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All comments by Debbie Rosenberg
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Well done, Alex!

If I'm reading correctly, that is 1st out of 1799 players. Wow. Was it similar entry size last time Alex won? I'm beginning to see Jan's point, even if I can't confirm her spelling.
March 20
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Yes, the report does mention polling. See the bottom of p.17 of the linked casebook:

“… Several players were polled and none would have bid 4♠ with
West’s hand no matter the agreement for 2NT. No polling was done to ascertain whether or not 5♥ should be allowed.”
March 14
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@Ken Rhodes

You said “@Barry and Craig: You’ve both been playing long enough to remember when no doubles were alertable.”

I've seen you mention this a few times recently, that ACBL regulations once had no doubles being alertable. When was this? I've been playing in ACBL events for more than 35 years, and I'm fairly certain that was never the case in my time.

Thanks.
March 11
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This might be the worst thread hijack I've seen on Bridgewinners.

Sorry, Michael. It was an interesting thing you noticed, and it was reasonable to think the Bridgewinnners community might be able to help you verify and/or explain it.
March 11
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Michael, I disagree that a director would never face the AQTx opposite J9xx situation.
The fact that you would never claim there without a clear statement doesn't mean that nobody else would. I think there are at least a handful of players who might consider it beneath them to mention how they'd play, and are confident that if their opponents do dare to bring up the issue, they will “win” (and probably without a director call).
So yes, the call would be extremely unlikely, but imo not impossible, and unlikely not solely because no expert would ever claim without statement there.
March 9
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Sorry, while I really shouldn't be spending time on this right now, I can't resist commenting a bit further. Apologies for the fact that I haven't read everything carefully.

“2) The ”Michael Rosenberg“ way: If there is ANY sort of indication that declarer is not sure what is actually happening, then any doubtful point is decided against declarer.”

Michael, even if we were to agree that your way is “fairest” in theory, can you agree that it's impractical? We don't have a panel of experts watching a video of all of declarer's actions, then determining what was in his mind. One director, who is likely not an expert bridge player, must make this determination without the benefit of video, and likely in the midst of addressing numerous other issues.

In a high level event I suppose there might be video, and, if there is an appeal, a panel of directors to decide. Do you really want this? Wouldn't it be better to make some rulings that are perhaps “unfair” to the claimer, in order to discourage claims which create the need for many more such rulings in the future.
March 9
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Yes, I think there is some chance that you would claim on the finesse with Qxx facing AJT without saying you'd play the Q. Not much chance, but some.
And no, I don't think there is any chance that you would claim in the second case without saying you'd run the 9 and then the J.

Lol, I typed those answers, suspecting that was what you wanted to hear, before reading the rest of your comment and seeing that you'd already answered the questions yourself.

So we agree on this. But I'm not sure what the point is in terms of a claim ruling.
March 9
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@David,

Though I have many thoughts on the points you and Michael have each made, I don't want to spend much time on this right now. After a quick read of his last comment, I am tempted to argue with MR on your behalf, but I trust you can handle that.

For now I just want to clarify what I meant about defining where a statement is necessary.

If declarer puts their hand on the table and says “I have all the tricks”, and the tricks are all of the AKxx facing QJxx variety, I think we are in agreement that no further statement about the order of play is needed.

And if they are of the Ax facing KQx variety, again, I think we agree that “I have three tricks in this suit” is sufficient (though, depending on opposition, I might prefer declarer play enough tricks so that this isn't an issue).

I also think we would agree that a claim which includes winning three tricks with KQ facing Axx definitely requires a statement about what order declarer will play the cards in. That said, at the expert level I admit that I might not make always make one, and I certainly wouldn't call the director if an expert opponent failed to state that they were unblocking, provided that they had an obvious way to take the tricks.

And then there is the question of unblocking spot cards, which was the rather controversial situation in an article I posted last year. I would like clarity on that situation.

I'm not going to search for it now, but I believe that you yourself asked on this thread whether a statement that declarer will “finesse” covers them when a finesse needs repeating. That's another situation I have in mind when I say regulating authorities might offer more specific guidance on how to claim, and how to rule on contested claims.

