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All comments by Aviv Shahaf
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Congrats Jenny and Gavin!
Our kids are about two years ahead of yours and I can tell you it's just keep getting better and better.

@Greg - I signed up my daughter when she was just over 2 years old before they made the change but they wouldn't let me pre-sign my son who missed the cut by 24 days! (some lame excuse about not being born yet…)
April 3, 2012
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I might Pass if it ended the auction, but most of the time when defending 1NTX is right then LHO would run and after that I may not get a chance to invite as strongly in hearts.
Also add my vote to playing “systems on” over the double so I would also prefer to “transfer” with 2D and then follow with 3H.
March 28, 2012
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@Steven - E/W only lose their rights if they commit a “serious error” or take a “wild or gambling action”.
There is nothing in the description of the hand that suggest that this was the case, unless not bidding spades at the 3 level was such an error (a serious error does not equal an inferior action or making a mistake - it is closer to revoking).

Regarding a “double shot” that someone mentioned - If E/W had doubled the 3D contract so they get a good score if it goes down but thought that they would never had to worry about it if it makes since the opponents used UI - That would be an example of Taking a “Double Shot” (Wild or Gambling action) and would forfeit their right for adjustment (The N/S offenders would still get their score adjusted though).

@Sorina - I think you already understand what infraction your partnership committed and hopefully understand why it's correct for the director to adjust the score.
I think that you might not yet understand why your opponents got what you think was an unjust reward.

The rules in the US are that the Offenders get the WORST result that was at all “probable” and the Non offenders get the BEST result that was at all “likely” had the irregularity not occurred.
Most directors (at the club level at least) try to find a result that would justify both criteria and assign it to both sides.

For luck of more information I guess the director in your case judged that 3S by E/W was a result that was at least likely enough and probable enough had South did something other than bid 3D.
March 28, 2012
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As answered by others, the problem was NOT North's Pass of 3D.

As long as South did not give North UI (Unauthorized Information) by his expression or demeanor upon hearing the explanation of his 2D bid then North is allowed to take any action he wants (on his own risk) based on his cards and the auction.

The problem was also NOT the explanation of 2D assuming it was the correct explanation.

the problem was South's bid of 3D after getting the UI that his partner took his 2D bid as Hearts even though he clearly intended it as natural.

The correct way for a director to decide about score adjustment is to use the following steps:

Did South had UI? Yes, the explanation of the 2D bid was Unauthorized to him. South should keep bidding as if his partner explained his 2D bid as natural (which is clearly what he intended it as) and then bid a natural 2H over it.

Did South had other logical alternatives to bidding 3D? Yes, Both Pass of 2H and raising to 3H are logical alternatives.

was any of his options demonstrably suggested by the UI? Yes, the 3D bid was clearly suggested by the UI and therefore was an infraction.

Were E/W damaged by the infraction? We don't have enough information to answer this without knowing the full deal and deciding if the damage was due to the infraction or due to other factors like West's failure to bid Spades at any point even after his partner opened 1NT and then doubled later.
Also if 3H makes for N/S and North doesn't have a 4H bid (5332 hand with only Ace of Hearts) or if 4H makes then there was no damage since N/S would have gotten a better score if South had Passed 2H or raised to 3H.

If the director decides that there was damage and that it was not due to E/W gross mistake or wild and gambling action then the director should decide if E/W could have gotten better scores if South had not used the UI and if yes assign them the most favorable result (the standards are slightly different for the offenders N/S and for the Non offenders E/W regarding how likely the result needs to be so N/S might get a different assigned score than E/W)
March 27, 2012
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My crystal ball tells me that Falk is going to be declared the winners after Grue is disqualified for listening to auctions and being too lazy to play multi…
March 26, 2012
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Allan: Mea Culpa, my memory tricked me - Carl Lewis finished 4th in the 200M trials not the 100M
Dec. 27, 2011
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A big loss for this method is that Responder with xxx - xxxxx - x - xxxx or similar can't Pass a 1S Rebid.

I almost never Pass 1m opening when playing standard if holding shortness in partner's minor because I get a terrible score when it gets passed out.
Dec. 26, 2011
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Shawn: I completely disagree with your statement that the system is broken if Sponsors are “allowed” to play in world championships.
The sponsors are the same like any other player and if they win the trials then they get to represent the US.

Clearly the way to assure that the “Best” teams are picked is to select the best 12 pairs (via committee or a poll or some predetermined statistics) and then have them train together with a coaching staff that will eventually pick the final teams.
Also clear is that this process will never happen (maybe never is an overbid…)

There is nothing wrong with the current method of selection via trails.
It's true that it might not always produce what some will consider the “Best” teams, but history shows that it almost always produced top class teams which had a good shot at winning.
If a sponsor can bring himself to a playing level that is good enough to win the trials (or hire a team that is good enough to win against the best teams even when they take a loss when the sponsor is playing) - I take my hat off and salute them!

