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All comments by Michael Rosenberg
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You are still analyzing all four hands. I repeat that my main point is that I believe this one hand (South's) is a poor hand to bid 3H with.
May 13, 2012
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Victor:

Steve B. is correct. I had noticed before my first post that 5D was cold double-dummy (and in fact you would fall into making it single-dummy). When I said “you will, in practice, be 2 down” I was referring to 3H. Sorry for the confusion.

Your saying that declarer can cash HA to make 8 tricks is not relevant, since that play would not be found in practice.

Of course, we only have a sample of one, but that one declarer, who is an expert, failed to drop the king - in a position that was MUCH clearer than it would have been had East switched to a trump at trick three.

Steve is also correct that, had declarer not played the club queen, the defense might fear a heart switch. Not so much because declarer will drop the king (whatever Steve says, I don't believe that will happen in practice), but because declarer might have ace, KING seventh of hearts - and now he might actually figure out to make it. (Perhaps Steve was implying this, when he said “ if South played clubs correctly, East would see the danger of the contract making.”)

But I think the analysis of the possible dispositions of this particular hand is truly irrelevant to my main points, which are:

1) The preempt found a hand with two trump honors opposite, yet still lost in practice.

2) Preempts sometimes don't work. Not all preempts are equal - and I think this one, with serious risk of a penalty, with the ace of it's suit, and with length in the other major is less equal than others.
May 13, 2012
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Victor:

Not so, since if the defense is correct, you will, in practice, be 2 down. And my point was the preempt was only close to being successful because partner had 2 heart honors (when you would normally not play 3HX).
It would be easy to construct a hand where partner has a stiff heart and you are 3 or 4 down, and the opponents weren't even going to make a game.
May 12, 2012
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Personal experience
May 12, 2012
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Victor J.

“Suppose the 4 hands are the same but with the HK and HA” interchanged"

But that is part of the whole reason not to preempt! Having the ace of your suit is a big negative, in the sense that it means that the opponents are far less likely to make something.
May 12, 2012
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If my knowledge of English were better, I would understand that.
May 12, 2012
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Steve:
Steve B:

I don't see why we should care what some unnamed director thinks. I care more what you think. And why not name the Director - I dislike anonymous quotations, unless there is a very good reason.

Peg K:

Don't worry. #4 is not a rule. That would be crazy.

Greg He:

So you would be “unsettled” by the mythical #4 law. How unsettling would a law be before you actually felt the need to say “this shouldn't be the law”? Maybe “every fourth trick, we toss a coin to see who actually won the trick?”

John T:

“A big, big problem with players making their own generous rulings is that they come to expect reciprocity, and there is no way to draw the line.”

This is not true, at least in my case. I have absolutely no problem with my opponents enforcing a penalty for a revoke, or any other infraction. This has happened to me on more than one occasion. They have an obvious and absolute right to follow the law.
My right not to follow the law is far less clear - but I believe it is appropriate as long as it is against my self-nterest, and I do it in a consistent manner.

Phillip M:

Regarding law 81C5, you say:

“I would suspect that “the non-offending side does not wish to enforce the law because they think it's a bad law” would not be sufficient reason.”

I suspect (not sure why you used “would”) that the lawmakers put in 81C5 in part to give a player the choice of not accepting an “impossibly” good result caused by an illegal play.

I guess we are each free to suspect what we want.
May 12, 2012
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“Neither the negative double nor the pass was at all clear, and if either player does anything else E-W will be headed for a minus score.”

This implies that the preempt almost gained. But if South had passed, wouldn't E-W still be headed for a minus score?
The optimal E-W contract may be 6D - but definitely not after the preempt.

If I preempt with this hand, and partner has a 7-count with ?QJ and the preempt is STILL a loser - I think that's a pretty good sign that preempting is not a great idea here.
May 12, 2012
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Maybe it is the case because so many Director calls HAVE been made in an accusatory and/or overly loud and aggressive manner. This, coupled with the fact that sometimes the offenders are secretly feeling a little guilty causes much unpleasantness.

In addition to this, there is an appalling lack of education about ethics in general and Director calls in particular (though it has improved at the top level of the game).
It should be routine for teachers to tell their students that there is no stigma attached, either to calling the Director, or to having the Director called to deal with an infraction created by you. It's just part of the education process for all concerned.

