does not, a director may determine a worse line of play - thus disadvantaging declarer for having made an unexplained claim. Accordingly, declarer should never get an advantage by claiming.
I agree with JAndrew but go further. IMO, the WBF should adopt the basic BBO on-line rule: Declarer claims by facing his hand and specifying a number of tricks. Defenders dispute the claim by playing on until satisfied.

Players would need to be wary of declarers who embark on fishing expeditions. e.g. Claiming with a 2-way finesse for the queen of trumps, hoping to judge which defender has it, from their reactions. This seems to be more of problem in theory than in practice -- and might even justify a director call.

Among the advantages of this rule change are ...
  • Simpler, fairer, and easier to understand.
  • Encourages claims.
  • Consistent rulings avoid dispute and controversy. (Under current rules, top players often make inadequate claim statements, perhaps because of language or other communication problems. These engender dispute and controversy, whatever the director ruling).

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#2 User is online   mycroft 

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Posted 2020-October-06, 10:26

Isn't that what we have now, with the change in the law (except for requiring a claim statement, which should in fact be kept, thanks?)

If the opponents, for reasons only known to themselves, wish to play on, they're allowed to (I guess unless dummy thinks it will be worse for their side than calling the TD to adjudicate, but whatever). Otherwise, a TD call is performed.

Oh, you actively want to drop the claim statement. That biases in favour of the claimer. Not sure that's something I want to do. Plus, in real life, that means that I claim "5 tricks" playing the crossruff, but because if I pull the last trump or lead the (losing) heart so they can, they get another one, they stubbornly play on until the end. Or, the "what about my heart?" "that's the trick I'm giving you" which again, doesn't happen until the last trick. Or "I don't get my spade?" (no, it goes on the third club, but we'll have to play through three tricks to show it.) Plus "sorry, the hand's over for me, I sometimes misplay when I'm 'going through the motions', I don't want to do that", and "Hey, if we force him to 'go through the motions' all the time, he might make a mistake", or "No, we weren't slow, he was playing all the hands (to trick 13, instead of claiming after several claims were 'played through to 13' by the opponents, so it's clear it's not worth it).

Yeah, "make a claim statement, get the TD over to adjudicate, learn to 'full disclosure' your claim statements, it might help you in your 'full disclosure' auction and carding explanations" much better.
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#3 User is online   blackshoe 

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Posted 2020-October-06, 10:35

View Postnige1, on 2020-October-06, 10:09, said:

Under current rules, top players often make inadequate claim statements, perhaps because of language or other communication problems.

No. The cases where language or other communication problems result in inadequate claim statements are far outweighed by players just being too damn lazy to state their line of play.
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#4 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2020-October-06, 11:06

View Postblackshoe, on 2020-October-06, 10:35, said:

No. The cases where language or other communication problems result in inadequate claim statements are far outweighed by players just being too damn lazy to state their line of play.


They also have an evident interest not to state their line of play, which they might have not fully analysed or might have wrongly analysed or might wrongly express. I think nige1 just didn't want to labour this point.
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#5 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2020-October-06, 12:42

View Postmycroft, on 2020-October-06, 10:26, said:

Isn't that what we have now, with the change in the law (except for requiring a claim statement, which should in fact be kept, thanks?)

If the opponents, for reasons only known to themselves, wish to play on, they're allowed to (I guess unless dummy thinks it will be worse for their side than calling the TD to adjudicate, but whatever). Otherwise, a TD call is performed.

No, that is already two major differences from what we have now in f2f: not requiring a claim statement, not offering the option of a TD call.

View Postmycroft, on 2020-October-06, 10:26, said:

Oh, you actively want to drop the claim statement. That biases in favour of the claimer.

Online, I think a claim statement is a non-starter. It requires an active (and expensive) human director to be "fairly" evaluated, and such evaluation still leads often to misease.
F2F, I'm not convinced by nige1's solution, I find it even harder to see why someone should risk a claim in an important event against untrusted opponents.

View Postmycroft, on 2020-October-06, 10:26, said:

Yeah, "make a claim statement, get the TD over to adjudicate, learn to 'full disclosure' your claim statements, it might help you in your 'full disclosure' auction and carding explanations" much better.

I agree with you in principle, but why should I take the risk of making a claim that may be flawed when I am capable of taking the tricks I claimed?
The other day I had a -273C 7NT where I took trick 1 with the A and claimed to save time, stating that "I have seven hearts, four diamonds and also the A which isn't even necessary". Opponents accepted but I then realised that the A was actually necessary :unsure:
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#6 User is online   mycroft 

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Posted 2020-October-06, 14:00

But he said that in cases where the "claim" pinpoints the two-way queen guess or the 5-0 trump break, the TD should be called. So obviously, the TD can still be called to adjudicate the claim.