Bridge is not the only sport that has trails.
In athletics for example the top competitors has one shot to make the olympic team and even someone who is considered by everyone to be the “best” must win (or place) in that one event to be included in the team. no previous wins at world class competitions or any records they set will help them (nor will it get them a bye to the semifinal…)
There are at least a few times that I can recall when a top athlete did not make the olympic team because they did not do well in the trials (Carl Lewis finishing 4th in the 100M for the 1992 Olympics for example).
Dec. 21, 2011
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Gavin - I agree with you that the current law occasionally create an “absurdly large penalty” for the player who carelessly dropped an honor card on the table.
It is not the only place in the laws that an “absurdly large penalty” follow a careless act by a player (losing a trick which was won by the Ace of trumps after a player revoked because he had 2 cards stuck together in his hand even though the revoke did not effect the play is just one such example)

There are many (including me) who believe that the laws should not reward or punish players with results they could not have achieved at the table and in an Utopian world the laws should protect “Equity”.
The problem is that it would require giving “officials” (Directors) much greater powers than they currently have and will require them to use a lot more judgment than they currently do and the sad fact is that many directors do not poses the skills necessary to do that.

The current laws are protecting the “innocent” (Non Offenders) which sometimes come on the expense of the “Law breakers” (Offenders) and, although not perfect, are practical and enforceable.

I do believe that the laws could (and should) be improved with some simple and easy guidelines that will solve the most gross inequitable situations such as applying “a trick that can't be lost” clause to an offending side penalty for example.

I would also like to refer everyone to an initiative by the WBF Laws Committee which is inviting anyone to contact them with suggestions about how to improve the laws for the next version of the Laws

http://www.ecatsbridge.com/Documents/laws_appeals/invitation.asp

I would also like to correct some inaccuracies with your presentation:
The 10 is also considered an “Honor” card and would be a “Major” penalty card
The penalty card is not completely unauthorized information for the partner - the play restrictions are authorized and can greatly influence the cards chosen by the partner (ducking a trick in another suit for the purpose of not being subject to lead penalties for example)
Dec. 14, 2011
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Kit, I totally agree with “simplicity and consistency whenever possible” and have the agreement with my regular partner that all KC answers are always 14-30 even if theoretically there might be situations where 03-14 is superior.

I would however make an exception for such a specific sequence like after your 3S bid.
IMHO, The bid itself should be an easy reminder for the continuations.
It's like playing modified 4C KC ask after 3 level preempts (responses: 0/1/1+Q/2/2+Q)
It just wouldn't make sense to play regular KC opposite a preempt and with any of my regular partners I never worry about having an accident with that sequence.
Dec. 8, 2011
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Great hand Kit

I really liked that you highlighted the importance of thinking ahead during Blackwood/Key-Card auctions.
I would however recommend that the asker prepare all his continuation before the initial asking bid and not before asking for Kings.
It might not give as much information as thinking after getting the response for kings but still gives more information than a smooth auction.
In time partner will start recognizing the type of hands you pause before asking for kings and sign off after she show one and will make “inspired” raises to Grand (or in your case to 6NT) with certain extras but will pass the sign-off with similar hands if there was no thinking before asking for kings.

Regarding methods: I would also like to question the response structure to Key cards when responder is already known to have AKQ of trumps and opener has a hand that can ask for Key cards.
How about the following steps: 1st step = no additional aces but either J or extra trump length (next step would ask - J/7T), 2nd step = 1 additional Ace (next step ask about trumps - 6T/6T+J/7T), 3rd step = 2 additional aces with similar continuations as after 2nd step, 4th step = No additional aces and no J/extra trumps
Dec. 7, 2011
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Henry,
I assume we agree about West Coast always starting at 10:00.

The reason I think you cannot apply the “moving the clock back” method to the whole nationals schedule is that many players show up later and would not have the benefit of “adjusting”.

The reason I think the method should only apply to team events is that the early starting times are much more important when playing 64 boards, especially behind screens, and not so much for 52 boards pair events.
Dec. 2, 2011
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Congratulations Josh and Roger, very impressive
Viva la “Juniors” Revolucion!
Dec. 2, 2011
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Henry,
Moving the starting time 1 hour earlier each day on the East coast is a great idea, but only for the major KOs events and I would give 2 days at 1:00 starting time…
Dec. 1, 2011
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Jan,
I thought my suggestion was very consistent as long as it applies to all West Coast Nationals.

