[BLML] 12A1 case or not?

Herman De Wael Hermandw at skynet.be
Tue Dec 22 18:35:03 CET 2009

A good argument is this one:

If you notice that you need to find the DQ, you start thinking of all 
the little clues that can give you a hint. You do not start thinking 
about a scoring error in the previous board.

I would not hesitate in telling this person that I believe he did it 
deliberately, but that since I cannot prove that to all satisfaction, I 
will simply rule that the board has become unplayable. I will give him a 
score based on him finding the queen 50% of the time (unless the field 
found it even less than that, and add a PP of, say, 20% for standing up 
in the middle of the board.

And I will tell him to never do it again, or else ...


Konrad Ciborowski wrote:
> Hi,
> Here is a case from the final of the Grand Prix Of Poland cycle.
> The level of the field is about as high as you get in this country,
> 16 top pairs who vied for qualification all year.
> The players involved in this incident are experts, First
> Division level though none of them has ever played on the
> national team.
> Matchpoints. Future declarer opens 14-16 1NT with a nice 16 count.
> Everyone passes and partner tables an 8 count. Few pairs play
> 1NT 14-16 in Poland so it looks that everyone else is in 3NT;
> dummy will invite game opposite 15-17 and opener
> will probably accept.
> The 3NT contract hinges on the diamond suit where you
> have 9 cards withouth the queen.
> In the middle of the play it dawns on declarer that the previous
> hand might have been miscored. He stands up to talk to
> his partner about the score of the previous board (screens
> are used so it is easier to speak when you stand) then
> sits down and the play of the current hand resumes. Declarer
> gets the diamonds right by finessing on the second round
> of the suit.
> The opponents object that declarer could have seen his screenmate's
> hand when he suddenly and unexpectadly stood up.
> Declarer assures that he saw nothing and explains that he didn't
> play diamonds for the drop because everyone else will be in 3NT
> so if diamonds are 2-2 he is headed for a bottom anyway.
> How do you rule?
> In principle it looks like a typical 12A1 case to me. Declarer
> violated L74C8. There is no specific rectification for violating
> this particular law this case seems to be covered by L12A1.
> The only problem that I have is that L12A1 is not a law of the
> "could have" type. It simply says that "The Director may award an
> adjusted score when he judges that these Laws do not
> provide indemnity to a non-offending contestant for
> the particular type of violation committed by an opponent"
> Now in order to provide indemnity you would have to determine
> that the opponents were damaged. Not that they _could have_
> been damaged but that indeed they were. In this case it seems that
> the rules require the TD to determine whether declarer did actually
> see his screenmate's hand or not. How is he supposed to do that?
> The declarer in question is a person with a very good reputation
> and there is little doubt about his honesty. The question is:
> should such things matter to the ruling? Because if they do then
> invariably it boils down to the TD saying "I trust you, sir, that you didn't
> see anything" or "in my opinion it is possible that you did
> see your opponent's hand and now you're lying to me".
> I really believe that the TD shouldn't be put in such
> a position to begin with. When somebody accidentally
> opens a traveller before playing the hand then we routinely
> give A- to the guy even if he swored by his mother's grave
> that he didn't see the hands and the scores.
> I would like the TD to rule in the same vein here but
> I'm not sure if the wording of L12A1 permits him to.
> I'd prefer L12A1 to contain words like "could have gained advantege"
> so that ruling on cases like this one be independent of
> the TD's personal opinion about the honest of the player in question.
> Or am I missing something?
> What is your ruling and why?
> Best regards,
> Konrad Ciborowski
> Kraków, Poland 
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