I certainly wish that one day it will be routine for a Director call to always occur in a calm manner, and that there will be no angst attached to it.
May 11, 2012
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“When the opponents hesitate, or play slowly, or provide vague explanations, or fail to alert in a situation in which we clearly have not been damaged, or do many other things that are of marginal legality but clearly haven't damaged us, we believe the opponents have not clearly committed an irregularity, and therefore we have no obligation to call the director.”

I think you're opinion of what constitutes an irregularity is far from universal. It seems to me (to quote someone) that “you are setting your own opinion about the equity of the situation over the judgment of the people who spent a lot of time making the rules.”

Nice way to avoid answering the question "would you rather be person A or person B. I, too, would rather be person X (with appropriate rules).

Not sure about your saying that this isn't personal. We are talking about my thoughts and actions as a person, so that would seem to be personal. However, to alleviate your apparent concern, I don't think you have said anything that could in any way be construed as inappropriate.

As for dinner, that sounds nice. But I have to warn you that, if you offer me a joint, I'm gonna call the police.
May 11, 2012
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“The Laws of Duplicate Bridge do require me to call the director whenever there is an irregularity at the table (no exceptions–NONE–are listed).”

I don't think this is technically correct. Law 9B1(a) says:

“. After Attention is drawn to an irregularity
1. (a) the director should be summoned at once
when attention is drawn to an irregularity.”

Let's imagine this scenario: a player pulls out a card, almost plays it (so that others can see it), realizes it would be a revoke, puts it back, and plays another card to follow suit. Now, as long as nobody “draws attention”, I think we can carry on without calling the Director.
May 11, 2012
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One day, the bridge world will agree that this means they really DON'T have an agreement. The break in tempo says a lot more than the “agreement”.
May 11, 2012
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I agree with Gavin - though I think there are some players who make an effort to keep things as quiet as possible, and some players who simply don't care.
Meanwhile, there are many ways we could improve the current situation - though I guess most of them would cost money.
May 11, 2012
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Lynn:

I'm not understanding the first paragraph of your last post. If you almost never call the director, aren't you flouting those “clear and unambiguous laws” - which I thought is what you were saying I was doing?

Regarding “protect the field” consider two scenarios - both concerning the revoke law:

1) An opponent revokes against me. I can see it is totally irrelevant to the number of tricks I will make. I tell them to pick it up (I know, I know, I'm supposed to call the Director), and they discard the offending card on the next trick. I make my “normal' number of tricks, and they go on to win the event.

2) A player bids to a grand slam that has 0% chance of making. An opponent revokes, the revoke is established, and the grand slam is made. The player goes on to win the event.

You would say that (2) is simply ”rub of the green“. I agree. The player is entitled to make his contract. He was just lucky he happened to play it against someone who revoked. It's the rule I abhor, not the enforcement of it.

However, I say that (1) is also ”rub of the green". The defender was lucky he revoked against someone who did not believe that a trick that cannot possibly be won is suddenly won. Just as he would have been lucky because I failed to preempt on a hand that everyone else did, or he would have been unlucky if I happened to do something successful while he was playing against me.

I know one thing for certain - I'd much rather be person (A)who won the event because he revoked but his opponent was someone like me, than I would be person (B) who won the event because he took the penalty when his opponent revoked and allowed the grand slam to make off the trump ace.

I guess you would rather be person (B)?

Finally, I believe, or rather I hope that my actions are improving the game. By doing what I do, I have definitely added to the ranks of those who believe as I do. Eventually, I hope this will help in changing the law of the automatic penalty.

i have no doubt that you think that would be opening a can of worms. maybe you're right. But I'd rather eat from a can that I think will be good (even though some disagree) than eat from a can I KNOW has worms (which is how I feel about the current law.)
May 11, 2012
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Lynn J.

In the case of the Evil Card Dropper, WITH HIS PARTNER ON LEAD, the Director will naturally be called. Most players are quite naturally happier to have the Director protect their rights.
The Director has the right to assign an adjusted score if he believes the non-offenders were damaged.
So if the partner has an obvious winning play, the Evil Card Dropper is taking the risk of it being disallowed. If the partner has an obscure winning play, he will not be allowed to keep it, even if he finds it. So the Evil Card Dropper can only lose, and cannot gain.

There may be cases where the Evil Card Dropper will gain if I don't accept the penalty. (Though if I felt I needed to exact a penalty to restore equity, I would, of course, call the Director).
But I'd prefer not to take an automatic penalty from the accidental card dropper, just so you can feel comfortable about punishing the hypothetical Evil Card Dropper.