Mind you, I can't get too serious about improving claim rules and rulings until it is added to the laws that declarer MUST show their hand when claiming, and leave it visible until the defenders clearly indicate they are done looking. That's another issue of course……
March 9
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I agree that leading the 9 in the AQTx facing J9xx could be considered a “good” play for some level of player. Yet I don't see you, Michael, as any more likely to lead the J in that situation than you would be to lead low from dummy in the OP situation. If I were the director, and using my knowledge of what this “class of player” would do, I would see it as equally unlikely for you to lead low in the OP situation as to lead the J in the J9xx situation.
March 9
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You've got my vote, David.

You said “I doubt that I would call the director myself in this position - I'd give my opponent his tricks if ♥K were onside. But if I were the director, I'd give the defenders a trick unless ♥K or ♥Kx were under the ♥AJ10. That's what I think the rules require me to do.”

That about sums it up for me. I doubt that I would call the director in this particular case, but I want to discourage this time wasting claim. As Cory Perkers shouted upthread
“PLEASE CALL THE QUEEN!!!”

If declarers want to continue to claim sloppily, or without any statement at all, because for whatever reason they deem one unnecessary against these particular opponents, that's fine. I do it frequently myself. But if it turns out that I am wrong about these opponents (I can't recall such a case), and the opponents call the director, I expect to get ruled against if there is any doubt at all.

Of course doubt is subjective, and there isn't a whole lot we can do about that, though it might be useful to have more situations spelled out by the regulating authorities. For example, Peg Kaplan says “…no one assumes that with AKxx opposite QJxx, someone is going to play two ”x's“ instead of an honor each round.” I think that is true, and nobody is ever going to question that claim without statement. Perhaps we could better define where a statement is necessary and where it isn't. In the meantime, it's a judgement call.

The most important thing to me is that players be encouraged to claim only when it SAVES time. If playing a card more, or trick or two more, will save time over a claim, then do it!
It is unreasonable to expect directors to be able to judge with any consistency what is careless for a particular declarer, or “class” of declarer. The experts on this forum often disagree, and directors often lack the expertise to even come close.

Edited to fix typo
March 9
Debbie Rosenberg edited this comment March 9
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David & Paul, you have me most of the way convinced, but I'm planning to hear opposing counsel's arguments in person before voting.
Btw, he's under the weather at the moment, which could account for both the multiple typos in his comment below, and his opinion on this subject.
March 8
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Edit: Comment moved to the spot I intended. Sorry.
March 8
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As has been expressed in several comments, while there may not be a “need” to ask when one is going to PASS regardless, many of us believe that it is better for bridge if players at least sometimes do so.
Either always asking, or randomly asking sometimes when not planning to take action regardless, solves the problem of giving UI every time one does ask.
As I said, for me it's not exactly random, but also isn't based on my hand. I'm inclined to ask when I think I'll get a meaningful answer.
March 6
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@Tom. Your statement about ACBL convention cards, at least the ones I see regularly, is not accurate. There is no place to mark the jump raise after a double. There is a place to mark the jump raise without interference, or after an overcall. The options are “Force, Inv or Weak”

This is all besides the point. Hardly anyone treats 3 here as forcing or invitational.

The reason I would ask about 3H is that “weak” or “preemptive” means different things for different pairs. Any of the following ranges constitutes a common agreement, in my experience:

0-6
4-6
6-9
0-9

Whether or not I would ask about 3 would generally be based on how likely I think it is to get a meaningful answer from my particular LHO. If I doubt the pair has any agreement beyond “weak”, then I probably won't bother asking. If I think they do have a more specific agreement, but that it will be like pulling teeth to get it out of them, then I'd probably wait until I needed know.


One of the comments stated : “A player asking on nothing either always asks or is trying to ethically bar partner.”

This is not true.
March 6
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There may not be as many “young ACBL members” as you would like, David. There certainly aren't as many as I would like. Yet they certainly do exist, and I can't imagine reading comments like yours makes them feel particularly welcome. I don't see the point of such a comment.

