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All comments by Max Schireson
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Ed,

I think the case that is in question (disregarding my original poor example) is a case where the action is not *suggested* by the UI, but nevertheless *caused* by the UI. For simplicity we are assuming that if anything the UI suggests the normal action, but the player says at the table they selected this action due to UI.

This doesn't seem to fit law 16B3, and old 16A3 and 4 are removed. My view is that the player has violated law 73 but not 16, and that law 12A1 clearly empowers the director to award an adjusted score in this case. I disagree with those that believe law 73 has no meaning beyond law 16, and this hypothetical would be an example of a case where in my view it does. I hope you agree as this is just a plain reading of law 73 and 12 where there is no debate about whether UI was used.

If you agree with me on that case, then we can debate what, if anything, short of confession constitutes sufficient evidence.
7 hours ago
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Ed,
Old law book looks like they were removed in the latest.

Nevertheless it seems that an adjusted score is appropriate when a violation of the laws damages you, and in this case we are stipulating that the bid was made based on UI?
9 hours ago
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Art,
Do you really think that no score can be ever adjusted when a player uses UI and it does not violate law 16B?
Besides violating common sense, your view seems to violate law 16A 3 and 4. On what basis do you think a player admitting to basing a successful call on UI would not qualify for an adjustment under those laws?
10 hours ago
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Roland,
I absolutely agree that the two laws point in the same direction, which should greatly help with your concern.

To protect against the case you describe, and perhaps address other concerns, perhaps the standard of an unusual bid be higher than just not a LA (which arguably this bid might meet), but more like a wild and gambling action, such as a 6C or 7C call in the given situation.
13 hours ago
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David, I was not intending to suggest that Peg was company in my general tendency to outsmart myself, just happy to have company in this specific instance.
Dec. 16
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Yeah, I thought about that but decided it was almost certain someone would bid a red suit then I would be bidding 3C and now partner may have to preference to 3S and we are mighty high, and if partner passed over 3 of a red suit I'm getting the wrong lead… So I came up with something far worse and we missed our spade fit :(
Dec. 15
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No funny situations this time.

Just me thinking too much and coming up with an inferior call. At least I have some company (thank you Peg!).

My hope was to be able to get a 2S call in on the second round and show both suits. I knew there was some risk the auction would get too high or partner would not think I had 5, but I also thought it could easily be their hand and I would much rather get a club lead than a spade lead if my partner was on lead.

I felt mighty dumb when we didn't find out 9 card spade fit even if 2NT scored just fine, and wanted to see where on the spectrum of unusual/bad/insane people thought 2C was.
Dec. 15
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Agree on patience.

I suspect one of the big attractions of learning gadgets is that you can feel like you made progress (whether it actually improves your/your student's game or not). Making reasonable decisions is much harder to learn, much harder to teach, and progress is much harder to measure.
Dec. 15
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I suspect that's your thinking not 199er thinking. It takes a while to develop a sense of where you are, and in early days slams feel intimidating and complex to bid with lots of gadgets and you lack the confidence to see that it looks excellent despite “only” 14 HCP. Too easy to not know which gadget fits and just give up.
Dec. 15
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I've done that but with 4 color cards so I had a red suit, a yellow suit, and two black suits. It seemed like 4 different suits. Imagine muy partners surprise that I had mixed up hearts with spades!
Dec. 15
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Lynn,

Certainly it is very far from a guarantee how the hand was missorted, I was only suggesting the single most likely possibility.
Dec. 15
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Jim, totally agree on what's most important.

It may be a diversion but so don't see anything inconsistent between thinking a slam was possible but not knowing what to do, not knowing if 3H was forcing, and not knowing what to do over 3C. It is easy for me to imagine a newer player thinking there might be a slam, not knowing if 3H was forcing, not thinking to bid a new suit that is short, being afraid to keycard with two losers in a suit, and just giving up.

Going back to your point, imo the thing to learn would be that slam is very likely here, not just possible so bailing out in game can't be right.
Dec. 15
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Yes, I would be very surprised if students came out of the class actually retaining knowledge about 3H being forcing or what 4H might be.
Dec. 15
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This gets to one of my pet peeves. New players spend way too much time learning conventions and don't focus enough on learning to make sensible decisions. I would trade a bag full of these conventions for the logic that 14HCP and a solid 7 card suit opposite 16-18 smells like a slam.
Dec. 15
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Roland: since the hesitation suggested the heart lead over the diamond, and said nothing among the other suits, there is no issue when the diamond lead is unusual. It is possible that I have missed perverse situations that make my suggestion impractical but I don't think yours is one.

