Home EBU TDs


  • Law 73: I don't see any obvious problems.
    Law 89: 89 C; Using statistical analysis to initiate action without any other evidence requires great care, and 89 D 1&2; the term 'statistically significant' is not defined. Acting on potentially false positives could lead to lengthy and costly legal action.
    The wording may be as clear as it's been possible to draft and hopefully it'll prove to be a useful deterrent.

  • edited December 2023

    89A3 has been drafted too widely. It captures all forms of unauthorised information.

    73C1 deals appropriately with being in receipt of UI.
    89A3 deals harshly with the player who creates any form of UI.

    Perhaps it might have been tempered along the lines of:
    3. Convey, or attempt to convey, via prohibited means information to partner about a board currently in play, the nature of which [in the opinion of the Tournament Director] rises above the class of incidental unauthorised information (see 73C1).

  • edited December 2023

    73C has been renamed to 'Incidental Unauthorised Information'. I think the intention that incidental UI is to be dealt with by 16B and 73C2, and is out of scope of 89.

  • Hi Robin
    I have no doubt you are correct, which is why I’ve said that the law has been drafted too widely.

    The way 89A3 has been drafted captures the creation and transmission of UI. I’m sure that wasn’t the intention, but that’s what it does because it does not limit its ambit.

    It would likely only create a problem in those most serious of situations when you wouldn’t want it to create a problem.

    When we are left guessing what the intention of a law is, then we acknowledge there is ambiguity that needs to be addressed. The Regulating Authority doesn’t get to decide what an ambiguous law means, the ambiguity has to read in a way that favours the party that didn’t write it.

  • The intention of Law 89 if to facilitate the prosecution and conviction of cheats by disciplinary process of Regulating Authorities, including the use of statistical evidence. I do not expect TDs to rule under Law 89 except to report suspicious hands to the Tournament Organiser or Regulating Authority.

  • edited December 2023

    Hi Robin
    I’ve done a fuller response and might be persuaded to post it, though it would only help the cheaters.

    You’ve (hopefully) misunderstood the point I was making about UI.

    There are 2 situations:
    1) creating (aka attempting to convey) and conveying UI,
    2) being in receipt of UI.

    Laws 73C1 and 16B deal with being in receipt of UI.
    Law 89A3 deals with creating and conveying UI.

    Consequently, the WBL’s own General Principles are not helpful to give effect to the intention you describe:
    “Where two different laws appear to relate to the same factual situation, a law governing the specific subject matter always overrides a law governing only general matters.”

    The subject matter of 89A3 is explicitly different to that of 73C1 and 16B and so as a consequence is not guided by either of them.

    To say it more plainly, neither 16B or 73C1 deal with the subject matter of 89A3.

  • Hi Robin
    Did you see my point?

    If it is the (inadvertent?) intention to capture "conveying or attempting to convey incidental UI" (hereafter referred to as UI) as part of 89A3...

    "Information" can be regarded as the parent set. Unauthorised Information, Authorised Information (AI), Misinformation (MI) and illicit Information (II) are sub-sets, with some overlap between some of them.

    89A1 and 89A2 both address II (a subset of Unauthorised Information).
    89A3 then addresses the set of information, not a particular subset, and consequently captures everything within the scope of the set of Information*.

    When the law deems the initiator of UI to be guilty of 'reprehensible conduct' (89B), then there is an expectation within the rules that the TD will deal with them according to those rules.

    I was suggesting there be measure of grading to distinguish certain behaviours because there is no such granularity within 89A3. So if the intention is to ignore my suggestion or not to make other mitigating changes, then UI will be captured by 89A3 and thereby deemed to be 'reprehensible conduct' by 89B.

    That state of affairs introduces a rather unnecessary complication when you actually want to use that law because there is (will be) a demonstrable track record of the Regulatory Authority not enforcing rules against "Reprehensible Conduct" and thereby implicitly condoning it.

    Not a good place to be, and certainly it would be an unnecessary to position put oneself in for the sake of a simple draft change.

    There's more to my argument, but the reason for my suggestion should be a lot clearer (that there should be granularity within 89A3).