And I almost always have a claim statement even online - it might be "knock out A", or "not playing trump :-)", but it's there. Especially if the claim is not for all the tricks, because of the issue with V3 claims covering the trick boxes.
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#7 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2020-October-06, 16:07

View Postpescetom, on 2020-October-06, 12:42, said:

I agree with you in principle, but why should I take the risk of making a claim that may be flawed when I am capable of taking the tricks I claimed?
In practice, most on-line boards end with a claim. Simple claim rules seem to encourage claims and speed up the game :)
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#8 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2020-October-07, 06:36

View Postnige1, on 2020-October-06, 16:07, said:

In practice, most on-line boards end with a claim. Simple claim rules seem to encourage claims and speed up the game.

Agreed. But that's partly (maybe even largely) because the de facto standard of no claim statement works to declarer's advantage, as mycroft and others have pointed out. Often people will agree to a claim without really checking or understanding, to gain time or to avoid embarassment or out of sheer laziness.

As said on other occasions, for online play I am not against the BBO mechanism but I think we could do better. One radical alternative might be an "autoplay" button for declarer which once pressed automatically ends play: the system plays out the remaining cards following a simple and well known algorithm against which it defends double dummy. Possible refinements might be different levels of algorithm for different levels of competition and a small bonus for saving time (either in terms of points or a credit of think time).
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#9 User is offline   pran 

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Posted 2020-October-07, 06:50

View Postpescetom, on 2020-October-07, 06:36, said:

Agreed. But that's partly (maybe even largely) because the de facto standard of no claim statement works to declarer's advantage, as mycroft and others have pointed out. Often people will agree to a claim without really checking or understanding, to gain time or to avoid embarassment or out of sheer laziness.

As said on other occasions, for online play I am not against the BBO mechanism but I think we could do better. One radical alternative might be an "autoplay" button for declarer which once pressed automatically ends play: the system plays out the remaining cards following a simple and well known algorithm against which it defends double dummy. Possible refinements might be different levels of algorithm for different levels of competition and a small bonus for saving time (either in terms of points or a credit of think time).

An automatic autoplay whenever there is a claim sounds very sensible (provided the implementation is according to law and reasonable for both sides)!
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#10 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2020-October-07, 08:06

View Postpescetom, on 2020-October-07, 06:36, said:

Agreed. But that's partly (maybe even largely) because the de facto standard of no claim statement works to declarer's advantage, as mycroft and others have pointed out. Often people will agree to a claim without really checking or understanding, to gain time or to avoid embarassment or out of sheer laziness.
With the basic on-line protocol, defenders can easily dispute a doubtful claim by playing on until satisfied. F2F, unless declarer agrees, they would have to call the director. That is slower, entails more hassle, and often results in inconsistent and contentious rulings. Hence, F2F, declarers usually get away with illegal claims.

View Postpescetom, on 2020-October-07, 06:36, said:

As said on other occasions, for online play I am not against the BBO mechanism but I think we could do better. One radical alternative might be an "autoplay" button for declarer which once pressed automatically ends play: the system plays out the remaining cards following a simple and well-known algorithm against which it defends double dummy. Possible refinements might be different levels of algorithm for different levels of competition and a small bonus for saving time (either in terms of points or a credit of think time).
An excellent suggestion. Unfortunately, impracticable with the current version of GIB, which often chooses misère lines. Or is Pescetom referring to an existing well-known algorithm, which GIB could easily implement? It would probably improve the play of most of us :)


Anyway, the OP suggestion was for a universal law change that would radically simplify the rules for both f2f and on-line Bridge.
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#11 User is offline   shyams 

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Posted 2020-October-07, 09:07

I could think of an alternative suggestion which might address the problem.

BBO already has the claim testing logic which is in use (and very effective) when one plays against bots.

