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All comments by Liam Milne
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South 100%. I can't imagine passing throughout with that hand. 4 might be scary but passing is terrifying to me.
Jan. 19
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Pass, especially against aggressive opponents
Jan. 17
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Hi Phil. You make a good point. For Matthew and his partner, their redouble would indeed have been business, so 2 invitational was accordingly unlikely. Technically the explanation was a correct description of their methods but in practice 2 was likely based on clubs, so advancer might have worked out to ‘raise’ diamonds.
Jan. 9
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Thanks guys, always happy to see more depth to hands I write up
Jan. 7
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Beautiful hand, thanks for sharing
Dec. 23, 2019
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If you put your three-card limit raises somewhere other than 1NT, then you can play ‘transfer back to opener’s major' as either very weak attempting to sign off, or a hand with doubleton M that is otherwise suitable for playing in the major (transfer then 3NT). The main upside of this is to find the fit when opener had a six-card major in with their 2NT bid.
Dec. 21, 2019
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Ralph: “entirely the point”? Entirely the point of what? What are you getting at here?
Dec. 20, 2019
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This is surely a last-minute entry for ‘post of the year’!
Dec. 20, 2019
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Not under the regulations you quoted. Those are EBU ie English only.
Dec. 11, 2019
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I agree with all that. (except I am still confused as to the basis of the review after reading Brad's comment)

I have been searching YouTube as best I can for the video of what happened. Sadly it doesn't exist (the table wasn't being filmed that segment I believe).
Dec. 11, 2019
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Mike Ma: “However, I very much doubt this is the first time this happened.”

Cool. What if I told you that North had never psyched any bid in her bridge career before this board?

You said below “No one or few accused NS of having done something wrong as far as I can see.” Yet here you are accusing NS of misdescribing their agreements or having concealed agreements in some way. In fact, your comment I quoted above is easily one of the most accusatory in this thread.

Knowing nothing about the pair in question, do you stand by your statement about doubting this is the first time this happened? Feel free to use the vugraph archives to have a search for some more psyches by this pair if you like.
Dec. 11, 2019
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Firstly, the match wasn't determined by the psyche. If Jess had made the more ‘normal’ bid of raising to 3, EW were never bidding their slam - it was going to go 3 P 4 end of story. EW lost 15 imps on the hand defending against 2 but would still have lost 13 imps if they had got to game, and they would still have lost the match (the margin was 10).

“Systemic psyching of any kind is not permitted.”

I don't think this was a ‘systemic psyche’ and I don't think there was any agreement to control the psyche in any way.

“Players are required to disclose their agreements, both explicit and implicit. If a player believes, from partnership experience, that partner may have deviated from the system this must be disclosed to the opponents. If a player properly discloses this possibility, the player will not be penalised for fielding it, although there may be a penalty for playing an illegal method.”

Next time this sort of auction comes up in a comparable scenario, this partnership should alert 2 as “natural, forcing (but has been passed before), and potentially psychic (it has been psyched before at this vulnerability etc.)”. They weren't required to alert 2 as such in this auction because neither of them had either psyched 2 or passed a forcing 2 response before.

“Frivolous psyching, for example suggesting a player has lost interest in the competition, is a breach of the laws. (Law 74A2, Law 74B1, Law 74C6).”

Clearly this was not the case here - the psyche was a (wildly successful) attempt to win the board and the match.

“The actions of the psycher’s partner following a psyche – and, possibly, further actions by the psycher – may provide evidence of an undisclosed, and therefore illegal, understanding. If so, then the partnership is said to have ‘fielded’ the psyche.”

I agree that the timing of passing a forcing bid at the exact moment that it happens to be a psyche is not ideal for outside observers looking at this hand. However I am certain that Susan's thought process was more along the lines of “I have no idea what to bid and my hand is terrible for everything and I wish I hadn't opened now, I'll try pass and hope for the best” rather than “I'll pass because I don't think my partner actually has hearts and that will screw the opponents”.

