Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Clarity of Revoke Laws and Offender's Obligations

Since we are on the topic of ethics lately, here's another one. A few months ago I posted about the one and only time I revoked, http://bridgemaniacs.blogspot.com/2010/06/catching-revoke.html. For the few of you who read this but not bridgeblogging.com, I'd like to direct you to an article about the 1983 Bermuda Bowl in which Zia "got away with" a revoke while playing for Pakistan against Sweden. http://cam.bridgeblogging.com/?p=568#comments

Personally, I don't care what the actual rule book says. If a clear error (all 4 players agree the wrong score was awarded) can be corrected, it should be corrected. If I were the director, equity would be restored for the revoke in both my case and Zia's even if it is not quite consistent with the laws. There must be some clause in the bridge laws that says common sense and reasonable morality takes precedence over some silly rules about how much time can pass before changing a score or who can/should bring attention to a revoke. I guess there should technically be some limit, but during the same session or in the break between that session and the next is certainly acceptable - just don't go trying to change a score 3 days later when everyone has left.

I also disagree that a player is not obligated to "draw attention to an infraction by one's own side." This seems rather inconsistent with the law that a player must announce any failures to alert or wrong alerts at the end of an auction (if on is the declaring side). While it is the opponents' fault for not catching the revoke, I don't think they should be obligated to be the ones to point it out. Bridge is kind of like golf and tennis - gentleman's games (at least it should be) where people are expected to conduct themselves with class and play honestly and police themselves for the most part.

1 comment:

  1. The discussion of revokes and rules naturally reminds me of a hand you and I defended a couple of weeks ago that your readers might find amusing. Declarer was in 4S, had drawn trumps and was now ready to attack the heart suit with J9x in the dummy and AQxx in her hand. She led the J from dummy and rode it around to my king ... of diamonds! Everyone at the table thought I played the king of hearts. I led to the next trick which declarer won in her hand. She got back to the dummy and led the small heart to her queen and my king (of hearts this time). She had a puzzled look when I played the heart king and said something to the effect of thinking that card had already been played. The next time she got in she led a low heart to dummy’s nine and your ten. This resulted in “losing” three tricks in her substantial heart suit and going down two.

    I called the director at the end of the hand and explained what had happened. “Did you win the revoking trick?” “Yes.” “Did you win a later trick?” “Yes.” “Two trick penalty then.” This penalty restored the result to what everyone else had on the hand – four spades making.

    This all seemed straight forward and equitable, but then a few days later I started thinking about the letter of the law, equity, and fair play.

    When you think about it, the answer to the question: “Did you win the revoking trick?” was NO. The diamond king does not beat the heart queen when spades are trump. What I actually did was revoke and then made a lead out of turn, which was accepted by declarer. So a one trick penalty which would mean down one, but would not restore equity? No. A one trick penalty would really mean the contract made, because even though everyone thought the contract was down two, it was only down one, since we really hadn’t won the trick with the diamond king.

    Here is where things get questionable. What if the declarer had been so flustered by the heart plays that she made another play as bad as letting you win the heart ten, and had lost yet another trick. Then under any interpretation of the rules, she would end up down one. What about equity? Everyone else made 4S. Would she have made those bad plays without my revoke? Who can say? I do know that I would not have felt good about accepting a result of down one,