Why not implement a variant, whereby when declarer makes a claim (at any table with human players) the defenders can see the claim in a colour coded box. For example, if the claim box turns GREEN, then the bot logic says claim is good; RED, then bot logic says reject; AMBER, then defenders better check carefully or ask for clarification.
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#12 User is online   mycroft 

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Posted 2020-October-07, 09:08

In practise, most FTF hands end with a claim, too. And frequently they're as "simple" as the online ones. It's the ones that aren't that are the problem, either way.
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#13 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2020-October-07, 09:19

View Postnige1, on 2020-October-07, 08:06, said:

An excellent suggestion. Unfortunately, impracticable with the current version of GIB, which often chooses misère lines. Or is Pescetom referring to an existing well-known algorithm, which GIB could easily implement? It would probably improve the play of most of us :)[/size]

I was referring to a well-known algorithm in the sense that it would be published by WBF and be simple enough to be readily understood and not depend upon simulation or probabilistic calculations. The reason I said that it might be useful to have more than one level of algorithm is precisely to avoid it improving the play of anyone but the worst in the tournament (in which case curtailing play will still be merciful to opponents). At it's simplest, it could be the familiar (in some RAs) rule of playing off the remaining suits from top to bottom starting with trumps (if any) and then in order of denomination. For use at higher competitive levels it might have to offer some degree of competence in basic skills like unblocking a suit, taking cross ruffs etc. But still something rudimental enough that a player can reasonably envision what will happen and not be enticed to use it when he is unsure.

View Postnige1, on 2020-October-07, 08:06, said:


Anyway, the OP suggestion was for a universal law change that would radically simplify the rules for both f2f and on-line Bridge.


But as I said, I don't believe it is always possible to have the same law for f2f and on-line. Some things are not even relevant in one or the other play mode, and other things (like curtailing trivial play) may require quite different solutions. I think the way forwards is to have a core of laws augmented by an actuation module for each play mode (f2f, screens, on-line, tablet). Obviously by far the most complex module would be for f2f, on-line is quite simple in comparison. But the f2f module is basically just a clean-up of the existing laws whereas on-line has yet to be written.
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#14 User is offline   axman 

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Posted 2020-October-07, 09:55

View Postnige1, on 2020-October-06, 10:09, said:

I agree with JAndrew but go further. IMO, the WBF should adopt the basic BBO on-line rule: Declarer claims by facing his hand and specifying a number of tricks. Defenders dispute the claim by playing on until satisfied.
Players would need to be wary of Declarers who embark on fishing expeditions. e.g. Claiming with a 2-way finesse for the queen of trumps, hoping to judge which defender has it, from their reactions. This seems to be more of problem in theory than in practice -- and might even justify a director call. Among the advantages of this rule change are ...
  • Simpler, fairer, and easier to understand.
  • Encourages claims.
  • Consistent rulings avoid dispute and controversy. (Under current rules, top players often make inadequate claim statements, perhaps because of language or other communication problems. These engender dispute and controversy, whatever the director ruling).


I think that the correct and best view is that it is an irregularity to claim. There is an inference from the rules that it can be possible to determine the outcome by force before T13; further, that there is no harm in doing so as long as it is done perfectly. When not done perfectly great harm is the result. As such, players should not be given permission to claim, but there is a situation which justifies holding them harmless if they do; and correspondingly, the necessity for remedies should they not.

As written, following L68-71 is so horrid that no one remedies a disputed claim in faithful accordance with them. In other words, law ought to be written so that the result is satisfactory when followed. And the horrid construction of claim adjudication well justifies fixing- yet since everyone does as they please anyway to what end is there in fixing it?
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#15 User is online   mycroft 

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Posted 2020-October-07, 11:43

View Postaxman, on 2020-October-07, 09:55, said:

As written, following L68-71 is so horrid that no one remedies a disputed claim in faithful accordance with them. In other words, law ought to be written so that the result is satisfactory when followed. And the horrid construction of claim adjudication well justifies fixing- yet since everyone does as they please anyway to what end is there in fixing it?

That's a bold statement, and I think requires evidence of "no one remedies a disputed claim in faithful accordance" with the Laws. I've adjudicated hundreds of claims, and I don't think I didn't follow the rules very often, and they aren't that hard to follow (sure, actually working out what has to happen is sometimes difficult; having RAs that provide guidelines for ruling claims (like "trumps are played from the top, but declarer is deemed to play suits in whichever order (trumps or non-trumps) is worst for him, if he's deemed to have forgotten the trump") helps, and I wish there were more).

Also, it's really only L70 that related to disputed claims (at the time - 71, 69B, even 68D2b - deal with disputes after the fact).

