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All comments by Michael Rosenberg
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Agree. Except the Badger would say it should be “That'll learn 'em”
Feb. 11, 2015
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I brought up automatic penalties in case you were going to argue (as I have heard some people do) that it should work that way for PP's. They have said that in response to my statement that they are likely to be assigned arbitrarily and inconsistently.
Obviously, you are not one of those people, so I'm sorry I mentioned it.

The rest of your post seems to ignore my stated problem with PP's (as opposed to score adjustments. PP's create a score that could not have been achieved at the table. I don't want an event decided by a result that could not have been achieved at the table.

Even if somebody thinks there is “good reason” to assign a PP, how much should it be? Should it vary with the heinousness of the offense? Should it vary depending on whether there was already damage?
I think Directors are a million miles away from applying PP's consistently (or even thinking about them consistently). And I see virtually no need for them.
Feb. 11, 2015
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Ed: “Events are no more decided by a single PP than they are by the score (adjusted or otherwise) on one board out of 27 ”

This is where we differ. When an adjusted score is given, it is to a score that COULD have actually occurred at the table. So I'm fine with an event being decided that way.
Whereas a PP is an ‘artificial’ penalty. It has nothing to do with an actual result that could have been achieved.
I want events to be decided by results that were (or could have been) achieved.
Also, many cases of MI or UI don't ever come to light. I don't want automatic penalties for MI or UI - any more than I want them for revokes.
Feb. 11, 2015
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John: Actually, I am generally against PP's as a solution. A ruling, such as the Draconian one I would give here, doesn't need the additional add-on of punishment.

The problem with having PP's is that they are too likely to be assigned arbitrarily or inconsistently.
I don't want an event decided by a PP.

The only situation I think a PP is even reasonable is when a somebody did something intentional that was blatantly wrong, AND there was no actual damage. Even there, you could go with having a disciplinary hearing, and forgo PP's altogether.

Jeff: Of course, the director (or committee) should not be hostile. It's an education process, not a punishment process.
My rulings might seem hostile. My words to the OS are (hopefully) never hostile.
Feb. 11, 2015
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How about bidding 5 over 3?. That should clearly be Exclusion KC. If partner bids 6 (else no grand), now follow with 6 of the red suit that would systemically ask for K. For me, that would be 6. 6 would ask for 3rd round control.
Feb. 11, 2015
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Multiple issues here.

Because this is a club game, it's never clear how strict a ruling ‘should’ be. Therefore, that makes discussion less relevant and interesting to me.
For the purposes of my discussion below, I will assume a “serious” event.

First for N-S: North's 3 bid was a blatant use of UI. If partner had said “2 is natural” and bid 2, North would (or at least is quite likely to) pass. Partner already knows you have , and you have reasonable support for hearts where partner preferred to play. (It would be tougher to take this position had South bid 2 (North's stiff) - but not impossible.)

If it then went double-pass-pass back to North, I still see no reason that North would remove.
So I would rule 2 doubled down 6 - -1700 - (the defenders get the benefit of the doubt, and this is what correct defense leads to) - UNLESS something North did (other than the 3 bid itself) tipped off South to the idea that partner had .
For example, if North should her head, or glared at partner, I would then say that South's interpretation of the 3 bid was also based on UI. Therefore I would have South interpret 3 as a game try, and South bids 4 - doubled down 2300. I probably can't get it any higher than 4 (unless I can show that 4 would systemically be Redwood).

Ok, that last paragraph is going to look a little nuts to most people (who am I kidding - to everybody). But my point is that disasters of this sort do occur - BUT ONLY BEHIND SCREENS. And when a player tries to unfairly extricate themselves from a UI situation, we should be looking to see what further trouble they might get into.
My ruling (even if it's only the paltry -1700) will hopefully educate N-S (and anybody else watching) about two matters:

1) It's a good idea to know what conventions you have agreed

2) It's NOT a good idea (in fact, it's a REALLY BAD idea) to try to extricate yourself by illegally using UI

(2) is especially important. Had North passed, maybe West (with this or a different hand) might pull the double of 2. N-S lost whatever chance there was to ‘escape’ BECAUSE North used UI.

Now for EW:

I noticed at least one person saying that EW didn't deserve any bonanza ruling. The write-up in the article is a little unclear to me. The Director says EW had a misunderstanding, but I did not see the writer explicitly stating that.
However, I'm not sure it even matters. No pair is going to have an agreement about a double of 2 that shows majors, followed by a double of 3 that suddenly shows instead.
The idea that East ‘should’ have bid 4 is crazy. What if partner was 3=3=4=3? East could have passed 3 if they had some agreement this would be forcing, but they didn't.
So, unless I'm missing something, E-W did nothing wrong. And even if they did something that was wrong, it shouldn't prevent them from achieving the same score that they would against a pair that lived up to its ethical responsibilities.
And even if E-W did something VERY wrong, it would not matter to me, unless they had some way of achieving an equal or better score than they ‘should. Bidding a game (even if it were clear to do so as opposed to defending 3 doubled) is poor compensation for 1700.
Why do E-W ’deserve' this bonanza/ Because there opponents made a terrible mistake. Think of it as opponents bidding a grand slam off an ace, or playing in a (re?)doubled cuebid, or playing AJx opposite K10x by taking the finesse both ways.
When your opponents do something really stupid, it's ok if that means something very good for you.

