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Multi Discussion Part 2

The following was sent to me and several others by Bobby Wolff.

In addition to being one of the most successful players of all time, Wolff has been one of those who "give back" to the game, with service on the ACBL Board and the WBF board including terms as President of both organizations. In those roles he was (and still is) very concerned with cleaning up our game, eliminating not only cheating but opportunities for involuntary improper activities. In that spirit he wrote this:

"I was told this is a real-life hand played in a high-level international round robin tournament. There were 6 different bidding sequences in this important IMP tournament with Multi being used at 3 tables, but not at the other 3." The hand:

West
J75
KQ9765
92
Q5
North
KQ862
J
K863
983
East
9
A10842
7
KJ10642
South
A1043
3
AQJ1054
A7
W
N
E
S
2
P
2
3
3
5
5
6
P
P
6
X
P
P
P
D
6X West
NS: 0 EW: 0

W
N
E
S
2
P
2
3
3
5
5
6
P
P
6
X
P
P
P
W
N
E
S
2
P
2
3
P
5
P
6
P
P
P

 

W
N
E
S
2
P
4NT
X
P
5
6
X
P
P
P
W
N
E
S
2
P
4
X
P
4
5
P
P
5
6
X
P
P
P
W
N
E
S
2
P
4
X
P
4
5
X
P
P
P

 

There are several points of interest in these results:

1. How Multi, instead of just classic WTBs, affects application of judgment and most of all, results.

2. How Multi can be decided in various world bridge “poison gas” laboratories to be most effective. West in example 3 did not do what partner asked, namely, "If your suit is hearts, please bid on." Putting a favorable light on it, West had been trained in bridge destructive school, wherein he did not want to admit to hearts in order to prevent his opponents from having a known cue bid available (hearts) which would better enable them to bid to their best contract, whether it was diamonds, spades, or even clubs, not to mention NT. Logically by passing South's intervention, he was claiming spades as his suit, complicating his opponent's communication. [At one point when I played Multi my partner and I agreed that after 2D-P-2S-3m, opener would bid 3 or 4 only with a constructive weak two, and would pass with minimum values.]

Perhaps it is OK to do such a thing, but if the partnership is then asked if his pass meant what logic called for, spades, what should be his partner's answer? Should it be, "We haven't discussed it," even if they had? Should it be, "When the opponent's enter the bidding our obligations are now off and strategy comes into the equation?" Could it also then be, "Usually it shows spades, but I am not allowed to act on that?" Or finally the truth, "We prefer to obfuscate and street fight when we feel that it is likely the opponents will get hurt worse than we will [by providing] the accurate description.” [Wolff puts a nasty spin on things. If I had the agreement above I would either give the second answer, or say that Pass shows either spades or a really bad 2 opener.]

3. Add #2's discussion above to the possibility of simple cheating signals such as, bad hand, good hand which can easily be done, even behind screens, with either noise or no noise. Obviously the bridge police as we all do, want justice to prevail, cheaters to be caught and bridge to be pristine. Shouldn't, at least, top level bridge investigators take note of how easy certain ugly transgressions can be accomplished and try to do something about them? If so, we need to start with certain inviolate rules, such as in this case, a partnership, before playing Multi (or other conventions which lend themselves to violations, e.g. odd even dual signaling, Smith echo, not demanding an alert for support double conventioneers when a double is not made, etc.) the partnership must discuss the important nuances. Those not so doing should be subject to discipline.

4. Obviously my reason for submitting the above hands as well, of course, as the theoretical bridge discussion, but much more importantly, because of the direction of keeping the game clean, rewarding the players who feel responsible to do so, and coming down on those who don't. I, of course, wish to take my hopes to people (some, especially among the professional players, mostly silent for fear of rocking the boat to their eventual disadvantage) who feel the same as I do. If you do feel the same or even if you are conflicted in your views, perhaps you may help me get this message out for discussion.

Thanks and please understand that I will, of course, be available to continue on whatever worthwhile procedure you suggest, but keep in mind that I do not have any special feelings on how to present this type of controversial conversation.”

Given the prior discussion of Multi here, I thought there might be an audience that would like to give their views.

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