You Are The Ref

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Gavin Chipper
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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Gavin Chipper » Wed Jun 24, 2020 1:06 pm

Jon O'Neill wrote:
Wed Jun 24, 2020 12:28 pm
Noel Mc wrote:
Wed Jun 24, 2020 12:10 pm
Sorry, in this case you only have two options, say MAWSONITE and AWMSONITE. You know your gonna pick one of them, by decide to wing it when asked. They declare first, saying MAWSONITE and getbapproving looks from dictionary corner.

What would you do in that instance? Purposely pick the wrong one or the right one?
I would say, "I'm sorry - I've cheated" and request to forfeit the round.
You have to have made your decision at the moment the music stops.
This has gone very Corby. Regardless of the rest of it, you definitely don't have to have made your decision at the moment the music stops. You can declare your length based on what length your opponent has declared, for example.

Regardless of that, you're saying that for each specific length of word you have to have one "locked in" option at the end of the time? Let's say you're declaring second. At the end of the time, it's fine to be unsure between A, AN, ANT, ANTS, TONES, ATONES, ATONIES, AMNIOTE, AMNIOTES and MAWSONITE. But it's not fine to be unsure between MAWSONITE and AWMSONITE. It seems a bit ad hoc and arbitrary.

I'm surprised this hasn't come up before actually (if it hasn't) because I've thought about it before. You can pick length based on what your opponent picks, but you can't pick a word of a specific length based on what they pick? So to the forum as a whole, is it:

a) Fine
b) Probably against the spirit of the game but not actually cheating
c) Cheating

And why?

Edit - Another situation where you might want to do this is where both words are dodgy, but you're, say, 11 points behind, so you want to pick the opposite of your opponent. Is this better because you're anti-copying rather than copying? Is it really any different from picking 7 when they pick 8 or vice versa?

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Gavin Chipper » Wed Jun 24, 2020 1:11 pm

Sam Cappleman-Lynes wrote:
Wed Jun 24, 2020 7:57 am
It's the final letters game. C1 declares 8, and C2 declares 9. C1 says their word is NEMATOID, C2 says their word is MONRADITE. Points to C2.

Later on, as the contestants shake hands for the crucial conundrum, C1 catches coronavirus. What do you do?
Disqualify them both for not adhering to social distancing rules.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Jon O'Neill » Wed Jun 24, 2020 1:36 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Wed Jun 24, 2020 1:06 pm
Jon O'Neill wrote:
Wed Jun 24, 2020 12:28 pm
Noel Mc wrote:
Wed Jun 24, 2020 12:10 pm
Sorry, in this case you only have two options, say MAWSONITE and AWMSONITE. You know your gonna pick one of them, by decide to wing it when asked. They declare first, saying MAWSONITE and getbapproving looks from dictionary corner.

What would you do in that instance? Purposely pick the wrong one or the right one?
I would say, "I'm sorry - I've cheated" and request to forfeit the round.
You have to have made your decision at the moment the music stops.
This has gone very Corby. Regardless of the rest of it, you definitely don't have to have made your decision at the moment the music stops. You can declare your length based on what length your opponent has declared, for example.

Regardless of that, you're saying that for each specific length of word you have to have one "locked in" option at the end of the time? Let's say you're declaring second. At the end of the time, it's fine to be unsure between A, AN, ANT, ANTS, TONES, ATONES, ATONIES, AMNIOTE, AMNIOTES and MAWSONITE. But it's not fine to be unsure between MAWSONITE and AWMSONITE. It seems a bit ad hoc and arbitrary.

I'm surprised this hasn't come up before actually (if it hasn't) because I've thought about it before. You can pick length based on what your opponent picks, but you can't pick a word of a specific length based on what they pick? So to the forum as a whole, is it:

a) Fine
b) Probably against the spirit of the game but not actually cheating
c) Cheating

And why?

Edit - Another situation where you might want to do this is where both words are dodgy, but you're, say, 11 points behind, so you want to pick the opposite of your opponent. Is this better because you're anti-copying rather than copying? Is it really any different from picking 7 when they pick 8 or vice versa?
Fair point. I think you have to have made your decision on what word you're going to offer when you declare your length. I would prefer a situation where someone who had the ability to write down every combination of letters on their paper in 30 seconds couldn't draw every letters round that they declare second in (how many letters would need to be written down for this to work?)

I guess the reason it's never been clarified is because it's such a marginal case with very limited potential to gain an advantage.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Gavin Chipper » Wed Jun 24, 2020 4:18 pm

Jon O'Neill wrote:
Wed Jun 24, 2020 1:36 pm

Fair point. I think you have to have made your decision on what word you're going to offer when you declare your length. I would prefer a situation where someone who had the ability to write down every combination of letters on their paper in 30 seconds couldn't draw every letters round that they declare second in (how many letters would need to be written down for this to work?)

I guess the reason it's never been clarified is because it's such a marginal case with very limited potential to gain an advantage.
I think there is something to be said for Nick going to the opposite person to declare their word first if they have the same length. I tend to do this hosting CO-event games.

Also, intuitively I think it feels worse if players use this tactic to copy their opponent's word rather than go for something different deliberately, though is that logical? I'm not sure. Does it depend on the reason? It seems more cheaty if you're doing it because you think their word is more likely to be valid now that they've said it rather than for the purely tactical reason of going same/opposite based on the points situation. But you can't make a rule based on that.

But I think it's probably fine if you've got two definite words and you use it as a way of not having to pass your paper across.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Fiona T » Wed Jun 24, 2020 4:34 pm

A good example is re- and -er

If I had for example noted lacquerer and relacquer without being sure of either, and my opponent went for one, I'd go for the same one every time. Never occurred to me that that could be considered cheating. In fact I'm sure someone advised me to declare the same word as my opponent to minimise the possibility that I'd used phantom letters etc.

I don't think Maggie hadn't made up her mind in our qf game at the point she said '7' -

https://dai.ly/x7c2zeo (9:30 in)

Pretty sure she was just deciding between that and the more prosaic 'COPIERS' :)
8-) <-2m-> 8-)

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Sam Cappleman-Lynes » Wed Jun 24, 2020 4:54 pm

Fiona T wrote:
Wed Jun 24, 2020 4:34 pm
If I had for example noted lacquerer and relacquer without being sure of either, and my opponent went for one, I'd go for the same one every time.
Note that, as Gevin has been alluding to, if it's at the end of the game and you're more than 20 behind, declaring the one that your opponent didn't declare might be your only chance of winning.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by David Williams » Wed Jun 24, 2020 6:54 pm

I think the one thing you mustn't do is hesitate. When you're asked for a word, you give it. I once had UNCLAD and UNCOOL written down, both 99.9% certain, saw UNTOLD too late to write it down but that was the one I gave.

