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All comments by Kit Woolsey
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How do we know that shortness has been denied? I don't believe that was stated anywhere.

If that true, then the case for allowing the 7 call is even stronger. I can't construct any hand where you wouldn't want to be in 7 except when responder has xxx in clubs, and he huddle doesn't give any indication about this.
Feb. 20
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I have seen plenty of ATB hands where I wouldn't have thought there was any discussion of who is to blame, but different players have different ideas.
Feb. 20
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A reason you are getting good results might be that GIB bids better (or less worse) opposite a 1NT opening. Your counterparts who are opening 1 of a minor have to struggle with GIB's inaccurate explorational bidding. Playing opposite a human partner who has some idea how to bid, you might be doing better opening these hands 1 of a minor.
Feb. 20
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The auction is similar, but the issue was whether or not there was UI. Rightly or wrongly the committee determined that there was no UI, so that was that.

Had it been determined that there was UI, then we would get to the question of whether passing is a LA.
Feb. 20
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David said:

If partner might have hands where bidding seven will lose, then not bidding seven is logical unless those hands are highly unlikely.

No, that is not correct. To illustrate:

Suppose you have to pick up QJ10xx in dummy, Axxxx in your hand. You lead the queen, and RHO plays small. There are no other possible relevant factors. It is possible that LHO has the stiff king. Assuming your play matters, he will have the stiff king a little over 25% of the time. I don't know what you consider your threshhold for “highly unlikely”, but I would imagine it is below 25%. Therefore, by your reasoning, going up ace is a logical alternative. Yet we know that it isn't a LA at all. Taking the finesse is 100% percentage play. No competent player would seriously consider going up ace.

The actual situation is similar. Yes, it is possible to construct hands where the bidding the grand is the losing action. However, IMO the chance that partner has such a hand is well under 25%. Thus, I do not consider passing a LA, just as I do not consider playing for the stiff king a LA. They are actions which might succeed, but they are clearly anti-percentage. I believe they are both actions which any real bridge player would not seriously consider as candidates.

You may disagree with my assessment, and think there is a good chance (with no UI) that bidding the grand is a losing action. If that assessment is accurate, then passing 6 is a LA which would be on player's radar, and the 7 call should not be allowed. However, simply because you can construct a couple of layouts where bidding 7 is a losing action does not make passing 6 a LA.
Feb. 20
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You are assuming that there was partnership disagreement. Isn't it possible that West did intentionally pass for penalties, particularly since due to the redouble down 1 gets the magic +200.
Feb. 20
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Suppose RHO had played the 4 of clubs, and LHO had played the 2 and the 7. Wouldn't the same argument apply about RHO's play? If he held the Q4 doubleton he would have no choice, but if he held the 74 doubleton he might have played either the 4 or the 7. Once again, by that argument it would appear that queen-doubleton in RHO's hand is more likely than queen-tripleton is LHO's hand.

The same argument would apply regardless of which spot RHO played. What is going on here?

The answer is that LHO's plays haven't been examined. On the actual cards played (8 from RHO, 2 and 4 from LHO), if West had Q42 he had no choice but to play the 2 and the 4 (obviously the order doesn't matter). However, if LHO had 742 he might have instead played 2, 7 or he might have played 4, 7. Thus, there were 3 possible pairs of cards LHO might have played with 742. These more than compensate for the 2 possible plays East might have played with 87 doubleton. This makes the odds 3 to 2 that West, the player with the tripleton, holds the queen, which is what we always knew to be the case.

You got it right at the table, so more power to you. Whatever your reasons were don't matter. You were right, and that is what counts. However, arguing that you were taking the true percentage play simply is not correct.
Feb. 19
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David,

I am disappointed in you coming up with a clearly absurd example. If I were arguing your point of view, I would have presented something like: xxx AKJxxxx A xx, a hand which South might very well have bid this way and slam is an underdog on a spade lead, needing a 2-2 heart split and a 3-2 club split.

However, that is not the issue. You seem to believe that a player may not make a bid suggested by UI (and we all agree that 7 vs. pass is suggested by the UI) unless the bid is 100% to be successful for any hand consistent with partner's auction. Maybe that should be the rule, but it isn't. The rule is:

A player may not make a by suggested by UI when there is a logical alternative.

So, the question isn't whether or not 7 could be a losing action. The question is whether or not pass is a LA. I don't think it is. Granted one can construct hands which partner might hold where pass is successful, when he can't hold these hands in light of the UI. But the existence of such hands doesn't make pass a LA. It simply makes pass a possible winning action.

Is pass a LA? That's what we have polls for. If the hand is given to several players and they all bid 7 in “what's the problem” mode, that indicates that I am right and pass isn't a LA. If some of them seriously consider passing, that indicates that I am wrong and that pass is a LA.
Feb. 19
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The only thing you are missing is the +170 you should have had.
Feb. 19
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No, it doesn't. If West ruffs in with the jack of diamonds, I can discard a heart from dummy, discard another heart on the queen of spades, and ruff the losing heart. The opponents will be out of trumps.
Feb. 19
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Ed,

If you are implying that any time a player fails to play in tempo he should get a procedural penalty because the laws say that players are expected to play in tempo, there would be more procedural penalties than the directors could possibly handle. We might as well be playing speedball.
Feb. 18
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You can't give a procedural penalty for a player thinking. Sure, he should have been prepared. But maybe he didn't think ahead, or maybe he had thought ahead but realized that there was something involved which he hadn't thought of. There isn't a bridge player around who hasn't made this sort of mistake at some time or other. One shouldn't do it, an your side is potentially badly placed when you do it, but certainly nothing which calls for a procedural penalty.
Feb. 18
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I totally disagree. 5NT doesn't say I can't bid a grand. All it says is I don't have the king of spades.