So my ruling for EW would be the ‘mirror’ of the ruling for N-S. As it usually would be after blatant use of UI.


Feb. 11, 2015
Michael Rosenberg edited this comment Feb. 11, 2015
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Why can't the lead be a doubleton?
Feb. 11, 2015
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“East's club shift looks nuts.” Well, yes if partner is guaranteed to have a stiff. But what if declerer has J10xx, KJxxx, xx, AJ? Now the club shift leads to 2 down, cashing the spade to 1 down.
I'd accept that the club shift is “wrong” or even “clearly anti-percentage”. But I thought “nuts” was a little strong (unless the 5 was readable as not a doubleton).

East's not putting up the K WAS absurd (nuts+ ?) - ESPECIALLY if holding the 9 as shown by Mark above. Regardless of the hand, K never loses in the suit.
Without the 9 it would be a little different - at least in the suit. But still clear to play the king with that dummy.

West had one chance, and failed to find a good play to help partner. East had two ‘chances’, and made one error and one nullo play.
Feb. 10, 2015
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This “one” wouldn't think that….
Feb. 10, 2015
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Robin: “Is our position all that unusual?” I don't think it's that unusual, but I think it's the minority. I believe the majority would bid 1-2 with a GF 3=4=3=3.

David: I completely agree. if 1M-2 promises 5-card, that it should be part of any description that is made.

So I think the “yes” answer in this article, whether deliberately obfuscative or unwittingly dim, was not appropriate.
Had they been playing what I think of as 'Standard" 2/1 - 2 only 3 if 3=4=3=3 - I would think the answer reasonable. Although outside the US, I think one should add the 3-card club possibility (and perhaps should anyway, as you suggested elsewhere).
Feb. 10, 2015
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David: You said “to me “2/1” means that “a two-level non-jump new-suit response to a one-level opening bid in a suit is natural (4+ cards if 2m, 5+ cards if 2)”

How can it “mean” that? What if the opening is 1 and responder is 3=4=3=3?
Feb. 10, 2015
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David: What if 2 is “almost always” 4 - always over 1? The only time it can be 3 is specifically 3=4=3=3 shape over a 1 opening.
That is what I believe to be “Standard” in the US…and I think not even alertable here (though I could be wrong).
Feb. 10, 2015
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I refuse to judge East's action without seeing his hand….
Feb. 10, 2015
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Of course that is true, it is post-alertable. At the time of that answer, I thought the issue was an “immediate” one. Now I'm not sure what the issue is…
Feb. 9, 2015
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Obviously I would pass 5. Methinks there is more to this story…
Feb. 9, 2015
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And what I was saying that, in this particular case, opener could, if he desired, avoid all ethical questions by passing. That will not be true in every case, but is true here.
Feb. 9, 2015
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Jay K. "It behooves the 3 Michaels to see the circumstances from the perspective of the Rays and Souths that approach the game like Ray, and only then form a judgment and redress.

I agree. That is what I (and the other two of me) always attempt to do.
Feb. 9, 2015
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Ed: are you saying there is no situation where it is unclear which action would be “taking advantage of UI”? Not intending to add to your headache…
Btw, I think “all this talk” should refer to at least 3 mentions…leave out the “all”? Or maybe you see more coming?
Feb. 9, 2015
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4 is not alertable, being a bid above 3N after initial entry.

Behind screens, it should be alerted if KC, or any artificial meaning.

Whether or not there were screens, i wouldn't “interpret” 41c. I'd ask after the auction if it was forcing or NF

I play 4 as forcing - probably looking for a cue in a pointed suit
Feb. 9, 2015
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Even if the 4 bid was totally ‘clear’ it should not be permitted. Because it was likely not totally clear FOR THIS PLAYER - else why did he bid 3. If he had an aberration before, he doesn't get to ‘wake up’ now, just because partner huddled.

What if the plan was always to bid 4? I might accept this argument with a wild-shaped ‘dog-walker’ - say, 4-0-7-2 shape. no way I would accept the argument if the player just had the given hand with, say, an extra king.

If someone claims they were always going to bid 4 but I doubt them, I would simply tell them “then you got unlucky that your partner messed up your plan with his BIT”.

On the actual hand, FWIW, I think 4 to be a questionable call directly, and a really poor one having already bid 3.
Feb. 9, 2015
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