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A yellow card in bridge

#1 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2024-April-16, 09:34

Ken Aston, an English soccer referee, had problems sending off an Italian (who else) against Chile in the 1962 World Cup and an Argentine (an Italian who talks Spanish and thinks he is English :) ) against England in the 1966 edition. He had the intuition that a colour coded visual signal - like a traffic light - would cut through any difficulty of comprehension or reluctance to accept the decision. His idea was experimented in 1970 and was an instant success. It is simple and effective and provides an objective basis for disciplinary action both during a game and on a cumulative basis.

I have often wondered if something similar might be effective in Bridge, perhaps even already have been experimented. The premises are somewhat different, because we cannot damage a tournament by sending off a partnership merely for cumulating offences - expulsion requires something truly heinous. Also we have the ability and duty to inflict penalties, which vary according to the severity of the offence. Finally, we consider a warning to be a form of penalty and it would be useful to distinguish when we really mean it.

My first thought would be to have maybe three cards, white yellow and red. A white card is a formal warning - an offence has been noted and repetition will incur a penalty. A yellow card is notice that a penalty has been incurred. A red card is notice that you are no longer playing in this tournament (for some very serious reason). All to be accompanied with verbal explanation, of course.

I guess another candidate for a card might be slow play (but tapping your watch with a finger already exists, and you could always combine this with the white card). Maybe there are others I miss, although it would be important to limit the number of such cards.

It's just an idea, but I am sorely tempted to try it sometime. Your thoughts?
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#2 User is offline   axman 

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Posted 2024-April-16, 13:20

View Postpescetom, on 2024-April-16, 09:34, said:

Ken Aston, an English soccer referee, had problems sending off an Italian (who else) against Chile in the 1962 World Cup and an Argentine (an Italian who talks Spanish and thinks he is English :) ) against England in the 1966 edition. He had the intuition that a colour coded visual signal - like a traffic light - would cut through any difficulty of comprehension or reluctance to accept the decision. His idea was experimented in 1970 and was an instant success. It is simple and effective and provides an objective basis for disciplinary action both during a game and on a cumulative basis.

I have often wondered if something similar might be effective in Bridge, perhaps even already have been experimented. The premises are somewhat different, because we cannot damage a tournament by sending off a partnership merely for cumulating offences - expulsion requires something truly heinous. Also we have the ability and duty to inflict penalties, which vary according to the severity of the offence. Finally, we consider a warning to be a form of penalty and it would be useful to distinguish when we really mean it.

My first thought would be to have maybe three cards, white yellow and red. A white card is a formal warning - an offence has been noted and repetition will incur a penalty. A yellow card is notice that a penalty has been incurred. A red card is notice that you are no longer playing in this tournament (for some very serious reason). All to be accompanied with verbal explanation, of course.

I guess another candidate for a card might be slow play (but tapping your watch with a finger already exists, and you could always combine this with the white card). Maybe there are others I miss, although it would be important to limit the number of such cards.

It's just an idea, but I am sorely tempted to try it sometime. Your thoughts?


Such things do not prognosticate well. (note that bridge is a game about solving hands.. Distinct from pointing out someone doing something wrong.) Therefore, at this point you are investigating by trial and error. I suggest a list of all the the things that can be done wrong, then write out what ought to happen for each one, compare to some standard to see if it is a good thing; take everything together and decide if it is a good thing. As for most new things then do step 2.
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#3 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2024-April-16, 13:33

View Postaxman, on 2024-April-16, 13:20, said:

Such things do not prognosticate well. (note that bridge is a game about solving hands.. Distinct from pointing out someone doing something wrong.) Therefore, at this point you are investigating by trial and error. I suggest a list of all the the things that can be done wrong, then write out what ought to happen for each one, compare to some standard to see if it is a good thing; take everything together and decide if it is a good thing. As for most new things then do step 2.

I wasn't suggesting doing anything much different in terms of directing than before, no change in ways of investigation: it's essentially about communication (my decision is), perception (he's in charge and has decided) and documentation (pair XY on board n got card C because reason R).
But thanks for your input.
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#4 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2024-April-16, 15:35

It seems like an interesting idea to me, worth experimentation at all levels. But I don't know how well, or if, it will work. I do think level matters. It might (or might not) be more likely to work at high levels than in clubs. Or vice-versa. Still it's worth a try if you can get one or more RAs on board.
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#5 User is offline   jillybean 

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Posted 2024-April-16, 19:21

What happens to the cards after the board/ round has been played?
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#6 User is offline   jillybean 

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Posted 2024-April-16, 22:56

I assume these cards are recorded on a database accessible to all Directors.
It seems that until a player has built up a reputation for unethical or unlaw play it doesn't actually prevent the players from gaining an advantage in the game.
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#7 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2024-April-17, 11:12

View Postjillybean, on 2024-April-16, 19:21, said:

What happens to the cards after the board/ round has been played?

Not sure what you are after here. If you mean what happens if the decision is only reached when they are already on another board, that will continue to happen of course: you can still show the card and explain what it is about.

View Postjillybean, on 2024-April-16, 22:56, said:

I assume these cards are recorded on a database accessible to all Directors.

Yes. Also on a log of the tournament.
Ideally I would like them to be recorded in the tournament management app, which would also enable us to access contextual information of associated hand diagrams and bidding/play if available, without having to save screenshots. But I'm not holding my breath on that :)

View Postjillybean, on 2024-April-16, 22:56, said:

It seems that until a player has built up a reputation for unethical or unlaw play it doesn't actually prevent the players from gaining an advantage in the game.

I don't see it as a way of preventing anything, except infractions/warnings going unrecorded and communication problems with players. I don't see any automatic action for cumulated yellow cards for instance (they could be for trivial offences that still incur a penalty, say a fouled board). But it would be nice if fellow TDs knew that player P had a white card for poor disclosure in my last tournament.

I don't want to overstress the reporting side though - I think the aspect of communication to player is more important.


View Postblackshoe, on 2024-April-16, 15:35, said:

I do think level matters. It might (or might not) be more likely to work at high levels than in clubs. Or vice-versa.

I think it would be more easily accepted at high level, but also less useful because the infractions are few and TD authority is not in question.

View Postblackshoe, on 2024-April-16, 15:35, said:

Still it's worth a try if you can get one or more RAs on board.

Hmm, I doubt I could get my own RA on board let alone another :) But it's not even a proposal yet, just thinking out loud.
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