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All comments by Michael Rosenberg
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True that “snappy” comments should be reserved for no screens. Let's say a normal screen tempo 3 bid - no definite suggestion that West was thinking. If East bids 4 over the slow 3, but passes over the ‘normal’ 3, where is my redress?
Aug. 9, 2013
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Many good points were brought up here. Steve Bloom suggested that 3H might not deliver a fit. In fact, I play it actually DENIES a fit (except in a GF hand). My only invitation with a fit is 3. The prototypical hand for 3 (for me) is 2-3-4-4 with no heart stopper.
On this hand, 2-3-4-4 is “impossible”, so I'd think maybe 2-Axxx-(4-3) trying to get me to bid NT with, say, Qx or 2-5 in majors.
Steve also said that pass is nondescript and 3 shows 6-card . That's a logical follow-up to the way I play. I might well pass with the East hand, planning a slow 4 (to show a lesser hand) rather than a direct 4.
My way is far off the mainstream - I believe 90% of experts would think of 3 as a strong invitation with a fit.

Another interesting suggestion is that East sould be allowed to know whether his 4 bid is permissible or not before he makes it. Even if Directors were in sole charge of rulings, that might be logistically difficult.
Anyway, I think there is a certain justice to allowing a flagrantly unethical but unsuccessful action. I am certainly NOT saying that happened in this case - just that I generally like the idea. I see flagrantly unethical actions not as illegal - but as a sort of 0% play.

As for the actual ruling, it may well be that East WAS always going to bid game, and would have done so after a snappy 3. Does this mean that the ruling was an injustice? NO, because we cannot know what would have happened.
It would be nice if we could create a parallel universe and see what ‘would’ have happened with no BIT. We cannot, so we are stuck with West jeopardizing his side by breaking tempo. We send the message that breaking tempo is more likely to be detrimental than helpful to your side.
I always come back to this: if West (WITH A DIFFERENT HAND) had bid a snappy 3, East (WITH THE SAME HAND) had passed, and 9 tricks is the limit, WHERE IS MY REDRESS?

Aug. 9, 2013
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I believe it is unethical to look at the order of your cards. I don't care if that's the majority opinion - for me that is not a valid argument. But I do care that it ‘feels’ wrong.
To say, as Ed does, that ““it is appropriate to act on information acquired by unintentionally seeing an opponent’s card”, which is in effect what has happened here”, is, to me, pure sophistry. I believe “unintentional” is supposed to mean that you accidentally caught a glimpse of a card because your opponent did not hold their hand properly. There is nothing “unintentional” about studying the order of the cards as you pick them out of the box, and carefully gleaning information from the order.

Look at these two things:

1) Studying the order of the cards as they come to you.

2) Arranging the cards after you play, to trick a future player into believing that this was the order they were played.

Now, I would never do either of these - but I think (1) is a lot more like ‘cheating’ than (2).
Aug. 8, 2013
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No, sorry.
Aug. 3, 2013
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You can make any agreement you think is beneficial. You could play, for example, that a double of Kit Woolsey's preempts is penalty, if you thought that was a good idea.

However, in the absence of any particular agreement, it is ‘Expert Standard’ that doubles at this level are competitive/TO.

What this particular double ‘should’ be, I do not know.
Aug. 3, 2013
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You might as well make the same argument about almost any early bid in the auction.
But EITHER player can make a competitive/TO double and find his partner with a hand that can pass.
So I don't think this argument is valid.
Aug. 3, 2013
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I have never looked at the order of the cards as I picked them up (although can't help noticing if they are in suits and I don't have an opening bid or a terrible hand)

Even though I've read about this before (there was a long article in the Bridge World several years ago), I am guilty of not shuffling them after the hand (except after a passout) - I will try to correct that. Thanks for the reminder, Aviv.

However, in bridge I like to take matters one step further. How about, after my finesse for the J WINS, I now arrange the cards as Aviv suggested?
I guess that is probably a violation of the Laws. But it seems to me as if the only time it matters, ‘justice’ is done.
Aug. 3, 2013
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I think that is reasonable
Aug. 2, 2013
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Sorry if you feel your time was wasted. As many of you probably already know, this hand comes from another BW article - http://bridgewinners.com/article/view/at-last-here-is-the-hand/">At last - here is the hand! by http://bridgewinners.com/profile/paul-cronin/">Paul Cronin. There was some conversation in that thread that 3 was not ‘normal’. I posted this poll to satisfy myself that 3 was the ‘normal’ action. If you are interested, you can now read my post on that thread.
Aug. 1, 2013
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The idea that assigning a result such as 4 doubled down 6 is ‘unjust’ or ‘unfair’ or that ‘E-W are getting an undeserved bonanza’ is a total fallacy. What would be unjust or unfair is for North to forget his methods, illegally take advantage of the alert procedure, and get a good result - while an ethical player in his place would have gone for a huge number.

For anyone that thinks 4SX down six is a ridiculous ruling, based on the fact that such results ‘never’ actually happen, I believe they are correct EXCEPT BEHIND SCREENS.

The reason such results don't happen at the table without screens is because a player takes advantage of UI (as I believe North did here in this article).

Behind screens, I have seen quite a few four-figure numbers (and other disasters) over the years. Now perhaps many of those pairs would have been ethical, and suffered the same disaster without screens. I have no way to know that for sure.