The thing I've never been totally happy with is people who have RELACQUER and LACQUERER written down and, when asked to declare spend a bit of time deciding whether to declare a nine or not, and then have another think about which to use. You've got 30 seconds to think of the words, and possibly think of your tactics, plus the time till Nick calls your name. And not a second more.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Graeme Cole » Wed Jun 24, 2020 10:54 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Wed Jun 24, 2020 1:06 pm
Jon O'Neill wrote:
Wed Jun 24, 2020 12:28 pm
Noel Mc wrote:
Wed Jun 24, 2020 12:10 pm
Sorry, in this case you only have two options, say MAWSONITE and AWMSONITE. You know your gonna pick one of them, by decide to wing it when asked. They declare first, saying MAWSONITE and getbapproving looks from dictionary corner.

What would you do in that instance? Purposely pick the wrong one or the right one?
I would say, "I'm sorry - I've cheated" and request to forfeit the round.
You have to have made your decision at the moment the music stops.
This has gone very Corby. Regardless of the rest of it, you definitely don't have to have made your decision at the moment the music stops. You can declare your length based on what length your opponent has declared, for example.

Regardless of that, you're saying that for each specific length of word you have to have one "locked in" option at the end of the time? Let's say you're declaring second. At the end of the time, it's fine to be unsure between A, AN, ANT, ANTS, TONES, ATONES, ATONIES, AMNIOTE, AMNIOTES and MAWSONITE. But it's not fine to be unsure between MAWSONITE and AWMSONITE. It seems a bit ad hoc and arbitrary.

I'm surprised this hasn't come up before actually (if it hasn't) because I've thought about it before. You can pick length based on what your opponent picks, but you can't pick a word of a specific length based on what they pick? So to the forum as a whole, is it:

a) Fine
b) Probably against the spirit of the game but not actually cheating
c) Cheating

And why?

Edit - Another situation where you might want to do this is where both words are dodgy, but you're, say, 11 points behind, so you want to pick the opposite of your opponent. Is this better because you're anti-copying rather than copying? Is it really any different from picking 7 when they pick 8 or vice versa?
(a) It's fine, for all the reasons you said. If you're declaring second, then deciding whether to go with your safe eight or risky nine depending on what your opponent declares is already part of the game. That's why the players take turns to declare first. So I don't see why that shouldn't also be true for the actual word.

That said, I don't think it's codified in the rules which player gets asked for their word first if the length declarations are the same. Nowadays I think the person who declared first is usually asked for their word first, but I'm sure in the past they sometimes asked the second declarer for their word first (perhaps because it saved someone pressing a button to switch cameras?). So if the player who declared second gets asked for their word first arbitrarily by the host, they don't have any cause for complaint - they can't say "I want to hear their word first".

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Graeme Cole » Wed Jun 24, 2020 11:23 pm

Jon O'Neill wrote:
Wed Jun 24, 2020 1:36 pm
Fair point. I think you have to have made your decision on what word you're going to offer when you declare your length. I would prefer a situation where someone who had the ability to write down every combination of letters on their paper in 30 seconds couldn't draw every letters round that they declare second in (how many letters would need to be written down for this to work?)

I guess the reason it's never been clarified is because it's such a marginal case with very limited potential to gain an advantage.
You've found a loophole in Countdown. All you have to do to exploit it is be able to write 3,628,799 letters* in 30 seconds. Assuming you write really small so each letter is, say, 2mm by 2mm, that would take up about 14.5m², which would be about 464 sheets of that A5 notepaper they give you.

You could optimise this. If you wrote it all out without spaces, additional combinations would naturally occur in the overlaps, so for example if you wrote ABCDEFGHI and ABCDEFGIH next to each other, that would also give you BCDEFGHIA, CDEFGHIAB, DEFGHIABC etc even though you've only written down 18 letters. James Grime did a video about a similar problem involving a combination lock. It would just be a case of pointing to the appropriate position in a continuous stream of letters.

* This is calculated by 9!*9 + 8!*8 + 7!*7 + ... + 1!*1, and it assumes all the letters in the selection are distinct. If some are repeated there will be fewer letters to write down.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Callum Todd » Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:51 am

Noel Mc wrote:
Wed Jun 24, 2020 11:28 am
Letters round, selection is MNTSWAOIE.

You are declaring second and know there is a 9. Unsure what it is, you write down a few random ones.
WAMNIOTES
MAWSONITE
AWMNIOTES

Player 1 declares a 9, you also declare a 9. Wait for them to declare MAWSONITE.

You then say 'Yep, same word' and point to the correct one. Is that ok?
Absolutely okay. It's just part of the advantage of declaring second. I have done this a couple of times before at co:events (not made up random words, but written a couple of dodgy ones and opted for the one my opponent went with to minimise risk).
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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Jon O'Neill » Thu Jun 25, 2020 7:21 am

Graeme Cole wrote:
Wed Jun 24, 2020 11:23 pm
Jon O'Neill wrote:
Wed Jun 24, 2020 1:36 pm
Fair point. I think you have to have made your decision on what word you're going to offer when you declare your length. I would prefer a situation where someone who had the ability to write down every combination of letters on their paper in 30 seconds couldn't draw every letters round that they declare second in (how many letters would need to be written down for this to work?)

I guess the reason it's never been clarified is because it's such a marginal case with very limited potential to gain an advantage.
You've found a loophole in Countdown. All you have to do to exploit it is be able to write 3,628,799 letters* in 30 seconds. Assuming you write really small so each letter is, say, 2mm by 2mm, that would take up about 14.5m², which would be about 464 sheets of that A5 notepaper they give you.

You could optimise this. If you wrote it all out without spaces, additional combinations would naturally occur in the overlaps, so for example if you wrote ABCDEFGHI and ABCDEFGIH next to each other, that would also give you BCDEFGHIA, CDEFGHIAB, DEFGHIABC etc even though you've only written down 18 letters. James Grime did a video about a similar problem involving a combination lock. It would just be a case of pointing to the appropriate position in a continuous stream of letters.

* This is calculated by 9!*9 + 8!*8 + 7!*7 + ... + 1!*1, and it assumes all the letters in the selection are distinct. If some are repeated there will be fewer letters to write down.
That's what I'm getting at. Filter out the overlaps and filter down (or at least order by) the most common patterns of vowels and consonants and suddenly you're looking at being able to cover off a significant chunk of the possibilities. A strategy for this would actually be an interesting programming task.

Or, more realistically, if you see a 7 but not an 8 but suspect there might be one, you could use your intuition to write down 10 potential 8s and you've got 10 chances at matching your opponent's word, instead of 1.

