ACBL Laws Commission Minutes

HOUSTON, TX      9 MARCH, 2002


Ralph Cohen, Chip Martel, Co-Chairmen

Karen Allison, Dan Morse, Jeff Polisner, Jon Brissman

Bob Friend, John Solodar, Bobby Wolff


Gary Blaiss, Olin Hubert, Richard Colker, Roger Pewit

Alan LeBendig, Cecil Cook, Matt Smith, Mike Flader

Linda Trent, Bob Friend, Brad Holtsberry, John Wignall

The meeting was called to order at 9:45 a.m.

The minutes of the meeting in Las Vegas were approved.

Appeals case 24 (attached) was discussed:

Once the director and committee judged that the 3C call was an insufficient bid and the 3C and 4C call were incontrovertibly not conventional, the change to 4C without penalty was correctly allowed.

The director and committee should have then applied law 27 B 1 (b) which discusses the insufficient bid conveying "such information" as to damage the non-offending side rather than unauthorized information as per law 16. However, it was agreed that final decision to adjust the contract to 5C was legal under 27 B 1 (b) even though the standards and guidelines for the two laws are different. As an aside, the LC did not seem to concur in the judgment necessary to change the contract.

The LC agreed that once the contract was changed, the committee is to determine the adjustment based upon the different circumstances. The committee is not bound by plays (actions) made at the contract that was actually played. A committee, in these cases where mechanical irregularities have been deemed to occur, may elect to consider them or not.

There was an attempt to reach a consensus on whether mechanical irregularities would always be considered as part of the offender's adjustment but no consensus was reached.

John Wignall, chairman of the WBF Laws drafting committee (DC), spoke to the Commission. His topic was in relation to drafting a new version of the Laws. He made the following points:

  • In order to have the best chance of acceptance as an Olympic sport, bridge needs to have an accepted set of Laws promulgated by the international bridge organization (WBF).

  • In the past, the ACBL has been predominantly responsible for arranging for a DC to produce a revision about every 10 years. The president of the WBF, Mr. Damiani, and many others including many in the ACBL believe this is too long a time period between revisions. This DC, by starting now, hopes to have a new version produced by 2005.

  • At the Montreal WBF Championships, the DC will start by reviewing all suggestions for revision. The DC intends to consider only suggestions forwarded to them through the Laws Commissions or Committees of the various National Bridge Organizations (NBOs) and Zonal Organizations (ZO). The DC will accept these submissions through May 14, 2002.

  • Past revisions have been created using the consensus process and by consultation, predominantly, between the EBL, WBF and ACBL. Wignall intends to continue and broaden this consultation process to all NBOs while using consensus as the committee's decision making paradigm.

  • There already seems to be agreement on some changes or modification. Once the DC creates a draft, that draft will then be circulated to the NBOs and ZOS around the world for more comments. This process will be replicated until a final draft has been agreed upon.

There was discussion concerning the various suggestions (attached) that had been tendered to the LC. Some points that were discussed follow:

a. Discussion on whether the irregularity referred to in law 12 (C2) refers to the illegal choice taken as per law 16 or that the UI (usually an unmistakable break in tempo) and the illegal choice combined should be considered the irregularity. No consensus was reached but the DC is asked to clarify.

b. Revisions to law 12 (C, especially) were discussed. The LC agrees that this law should be4 re-written.

c. Revisions to the laws on claims were discussed. It was agreed that different wording, which would permit the hand to be played out under specified circumstances, is needed.

d. It was suggested that all if not most laws concerning administration after the fact (e.g., appeals) should be re-written to give the sponsoring organization or the ZO increased options. Specifics should be matters of Conditions of Contest rather than law.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:07 P.M.