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All comments by Jonathan Mestel
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Only a real pedant would complain about the superfluous “the” in
“the hoiPalloi”, and we don't have any of them here.
Sept. 21, 2016
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There are some similarities with the main post, so I'll give a few details of this case.

The faulty scoring occurred at my table. This was last round of a qualifying event for a final several weeks in the future. My team had no chance of qualifying, but our opponents (NS at my table) and another team did.
My opponent North asked me whether I wanted to check the boards one at a time or at the end of the session. I agreed to do it at the end - this is common practice in the UK.

At the end, North entered the last board and handed me the Bridgemate to check. Rather than hang around as he should, opponents rushed off to score with their teammates. Looking over the entered scores, I saw he had neglected to enter one board. As opponents had vanished, I called over a director. He instructed me to enter the result, which I did, carefully. The Bridgemate then flashed up “End of Session”, and I was no longer able to see/check the other results. I informed the director of this and he joked “As long as it says End of Session, that's good enough for me.” An unfortunate quip, but understandable as in the last round of such an event, a big worry is players disappearing without recording the scores.

So we went home, wondering how the weekend could have gone so badly. Our opponents did qualify. There the matter would have rested, had not our diligent NPC checked the published scores against his records. He found that our opponents had entered a game we made in their column (NOT the score I had entered). In a double cross-IMP event this has a massive effect. In fact, another team should have qualified in place of our last round opponents.

I contacted the EBU and the captains of the two teams concerned. Though technically it was outside the appeal period, it was obviously impossible for the team who lost out to have known about this scoring error. Having supplied all details to all concerned, it was no longer my responsibility. I expected that the team who had qualified because of their scoring error to withdraw in favour of the other team.

Of the rest I have no personal knowledge, but I believe that the team who had unjustly benefited did not withdraw. The reason given was that they had had an outstanding appeal against a 4th team. Upon hearing that they had qualified, they had withdrawn their appeal and gone home. As it was no longer possible for this appeal to be heard, and they thought they might have qualified anyway, they felt justified in keeping their place.

So obviously, North at my table was mostly at fault, but both I and the director could have prevented the mess. It's worth remembering that this kind of thing probably happens hundreds of times, and only occasionally does it lead to problems. However, I suspect undiscovered mis-scorings are more common than we know.

But this is why for a while I wore a false beard when visiting a certain County.
Sept. 20, 2016
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I'm not sure that pitch would be relevant, whether Q is ruffing down or is a trick.

Kit's argument is based on the assumption that West will not lead a if he holds the K, even though he knows the hand almost double dummy and can count 10 tricks for declarer. At the table one might take this view against some opponents and some tempos, but I don't think it holds water against good defence. If Kit were defending against himself, clearly he would switch to a spade with Kxxx Jxx xx AKQx, a play which can only gain. The logic behind “West will never lead a spade because he can see that it won't gain if I play the Q. Therefore if he does, I will play A,” is questionable.

The interesting case is when West holds Jx (or less obviously xxx). Then he can see that declarer may obtain a surprise 3rd round entry to hand, and it may be important to lead a 3rd club to entice declarer to ruff low. Give declarer xxx 10xxx xxx xxx. If the defence lead a 3rd club, instead of the “obvious” -shift, would you ruff high, to enter hand with 10 and take the “marked” -finesse? For me, this heroic line for an overtrick would be similar to declining the -finesse if West switches to a !

(Edit) I forgot to say of course in theory the best strategies are probabilistic. If West leads a , we should play the Ace with probability p, and the Queen with probability (1-p), just as from hand n West should lead a with probability q_n and a club with probability r_n. The difficulty is that in practice we only play the hand once. It's a useful argument when we misdefend to claim that “the best defence requires me to do this 4% of the time, and it happened to come up” but I have yet to find a partner who accepts this…
Sept. 19, 2016
Jonathan Mestel edited this comment Sept. 19, 2016
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Kit - if we hold Kxxx xx xxx AKQx we can count 10 tricks for declarer without -finesse; 4 diamonds. 5 trumps and A. It is only if partner has a double diamond guard that the contract might fail, and declarer can then take the -finesse later anyway. The fact that some very strong players are going to forgo the -finesse makes it clear that the -switch is the best defence.

In your last example hand, if we lead a spade declarer is hardly going to enter hand with the 4th round of trumps and risk going off. And if declarer has J he can ruff high on table on your -continuation and still make all the rest of the tricks.
Sept. 17, 2016
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Why should he defend any differently with K? He knows you don't need the finesse.

At some stage, one of us should ask Frances what NT opponents are playing.
Sept. 16, 2016
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I think of it like this. At Chess your fate depends on one dangerous lunatic, whom you see in a mirror. At Rubber, two such characters control your destiny, while at IMPs it's four. At matchpoints, things are decided by several dozen unpredictable miscreants, most of whom you have never met.

Talking of race tracks, someone once described Tigran Petrosian, the ex-world-chess-champion, as a Chieftain tank in a Formula 1 race. His style was such that he drew too many games to be in danger of ever winning a tournament, but with a casual shot he could also prevent anyone else he chose from winning.