This could be fixed to a great extent if the person who declares their length second has to declare their word first in the case of the same length. But I much prefer the apterous implementation where you don't get this advantage.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by David Williams » Thu Jun 25, 2020 7:42 am

Graeme Cole wrote:
Wed Jun 24, 2020 11:23 pm
It would just be a case of pointing to the appropriate position in a continuous stream of letters.
Player needs to draw the last letters game. He writes down MAUVES. His opponent declares five, so he declares five as well. Opponent says MAUVE, player says "Same" and shows him the piece of paper.
You are the ref.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Callum Todd » Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:55 am

David Williams wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 7:42 am
Graeme Cole wrote:
Wed Jun 24, 2020 11:23 pm
It would just be a case of pointing to the appropriate position in a continuous stream of letters.
Player needs to draw the last letters game. He writes down MAUVES. His opponent declares five, so he declares five as well. Opponent says MAUVE, player says "Same" and shows him the piece of paper.
You are the ref.
Fine again. It says mauve on his paper. I sometimes write down things like 'MAUVE(S)?' for dodgy plurals but I think just MAUVES is fine to be used as evidence of both singular and plural.

For these You Are The Ref things, it's quite important to phrase them in terms of what actual evidence would be visible to the ref when making the decision. Some of the phrasing of recent questions in here tells us what the player was thinking/doing while writing down the evidence ("writes down MAUVES" above instead of 'shows his paper which appears to say MAUVES'). This tells us what the player's intentions and actions leading to the evidence were, which will naturally influence) often heavily) your decision. But 'the ref' wouldn't have access to this information, unless he/she can read the player's mind, so neither should we.
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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Gavin Chipper » Thu Jun 25, 2020 1:54 pm

What if he's written SMAUVE?

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by David Williams » Thu Jun 25, 2020 2:34 pm

Or MAUVES when there is no S in the selection?

Or declares SPECIE when he has SPECIES written down (two completely different meanings, and SPECIE is a mass noun)?

Personally, for MAUVE I'd allow MAUVE(S), and disallow MAUVES, and probably disallow MAUVES? as well.

Just as an aside, in the whole history of Countdown has anyone ever queried a word or numbers solution after examining what was written down? If you think of the number of times people are unable to complete a numbers solution despite having written it out, an awful lot of gobbledegook must be slid across and blithely accepted as OK. Or does it happen and get edited out?

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Fred Mumford » Thu Jun 25, 2020 3:52 pm

David Williams wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 2:34 pm
has anyone ever queried a word or numbers solution after examining what was written down?
I've seen it done jokingly, albeit deadpan. I think it might have been Liam Moloney (not certain about that) who examined his opponent's paper and I think shook his head and said "ooh I don't know about that".

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Callum Todd » Thu Jun 25, 2020 3:54 pm

David Williams wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 2:34 pm
Just as an aside, in the whole history of Countdown has anyone ever queried a word or numbers solution after examining what was written down? If you think of the number of times people are unable to complete a numbers solution despite having written it out, an awful lot of gobbledegook must be slid across and blithely accepted as OK. Or does it happen and get edited out?
Philip Aston vs Jonathan Wynn in the latest CoC. Both had the same word (AELUROIDS I think) but Philip noticed that Jonathan had spelt it wrong. Not sure if that was broadcast or not but it happened in the studio.
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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Fiona T » Thu Jun 25, 2020 4:25 pm

6:15 here

https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x70wdke

Doesn't show the checking, but Suzie asks for spelling which she doesn't usually do.
8-) <-2m-> 8-)

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Gavin Chipper » Thu Jun 25, 2020 4:43 pm

Fiona T wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 4:25 pm
6:15 here

https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x70wdke

Doesn't show the checking, but Suzie asks for spelling which she doesn't usually do.
I think that was because Philip noticed and that bit was "scripted".

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Noel Mc » Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:11 pm

The AELUROIDS episode was actually what prompted the question.

I wonder how many declarations down the years have been spelt wrong? I know sometimes Susie aske how it's being spelt, but not always.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Jonathan Wynn » Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:43 pm

I was always asked for spellings when I was on unless it was like 'rabbit' or something. I know because in one of my games I spelt senhora as senorha x and it was noted in the wiki as a mistake, although luckily it didn't matter as my opponent had punted 'onshored' anyway, which turned out to be valid.

Interesting, there was a game recently where both OUTWARN and OUTWORN were possible. OUTWARN isn't valid, but the contestant wasn't asked for the spelling, which I thought was interesting....

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by JackHurst » Thu Jun 25, 2020 10:02 pm

Jon O'Neill wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 7:21 am
Graeme Cole wrote:
Wed Jun 24, 2020 11:23 pm
Jon O'Neill wrote:
Wed Jun 24, 2020 1:36 pm
Fair point. I think you have to have made your decision on what word you're going to offer when you declare your length. I would prefer a situation where someone who had the ability to write down every combination of letters on their paper in 30 seconds couldn't draw every letters round that they declare second in (how many letters would need to be written down for this to work?)

I guess the reason it's never been clarified is because it's such a marginal case with very limited potential to gain an advantage.
You've found a loophole in Countdown. All you have to do to exploit it is be able to write 3,628,799 letters* in 30 seconds. Assuming you write really small so each letter is, say, 2mm by 2mm, that would take up about 14.5m², which would be about 464 sheets of that A5 notepaper they give you.

You could optimise this. If you wrote it all out without spaces, additional combinations would naturally occur in the overlaps, so for example if you wrote ABCDEFGHI and ABCDEFGIH next to each other, that would also give you BCDEFGHIA, CDEFGHIAB, DEFGHIABC etc even though you've only written down 18 letters. James Grime did a video about a similar problem involving a combination lock. It would just be a case of pointing to the appropriate position in a continuous stream of letters.

* This is calculated by 9!*9 + 8!*8 + 7!*7 + ... + 1!*1, and it assumes all the letters in the selection are distinct. If some are repeated there will be fewer letters to write down.
That's what I'm getting at. Filter out the overlaps and filter down (or at least order by) the most common patterns of vowels and consonants and suddenly you're looking at being able to cover off a significant chunk of the possibilities. A strategy for this would actually be an interesting programming task.

Or, more realistically, if you see a 7 but not an 8 but suspect there might be one, you could use your intuition to write down 10 potential 8s and you've got 10 chances at matching your opponent's word, instead of 1.

This could be fixed to a great extent if the person who declares their length second has to declare their word first in the case of the same length. But I much prefer the apterous implementation where you don't get this advantage.
If you have a word written down on your paper then you have used your own brain to spot it in the selection, so you have every right to declare it. It doesn't matter how you came about writing it down. Intention would be hard to define precisely and impossible to prove anyway.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Jon O'Neill » Thu Jun 25, 2020 10:22 pm

For those that think it's fine, when declaring your word second, to have written down 10-15 plausible words and then just point to the one your opponent says... would you prefer if apterous was coded in this way, instead of the perfectly logical way it's coded now?

