[BLML] Effect of ACBL L12C1(e)(ii) language

Eric Landau ehaa at starpower.net
Thu Aug 20 15:41:24 CEST 2009

On Aug 19, 2009, at 8:00 PM, richard.hills at immi.gov.au wrote:

> Marvin French:
>>> The ACBL's illegal addition of "had the irregularity not occurred"
>>> to L12C1(e)(ii), OS score adjustment, had an effect on a recent
>>> club ruling here.
>>> In a competitive auction, a player jumped to 5D. LHO hesitated much
>>> more than is required, and RHO doubled with very doubtful values.
>>> The  contract went off one for -100, declarer having committed an
>>> extremely serious error (yes, for that class of player), when the
>>> contract was cold with rational play.
>>> The TD changed the result to -50/+50, but should have given the OS
>>> -550 (the most unfavorable result that was at all probable), since
>>> the serious error ought not to have been included in the OS score
>>> adjustment, per L12C1(b).
>>> But wait! "Had the irregularity not occurred," the result would
>>> have been -50/+50, so the ruling was correct in ACBL-land. Is this
>>> really what you want, Adam?
> Eric Landau:
>> I can't speak for Adam, but for myself, yes.
>> Why should -550 come into the picture when declarer went down
>> through no fault of the OS?
> Richard Hills:
> Why indeed?  Because the Laws say so.  Even in those Regulating
> Authorities which use Law 12C1(c) weighted scores, Law 12C1(b)
> specifies a split score when "the non-offending side has contributed
> to its own damage by a serious error (unrelated to the infraction)
> or by wild or gambling action".
> So for all Regulating Authorities, ACBL or otherwise, the correct
> club ruling in Marv's example would be NOS -50 and OS -550.
> Marvin French:
>>> Now it appears to me that the ACBL language conflicts with L12C1(b).
>>> If so, which law dominates?
> Eric Landau:
>> I don't see the conflict.  The NOS's "serious error (unrelated to the
>> infraction)" just cost them 600 points over and above the 50 they
>> recovered, and the OS received [-50 from the actual TD] "the score
>> that it would have been allotted as the consequence of its infraction
>> only" based on the result.
> [snip]
> Richard Hills:
> In my opinion, both the actual TD and also Eric have misinterpreted
> Law 12C1(b).  The illegal double of 5D by the OS caused negative
> damage to the NOS, improving the normal expectation of the NOS from
> +400 to +550.  Ergo, the normal consequence of the illegal OS double
> is a score of -550.  The final word of Law 12C1(b) is "only", so the
> OS gets "only" -550, no matter how badly the NOS subsequently (not
> consequently) mangles the play in 5Dx.
> Note that this 2007 Law 12C1(b) is a significant change from previous
> Kaplanesque views of "subsequent" and "consequent".  If a 1997 or
> earlier edition of The Fabulous Law Book had been in effect, Marv's TD
> (and Eric Landau) would have been correct to rule NOS -50 and OS +50.

Based on what I've learned from discussions in this forum, Richard  
seems to be entirely in accord with the WBFLC on this. The problem  
confronted by Marv, Adam and myself, among others, is that the ACBLLC  
sees things differently.  In the WBF's version of the lawbook, L12C1 
(e) essentially repeats the language of the previous L12C2, and L12C1 
(b) represents a significant addition to the specified protocol.  But  
the ACBLLC version has a substantively altered version of L12C1(e) 
(ii) (which adds the words "had the irregularity not occurred"),  
putting the protocol specification in L12C1(e)(ii) into apparent  
conflict with L12C1(b).

It's not entirely clear what the ACBLLC's motivation was, but there  
seems to be a broad-based assumption that ACBL officials are to  
continue to rule under the terms of an unchanged election (1997  
L12C3, 2008 L12C1(e)) -- an election which the ACBL justifiably  
considers "its own" -- unaffected by whatever changes the WBFLC has  
introduced into the protocol used by those who decline the election.

IOW, I think Marv and I are doing what our RA expects of us when we  
continue to rule on L12C cases as we would have under the 1997 laws,  
notwithstanding that practices elsewhere in the world, where the  
"ACBL election" isn't in force, have changed.

The ACBLLC, IMO, would be justified in assuming that the WBFLC, in  
making changes to the law outside of ACBLland, never intended to  
change the rules for the ACBL election, that the apparent conflict  
Richard notes between "our" L12C1(e) and L12C1(b) is an unintended  
consequence of insufficient or ineffective editing, and that by doing  
it as they always intended to they are following the intent of the  
authors, who included the election in TFLB, at their behest, just so  
they could.

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

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