    I have no way of knowing whether the use of "information" in 89A3/4 was done for particular reasons or simply an oversight, or of knowing that you have even read this text, but I give you the opportunity :-)

    *Saying, "That's far too quick for me", which we might charitably call "Extraneous Information", during the auction would also be captured as reprehensible conduct.

  • Law 89 contains via prohibited means, Law 73 specifically refers to incidental UI. There seems a clear demarkation, although it's not clear where the line is, that's just another thing the TD will have to judge. Both laws have specific phrasing about the creation of UI.

    In any event the section of Law 89 mandating the TD to deal with the situation under the relevant rules surely includes the TD deciding that this is a case of 'incidental UI' best dealt with by Law 73 & 16. It's only a problem if the TD makes it one. I think you need quite a general drafting as to what constitutes illegal communication to avoid loopholes.

  • edited December 2023

    Hi James
    Thanks for the reply.

    "by prohibited means' doesn't hurt the point I'm making. If it did, then conveying unauthorised information by authorised means would be ok. Let me explain...

    The bar is that "Calls and plays shall be made without emphasis, mannerism or inflection, and without intentional haste or hesitation". So if the aim of 89A3 is geared towards cheaters, then you have just put CPU outside the scope of 89A3 where such CPU are "calls and plays ... made without emphasis, mannerism or inflection, and without intentional haste or hesitation.

    The consequence of Law 89A3 is that it separates out the two elements of UI I've mentioned. So the recipient of incidental UI can be dealt with under laws 73C1 and 16B, but the player who conveyed the incidental UI must be dealt with under Law 89A3 because that law deals specifically with 'reprehensible conduct'.

    The distinction is that being in possession of UI is not reprehensible conduct, but giving UI to your partner is reprehensible conduct.

    Neither 73C1 or 16B deal with reprehensible conduct and so those laws can't be used to deal with the partner who created the UI...unless you amend 89A3 to take make it clear that conduct is not intended to be captured.

  • edited December 2023

    If a player creates unauthorised information in an attempt to communicate with partner this is in scope of Law 89.

    A player who creates unauthorised information for a legitimate bridge reason (thinking, informing the opponents, attempting to clarify some unclear action at the table) has created incidental unauthorised information - they are not penalised for creating incidental unauthorised information but there will be constraints on their partner.

  • edited December 2023

    Thanks Robin

    Neither law 73 or Law 89 refers to the other.

    The distinction you are making does not exit on paper (in law).

    It’s your call.

    Thanks for reading.

  • Law 73C has "Incidental" added to the heading.

  • edited December 2023

    Thanks Robin

    That detail doesn’t make a difference - ordinarily I would explain why.

    To hold the view you do about those laws, you have to;
    1. Ignore the applicability of “reprehensible conduct” that implicitly applies to the creator of UI, and
    2. Ignore the WBFLC’s General Principles on the apparent conflict between laws.

    You can choose to not enforce 89A3 against the creator of incidental UI, but you can’t ignore the consequence that in doing so, ‘reprehensible conduct’ is being condoned.

    Unless you take steps to sever, in law, those acts that you do not want to be captured as reprehensible conduct, then you either accept those actions to be such or are reckless that they are such. Being mistaken doesn’t help you.

    As I say, it’s your call.

    I can only offer you advice, I can’t make you take it :-). I’m happy that you’ve considered what I’ve said because that’s the best I could hope for when I offered it.

    All the best.

  • edited December 2023

    By all means penalise creation of unauthorised information by score penalties or disciplinary processes, if that's what your regulating authority thinks is the way to implement Law 89.

    I will wait for a guidance/instruction from the Laws & Ethics committee before changing the practice for dealing with UI in EBU competitions, where the EBU is the Regulating Authority. Current practice is

    • use of UI is dealt with by score adjustment/penalty under Law 16B1 and Law 73C2
    • evidence of illegal communication is dealt with by reports to the L&E committee, who pursue disciplinary processes
  • Thanks Robin

    Your response suggests that you think I’m suggesting a change to the process. I’m not.