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Conor » Thu Jun 25, 2020 10:35 pm

Jon O'Neill wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 10:22 pm
For those that think it's fine, when declaring your word second, to have written down 10-15 plausible words and then just point to the one your opponent says... would you prefer if apterous was coded in this way, instead of the perfectly logical way it's coded now?
It would be stone cold mental to prefer that. But if it's not explicitly stated as not allowed in the rules, I think players can do it. Personally I think if a really outlandish situation with 10-15 plausible words happened there might be a ruling against it. And I'd prefer it that you have to mark which word written down of a certain length you're going to declare.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Fiona T » Fri Jun 26, 2020 12:13 am

Conor wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 10:35 pm
Jon O'Neill wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 10:22 pm
For those that think it's fine, when declaring your word second, to have written down 10-15 plausible words and then just point to the one your opponent says... would you prefer if apterous was coded in this way, instead of the perfectly logical way it's coded now?
It would be stone cold mental to prefer that. But if it's not explicitly stated as not allowed in the rules, I think players can do it. Personally I think if a really outlandish situation with 10-15 plausible words happened there might be a ruling against it. And I'd prefer it that you have to mark which word written down of a certain length you're going to declare.
Agree with Conor that having half a dozen plausible words written down is very "edge case".

Going back to re- vs -er, which is probably a realistic example, as Sam says it could equally give you an 18 pt advantage over your opponent. In my case I'd probably assume my opponent's dictionary knowledge was better than mine and follow suit.
8-) <-2m-> 8-)

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Conor » Fri Jun 26, 2020 8:25 am

All things being equal, I think most players are inclined to copy their opponent’s word just because of an instinctive loss aversion.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Gavin Chipper » Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:22 am

David Williams wrote:
Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:40 am
C1 trails by 21 points going into the last letters round.

Both contestants offer seven, C1's not written down. He declares a voracious tropical fish.

C2 says "Same", and shows his paper to C1. On it are written the words PIRANHA and PIRAHNA.

C1, who needs to win the round, asks which spelling C2 is using.

C2 declines to answer. He says he definitely meant one of them, which he is 90% sure is correct, but whichever he chooses C1 will pick the other, giving him some chance to get back in the game when none should have existed. Nor does he think it satisfactory that C1 should now be allowed to write something down, as there is no way of knowing whether he actually intended PIRHANA, for example.

You are the ref.
This is a post from a while ago in the thread and I think it's relevant. Do people's opinions change in the light of what's been said? Certainly I don't think that C1 should be allowed to not spell their word, whereas C2 has to. Also the below:
Gavin Chipper wrote:
Tue Jul 29, 2014 10:36 pm
Dave Nicholson wrote:I'd be interested in opinions on this, perhaps it's along the lines of the debate centring around the numbers in the last game...

10/ Early in the game and C1 is playing a nervous C2. C1 is asked to declare by Nick and takes a notably long pause before slowly and unsurely saying "I'll try a risky 7..." C2 declares a 6 but hasn't written it down.

C2 is asked to declare their word first and declares "SCARER"

Nick then asks C1 who declares "SCARIER" which is obviously valid and nervous C2 has missed the I to make their word a letter longer.

The issue here then is that C1 made a point of saying their word was risky and was clearly debating internally whether or not to declare it but having heard C2's has declared a very similar word that was pretty much 100% safely valid.

For all intents and purposes it seems unlikely that SCARIER had been spotted by C1 when declaring initially, but is there any precedent of asking to show proof when the second word is very similar but different? Supposed C1 had declared a risky 6 and after SCARER was announced had preceded to declare SCORER which was again obviously fine?

For Nick (or a member of the prod team) to ask C1 to prove this word was written down in the first place would be flat out accusing them of cheating really, but should it be done? What if the declaration of SCARIER was verbalised something like "Oh... Scarier!" in a way that sounded like they'd just spotted it? Where would the line be?
If C1 declared first, then it should be written down because they didn't know C2 didn't also have a 7 when declaring the length. But as you say, asking to see it does seem to amount to an accusation of cheating. It's a judgement call, but I think the host should always have the right to ask to see someone's paper in a case where it should be written down.

There are other cases where you could decide what word to pick on the basis of what the other contestant says. C1 might need to beat C2 in the final letters round to have a chance of winning. C1 has two risky 7s. Both declare 7. C2 goes first and picks one of C1's words. C1 might then just pick the other word because a drawn round is no good to him. They're both written down anyway, so is that fine? I'd say so. Similarly C2 might also have both words written down. C1 is asked to say his word first so C2 just says the same word. A drawn round wins it for C2.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Rhys Benjamin » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:54 pm

A very silly one:

Throughout the game, there have been some very strange decisions by Dictionary Corner, with C1 offering RETOURNEE, ARRETEZ, and VOUS, all allowed. C1 wins the game by 5 points, 107-102. In all three cases, C2 had a valid but shorter English word. It turns out that Susie's (and the upstairs') computer(s) was/were hacked, and have had the French words included in the English dictionary. Just before Nick says "you be sure of it" (eugh), this is discovered by the security team. Do you:

a) play the whole game again?
b) disallow C1's French words and award the game to C2 78-119?
c) rule that the game finished with the conundrum and therefore cannot be changed retrospectively?
d) allow C1 to keep the win, but ask C2 back at a later date?
e) some other solution I've omitted?
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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Gavin Chipper » Tue Jun 30, 2020 4:03 pm

I would suspect C1 of hacking the computer and subject him to an appropriate interrogation technique, perhaps involving embarquement sur l'eau.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Elliott Mellor » Tue Jun 30, 2020 4:14 pm

Wonder how C2 could only get a 3 from a selection, and also how absolutely nobody noticed the words weren't English before.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Sam Cappleman-Lynes » Tue Jun 30, 2020 4:30 pm

Elliott Mellor wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 4:14 pm
Wonder how C2 could only get a 3 from a selection
Can you find a 3 from CUCUCUCUA?

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Rhys Benjamin » Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:29 pm

Elliott Mellor wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 4:14 pm
Wonder how C2 could only get a 3 from a selection, and also how absolutely nobody noticed the words weren't English before.
Well you know what ODO is like these days... certainly SONDAGE(S) has made it in since I was on the show.
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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by JackHurst » Mon Jul 20, 2020 1:37 pm

You are hosting a Co:Event, and after a crucial conundrum has determined the result of the grand final, a couple of audience members interject to point out that the conundrum used for the final is actually invalid*.

What do you do? The contestant that won might no longer be in a mental state to play out another conundrum, and wouldn't it be unfair on them to take the victory away from them? On the other hand, the contestant that lost may feel cheated to have lost on a conundrums that's not even valid. They may have even already spotted the solution but not buzzed with it because they know that answer would not be a valid answer here.


*I'm wrapping all the cases of invalid conundrum I can think of into one scenario, but if for the point of discussion people wanted to break it down further, I think they would be:
1) Solution not in dictionary
2) Answer is a +S plural or +S present tense verb
3a) Multiple possible solutions

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Jon O'Neill » Mon Jul 20, 2020 1:54 pm

In case 1, re-do, for the reasons you gave.
In cases 2 and 3, the result stands. The "no plurals no present tense verbs" thing isn't a hard and fast rule as far as I know.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Gavin Chipper » Mon Jul 20, 2020 5:10 pm

Jon O'Neill wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 1:54 pm
In case 1, re-do, for the reasons you gave.
In cases 2 and 3, the result stands. The "no plurals no present tense verbs" thing isn't a hard and fast rule as far as I know.
I didn't think the verb one was a rule at all, hard and fast or not. But people tend to steer clear of these conundrums anyway. Mike Brown has used them at some events.

