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All comments by James Lawrence
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I don't understand. Nobody bid Stayman (or anything that could be confused for it) here…
19 hours ago
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Succeeded at what? Giving EW 9 tricks? N may well only have been motivated by speeding the game up, but if you claim as a defender when your partner still has a material decision to make you must expect to lose any tricks that might be in doubt.
Sept. 18
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John, I can understand you are worried the EW “don't get their due” after N's claim. But the way to get their due is not to play on after the claim, all they had to do was call the director saying that N's claim was faulty, the TD would have awarded them the result from the least successful normal line of play for NS and all this would have been avoided.
Sept. 18
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I think a practical way to resolve this would have been as follows:

1) did N claim? Yes. He specified a number of tricks and suggested that play be curtailed.

2) Was N's claim valid? No. It relied on partner playing certain cards when it might have been careless or inferior, but still normal, to play other less successful cards. We are entitled as TD to use the results of the later play to help us decide whether this is normal or not, even if the later play was not consented to.

3) Did all four players (including the dummy) consent to play continuing? East clearly did since he initiated play. South and West followed suit, which could reasonably be taken as consent. But North neither played, nor gave verbal consent. In fairness he didn't try to *stop* play or call the TD at this point either which might weakly imply consent.

I would rule as OP did that North had not consented, but the law is not clear and a ruling of consent would not be unreasonable (TD could consider the tempo of the trick and whether North had time to object).

If you rule N has not consented, then the least successful normal line (A — I don't think 10 or smaller diamond would be a normal line) results in 9 tricks for declarer.

If you rule N has consented, then play continues to the point of declarer's claim:

4) Is declarer's claim valid? Yes. Declarer knows that spades are 1-1 (information from an opponent's claim is authorised information). Even if declarer didn't know that all normal lines lead to nine tricks once South has played the A and a spade.

So either way the ruling should be 3NT=.
Sept. 17
James Lawrence edited this comment Sept. 17
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Whilst deliberately playing slowly to induce a tell from the opponents is clearly against the laws, I wouldn't conclude that that's what happened in this particular case — even if the probabilities are obviously 50/50, declarer might have been thinking about the state of the match, what the player at the other table would do (and consequently whether declarer wants to do the same or the opposite thing), whether the play to date has gone particularly well or badly and consequently whether a risk needs to be taken or avoided, and so on.

As TD, I might ask South what they were thinking about, and if the answer was obviously baloney then I might consider an adjustment. After all, I am only required to make such a determination on the balance of probabilities. But from what I see here I think it is less than 50% chance declarer was primarily trying to elicit a tell.

Doubtless someone will pillory me for being a member of the school of kinds hearts and gentle people, but nobody becomes a TD because they want people to agree with them!
Sept. 17
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I accept the arguments that 2 is defined as a natural call and consequently any double which isn't takeout should be alerted. However, experienced players are expected to protect themselves if they can do so with minimal risk, and I would say that is the case here, and consequently rule no adjustment to NS. I would only give a PP to EW if they had been previously warned about this situation, since a lot of EBU players wouldn't know in practice that 2 was legally natural.
Sept. 16
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It's not as esoteric as it sounds, if you think of pass expecting partner to double, with a strong preference for either defending or declaring, whereas the double has less preference. This is more or less what I play.
Sept. 15
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Whilst I can understand the sentiment, how might a player feel if they found out the TD was carefully selecting pollees to conform to a particular bidding philosophy that not all might share? I think it would be bad for TDs to do that on the whole.
Sept. 14
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Thanks Ed — did this law used to use a stronger wording? Maybe my memory is just faulty.
Sept. 13
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If I recall correctly, the TD is required to rule MI rather than misbid unless there is clear evidence to the contrary. If they seem confused what their agreements are and there is no CC, I don't think there can be clear evidence of misbid.

We should always consider UI in these cases too. 3 and 4 look normal opposite Michaels, but couldn't 5 be showing a strong 5-6, which should be corrected to 5 (perhaps 6 given N holds the S!A)? May be difficult to work out what South's logical alternatives are, since not many people play a generic “forcing” cuebid these days…
Sept. 13
James Lawrence edited this comment Sept. 13
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If North plays 3NT, isn't it fairly likely East would lead A then x of hearts if their partner overcalled in that suit?
Sept. 13
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If 5 is the call that shows the Q, we should at least pay some attention to the possibility that partner has no keycards but the !Q and “knows” you can't bid 5 and erroneously commit them to the six level with two missing keycards. I don't think that's very likely on this auction, though.
Sept. 11
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Yes, in essence the meaning of your call or play can by agreement only depend on calls or plays which have happened to date, or alternative calls or plays which could have happened so far in the hand, but not things that might happen in future. So you may have a different defence to 1NT p 2C stayman if the other side are playing transfers or not (would be a bit weird, but it's legal) but you may not defend a weak 2 differently in the direct overcall seat depending on whether 2NT would be Ogust or feature asking.
Sept. 10
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As far as I know, it's even the default that you can switch systems between rounds (so if you see a particular pair are up next you could theoretically whip out your strong club system or whatever). I think clubs can restrict this further and make you play the same system all night, but I've never seen a club that does except in individual events.
Sept. 9
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Ray, you can't use it to interpret tempo (you shouldn't be interpreting tempo anyway, except to carefully avoid taking advantage of UI) but you can use it to help you decide whether partner has forgotten an agreement if tempo is not an issue.
Sept. 6
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Are you sure both North and South can make it, or just North?
Sept. 5
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Probably terrifying for both sides, but yes terrifying!
Sept. 4
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I suppose a nice corollary of this is that it probably becomes theoretically impossible for a Turing machine to legally play bridge, since it has to solve the halting problem to work out how to disclose its own bids!
Sept. 4
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the statistical concept of a “standard deviation” and the bridge concept of a “deviation” are two completely different things, and I do not think they can be compared so.
Sept. 3
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with East as the dealer? Surely East has to open 1 or 1NT (possibly 1 if playing precision, but W would surely game force after that.) there aren't many calls below 2 that South isn't overcalling 2 over.

I suppose some irregularity could have silenced E on an auction starting 1 p 2 and NS failed to run? Or perhaps W opened in clubs out of turn and silenced their partner?
Sept. 2
James Lawrence edited this comment Sept. 2
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