[BLML] Misinformation and UI?

Eric Landau ehaa at starpower.net
Tue Aug 4 20:57:37 CEST 2009

On Aug 1, 2009, at 5:43 AM, Grattan wrote:

> From: "Sven Pran" <svenpran at online.no>
>> On Behalf Of Grattan
>>> (WBFLC minute, 24th august 1998)
>>>   "The Secretary drew attention to those who
>>> argued that where an action was stated in the laws
>>> (or regulations) to be authorized, other actions if
>>> not expressly forbidden were also legitimate. The
>>> Committee ruled that this is not so; the Scope of the
>>> Laws states that the laws define correct procedure
>>> and anything not specified in the laws is, therefore,
>>> 'extraneous' and it may be deemed an infraction
>>> of law if information deriving from it is used in the
>>> auction or play.".
>>> (Grattan)
>> The way I understand this minute is that it addresses
>> actions not explicitly allowed in the laws and considers
>> any information derived from such actions extraneous
>> and unauthorized, but only for the offending side. I
>> cannot see that this minute denies a non-offending
>> side any rights they otherwise have, for instance from
>> Law 73D1?
> +=+ The minute addressed the argument being made
> in 1998 that if something is not forbidden in the laws
> it is allowed. The WBFLC decision was of general
> application and established that for all players the use
> of such extraneous information is unlawful. It applied
> even before any other offence had occurred.  Positive
> authorization is required for a call or play to be lawfully
> based.
>       Law 16A1 applies generally, including before any
> offence has been committed, and Law 16A3 brings
> the 1998 decision into the law book in a specific
> statement.

I come late to this thread, but it is apparent that some folks are  
hung up on minuted minutia and have lost the overall picture.  Sven  
seems to be the one keeping the discussion on track.

It is patently both absurd and dangerous to argue that an infraction  
of law can result in the imposition of L16 UI constraints on the non- 
offending side.  Legal technicalities aside, this is nothing more  
than punishing players for their opponents' failure to follow the law.

Nobody doubts that players are entitled to correct information about  
the opponents' methods.  Nobody doubts that players are not entitled  
to know what an opponent thought his partner's call meant, whether or  
not it conformed to those methods.  But "entitled" means that if you  
don't have the information, you may request it and expect to be given  
it.  That's very different from "authorized", which means that if you  
do have it, you may use it (entitled or not).  Nothing in law or  
precedent, with the possible exception of the only arguably relevant  
minute Grattan cites, suggests that any information you have that was  
freely volunteered by your opponents can ever be unauthorized.

Grattan seems to think that if an opponent volunteers an incorrect  
explanation, and subsequently corrects it, the original explanation  
becomes UI for the NOS, which may then be subject to L16 constraints  
on the use of that information.  This is doubly absurd; it not only  
suggests that the OS could gain advantage by failing to make the  
subsequent correction, but also that the OS could gain advantage by  
offering the incorrect explanation in the first place, planning to  
correct it, thus insuring that their opponents will be constrained in  
adjudication from "taking advantage" of freely volunteered  
information that they otherwise might readily have chosen to act on  
(at their own risk).

Grattan's claims that his cited minute applies to *any* information  
not explicitly authorized in TFLB, including information revealed by  
an opponent's action.  So...

As I'm defending a deal, declarer exposes the HQ in his hand so I can  
see it (a procedural violation carrying no penalty).  If Grattan's  
interpretation stands, this is UI to me.  Doesn't that mean that if I  
now play declarer for the HQ, when would have been a perfectly  
logical alternative for me to play partner for it, I must, per L16C,  
make what I know to be the losing play, to avoid "using" the UI that  
declarer has it?  That is how UI works, ne?

How is that any different (with respect to the cited minute in  
particular) from, as I'm bidding a hand, an opponent tells me how he  
misinterpreted his partner's call.  If Grattan is right, then, with  
the situation reversed, I should volunteer such UI every chance I  
get!  Otherwise my opponents might decide from lesser, subtler clues  
(we call this "table feel") that I am having a misunderstanding, back  
their (correct) judgment, and punish me for it, whereas if I make it  
UI, the majesty of the law will prevent them from doing so and  
protect my score if they try.

Eric Landau
1107 Dale Drive
Silver Spring MD 20910
ehaa at starpower.net

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