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All comments by Max Schireson
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If you click the forum name it shows how many members. Click the “37 members” and a window with a list pops up (at least it does for me).
4 hours ago
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Ok no takers so here goes…

We all know that a double might conventionally as for a specific or unusual lead if we are not on lead.

Ever been on lead with the A of trump and 32 in a side suit, wishing that partner could know to duck his ace? Or with a stiff 9 wishing he could know not to? Presto, now you can play the lead describing double! Details tbd by partnerships but perhaps all lead conventions are reversed and partner has to figure out why you did this.
Thus, passing out a contract would mean that the opening lead was normal, and doubling 7N would say something about the lead to help partner with the defense (though obviously not that you are asking him to duck his ace for a ruff later!)

As far as a penultimate passes go, they obviously mean that you don’t think it is winning to bid further, but they could carry additional meaning depending on eg whether partners last bid was suggesting that you bid further or not, so their full meaning would depend on agreements.

The only decision I can find that seems to have almost no dependence on agreements is whether to pass or redouble in 7NX… I suppose it is relevant in balancing position how high partners standards are to XX in direct seat, but in either case the meaning of pass bs XX is at least directionally clear even if not precise on odds.
Feb. 12
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Having slept on it I realize that a double of 7NT by the player on lead need not always be penalty!

Do you see how it could have another meaning?

Same for almost any final pass…

Edit: typo
Feb. 12
Max Schireson edited this comment Feb. 12
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Yes.

I believe there is exactly one other situation where there is only one logical meaning of a call.

There are many more calls that might have one clearly best meaning, but other uses are not totally nullo.
Feb. 12
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John

Thank you.

Unfortunately is not often that a bridgewinners post changes someone’s thinking, but this really helped me to understand these issues differently.

In an idealized world we would just give our opponents a complete and correct set of system notes, which they would read and know perfectly. The there would be no need for alerts or explanations and the situation of MI tipping off opponents to our misunderstanding would never occur. This is what we should emulate. With this (rather than screens) as the ideal, it seems clear that the MI is not something to try to preserve.

Of course we are a long way from this ideal, but computer bridge might approach it.
Feb. 11
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I should say that more broadly any double of 7Nt when you are on lead must be penalty, not just the situation you describe.
Feb. 11
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That’s one. There is one other indisputably natural call…
Feb. 11
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I was thinking about what doubles are purely natural and could never have another meaning based on context/agreement.

I could find none.

Offhand I could find only one situation where I think every bridge player everywhere could agree based purely on the scoring what a certain call meant, then realized that ironically in real life sometimes it means something totally different.

Any guesses?

Edit: found a second indisputably natural call - a double actually.
Feb. 11
Max Schireson edited this comment Feb. 11
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I am not a believer that “pretend there are screens - what would happen” is the right way to solve all UI issues, but nevertheless think it is a relevant comparison and notable when there is a significant discrepancy that advantages the side with UI relative to how things would work out with screens.
Feb. 11
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I guess I should have said “the side that would have been the offending side with screens is saved from part of their offense and might occasionally obtain a better result by their legally condoned use of unauthorized information.”
Feb. 11
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Thanks that makes sense.

I think it might be too perverse - even for me, unsympathetic as I tend to be to the offenders - to consider giving the correct explanations a violation of a players obligation to carefully avoid benefiting from UI under 73C1. It seems the offending side may occasionally benefit from the UI here.
Feb. 11
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@Peter,

Thanks for pointing this out.

Do you have an opinion as to whether, even though the correct explanation must be given even if aided by UI, opponents could have a case that they were damaged by not getting the (incorrect) explanation they would have gotten absent the UI that would have led them to figure out what was going on and make a better decision?

Here is the situation I am thinking about:

With screens, an opponent who is screenmates with the player who misbid might get mistaken explanations of the bids on the other side of the screen. He might, from the combination of these explanations and his own hand, figure out that there is a mixup and what the mixup was.It might be harder to figure that out with the correct explanation of the bids; opps would do actually do better in the screen case where they are getting misinformation. Even though the player who mixed things up is required to use the UI in his possession to give correct explanations and did so, in this case it seems his opponents were nevertheless damaged by his use of UI.

Here it seems like under law 73C2 the non-offending side might deserve redress?
Feb. 11
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I agree with Kevin and David and others that you must explain your actual agreements. This seems clear under the laws.

That said, I also believe that when your usage of UI from partner damages opponents they are entitled to an adjustment. Law 73 provides for this and is very important.