WRT your "it should be an infraction to claim" sentence:
In a normal club session: 10 tables play 25 boards (okay, it's 24 or 27. But the numbers are easier). 250 hands get played. About half of them end in a claim. About 10% of those the defenders dispute at the first level ("What about the club?" (goes on the spades) "you mean I don't get my Ace?" (no, I'm giving that to you) "I can't see it" (moves about three cards, makes it clearer). "But I have the A" (Oh yeah, right, forgot about that. You get it.") On an average session, there are one, maybe two claims that trigger a director call, and probably half of those are resolved by the TD asking for the claim statement (70B1), asks for the objection (70B2) and restates the valid claim in a way that the opponents get it - and walks away. If we make it an irregularity to claim, then all 125 of those, not just the 15, or the 2 that get a TD call, take up all the time it takes to play out a claimer. And 8 rounds of 3 take 4 hours. This is not an improvement.

Maybe one a *month*, in a club running 4-6 sessions a week, gets to a ruling that is enough of a problem that people hear about it in serious (meaning, not just 'look what the TD screwed me out of today' at the bar, but actually a real, legitimate dispute). Out of the millions of hands that get claimed in the club and tournaments a year, maybe 20, maybe as much as 50, lead to "discuss on the forums, and have actual good arguments on two different sides, about it" level. Definitely the waste of time playing claimers to 13 over millions of hands a year is not an improvement.
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#16 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2020-October-07, 13:34

View Postnige1, on 2020-October-06, 10:09, said:

Under current rules, top players often make inadequate claim statements, perhaps because of language or other communication problems. These engender dispute and controversy, whatever the director ruling)

View Postblackshoe, on 2020-October-06, 10:35, said:

No. The cases where language or other communication problems result in inadequate claim statements are far outweighed by players just being too damn lazy to state their line of play.

View Postpescetom, on 2020-October-06, 11:06, said:

They also have an evident interest not to state their line of play, which they might have not fully analysed or might have wrongly analysed or might wrongly express. I think nige1 just didn't want to labour this point.
Whatever the reason, most claim statements are illegal or inadequate. That is an argument for changing current claim law if we can find an acceptable replacement. IMO that replacement should be simple, fair, and encourage claims. It would snip endless threads, in Bridgwinners and elsewhere, disputing inconsistent and incomprehensible rulings :) Simpler clearer laws would make the game more fun :)
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#17 User is online   blackshoe 

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Posted 2020-October-07, 15:39

View Postnige1, on 2020-October-07, 13:34, said:

Whatever the reason, most claim statements are illegal or inadequate. That is an argument for changing current claim law if we can find an acceptable replacement. IMO that replacement should be simple, fair, and encourage claims. It would snip endless threads, in Bridgwinners and elsewhere, disputing inconsistent and incomprehensible rulings :) Simpler clearer laws would make the game more fun :)

Counterargument: when people fail to do what the laws require them to do, they should incur a procedural penalty. They don't. You want simpler clearer laws? Eliminate all procedural and disciplinary penalties. What the heck, TDs don't issue them anyway.
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#18 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2020-October-22, 07:58

View Postblackshoe, on 2020-October-07, 15:39, said:

Counterargument: when people fail to do what the laws require them to do, they should incur a procedural penalty. They don't. You want simpler clearer laws? Eliminate all procedural and disciplinary penalties. What the heck, TDs don't issue them anyway.

Blackshoe has often pointed out that
  • Directors won't impose procedural and disciplinary penalties.
  • If they started to do so, the game would be fairer and better.

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#19 User is online   mycroft 

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Posted 2020-October-22, 10:58

View Postmycroft, on 2020-October-07, 11:43, said:

That's a bold statement, and I think requires evidence of "no one remedies a disputed claim in faithful accordance" with the Laws.

Just a (very belated) note that akwoo did in fact make this argument, to me, in private. He definitely has a point, that the way L70 (especially the last sentence of L70A) has been repetitively rewritten means that if read literally, there are no actual paths to take for a majority of claims.

Reading it the way it is obvious to read, however ("The director proceeds as follows:" == "The director shall consider the following rectifications to specific cases as 'equitable'" or something like that, but not exhaustive), what happens in the real world is that L70A is applied to all claims.

I just wanted to acknowledge that there is a serious point I, too, had glossed over, because "we all know what it means". I should pass it up to the people working on 2027 (and grumble about the fact that the process should be changed so that at least, there is a review for revision a year after release; "mistakes" and "misreadings" shouldn't have to be dealt with for 10 years just because we missed it before day X. I would prefer a 'review' annually, of course ("No critical failures? Good. You're hearing people misunderstand LawX? Have others heard that? Yes? Okay, let's kick around a rephrasing that will get the point across, or issue a Laws Commission 'explainer' that removes the misunderstanding. Anything else? See you next year.") , though the full restructure every 10 years is fine).
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