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Simple way to speed up the online game Law 44 H

#1 User is offline   McBruce 

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Posted 2021-June-16, 12:19

Only directing online bridge, where we are always watching the last table when everyone else is done, would reveal this flaw in the Laws that can be repaired with a simple addition to Law 44:

Law 44 H: When a declarer plays to the end without claiming and wins three or more consecutive tricks ending on trick twelve, leaving a position where the card led to trick thirteen can be won by either defender, declarer's trick twelve is awarded to the opponents for timewasting.

In another piece, I called this the FIFA squeeze, because of the way it resembles the final stages of any international football match where one side (or both sides) has the result it needs. Here is an actual example from a Virtual Game:

Dummy: void AKJ85 J8642 854

Declarer: AKQJ6543 Q T53 A

Declarer opened 4, played there, and got a trump lead. By overtaking the queen of hearts declarer gets three hearts, a club, and eight spades. Can you make all the tricks for an even better matchpoint score?

Many players thought so. Over and over again I saw people pull trumps, cash the ace of clubs, pitch two diamonds on the hearts after overtaking, and then when the outstanding seven hearts failed to break 3-3, they ruffed a club back to hand and played out all of the spades one by one, hoping two defenders who know 100% which card declarer has left at the end, would find a way to part with three winners. The FIFA Squeeze!

(Real squeezers will simply win and run nine black suit winners and see if the defender with five hearts to the ten or nine is awake. That at least is a squeeze that has a reasonable chance of success. To avoid being bitten by Law 44 H you simply claim the rest when you overtake the queen of hearts and see if the claim is contested.)

In offline bridge someone usually whispers "we know what your last card is" or a defender will show declarer his winner and say "I am keeping this one," preventing the loss of several minutes. But in online bridge, every director has seen this happen and sometimes it even works when someone misclicks or the cat jumps on the keyboard or Amazon arrives with a delivery. Ghod knows if you adjust to the apparent result to keep things moving the declarer will claim that a ridiculous mistake was about to happen.

Law 44 H bites back at declarers who specialize in this tactic. It might not fly for offline bridge, but if the WBF ever updates its online rules, this is a must!
ACBL TD--got my start in 2002 directing games at BBO!
(Now directing on BBO again, nine Vancouver games a week)
Bruce McIntyre, Yamaha WX5 Roland AE-10G virtuoso-in-training
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#2 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2021-June-16, 13:54

I first heard this one from Don Mamula (at the other table, it was the midnights) as "memory squeeze".

Unfortunately we have one player in our city who plays *everything* to trick 13, slowly, even when he knows he has all 9 of the last 8 tricks. And then wonders why he's always the last table finished, or why his opponents are so annoyed, or why the reaction to his partner commenting on the time in the round when *we* have to think is - less than polite...
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#3 User is offline   McBruce 

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Posted 2021-June-16, 17:34

In the ACBL, the old remedies like showing declarer a card you intend to keep or even suggesting that the hand is an open book are potentially subject to Zero Tolerance if the FIFA Squeezer’s enjoyment of the game is impaired by common sense, another reason Law 44 H cannot be added soon enough…. :)
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Bruce McIntyre, Yamaha WX5 Roland AE-10G virtuoso-in-training
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#4 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2021-June-17, 08:49

View PostMcBruce, on 2021-June-16, 12:19, said:

In offline bridge someone usually whispers "we know what your last card is" or a defender will show declarer his winner and say "I am keeping this one," preventing the loss of several minutes.

When playing against people I know, I may send a private message to declarer "I'm not discarding the A". Unfortunately, I can't do this if the relevant card is in partner's hand.

#5 User is offline   McBruce 

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Posted 2021-June-23, 22:48

View Postbarmar, on 2021-June-17, 08:49, said:

When playing against people I know, I may send a private message to declarer "I'm not discarding the A". Unfortunately, I can't do this if the relevant card is in partner's hand.


There’s a question: why can’t you?

It’s not a false statement. You’re 100% not discarding the A!

If a FIFA-squeezer called the TD to complain that he had claimed all-but-one because RHO had private messaged him with “I’m not discarding the A” and it turned out that LHO had it, I would pretty much need LHO to admit that he forgot aces were high or something to adjust. :)
ACBL TD--got my start in 2002 directing games at BBO!
(Now directing on BBO again, nine Vancouver games a week)
Bruce McIntyre, Yamaha WX5 Roland AE-10G virtuoso-in-training
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#6 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2021-June-24, 09:17

View PostMcBruce, on 2021-June-23, 22:48, said:

There’s a question: why can’t you?

It’s not a false statement. You’re 100% not discarding the A!

It's a misleading statement. It strongly suggests you hold the A. You might well have been aware etc.
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#7 User is offline   McBruce 

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Posted 2021-June-24, 17:28

View Postpescetom, on 2021-June-24, 09:17, said:

It's a misleading statement. It strongly suggests you hold the A. You might well have been aware etc.


L73E2: If the Director determines that an innocent player has drawn a false inference from a question, remark, manner, tempo or the like, of an opponent who has no demonstrable bridge reason for the action, and who could have been aware, at the time of the action, that it could work to his benefit, the Director shall award an adjusted score.

The first argument is that the commenter clearly has a demonstrable bridge reason for making the comment: he would like to have enough time to play all the boards.

The second argument is that a private message is not something envisioned by this Law, and gives no UI to partner as a ‘question’, a ‘remark’, a ‘manner’ or a ‘tempo’ might. This makes it different than the four examples mentioned and thus logically removes ‘the like’ from consideration.

The third argument is that a player who is playing out winners with no reasonable expectation of having the opponents discard the cards that will win a remaining trick, and doing so very slowly, is certainly not an ‘innocent player’. L74B4 says so. So does L74C7.

The fourth argument is that even if you decide that the commenter has broken L73E2 or L74C3 or L73D2, in a FIFA squeeze case, adjusting the score requires that you adjust to what the likely result was going to be. Nobody’s getting a penalty trick here. If you insist on pointing out that the commenter has transgressed, to be fair you need to point out that prolonging play when the only hope is an obviously unintended misclick or three is also against the rules.
ACBL TD--got my start in 2002 directing games at BBO!
(Now directing on BBO again, nine Vancouver games a week)
Bruce McIntyre, Yamaha WX5 Roland AE-10G virtuoso-in-training
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