But generally, if a conundrum is invalid, replay it. Nothing was said about how long afterwards this happened. If it's fairly quick, then you certainly redo it. If you're in the pub afterwards, maybe not. If it's immediate it's not even a question. But since the final is the last thing of the day other than the presentations, then as long as you're all still in the hall then it won't be that long anyway. It's being redone.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Robert Foster » Mon Jul 20, 2020 5:27 pm

1) redo, it's hard to see the other side of the coin in this situation
for 2) and the tantalisingly named 3a), I think the result should stand. These cases both fit the general concept of a conundrum closely enough, which is 'unscramble these letters to form a valid word'. To restage the conundrum in either of these cases would seem to me more like heavy-handedly robbing someone of a win than attempting to ensure a completely level playing field.

There's nothing innately wrong with anagrams of kinds 2) and 3) at all (unlike case 1); the only reason why people may find this annoying/unfair is because they're being given something which isn't in the generally accepted domain of conundrumdom on CD and apterous.

So the organiser should either:
a) make their best effort to ensure that -S forms and scrambles with multiple solutions are not given as conundrums (I understand that mistakes happen what with having hundred other things to organise, recent dictionary updates etc.)
b) make it explicit when signing up and at the beginning of the event that plurals / multiple solutions may crop up, as has been done for events where conundrums of 8 or 10 letters have been fair game.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Gavin Chipper » Mon Jul 20, 2020 5:56 pm

At this point we're just discussing what is an invalid conundrum, rather than whether in principle the game result of specifically the final should stand because of the psychological factors etc. discussed above.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Graeme Cole » Mon Jul 20, 2020 8:53 pm

On the subject of what is an invalid conundrum...

1. If the conundrum has no valid answer, the conundrum is invalid. (However, if the intended answer is invalid but there's a valid answer, the conundrum stands.)
2a. The answer is a +S plural. These are specifically excluded by the guidelines sent to Countdown contestants, so it's invalid.
2b. The answer is a present tense third person singular verb, like DECIPHERS. I'd advise against using these because they are never used on Countdown (except perhaps in the very early years), and people might reasonably not expect them, but there's no rule banning them. The conundrum is valid.
3. In my opinion, if a conundrum has multiple valid solutions, that shouldn't make the conundrum invalid. On Countdown they may intend every conundrum to have only one valid solution, but on the rare occasions where an alternative solution slips through, they accept either. So any valid solution should be accepted.

If the conundrum is invalid (1 and 2a) then it must be redone, otherwise (2b and 3) it must stand.

On the subject of when an incorrect decision becomes set in stone and can't be changed... this is the more interesting part of the problem, and I don't think co-events have ever had to make any rule about it. Cricket has law 16.10, which provides that once the umpires and scorers agree the scores at the end of the match, that's final. I'd say the equivalent of this for co-events would be that the result of the tournament is final when the organiser declares the winner.

There are two broad kinds of mistake which I think need different treatment. One is the classic data entry mistake, where the game was played correctly but it got put into the computer wrong, and the other is an adjudication mistake made in the game, which covers words being wrongly accepted/disallowed, or conundrums being misassessed as valid or invalid.

Data entry cockups

There have been multiple cases of scores being entered into the computer incorrectly (usually a reversed result, until I remade the Atropine interface to make this mistake less surprisingly easy to make) and this going unnoticed until several days later. In all the cases I know of, these have been fixed retrospectively and the standings changed. This has never had any significant effect like changing which players should have played in the final, but that's more by luck than anything else.

What if it was discovered two days after an event that there was a data entry cockup which meant 2nd and 3rd were the wrong way round? The "easiest" solution would be to say that any protest about the scores or the positions should have been made at the time, and that's the reason all the scores are displayed on a public screen, but then arguably that should also apply if it was only, say 15th and 16th places at stake rather than 2nd and 3rd. Instinctively it seems better to correct a result you know to be wrong, but if that affects the top two then it isn't even a simple matter of giving the 1st place trophy to someone else - there would have been different players in the final so you won't know who the "real" winner should have been.

A few times I've been aware of a score in (say) round 1 only being corrected midway through round 2, which means the fixtures for round 2 were based on the wrong results, but the only thing you can do here is correct the result and keep the "wrong" fixtures. Especially if everyone's already sat down to play.

So in summary - mistakes that are purely data-entry-related should be corrected as far as reasonably practicable, even if they're reported days after the event. I still don't have an answer to what you do if the mistake would have changed the finalists, though.

In-game cockups

Mistakes made in adjudicating a game are often pretty easy - most of these are covered by the catchall rule in most sports that the referee's decision is final. Anything like who buzzed first, or whether someone's buzz was in time, or whether someone's taking too long to give their numbers solution, are all matters for the host's judgement. People are welcome to bicker about it at the pub afterwards but it won't change anything, except perhaps generate ridicule towards the host in the event of particularly ghastly decisions.

The exception to this is if the referee gets the rules wrong. There's certainly precedent in football for replaying part of a game - this was because the referee got the rules wrong and denied England a retake of a penalty, rather than because of a wrong judgement call on whether the ball had crossed a line or whatever.

There a number of ways a co-event game host can get the rules wrong - allowing a selection with too many vowels or consonants, incorrectly allowing or disallowing a word, missing a mistake in a player's arithmetic, accepting an invalid conundrum solution or accepting a valid one. I'll include setting an invalid conundrum in this as well, although usually that's not the host's fault.