Thank you for your addendum. I find the breadth of support for the idea of simply ignoring the UI distressing. I don't feel that I am taking special effort to turn law 73 against anyone, just reading its language and applying it to a situation that I think is not well covered by law 16, and potentially problematic, even if my specific example wasn't a good one.
Dec. 15
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I still strongly believe law 73 makes a requirement of my thought process, even if that can't be measured. In many places the law refers to my intentions; for example I cannot intentionally revoke. Of course it is easy for me to escape punishment for intentionally revoking by claiming it was an accident. Similarly I think the law requires me to carefully avoid taking advantage of UI, not just to ignore the UI and bid normally. Again this can't be measured, but I would no sooner ignore UI than I would intentionally revoke.

However I am convinced by arguments here and further thought that we can't practically enforce this by asking about a players thought process (thank you), so we have to judge the bids made. This part is hard and I am less confident in my suggestion here than I am in my clear conviction that I must act to avoid benefiting from UI not just ignore it.

One type of case that might be an enforceable example of responsibly under law 73 that is not covered in law 16 is the type that inspired this post, even if not the exact hand and auction. I think it is reasonable to say that when you have UI, part of your duty of careful avoidance is to eschew highly unusual bids that might take advantage of the UI, even if they are not demonstrably suggested by the UI. This would apply only to highly unusual bids (say, those that were not found to be LAs), and would not entirely ban them, just have a much higher bar wrt to examination for UI influence. If it is found that the UI has no bearing at all on the call it is allowed, or if it demonstrably suggests not taking the call it is allowed, but if the UI effects the choice in an unclear way, your duty requires you to make a normal call, rather than a highly unusual one that *might* benefit.

I recognize this view is not mainstream.
Dec. 15
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I understand the sentiment… yet none of the first 20+ actually bid, even if many might have considered it. Do you think that a lot of people strongly considering an action should make it a LA, even if none actually select it? That seems reasonable to me at first blush, even if it doesn't seem to be what the rules say and I haven't considered all the implications of that change.
Dec. 15
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I am sympathgetic to a lack of methods among new players, but if I have one bid to place the contract as S after 3C I am bidding 6H.

If you simply say N has 16-18 for 3C and your hand is 14 plus something extra for the long hearts, anyone should be able to see that the values for slam are there.

I agree that N is too strong for 3C and I certainly prefer 3N, but that is a relatively subtle error, so I assigned all the blame to S who should still have reached the slam even after his partner underbid.

I also went easy on N for 3C because I think most beginners wouldn't know what to do about it even if they decided their hand was too good for 3C, whereas 14+3 for length opposite 16-18 might have looked like a slam to a beginner.
Dec. 15
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Kit,

In a poll over 90% selected pass, and a few selected 4C. None selected 5C. At the time that I wrote this article it was something like 20 to zero in favor of pass, which supported my view that 5C was highly unusual. Based on that poll (which might be imperfect, but it's all I have to go on), it doesn't look like there is a logical alternative to passing, so a pass would stand even if the UI clearly suggested passing.

As far as the specific hand if any shape is suggested by the UI on the attempted retraction and my read of the interaction with the director (which seemed to suggest a missorted hand) combined with the 3N call it is having a diamond in with the hearts and having started with a stiff heart, and therefore at least 3 clubs (assuming a single card same color error and having thought the hand was balanced and discovered it was not).

In any case my primary interest was in the general are of highly unusual bids in the presence of UI, and it is clear to me that my view is a minority one there.
Dec. 15
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Tom,
I appreciate the challenge for directors in making these rulings. Nevertheless it seems odd to me that so many seem to totally dismiss a law which seems to state a clear obligation.

As far as mentioning that South was paid to play, I thought it was the most compact waty to describe a significant and acknowledged skill differential in the partnership. I mean no offense to professional players, many of whom I have found to have exemplary ethics, but I surely that skill discrepancy is relevant to the bidding decision so I thought it would misrepresent the situation not to describe it. Since tow people have objected it turns out that it would actually have been more efficient for me to describe it in other words.
I do understand the sensitivity because some seem to have negative associations with both professional players and those that hire them, but I can assure you that I hold no such views and did not intend to provoke any negative feelings with that description.
Dec. 15
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