I believe that we should explain things according to our actual agreements as Kevin (and others) have said. Having done that if Martin’s concern that it is harder for opps to figure out your misunderstanding when you do this actually materializes, I think they are entitled to an adjustment under law 73. They are not specifically entitled to your misunderstandings, but if they would have figured out the misunderstanding but for your usage of UI to make a correct explanation (as was your legal obligation), it seems they should get redress? I understand this may seem perverse but it seems to be what the laws say, and on early reflection seems like it might be fair.

I don’t think this means that you explain things differently from your actual agreements. Law 16 regarding UI is specific in enumerating that it applies only to calls and plays (hence not explanations) so I think nothing releases you from your legal obligation to provide your actual agreements.
Feb. 11
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Mike,
I am a big proponent of full disclosure.
Two questions:
1. Say you think this hand is in the top 5-10% of 17s and don’t open in 1N for that reason. How and when exactly does your partner disclose that possibility without misleading opponents?
2. Can you describe to me exactly how an opponent is damaged when you open 1N by the fact that you would have not opened this particular hand 1N because you deemed it too good, while others might have deemed it in range and not opened it 1N because of the shape and/or lack of tenaces?
Feb. 9
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Thanks Phil. Makes sense as the least bad option.
Feb. 9
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Phil,
Is that just hands with 3 diamond opening 1D? What about 44 majors with 3 clubs, and if you open 1C what do you do when partner responds 1D?
Assume you raise a 1N response when you open 1m with 16?
The more I think about it the more I see value in 1m here to find the major fit, but I worry about other auctions.
Feb. 9
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Jim,
I agree that it probably shouldn’t be necessary to say “good 14” when we just mean a hand that is worth 15 but happens to have 14 HCP; common sense says that HCP are only a guide and we should be able to value our hands.
My point is that even if the rules require that and opponents who depend on that requirement might be damaged, the “17 minus” situation is not parallel to “14 plus”, because of things like what Phil does with some 16s.
Feb. 9
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Andy,
Not sure I follow the distinction between part of a convention and conventional, but agree with your description of 1N (2H) 3N
Richard,
Back to our original difference of opinion, I think the situation where I have 2 ways to bid 5H is exactly parallel to having 2 ways (thanks to Lebensohl) to bid 3N. The meaning of the direct bid is different because we might have gotten there via 2N 3C, or via 4N 5C. Even if the meaning is “normal” (ie, 3N with a stopper or 5H to play) the fact that another sequence showed a different version of that call (3N without a stopper or 5H invitational) makes it part of a convention.

That’s about enough rabbit hole time for me :)
Feb. 9
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I am not confusing the two things, which I agree are different. Apologies if I was unclear.

I am saying that I find it natural to think of not just the artificial bids but the closely related changes to natural bids that go with them as part of the same system that I (and I think others) call a convention. I think of them together when I am deciding what to bid, when I am explaining my bid to opponents, when I am interpreting partners bid, writing system notes, discussing the system with partner etc.

Consider Lebensohl where 1N (2H) 3N denies - or promised, as is your agreement - a heart stopper. I suspect we agree the auction 1N (2H) 2N 3C 3N part of the Lebensohl convention?

Do you or Richard think only the relay sequence is part of Lebensohl, or is the direct sequence 1N (2H) 3N carrying a specific meaning about a heart stopper part of the convention too in your view? Or would the direct 3N bid denying a heart stopper be part of the convention, but not if it promised a stopper?

My view is that both are.

Likewise in my view the multiple ways to bid 5H over 4S in the other (unnamed?) convention regardless of which meaning is assigned to which.

I hope that makes sense, even if you don’t agree. Anyway it’s just a question of labels, so not really worth much argument.
Feb. 9
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It seems that your issue was that at first N wasn’t sure about the grand and later decided to bid it. This seemed odd.

I would like to pull together three things that others have suggested that make the actual situation quite different than that first impression described above.

1. 7D by E makes diamond wastage in partners hand less likely. Without any other information, this makes 7S more attractive.
2. Partner passed over 7D. For many players, this expresses some interest in 7S. If S doesn’t want to play 7S (knowing that N was unsure himself) they can double.
3. 6S is no longer a possible contract. Even if neither piece of new information has convinced you that you would prefer to play 7S to 6S (the choice you were likely previously contemplating), you might still think a gamble on 7S is better than defending 7D.

This is *completely* different than if N invited a grand, E passed, S bid 6S, and N with no further info bid 7S. In the actual auction N has quite a bit of new information suggesting 7S.
Feb. 9
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