A CONCRETE EXAMPLE.......................
The other day my partner ( not known for his tolerance of cheats ) objected quite vocally , when a lady player with years of experience stepped out of line. She opened the bidding 1S to which her partner jumped to 3S. At this point she bid 4H......only to shout out in horror " Oh No ! ". Not surprisingly her opposite number dutifully bid 4S to end the auction.
My partner quite rightly felt this " 4H oh no " carried unauthorised information. In a more normal auction 4H could have been a cue bid with a mild interest in a slam. Clearly it wasn't. Did the " oh no " carry the message I meant to pass 3S , or I meant to bid 4S , wishing to sign off from her side. Certainly , something was meant by this comment, which in my view is one of many concrete examples of soft cheating where " unauthorised information of some sort " is being passed over to partner.
Where my partner went wrong was his instinctive reaction to reprimand her over this comment , rather than call the TD over to register his concerns. Nevertheless his verbal scolding could well give rise to the pot putting in a complaint about the kettle , with the ZT rule book being thrown against him.
And what's my take on this ? Well , if the TD had been called over , the lady in question would have repeated her denials of wrongdoing and guilt , making numerous excuses to justify her claims of innocence. Would her behaviour be noted and recorded as " soft cheating " I very much doubt it, but as for my partner's unforgiving remarks they were far more likely to receive a severe rebuke.
So I will leave you with this thought. If club committees had the guts to clamp down on soft cheating first , then many instances of rude behaviour at the tables would disappear overnight. To apply zero tolerance to rudeness ( when caused by provocation ) and not soft cheating smacks of double standards and gross stupidity.