In 2002 there was a great deal of discussion as to the role of Appeals Committees in the ACBL, with some suggesting that ACs be eliminated entirely. An ACBL Board of Directors motion to do just that failed, failed again more narrowly in the summer of 2006, and again failed narrowly at the 2008 Summer NABC in Las Vegas.
In an attempt to ascertain whether committees are improving rulings overall I undertook an analysis of the NABC Appeals casebooks, starting with Toronto, which was then the most recent one available to me. I have continued this practice, I now also analyze the results of Appeals Panels, which are appeals run by tournament directors. I’ve also added and charted an "Improvement Per Case" metric. It’s the difference between the number of rulings clearly improved and the number clearly worsened, divided by the total number of appeals. An Improvement Per Case below zero may mean that the appelate process is doing more harm than good.
A downward trend in Improvement Per Case may be cause for concern, but it is not necessarily alarming. The number of cases analysed is not large enough for short trends to be statistically significant.
I haven’t had the time to add data for the TD Panels at the Summer 2001 NABC in Toronto, or for any earlier NABCs. If anyone has the time and inclination to work on those please send me your results and I’ll add them, substituting in my judgment if it differs substantially from your own.
If you spot any mistakes, or if your judgment differs from mine, please let me know via email or by a post to the Bridge Laws Mailing List.
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