The crux of the matter is that if NS have done something like this before, they should be disclosing it - but I am virtually certain that they haven't. In fact, I'll go so far as to say that Jess has not only never psyched this sort of ‘response to a preempt’ type bid, but in fact I believe she has never psyched EVER before, in ANY situation. And if that's the case, there is no partnership history to disclose, no ‘concealed agreement’, no fielding, no nothing.

I heard there was a request for a ruling followed by a request for a review. Does anyone know what this was actually based on, i.e. what points of bridge law did the other team bring up or what infraction was alleged to have occurred?

Final side point - the EBU White Book quoted above doesn't form any part of the ABF's regulations and while it may be interesting to observe how other federations treat matters, it doesn't dictate how our federation should do things. Terms such as ‘red psyche’ have no regulatory meaning in the Australian bridge world as far as I'm aware.
Dec. 11, 2019
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Love your work Nick
Dec. 9, 2019
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Tomasz - did you think calling someone “out of touch” was a compliment? lol
Dec. 9, 2019
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Well timed Jessica!

These psyches are always hard to deal with. As Andy commented to me last night, they seem to work more often than they should even against prepared opponents.

A few comments:
-I would be very nervous about passing 2 with the East hand. If the opponents are up to any funny business (even if they do actually have some hearts, they might be bidding without many points) we risk being left in the dust. I'm not sure what I would bid. Options are double, 2NT, 3 if we think partner will be on the same wavelength.
-Double of responder's new suit should be takeout of the opening bidder's suit. Even if responder is bidding naturally, they frequently have a fit for opener's suit. Over the double, the other's hand responses could be opener's suit = cue/force, responder's suit = natural.

There is a good argument for playing a bid of responder's suit as natural (e.g. 2 P 2 3).

One last point. Sometimes it is basically impossible to get to the right contract after the opponents psyche. That's part of the game - they took a risk when they psyched so they should be allowed to reap the reward when the bid is successful. Knowing that a well-timed psyche can work ‘outright’ (without any error from the opponents) should, I think, a) make you more interested in thinking about psyches in general as a legitimate tactic (and when they might be worthwhile trying) and b) lead to some degree of acceptance when you are ‘robbed’ like EW were on this hand.

Disclaimer: I recent wrote an article discussing/advocating psyching for Australian Bridge magazine.
Dec. 8, 2019
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Nice win my dudes!
Dec. 1, 2019
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Hopefully saying what others are thinking… clear 3NT. We have 25 points and some useful pips. Sure, I'm worried about the spade switch but not enough to risk (what I see as) a very anti-field action.

Hopefully partner plays 3NT a trick better than the field, whether it is making or not. Passing 2NT when there are 9+ tricks feels like a bottom.

Curious to your thoughts, Kate
Nov. 26, 2019
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Hi Frances. Yes, I usually like 1-P-4 to be natural. Jumping to game with a long suit on the first round of the auction has been a long-term winner for me so I aim not to lose any of those bids to conventions.

I like 1-P-3NT as the heart splinter, because I haven't found much use for the other meanings for 3NT in that auction and because we have a bit of room to investigate at the four-level now.

Steve - I have a funny story - about 9 years ago I was playing on the U26 team for my country (at that time, New Zealand) and picked up something like x AKxxxxxx xx xx. My partner opened 1 and I couldn't bid 4 as it was a splinter, so I came up with one, non-forcing, notrump (these days I might mention my hearts, but that was far too sophisticated an approach for me in those days).

My NPC was kibitzing us. He remember his expression quite clearly when he saw what I had bid. He didn't give anything away to anyone else at the table but I couldn't help but sense a dark sense of disapproval seeping towards me.

Luckily partner dredged up another bid so I didn't have to battle away in 1NT! We changed the system later…
Nov. 21, 2019
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Someone has been reading Fredin's book!
Nov. 21, 2019
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I play a lot of exclusion (in many non-jump situations where most would play cue-bids or something else), but bidding 5 here would not be exclusion for me for several reasons.

Most important is ‘jump to game on the first round of the auction is to play’.
Nov. 21, 2019
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