There is another side to the coin regarding screens. Sometimes, a player behind screens figures out what is happening when partner doers something ‘unusual’. But with no screens, it may be that the alert procedure impels the Director, and/or Committee, to force a bad result - because it might reasonably have occurred without the UI.

But the point is that, without screens, those bad results almost invariably need to be assigned. When screens are in use, they actually (sometimes) happen.

As to North's action, I think it is totally normal for North to raise spades. Even if North thought 2 was NF (and there is no reason to think that) he is worth a raise.

To think North should be allowed to escape here is pretty silly. Raising with honor doubleton is normal, and, I think Standard for almost any reasonable level of player. Just to check this out, I put this hand on a Bridgewinner's poll. As of my writing this, the result was 89% for 3.

I was surprised by Kit's reply to someone that “You may be right about your statement that North's “normal” rebid is 2NT with a doubleton spade.”. It isn't - at least not with THIS hand. I guess even Kit's knowledge (which is extensive) has some gaps.

It is true that South MIGHT have now figured out what was happening and passed 3, but his partner's action robbed him of that chance (which is sort of justice). In this case, the difference was negligible, but in another case, this might make a difference. (And then it might begin to dawn on North that the best chance for a reasonable result is to be ethical).

Regarding East's action of raising to 4 as being egregious, it certainly looks that way - but it is irrelevant. An egregious action or error can result in your losing your right to redress, BUT ONLY IF YOU HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO RECEIVE A RESULT AS GOOD OR BETTER THAN THE ONE YOU WOULD HAVE RECEIVED AGAINST A PAIR WHO FULFILLED THEIR ETHICAL OBLIGATIONS.
So since I can't assign such a result to E-W here, and since I dislike procedural penalties on principle, the best I can do is, after lecturing North, is to lecture East.

By the way, I think the ACBL (and other bodies) should keep a file of such actions such as North's and East's. Then, if there is a a repeat offence I would want them to be on probation - so that one more offence would result in suspension.
Aug. 1, 2013
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Here's what I think the law SHOULD be (all of 1-3 below).

1) No automatic penalty (just as I think a revoke should be)

2) The exposed card is AI for opponent, UI for partner

3) Any doubt about damage goes to the non-offending side

This would remove the issues being argued above. It takes away the headache of trying to decide what penalty to enforce. It also takes away some “impossible” results.

I prefer the rules be such that those committing an infraction don't gain, but that there are no “impossible” results.

Of course, there may be an issue with “doubt about damage”. But I prefer that to the automatic penalty

Aug. 1, 2013
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“Unusual over Unusual” is a convention that is played only when BOTH suits are specified. So it is a misnomer to use it for this auction.
July 29, 2013
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I believe “Par”, as it is commonly used (and as i intended it), means “the best possible result with everybody playing accurate double-dummy bridge.” That may not be “useful”, but I'm pretty sure that's what it means to the majority of experts.
I have also heard experts refer to “single-dummy par” - meaning the result that would occur if everybody bids and plays correctly single dummy. Obviously, a lot more difficult to quantify.
July 29, 2013
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So if I'm reading the above post correctly, you are saying that Adam's attempt to make an argument using facts is flawed because of his inherent bias?
Whereas your points are ‘fair’ so I should agree with them?

“The inherent unfairness of the midnight appeals system”

It would be reasonable to state that it is inherently flawed - just like the game of bridge, and just like life. But I for one don't think it's “inherently unfair” - at least as long as the projected replacement is one I regard as even more inherently flawed.

I don't have an inherent bias against any other method. I just need to believe it would work better. Of course, the problem is that “work better” means different things for different people.
July 28, 2013
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Perhaps you are correct. But I was thinking that a slow double could have many reasons for being slow; so that, as long as double was the official TO bid, it would take a pre-arranged code to induce a pass.
Personally, I don't believe there was a pre-arranged code. I think the answer lies elsewhere - there have been some possibilities suggested in this thread.
July 28, 2013
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I'm missing the 13 top tricks - I only see 12.
July 28, 2013
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They lost 8 imps to par, and get accused of cheating?
July 28, 2013
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Unless you have a convention (such as 3) for TO, double is what you do with 4-4-1-4 shape. Does anybody know definitively whether or not this pair had such a convention?
July 28, 2013
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“In no way” is pretty strong. You might say that “one hand alone cannot, by itself, be proof of cheating. You need a series of hands.”

By the way, “cheating” is always my last thought - as opposed to poor ethics. But this hand obviously has nothing to do with ethics.
July 28, 2013
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I think you were correct to dislike the heart play after winning Q.
It's not just “expected” that declarer has a stiff club - it's very likely. Declarer has at least 9 major suit cards; he can't have 2-card (if partner didn't have the ace, he wouldn't encourage, and if he had the A he would have cashed it.
The only possible shape is 5-3-3-2 (Axx is truly ‘impossible’). But partner might well have preferred a club shift with that (to take his ruff when I have A, or set up a crossruff). And also, I will still survive a club shift when partner has the 10 (and possibly he should not encourage with xxx, QJxx, Axxxx, x - especially when his stiff club might be unreadable).

Rather than worrying about this unlikely 5-3-3-2, I'd be more worried about what actually took place - my having to guess something on the 9….admittedly, it's only an undertrick.
July 27, 2013
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