[BLML] Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang [SEC=UNOFFICIAL]

richard.hills at immi.gov.au richard.hills at immi.gov.au
Thu May 20 03:46:58 CEST 2010

"Incremental change will not do. It is time for a wholesale,
big bang approach."
              ~ The Rt. Hon. Nick Clegg MP

Richard Hills:

In the 2010 film Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang, the
eponymous Nanny McPhee (Emma Thompson) noted:

"I hear you've been naughty."

Grattan Endicott:

+=+ I think we might begin by noting that dummy has violated
Law 43A1(c), but like ton I do not see any claim made by
declarer. Technically there is UI and a slightly tricky
decision for declarer, best solved perhaps by playing the
hand out and waiting to see if anyone is so bold as to
challenge the play.
       As declarer I might well choose to ignore West's
exposure of his cards.
                                         ~ Grattan ~   +=+

Richard Hills:

Yes, I agree with Grattan that dummy has been naughty.  But
in Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang the mother (Maggie
Gyllenhaal) noticed that her three children were fighting
with their two cousins, and decided to rectify the situation
by boiling some eggs.  It seems to me that Grattan's
proposed rectification is equally wishy-washy.

Rather, it seems to me that most relevant is Law 23:

"Whenever, in the opinion of the Director, an offender could
have been aware at the time of his irregularity that this
could well damage the non-offending side, he shall require
the auction and play to continue (if not completed). When
the play has been completed the Director awards an adjusted
score if he considers the offending side has gained an
advantage through the irregularity*.
* as, for example, by partner's enforced pass."

Richard Hills:

Dummy "could have been aware" that for some defenders it is
standard practice to expose their cards after declarer's
claim in order to check the accuracy of the claim.  Thus by
dummy falsely claiming this "could well damage" the
defending side by confusing them into creating penalty cards
which would not otherwise have been exposed.

So after completion of the play (6NT one off, due to the
penalty cards), as the Nanny McPhee TD I would use Law 23 to
adjust the score to 6NT two off and then big bang my Law 90
stick on dummy.

*     *     *

Law 68A, first sentence:

"Any statement to the effect that a contestant will win a
specific number of tricks is a claim of those tricks."


"Contestant - in a pair event, two players playing as
partners throughout the event; in a team event, four or more
players playing as team-mates.

Konrad Ciborowski:

There is no differentiation between the members of the

Richard Hills:

Two answers to this argument.  Firstly, reductio ad
absurdum.  If it is legal in a pair event for dummy to
claim, then it is equally legal in a team event for a team-
mate at the other table to claim at this table.

Secondly, the 2007 Introduction (part of the Laws) states:

"Where headings remain they do not limit the application of
any law, nor indeed does the omission of a cross-

so in Law 70A there is an omission of a cross-reference to
Law 43A1(c):

"Dummy must not participate in the play, nor may he
communicate anything about the play to declarer."

but that does not necessarily mean that the scope of Law
43A1(c) is limited by Law 70A.

WBF Laws Committee minutes, 8th September 2009, item 3:

"The committee was told of experience of a situation where
a player discovered at trick ten that he had held 14 cards
originally. The Director would have liked to redeal the
board. Referring again to the principle that a specific law
overrides a general law, the committee agreed that Law 13
must be applied and, if the board cannot be corrected and
played normally, an adjusted score awarded."

Richard Hills:

So the specific Law 43A1(c) over-rides the more general Law
70A.  What's the main problem?

Konrad Ciborowski:

This is, in principle, the main problem that plagues the
laws of bridge - the inability of the lawmakers to express
precisely what they want. This is the number one reason why
there are so many holes in the laws.

I have always claimed that the laws (of any kind) should be
written by logicians and/or computer programmers. The
powers that be would determine what they would like the
laws to say and leave the implementation to experts in the

Richard Hills:

Laws written by logicians and/or computer programmers???
It is no use having Laws written in super-precise language
if grass-roots TDs cannot understand that wonderful super-
precise language.  Much better would be translating the
Kaplanic English of the 2007 Lawbook to plain English in
the 2018 Lawbook.  So a better advisor to the 2018 Drafting
Committee would be an author of science textbooks for Texas
high schools.

Nigel Guthrie:

As Konrad says, the rules (laws + regulations) of Bridge
are unclear.

Richard Hills:

No, the Laws of Duplicate Bridge are 99% clear, but may be
wilfully misinterpreted by logicians and/or computer

Nigel Guthrie:

This spoils the game for players

Richard Hills:

No, 99% of the players could not care less about the Laws
of Duplicate Bridge.  Their game may be spoiled by an
incompetent Director's incorrect application of the Laws,
but that is a matter for the Tournament Organizer to
rectify with training and/or hiring a new Director.

Nigel Guthrie:

while permitting secretary birds enjoy endless arguments
about the legal interpretation of basic cases with agreed

Richard Hills:

Of course this list enjoy endless arguments, since that is
the prime purpose of this list.  But in real life at the
table successful Secretary Birds are few and far between.

Occasionally you will see a Secretary Bird intimidate the
opponents and give a ruling herself at the table.  But
when that Secretary Bird's infraction of Law 9B is noticed
by a competent Director, there will be a big bang and the
Director will apply Law 90 or Law 91 to the plucked and
f***ed Secretary Bird.

Nigel Guthrie:

The attempt to present the rules as flow-charts is a
welcome trend.

Richard Hills:

Yes and no.

If a flow chart of a Law was a translation of that Law,
then well and good.  But the semi-official EBU flow
charts omit very tiny but very important details, thus
encouraging EBU Directors to make unLawful rulings.

Nigel Guthrie:

But sophisticated and subjective laws are prone to
anomalies, no matter who writes them. IMO, the first step
is to unify and simplify the rules.

Richard Hills:

In one specific aspect the 1963 Lawbook was simpler than
the 1975 Lawbook.  Alcatraz Coups were legal under the
1963 Lawbook.  While the 1975 Lawbook included a big bang
_necessarily complicated_ Law to prohibit Alcatraz Coups.

Best wishes

Richard Hills, Aqua 5, workstation W550
Telephone: 02 6223 8453
Email: richard.hills at immi.gov.au
Recruitment Section & DIAC Social Club movie tickets

Important Notice: If you have received this email by mistake, please advise
the sender and delete the message and attachments immediately.  This email,
including attachments, may contain confidential, sensitive, legally privileged
and/or copyright information.  Any review, retransmission, dissemination
or other use of this information by persons or entities other than the
intended recipient is prohibited.  DIAC respects your privacy and has
obligations under the Privacy Act 1988.  The official departmental privacy
policy can be viewed on the department's website at www.immi.gov.au.  See:


More information about the Blml mailing list