I Am The Ref

My opinion on how far the statute of limitations should extend for each of these are as follows:
  • Host gives you a vowel when you asked for a consonant, or vice versa: raise the problem immediately or it stands. This also applies if the host gives the player the wrong number of large/small numbers.
  • Host allows more than five vowels or more than six consonants: you've got until the clock runs out to point out the problem, otherwise the round stands. This also applies if a numbers selection is invalid, for example there are seven numbers in it, or three of them are 6.
  • Host incorrectly allows or disallows a word (either because of whether it's in the dictionary or the selection): you've got until the end of the game to raise this, or the host's decision stands. (Yes, even if the selection was EEEMMBEEX and they allowed your opponent to declare FOOTSTOOL - why didn't you point out the problem at the time?) I'm not entirely happy with this because it means someone who knows they've had a word wrongly disallowed in R1 could wait until just before the conundrum and suddenly spring the correct score on their opponent. But I don't have a better answer.
  • Host asked the wrong player to declare first: one of you has to raise this there and then before the player gives their word, or it stands.
  • One player declares not written down, but the host asks the wrong player for their word first and the NWD player has the same: accept the not written down word.
  • Host incorrectly allows or disallows numbers working (arithmetic mistake, not judgement call over whether they took too long): raise this before the end of the game or the host's decision stands. This is a bit trickier than the disallowed/allowed word mistake above, as the player's working isn't always written down by the host so it isn't always possible to check. If after discussion there's any doubt, the host should stick with their original decision.
  • Host adds up the score wrong: tricky. When I'm hosting, I usually tell both players what I think the final score is, and check that doesn't disagree with any idea they have of the score. If hosts make a habit of doing that then we can say that any mistakes of this kind have to be pointed out before the scoresheet is handed in. As it is, I'm sure we've corrected score arithmetic mistakes after handing in the scoresheet before. (I think Scrabble and chess have a system where both players sign the scoresheet, after which the result can't be corrected - handing in the scoresheet would seem to be the equivalent for co-events.)
  • Invalid conundrum, or valid conundrum answer disallowed, or invalid conundrum answer allowed: raise this before the scoresheet is handed in, or it stands as adjudicated.
To answer the question originally posed, if a player wins the final on an invalid conundrum, and this isn't raised before the scoresheet is handed in, the result should stand. (Next problem: is the scoresheet ever actually "handed in" after a final?)

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Graeme Cole » Mon Jul 20, 2020 9:19 pm

Graeme Cole wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 8:53 pm
(I think Scrabble and chess have a system where both players sign the scoresheet, after which the result can't be corrected - handing in the scoresheet would seem to be the equivalent for co-events.)
Reference: FIDE Laws of Chess (see article 8.7) and ABSP Scrabble Rules (see section 10.1 and 10.2).

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Gavin Chipper » Mon Jul 20, 2020 9:24 pm

Graeme Cole wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 9:19 pm
Graeme Cole wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 8:53 pm
(I think Scrabble and chess have a system where both players sign the scoresheet, after which the result can't be corrected - handing in the scoresheet would seem to be the equivalent for co-events.)
Reference: FIDE Laws of Chess (see article 8.7) and ABSP Scrabble Rules (see section 10.1 and 10.2).
If we adopted something like that, someone could win a game 987-312. Scrabble players can do something like that more legitimately, by just not challenging each other's words.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Graeme Cole » Mon Jul 20, 2020 9:36 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 9:24 pm
Graeme Cole wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 9:19 pm
Graeme Cole wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 8:53 pm
(I think Scrabble and chess have a system where both players sign the scoresheet, after which the result can't be corrected - handing in the scoresheet would seem to be the equivalent for co-events.)
Reference: FIDE Laws of Chess (see article 8.7) and ABSP Scrabble Rules (see section 10.1 and 10.2).
If we adopted something like that, someone could win a game 987-312. Scrabble players can do something like that more legitimately, by just not challenging each other's words.
Luckily, my summary of what the rules of Scrabble and chess say wasn't exactly right.

The relevant chess rule says "Even if incorrect, this result shall stand, unless the arbiter decides otherwise" and in Scrabble it's "No changes may be made to the result sheet once the subsequent round has been played without the express permission of the Tournament Director". So it looks like they've thought of your scenario and provided a way for the tournament director/arbiter to correct anything blatantly silly.

Obviously I don't know to what extent they use this discretion - maybe they only correct it if they think one or both players deliberately entered nonsense on the scoresheet to gain an advantage.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Graeme Cole » Mon Jul 20, 2020 10:48 pm

Graeme Cole wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 9:36 pm
Obviously I don't know to what extent they use this discretion - maybe they only correct it if they think one or both players deliberately entered nonsense on the scoresheet to gain an advantage.
Thinking about this further, correcting a scoresheet after handing it in probably isn't a super-rare procedure that's only done in "silly" cases. It just provides a convenient point after which the tournament organiser is allowed to refuse to fix things. The organiser would probably be happy to correct most mistakes that come to their attention (either by spotting the mistake themselves or having it pointed out), but in cases where it would be too much effort to fix whatever the problem is, the organiser simply has the right to say "no, you could have fixed that before handing it in, I'm keeping it as it is".

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Conor » Mon Jul 20, 2020 11:21 pm

I don't like redoing it if it's an -S plural but not if it's an -S third person singular verb. The former might be explicitly forbidden in the Contestant guidelines, but plenty of people attend Co-events without having been on the show: how would they know? A regular viewer might have reasonably noticed that -S plurals or verbs are never the solutions to conundrums, and I think setting either of them is 'against the spirit' of conundrum setting. So I'd redo them both. Of course if these things are explicitly mentioned before an event that changes things.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Graeme Cole » Thu Jul 23, 2020 9:30 pm

Reading further on the ABSP publications list, I found the Guide for Tournament Directors which towards the end implies the existence of an "Incidents Database", a collection of past rulings which tournament directors can use to help decide how to deal with various disputes that crop up.

I can only imagine this is crammed full of bizarre and hilarious You Are The Ref situations from the long history of Scrabble tournaments.

Sadly this can only be speculation, and they dash our hopes as quickly as they were raised, because the link is broken.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Graeme Cole » Thu Jul 23, 2020 10:43 pm

It's the last round of a co-event. At this event, draws are allowed and they count as half a win, like at MK. As usual, the top two after six games play each other in the final.

The top of the standings table looks like this:

Code: Select all

                 P  W  Pts
1  Alice         6  5  405
2  Bob           6  5  401
3  Cock          5  5  325
4  Dick          5  5  317
5  Random        6  4  350
6  Bystander     6  4  344
...
Alice and Bob are currently at the top on five wins each, having played all their games. Cock and Dick are also on five wins and are playing each other in their last game. When Cock and Dick's game reaches the conundrum, the score is 50-50.

You are the tournament organiser. You clearly overhear Cock and Dick agreeing with each other not to buzz for the conundrum, so as to deliberately draw the game, giving them 5½ wins each, putting them both through to the final.

What action, if any, do you take?

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Noel Mc » Fri Jul 24, 2020 7:28 am


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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Jon O'Neill » Fri Jul 24, 2020 9:00 am

Graeme Cole wrote:
Thu Jul 23, 2020 10:43 pm
It's the last round of a co-event. At this event, draws are allowed and they count as half a win, like at MK. As usual, the top two after six games play each other in the final.

The top of the standings table looks like this:

Code: Select all

                 P  W  Pts
1  Alice         6  5  405
2  Bob           6  5  401
3  Cock          5  5  325
4  Dick          5  5  317
5  Random        6  4  350
6  Bystander     6  4  344
...
Alice and Bob are currently at the top on five wins each, having played all their games. Cock and Dick are also on five wins and are playing each other in their last game. When Cock and Dick's game reaches the conundrum, the score is 50-50.

You are the tournament organiser. You clearly overhear Cock and Dick agreeing with each other not to buzz for the conundrum, so as to deliberately draw the game, giving them 5½ wins each, putting them both through to the final.