I hope this helps.
Sept. 16, 2016
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That article's fairly accurate. Although it's not trivial to change the Nation you play for, there are many examples. I recall once all but one of a US team and its NPC were Russian speakers. When a team meeting to discuss tactics began to take place in Russian, Grandmaster John Fedorowicz, a bluff plainspeaking boy from the Bronx, lost his cool somewhat…
Sept. 14, 2016
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I don't believe an “expert” partner would double with a stiff spade and poor defence without discussion.
Mind you, experts come in all shapes and sizes. Just like “standard” agreements.
Sept. 8, 2016
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@Steve: I take your point, but the cases are not the same. If I am at the 5-level I can only have been thinking about slam (unless we are in auction which could die in 5NT, I suppose, but forget that.) That is not the case here when we are below 3NT.
I think there are enough people in each camp here to show the issue is not entirely trivial.

I think people do not always take sufficiently into account is that in-tempo bidding can ALSO convey UI. If partner leaps to 5 without thought, there are hands with an unexpected void which are probably worth a raise, and not raising could be taken to be using the UI that partner did not have an alternative call to consider.
This is the flip-side of Dave B's (over?) simple “fast => pass” algorithm, but rulings are seldom made in this case.

Some (and I mean no one in particular here) would be affronted if it were suggested that not appearing to have a problem, in a situation where most hands would have to think, conveys UI.
Sept. 7, 2016
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A quick anything shows that he knew that “anything” was the right bid. A slow “anything” shows that he didn't. Some people need time to work these things out, and it does not always imply one should bid on. Weren't there 3 top losers?
Sept. 6, 2016
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Of course he was thinking of both 3NT and whether his hand was strong enough to invite slam, and possibly whether the auction could die in 4. That's what he would be thinking about if he'd bid quickly too, but come to a faster conclusion. If he's like me, unable to assess the value of his hand instantly, he would be constructing possible hands for partner. He has perhaps reluctantly decided that investigating 3NT was not worth it or too murky and he has bid 5 in what we assume is a discouraging manner. Why does this encourage us to bid slam?
Our hand gambled, and struck lucky. Opponents get an unlucky bad result. It happens.
Sept. 6, 2016
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It is crucial that hesitations should suggest a certain action; they should not get penalised automatically. I do not think 5 suggests he was thinking of slam at all.

It is not clear to me what partner's 5 shows. Therefore, it will not have been clear to him. Obviously he had other calls to consider, and I would expect him to think before bidding it on any hand. Therefore, no UI. Therefore no penalty.
Sept. 5, 2016
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I've commented on this elsewhere. I don't think you should specify without knowledge that 4 is natural - most would play this as fit, I think. I doubt many play a forcing, natural 3 either.
For me, 5 - puts a lot of pressure on opponents.
Sept. 2, 2016
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If East held QJ9x Kx x AJxxxx why was he in such a hurry to cash a heart trick? It wasn't going anywhere, and he might have established two pitches, Left to ourselves we would try to ruff two spades in hand. So I think East doesn't have a stiff . So I'll cash two spades and if nothing exceptional happens I'll lay down A, check my addition, and run J. Equally, I could ruff a first - this loses to Q9x and Q9 with East, but gains against 9x or xx.
Was East a strong player? My feeling is that his defence is more likely with Q.
Sept. 2, 2016
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Max you'd be welcome here. We'd even let you play a multi without cluttering the table with system notes.

With one partner I play 1NT-(2-level-overcall)-double as takeout of the suit bid, regardless of what the overcall actually means. As such, it is normal not to enquire immediately. If I do enquire and then double of course it means the same thing, but perhaps with slight UI for partner.

I find it hard to believe that trained ACBL directors would permit a system which depended on whether an enquiry took place. But without a companion hand with an enquiry followed by a natural 2 bid, it would be hard to prove. Is there not a section of the CC which describes “action over interference”?
Sept. 2, 2016
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Yes, Ralph's & Henk's line works of course. The critical point is that trumps are frozen. After A A J A J West cannot exit with either major and so has to kill East's potential entry with 10. We're all used to keeping a late entry to dummy; sometimes a late entry to an opponent is also useful.

Uğur, I think after your line East can cash two s and wait for a -trick. If West held K, your line might work in practice.

Thanks for comments.
Sept. 2, 2016
Jonathan Mestel edited this comment Sept. 2, 2016
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Of course, but I think +1 is more likely than -2, and you make it much harder for opponents. On the actual hand, par is 4 but we'll play 5x-1. I think you would find a majority bid 5 if you ask them.
Sept. 1, 2016
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AQJ10x xx xxx 10xx will raise a delicate club bid? These are hardly magic cards but you're favourite for 13tricks. You have the best hand at the table, and partner has made a vulnerable overcall - I think you trust non-vul opponents too much. 5 and then double 5, feels normal to me.
Sept. 1, 2016
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5 is decidedly agressive? How surprised would you be to make two overtricks? As for 6, maybe he thought partner's pass was encouraging?
Sept. 1, 2016
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I see no point arguing with the poster about their agreement, unless it's to complain she didn't specify it in the OP. She did state that had we doubled 6 it would be the same problem, so implicitly the double is not Lightner, whether we think it should be or not.
Partner has values outside diamonds. Heart tricks might disappear or require establishing. A might get ruffed. I lead a .
Aug. 31, 2016
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