I don't think the “consistency” factor should be the length of the break between sessions.
The schedules should simply provide for optimal conditions.

On the East coast players will need to have dinner between sessions, hence the longer break (allowing time to get to the restaurant, order, eat, digest…)
On the West coast Players will have the dinner after play is over, hence the shorter break.
I was actually going to suggest 10:00 & 3:00 starting times, but thought that many will find 1 to 1.5 hours break insufficient.
Dec. 1, 2011
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Henry,
I'm a strong supporter of early starting times for all NABC+ events.
I believe that players who play in those events need a schedule that will allow them to play to the best of their ability and that they are not interested in a schedule that gives them the opportunity to play more sessions in the mornings.
Your post however make a different solution very clear:
Since there is a 3 hour difference between the East and West coasts, it wouldn't be fair to make West coast players start at 10:00 AM on the east coast or to make East coast players play till after midnight on the west coast.
starting times for NABC+ events should be based on the location.
Pair events - 1:00 & 7:30 on the East Coast, 10:00 & 3:30 (no need for as long a break with the early starting time) on the West coast
Long KO events - 11:00/1:30 & 6:30/9:00 on the East coast, 10:00/12:30 & 5:30/8:00 on the West coast
Some adjustments could be made for Central and Mountain time zones (I guess in Hawaii they can start at 8:00 AM ;D)
Dec. 1, 2011
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Disagreements about final contract: The reason there are disputes about final contracts in most cases is that many players pick up their bidding cards instead of putting another Pass on the table when they think that no one else will act after them.
This habit, besides being illegal (only legal way of bidding is taking a bid of 1C to 7NT or a call of Pass/X/XX out of the bidding box and placing it on the table), can create lots of confusion regarding what was the last “non pass” bid or call.
Writing down the contract in your personal score before the play starts does not provide any proof that this was indeed the final contract. It only proves that you believed it to be the final contract.
Example: 1H - 1S - 2S - Pass, 4H - Pass - Pass - (Double), Pick up bidding cards.
The Heart bidders did not expect the double and possibly did not notice it. The Spade bidder noticed the double and assumed everyone else did too, so did not bother “enforce” proper procedure since the “Double” clearly ends the auction.
It will not help the director determine what happened even if both Heart bidders will put down “4H” or both defenders put down “4HX” in their personal score…

Solution: Follow correct procedure when using bidding boxes and always agree about the final contract BEFORE putting the bids back in the box.
Another solution which I hope the ACBL will adopt is to leave the bidding on the table until the opening lead has been selected and placed face down.
Nov. 17, 2011
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Great subject and many interesting ideas.
I would like to share my thoughts which are based on my experience as the head director of a very large club in NYC.

Gavin: I agree with most of your points, however I couldn't disagree more with your suggestion that the player who becomes dummy should take a bathroom break to save time later.
Unless you are a World class player, who can ask one of the many kibitzers to play dummy for them, leaving the table while being the dummy is against the laws and in many cases would actually slow down the play and/or upset the other players at the table.
Also consider the time wasted if the play is fast and everyone has to wait for the “dummy” to come back so they can start the next board or the time wasted if “dummy” comes back before the hand is finished (see my point about play being slower) and create more delays by trying to figure out how the play went to that point (either by looking at his played cards which could be very distracting or asking questions which is even worse)
The only time that is appropriate to take a bathroom break is between rounds. also see suggestion in the other aforementioned thread about going to the bathroom before the session.
I really wish that you will edit and omit that point.

Thinking during other player's turn to bid or play/ Planing future bids or plays in advance: great suggestions but unfortunately many players do not have nor will ever develop these skills…
If people want, I have many great stories about things I have witnessed as a director while monitoring slow tables that will illustrate this point.

Writing contract in personal score: When on lead, doing anything else that delays play other than thinking is inappropriate. this apply also to opening lead.
You can make your lead first and probably finish writing down the contract before dummy finishes spreading his hand on the table, than its appropriate for declarer to take at least 20 seconds before calling a card to the first trick and for third hand to take at least 10 additional seconds before playing himself.
This gives enough time for everyone to process the extra information given by the sight of dummy and plan the play. if anyone needs more time to think they can leave their card face up as mentioned by Henry.
This procedure should also solve other issues that were discussed like “what to do when dummy leads his singleton through me at trick 2” (Reading some of the comments regarding this almost made me believe that at other clubs this happens every other hand and not about once per thousand which I believed to be the frequency…)
Nov. 15, 2011
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Hi Joe,
Great Performance at BB!

Can you compare life at the Junior House in NY to your new life in Sin City.

If you ever decide to actually read a bridge book, which one will it be?
Nov. 3, 2011
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