    I am asking for IUI to be explicitly taken out of the scope in Law 89A3 so that no one is forced to make unnecessary arguments about the primacy of either law 73 or law 89 on the matters of UI.

    The position you represent is that UI falls under 89 and IUI falls under 73, but there’s nothing in the laws that says that. So an objective reader couldn’t possibly know that was the intention because the laws don’t say that.

    If law 73 deals explicitly with IUI, then the argument is that it also deals explicitly with UI because law 73 can’t deal with IUI/UI in a general way and still be regarded as the law with primacy (because “a law governing the specific subject matter always overrides a law governing only general matters.”).

    A decision has to be made under law 73 about UI/IUI and that consequently means Law 73 deals generally with the subject matter. For example, law 73D1 deals generally with a delay that could either be deliberate or unintentional, so a TD has a general matter to decide upon. There is nothing particularly unique to IUI that could not play some part of UI, whether that is an emphasis, mannerism, inflection…

    Law 89A3 deals explicitly with it’s subject matter of reprehensible conduct and specifically captures all instances of UI and IUI. There is no equivocation.

    There’s a tiny, tiny chance that any of this might be relevant. But cheaters don’t deserve even a tiny, tiny, tiny chance of getting away with it because of a technicality.

    I will not be drawn to add any more in this thread :-). I hope your advisors agree with me :-)

  • A statement by 3rd in hand of 'that's far too quick for me' following an 'unusually quick' play of a card from Dummy by declarer at trick 1 is clearly not reprehensible behaviour and equally clearly not covered by Law 89. Perhaps you would prefer 'that's irregularly quick so I'm obliged to call the TD'. I prefer the former as it's less likely to be taken as an accusation of wrongdoing and so better follows Best Behaviour guidelines. This is similar to the situation where a player realises they've taken too long to play a card when they have nothing to think about and states 'sorry, nothing to think about' despite the risk of conveying UI to partner or, online, where a player whose play has been slow for technical reasons writes 'sorry, technical problems' to avoid misleading opponents.
    In practice it'll be clear what sort of UI, and which specific instances of suspected UI, are covered by Law 89 and which by Laws 16 or 73.

  • edited January 6

    @JamesC said:
    Law 89 contains via prohibited means...

    The points I was making about the difference between Laws 73 and 16 only dealing with the recipient of UI/IUI and Law 89 only dealing with the creator or UI/IUI still hold, however, the point you made about 'prohibited means', on reflection, does put Concealed Partnership Understandings outside the scope of Law 89, if they conform to the approved means...

    Therefore it would have been prudent to address the 'methods' as well: Such references to 'methods' abound within the Laws.

    An amendment appears necessary because without it, Law 89C becomes quite toothless, in that it is not an offence to use 'prohibited methods of communication' and consequently such behaviour is not 'reprehensible conduct', under Law 89.

    I would now recommend making the following change to Law 89A3:

    1. Convey, or attempt to convey, via prohibited means or methods, information to partner about a board currently in play, the nature of which is not incidental unauthorised information (see 73C1)
  • https://forums.ebu.co.uk/discussion/1504/1nt-opening-legal-illegal-psych

    It is worth noting the above thread because it contains material relevant to the recent implementation of Laws 73 and 89.

    Just note that when the Regulating Authority deems ostensibly illegal bids to be legal, what they are doing is deconstructing the illegal agreement and reframing the illegality so that the bids are not caught as part of the illegal activity: That is, the Regulating Authority is providing mitigation to a crucial part of an illegal agreement; the part the offenders use to implement their illegal understanding.

    So whereas I could legitimately say that what the cheaters did was completely illegal, the Regulating Authority could only say it was mostly illegal because they allowed the illegal agreement to inform the choice of bid and only banned partner doing anything with that information.

    Can anyone explain the value in such a position?

    It is worth noting that there is another thread on the forum that contains a discussion that has implications for Law 89D.


    It would take too long to explain why. But, perhaps, having flagged the topic, someone might take a moment to think about what the statement, "...a pause by third hand should
    not be considered to transmit any unauthorised information to partner..." could do to undermine any decision based upon "statistically significant correlation" in 89D.

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