I don't know how spiral scan works. Presumably South can now bid 6, and North can bid something (other than 6) which shows the other two kings.

The knowledge of the other two kings may allow us to get to a superior 7NT contract. Picture South with something like Kx AKxxxx Ax QJx. When South learns that North has the other two kings South will naturally bid 7NT, which is laydown if the heart suit comes in and might have chances on a bad heart split (as it does with the actual North hand). 7 isn't going to run away from North. He can always bid it later. For now, it is his job to show his kings in case his partner has another contract in mind.

I believe that bidding 7 over 5 would be a terrible call. It has everything to lose and nothing to gain vs. the 5NT call. As I have said countless times, leaping to slam is always wrong. This hand is no exception.

Of course I have no sympathy for South huddling before bidding 6. If South had planned ahead he wouldn't have had to huddle and there would have been no issue. If North had a different hand where pass is a LA, then North would be constrained to pass after the huddle. However, South lucked out since North had a hand where passing isn't a LA.
Feb. 18
Kit Woolsey edited this comment Feb. 18
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Auction looks fine.

I would win ace of clubs and cash AQ of diamonds. Then:

If both follow, AK and ruff a spade, making unless East has xx of spades and Jxx of diamonds.

If West shows out, finesse the diamond and duck a heart, leaving many squeeze possibilities when the hearts aren't 3-3.

If East shows out, ruff a club, spade to ace, ruff a club, cash KQ of spades, ace of hearts, heart to king. If all these live, I can ruff dummy's last club with the king of diamonds and the fourth round of spades scores the 10 of diamonds en passant.
Feb. 18
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The TD was correct that you can't discuss defenses once you have seen your hand. That would permit you to choose a defense which best suits your hand.

Requiring written defenses to everything is a waste of time. One doesn't need a 5-page written defense for something like this. However, it is vital to know what double means and what 2 means.

The proper thing would be for the opponents to pre-alert this convention. That could be done quickly, and the opponents would have the opportunity to prepare the basics.

A properly constructed convention card would solve this problem. The WBF card has in front a section for bids which may require special preparation, which is perfect. The ACBL card does not, which would make it difficult to find this – a player would have to waste time reading the whole card, and still might overlook this. I don't know what convention card was in use when this actually happened.
Feb. 18
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The information gain from being able to ruff 2 diamonds is more than most players realize. Suppose the clubs are 4-1. That means that on the last trump the player with Qxxx of clubs will be forced to discard a club, since that will be all he has left.

It is true that a very sharp defender could discard a club from xx, pretending that the club discard was forced. While this is probably the right play, I don't think I have ever seen it made in real life. At any rate, I would bet that the information I can pick up more than outweighs the tiny risk of a 6-1 diamond split.

I totally don't understand drawing trumps (when trumps are 3-2) and ruffing 1 diamond. You can no longer pick up Qxxx of clubs in the West hand, since even if you take the first round finesse you won't have the needed hand entry.
Feb. 18
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The huddle before bidding 5 doesn't convey any meaningful UI. The 5 call says that South is interested in a grand.

The huddle before bidding 6 does convey meaningful UI. It says that South is still interested after finding out that North doesn't have the king of spades.

North has a trivial grand bid anyway. I can't imagine any real bridge player would think that passing is a LA.
Feb. 18
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It will make a difference if everybody refuses to play a hand against them. That might be feasible. Getting everybody to boycott the tournament simply isn't feasible.
Feb. 18
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Play small spade from dummy. If East shows out, play West for Qxx of clubs and exactly 5-2-3-3 shape, taking 6 spades, 3 clubs, 2 diamonds, 2 hearts. Else

Play spade to king. If somebody shows out, draw trumps and play hand with stiff spade for queen of clubs, taking first round finesse if playing West for queen. Else

AK diamonds, diamond ruff, heart to ace, diamond ruff, heart to king, run the trumps, and use the information I have received to guess the clubs.
Feb. 18
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While I commend Eric and Morten, I don't believe that boycotting the tournament is a practical solution to the problem. The difficulty is that most players won't go along with the boycott. I know that I wouldn't. Playing in the three North American championships is one of my greatest joys in my life. Not doing so because a pair of convicted cheaters are playing in the tournament would be an admission that the cheaters have won. My guess is that almost all players feel the same way, as indicated in Barcelona.

I believe a more effective approach is as follows: Come to the tournament, enter the event(s) as usual, but simply refuse to play a hand against the convicted cheaters. I would be happy to do that. If my pair were the only pair which did that it wouldn't be effective – we would simply get zeros on the boards and probably some kind of discipline. However, if everybody boycotted playing a hand against them, that would be another story. The ACBL would really have no choice but to kick them out of the event. I do believe that once the word got around this is the sort of boycott which most if not all players would follow.
Feb. 17
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