What action, if any, do you take?
You find the nearest mirror, and you look deeply and searchingly into your reflection as it looks back at you with shame, disappointment and disgust for running a tournament with a structure that allows such a situation to occur.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Innis Carson » Fri Jul 24, 2020 10:06 am

Rush over to their table in excitement and ask them to turn round slightly so you can get a video of the epic, historic crucial conundrum that's about to unfold. Also get all of the finished players to come and spectate, preferably while talking loudly to each other about how Cock and Dick are their Countdown heroes whose genius and integrity has been their inspiration in life.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Gavin Chipper » Fri Jul 24, 2020 2:02 pm

Well, it seems that Graeme has made his judgement on the players given the names given to the players!
Jon O'Neill wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 9:00 am

You find the nearest mirror, and you look deeply and searchingly into your reflection as it looks back at you with shame, disappointment and disgust for running a tournament with a structure that allows such a situation to occur.
I think this is a bit harsh. It's not always easy to account for every eventuality. Even now people can manipulate the outcome to some degree. You can have two players on 5 wins and they both know that in a high-scoring game they'll both make the final. So they can come to an agreement of never offering more than the person declaring first, the person declaring first can never going for something they consider obscure, always picking 1 large and so on.

I think there was a discussion on here about players being disqualified from the table tennis at the Olympics for throwing games to get a better draw. Generally, I think it's bad to have a tournament system that can make it in someone's favour to deliberately play badly. But I think two players colluding is worse than one player deliberately playing badly. Though feel free to debate that.

Obviously the pretend fair Swiss Pairs system can encourage not always playing to your best.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Graeme Cole » Fri Jul 24, 2020 5:47 pm

This may have been what I was thinking of when posing the problem.
Jon O'Neill wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 9:00 am
You find the nearest mirror, and you look deeply and searchingly into your reflection as it looks back at you with shame, disappointment and disgust for running a tournament with a structure that allows such a situation to occur.
This is closest to what I'd have said was the "right answer", although not quite expressed in the same way - basically it's an argument against having draws at events.
Innis Carson wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 10:06 am
Rush over to their table in excitement and ask them to turn round slightly so you can get a video of the epic, historic crucial conundrum that's about to unfold. Also get all of the finished players to come and spectate, preferably while talking loudly to each other about how Cock and Dick are their Countdown heroes whose genius and integrity has been their inspiration in life.
However, I like this answer better.
Gavin Chipper wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 2:02 pm
Jon O'Neill wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 9:00 am

You find the nearest mirror, and you look deeply and searchingly into your reflection as it looks back at you with shame, disappointment and disgust for running a tournament with a structure that allows such a situation to occur.
I think this is a bit harsh. It's not always easy to account for every eventuality. Even now people can manipulate the outcome to some degree. You can have two players on 5 wins and they both know that in a high-scoring game they'll both make the final. So they can come to an agreement of never offering more than the person declaring first, the person declaring first can never going for something they consider obscure, always picking 1 large and so on.
It's the "coming to an agreement" thing that makes this bad, not the individual decisions by each player to play conservatively in the hope of not dropping too many points, which itself is of course within the letter and the spirit of the rules.
Gavin Chipper wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 2:02 pm
Obviously the pretend fair Swiss Pairs system can encourage not always playing to your best.
I forget, is this one of the things for which you've come up with a better system? Or am I thinking of the voting system and/or the FOCAL points system?

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Gavin Chipper » Fri Jul 24, 2020 6:15 pm

Graeme Cole wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 5:47 pm
Gavin Chipper wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 2:02 pm
Obviously the pretend fair Swiss Pairs system can encourage not always playing to your best.
I forget, is this one of the things for which you've come up with a better system? Or am I thinking of the voting system and/or the FOCAL points system?
It is, along with those other things! Well, I would consider how I would do it to be better, but then there are still other arguments such as not wanting weaker players to be put off coming to events by making them play too many good players.

I have posted on here before about it and might find a link later, but the basic gist of it is:

There are x players, so for every player there are x-1 potential opponents. After each round, there will be a current ranking order from 1 to x. But each player has their own ranking of 1 to x-1 of the players not including themselves.

When you do the draw for each round, you make it so that each player's opponents have an average rank (according to the player's own list) of as close to x/2 as possible (x/2 being the mean of the numbers from 1 to x-1). So that basically means minimising the standard deviation. A couple of caveats though:

The rank of a previously played opponent is considered to be their current rank, not when they played them. So if I play rank number 1 in round 2, but they then become rank number 10 after round 5, my draw for round 6 is based on having played rank number 10 in round 2. Plus players don't have ranks going into round 1 anyway so it wouldn't work if we didn't do this when drawing based on round 1 results.

We don't want multiple unbeaten players at the end of the day, so unbeaten players still have to face each other, but as soon as they lose a game, they are likely to get an easier than average draw because the average rank of their opponents will likely be very high.

If we have tables of 3 then obviously we would look at the average rank of both opponents. It doesn't really change anything. We're still looking at minimising the same standard deviation. But with unbeaten players, we wouldn't necessarily need to put three unbeaten players together. Two would be enough to ensure that a maximum of one goes away unbeaten. But then it might also depend on number of rounds as you can get rid of at least two unbeaten players if three play together.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Gavin Chipper » Fri Jul 24, 2020 6:18 pm

Getting back on topic:
Graeme Cole wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 5:47 pm
basically it's an argument against having draws at events.
Something else you can do is not have the computer tell anyone the results of games in an uncompleted round. The results of all the games of a round are made public together. Obviously someone can go round asking people results of games, but at least you're making them work for it.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Conor » Fri Jul 24, 2020 7:05 pm

It's the "coming to an agreement" thing that makes this bad, not the individual decisions by each player to play conservatively in the hope of not dropping too many points, which itself is of course within the letter and the spirit of the rules.
But in Gevin's example they also came to an agreement. So while having draws at an event makes this sort of thing more likely to crop up, it can still happen in any event.

I would consider it fairly unsportsmanlike but not disqualify the contestants. And yeah, not publishing the results until the end of the round makes it less likely to occur. Generally when I've played Lincoln style I've not thought too much about who should host first in our triplet etc. but this does mean there's an incentive to host first - in the last round at least - so I will be following the computer generated order in future to avoid any accusations of wrongdoing.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Graeme Cole » Fri Jul 24, 2020 9:07 pm

Conor wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 7:05 pm
It's the "coming to an agreement" thing that makes this bad, not the individual decisions by each player to play conservatively in the hope of not dropping too many points, which itself is of course within the letter and the spirit of the rules.
But in Gevin's example they also came to an agreement. So while having draws at an event makes this sort of thing more likely to crop up, it can still happen in any event.
Yes, I didn't word this well. What I meant to imply was that playing conservatively is a thing you might reasonably do in a game, but not buzzing for a conundrum you knew the answer to isn't something you'd reasonably do unless you were only doing it because of something irregular going on.
Gavin Chipper wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 6:18 pm
Something else you can do is not have the computer tell anyone the results of games in an uncompleted round. The results of all the games of a round are made public together. Obviously someone can go round asking people results of games, but at least you're making them work for it.
Conor wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 7:05 pm
And yeah, not publishing the results until the end of the round makes it less likely to occur.
I don't like this idea, and not (only) because it would mean the loss of that sweet Atropine videprinter action. I think players like being able to see the running standings. At every event with a public-facing display, there's always a crowd of people gathering round the monitor as tables finish. These are mostly people who have already finished their games, naturally curious to know where they are in the standings, who might yet overtake them, etc. If you take that away on the off-chance that someone might take the rare opportunity to use the information to tactical advantage, then you end up with the alternative, which is a queue of people at the desk wanting conundrums, and a separate queue of people asking the organiser where they are in the standings.