Since you quoted the Laws, I'd like you to consider a couple of things. Before 2008, I think it's quite possible that a reader of the Laws would find your approach more valid than mine.
However, the 2008 Laws took a different tone from any that preceded. The second sentence of the Introduction is:

“(The Laws) are primarily designed not as punishment for irregularities but rather for the rectification of situations where non-offenders may otherwise be damaged.”

This sentiment is repeated a little later in the section titled “The Scope of The Laws”

Add to this the fact that the Laws provide for the possibility of waiving a penalty (Law 81C5).
Isn't it a little harsh to say I am doing something wrong when, knowing I have not been damaged in any way, I ensure that I do not gain, and my opponent does not lose, from a non-bridge mistake? Am I not acting within the spirit of the Laws?

A little later in the Introduction, it says: “Directors have been given considerably more discretionary powers. there are fewer automatic penalties”

It seems clear to me that the Laws are moving in the direction of my camp. When the last automatic penalty has been removed, I will applaud.

Of course, when you play on a computer, there is no possibility of revokes, bids out of turn insufficient bids, penalty cards etc. That's one thing I really like about playing online.



May 10, 2012
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If you grab a card intending to play it, and you place it on the table, and it is a legal play, it is a played card.

1) The classic situation is leading towards AQ in your hand. You play the queen, not seeing your opponent played the king - the queen is a played card.

2) Another common situation is a player getting ahead of himself. For example, in the original case here, a defender might be planning to play a spade after cashing his hearts, but forgets to cash the last one first. here, the spade is a played card.

3) In the actual case, where the card clearly dropped out of the player's hand, the card is not a played card.

The above cases are all clear to me, and I think the rules in these cases (assuming I am correct about the dropped card) are optimal.
What is not clear to me is the case where a player takes a card out of his hand thinking it is a different card from what it actually is, and then plays it. It might be difficult for the player to prove he was not part of the (2) category. But, if it is clear he was not, then I think (not very confidently) that the card should not be considered a played card. (Of course, the card would be subject to whatever penalty is appropriate for exposing it).
May 10, 2012
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So does that mean you have no problem with my not enforcing the revoke penalty (if I am consistent about it) as long as the Director agrees?
May 10, 2012
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Even worse than asking to see the last trick are those players (some of whom are experts) who actually pick up the cards and turn them over.
If we are going to have automatic penalties, I'd prefer to have one for that - where a player is actively trying to help himself, than for a revoke - where a player is not.
May 10, 2012
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Peg,

But do I have the right to call the Director and request that he or she not enforce the penalty?
May 10, 2012
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Lynn J.

If you look at your earlier post, I think you will see you did not actually ask a question about the weak 2-bids. Here is the question you asked:

“ I think it's weird that you can play transfer responses to 1C in a GCC event if your 1C bid shows at least 15 HCP, but not if it could be a minimum opening bid. But if I allow my opponents to do as they please, but other competitors call the director to penalize their opponents, I have given my opponents an advantage over other competitors. Why is that “fair”?”

I didn't answer this question because it appeared to me to be rhetorical. Even had I not thought that, I would not have known the question was intended specifically for me - I would have thought it was a general question to readers of the thread.

My answer is that this is a messy subject, to which I have devoted very little thought. It would never have occurred to me to call the Director in the weak-2 case. I don't think there should be automatic proscriptions on judgment, or even psychic bids, except where the bid is artificial AND strong (in which case I think the proscription is reasonable).

I think that an “infraction” that can only be brought to light by detailed knowledge of our ever-changing laws is difficult to police.

Maybe in the distant future when we have advanced technicologically, the computer will “forbid” actions that are outside certain parameters.

If I were to call the Director on a systemic-legal issue, I would do it regardless of the identity of my opponents.

Sorry if I haven't answered your question - your welcome to try again!

Regarding your “similar case”, Andy already answered. But even if UI were not an issue then, under the current rules, the spade ace would be a penalty card, and declarer could forbid a spade lead.

You say “most players don't (deliberately drop a card) on purpose, but some of them do.” That is the main reason people are against changing the automatic penalties - the fear that players will drop cards or revoke on purpose.
I don't think this would be a frequent problem. After all, in my ‘rules world’, they could never theoretically gain (since any doubt is decided against them). And repeat offenders would be subject to disciplinary action.
I worry a lot more about “impossible” tricks and contracts being made - that is what I wish to change.
May 10, 2012
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