As for Allan's comment about the ACBL not setting a good example, I don't really know what he means. I do know that the fact that Geir Helgemo is welcome to play in our events, despite this nonsense, is something I will be proud to discuss with the “young ACBL members” I have contact with.
March 5
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As Michael Bodell said, in ACBL you are supposed to be pausing and appearing to consider action, even when you have no problem (though most players don't do this). Given that, it seems like a good idea to me to routinely ask. Even if you aren't considering bidding, as most wouldn't be with this hand, you will want to know later if defending what hand type declarer was playing partner for. UI concerns aside, why not be efficient with using those 10 seconds?

The problem comes when someone usually asks, then doesn't do so with xxx,xxx,xxxx,xxx, and their partner knows what that means. Alas, there is basically nothing we can do about that, beyond encouraging people to always ask, or changing the alert procedures. Since there is far from any consensus that always asking is good practice - in fact players are more often discouraged from asking unless they have an immediate problem - I don't think there is really anything to be done. This is one of many reasons, perhaps the main one, why bridge is better behind screens.

The comments on this thread illustrate how far we are from consensus on this issue. I don't think the person asking did anything wrong, based on the description. I don't even think he necessarily gave UI. Yet others seems to think he definitely gave UI, and are discussing how big a crime that is.

Of course in a regular partnership, most players give UI continually, often in ways their opponents aren't aware of. So maybe this ask did give UI, and maybe it didn't. It depends on the partnership. Again, this is (sadly) part of the game without screens. While some players strive to neither give UI nor take advantage of it, they are the exception, and I don't think there is much to be done about that.

To me, this situation is nothing special at all, and there is no reason from the OP description to accuse someone of acting improperly. Are we really going to start filing reports every time someone asks a question and we “doubt” that they would have done so with a a different hand?
March 5
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Thank you, PETE, for the congratulations!
March 5
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Excellent points, Wes, and love your superpower reference.

I'm afraid I may be guilty of perpetuating the myth. I just checked my lesson notes on “Counting the Hand - Defense”, and in the section focused on counting HCP, I found only one brief parenthetical mention of the possibility of an upgrade, with much text treating the HCP count as an absolute when declarer has opened 1N or 2N.

Fwiw, I see now that I did make some attempt to address reality, at least if students read the whole document. On the last page I have the following in a text box accompanying the writeup of one of the practice deals:

“It would be unrealistic to ignore the fact
that many players will at least sometimes
‘upgrade;’ e.g., open a 15-17 1N with a good 14,
or 2N with a good 19. You may be able to assess
how likely this is, depending on the opponent.
While pros tend to upgrade more often
than the average player, if you aren’t sure about
a particular opponent, it’s prudent to keep in
mind that partner may occasionally have one
more point than you expect.
On the above deal, even if you allow for
partner to have 1 extra HCP, she can’t have the
A. That would give declarer only 13.”


And 13, as we all know, is impossible!
March 5
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Thanks, Alex!
Pete, it appears your search was stymied by the use of the word “alter” rather than “differ”.

Edited to correct Paul to Pete. Sorry about that.
March 5
Debbie Rosenberg edited this comment March 5
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@Pete - As Christopher indicates, I'd expect to find the rule against asymmetry in ACBL regulations, not in the Laws of Duplicate Bridge.
However, I can't find it. Yet it's something I've always “known” to be true. Can someone help me with why I “know” this? Has there been a recent change?

It can't be all about having identical convention cards (see Ed Judy below). If that were the case, we could easily enter 14-17 on the first line, with my initials, and 15-17 on the second line, with my partner's initials. There is even room to do that on the standard ACBL cc. And we could announce accordingly.

Imo, this would be great news, if we are in fact allowed to do this. Yet I “know” that we aren't. I can't pinpoint how I know this, but it's been discussed many times over my more than 30 years in the ACBL, always with the same conclusion. I'm pretty sure there was a related a BoD motion a few years ago…

Edited, with apologies, to call Pete by his correct name.
March 5
Debbie Rosenberg edited this comment March 5
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