Publishing the results as soon as they come in has another, more important function - error correction. When a result gets put in the wrong way round, or someone gets 20 points less than they should because someone's 5s look like 3s, the sooner this gets caught and corrected the better. If you only announced the results at the end of the round, there'd be no opportunity for players to spot mistakes until then.

I think these benefits outweigh the small possibility that someone might use the information on the standings table to their tactical advantage.
Conor wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 7:05 pm
Generally when I've played Lincoln style I've not thought too much about who should host first in our triplet etc. but this does mean there's an incentive to host first - in the last round at least - so I will be following the computer generated order in future to avoid any accusations of wrongdoing.
I've never thought about the playing order either. Indeed, I've even said to others on my table that the order doesn't matter when they look at the screen to see which game is "first".

Players could be encouraged to play the games in the published order, but you couldn't really make it an enforceable rule. When a table inevitably played the wrong game first, you couldn't throw away the scoresheet and tell them "play game X first, then replay that one".

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Gavin Chipper » Fri Jul 24, 2020 9:34 pm

Graeme Cole wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 9:07 pm

I've never thought about the playing order either. Indeed, I've even said to others on my table that the order doesn't matter when they look at the screen to see which game is "first".

Players could be encouraged to play the games in the published order, but you couldn't really make it an enforceable rule. When a table inevitably played the wrong game first, you couldn't throw away the scoresheet and tell them "play game X first, then replay that one".
Some people are actually quite pedantic about deciding player 1 and 2 based on the order on the screen, even I've never heard it said by anyone in charge that we're supposed to do that.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Thomas Carey » Sat Jul 25, 2020 4:16 am

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 9:34 pm
Graeme Cole wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 9:07 pm

I've never thought about the playing order either. Indeed, I've even said to others on my table that the order doesn't matter when they look at the screen to see which game is "first".

Players could be encouraged to play the games in the published order, but you couldn't really make it an enforceable rule. When a table inevitably played the wrong game first, you couldn't throw away the scoresheet and tell them "play game X first, then replay that one".
Some people are actually quite pedantic about deciding player 1 and 2 based on the order on the screen, even I've never heard it said by anyone in charge that we're supposed to do that.
Gevin has described something I do as pedantic o.O

With both p1/p2 and with order of games I think it should be done in a way that all 3 players are happy with, and if they can't agree then pick randomly - this can be done with a coin toss or something, but I find looking at the fixture order works too.

Personally I will always go for the random option of p1/p2 (I usually look at the fixtures, but if someone wants to toss a coin or whatever that works) just because there's an advantage in being p1 so depending on how you view the players you can pick the one that gives you the highest winning chances and if the other player doesn't care/doesn't want the confrontation then you get away with it, obviously if you coin toss there's a 50/50 to get the one you want anyway but that applies to the player you'd want to be p1 against also. However with the host order, I don't see any real advantage in what order happens (Lincoln style has no draws, and I agree draws are dumb). If someone on my table says we should do the order on the fixture list then I'm happy to do whatever that says but most people don't seem to care. I usually ask if I can host first on a table - I don't know why really, I guess it just helps me get #in #the #zone but yeah
cheers maus

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Conor » Sat Jul 25, 2020 7:50 am

Graeme Cole wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 9:07 pm
I don't like this idea, and not (only) because it would mean the loss of that sweet Atropine videprinter action. I think players like being able to see the running standings. At every event with a public-facing display, there's always a crowd of people gathering round the monitor as tables finish. These are mostly people who have already finished their games, naturally curious to know where they are in the standings, who might yet overtake them, etc. If you take that away on the off-chance that someone might take the rare opportunity to use the information to tactical advantage, then you end up with the alternative, which is a queue of people at the desk wanting conundrums, and a separate queue of people asking the organiser where they are in the standings.
Hmm, the videprinter is nice, but the people waiting are going to see the results - they just need to wait a few more mins for the other games to finish. When there's loads of people waiting to watch the screen to see the next results I see it as a bit sad really. I sometimes do it myself, but feel a bit sad doing it to. If I were an organizer I'd rather have people find other ways to amuse themselves after their table has finished, possibly even by interacting with each other. And if I people kept ask me where I was in the standings I'd tell them to go away!
Publishing the results as soon as they come in has another, more important function - error correction. When a result gets put in the wrong way round, or someone gets 20 points less than they should because someone's 5s look like 3s, the sooner this gets caught and corrected the better. If you only announced the results at the end of the round, there'd be no opportunity for players to spot mistakes until then.
This actually has a lot of value, and means that at least the scores should be printed somewhere (even if the standings are not).

I think if Countdown were a 'serious sport' you probably wouldn't have the screen visible without the table order being rigidly enforced. And while I wouldn't make violating the table order thing akin to cheating or make them redo the game, I'd try to encourage compliance to the extent that it'd be a bit of a faux pas not to do it. Kind of like how everyone used to sort the packs to make them nicer before Jono mentioned he did it, but now no one does it.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sat Jul 25, 2020 9:39 am

Videprinter?

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Graeme Cole » Sat Jul 25, 2020 10:22 am

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Sat Jul 25, 2020 9:39 am
Videprinter?
The bottom section of this screen, which, unless the organiser overrides it, Atropine shows from when the first result in a round is entered until the last result in the round is entered.

Named after this, although apparently I spelt it wrong.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Graeme Cole » Sat Jul 25, 2020 10:39 am

Conor wrote:
Sat Jul 25, 2020 7:50 am
Publishing the results as soon as they come in has another, more important function - error correction. When a result gets put in the wrong way round, or someone gets 20 points less than they should because someone's 5s look like 3s, the sooner this gets caught and corrected the better. If you only announced the results at the end of the round, there'd be no opportunity for players to spot mistakes until then.
This actually has a lot of value, and means that at least the scores should be printed somewhere (even if the standings are not).
If you show the scores but not the standings, it might solve the error correction problem, but for the prevention of potential tactical antics, that's almost the worst of both worlds. The majority of players, who are just naturally curious about where they're finishing in relation to others, now have that taken away from them, but the one player who's set on gaming the system can still work out the necessary details if they remember the appropriate people's wins and points totals from the previous round.

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