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All comments by Michael Rosenberg
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The question beginning “if YOU were the person responsible for making the law…” was hypothetical. Assuming you understood that, I don't see how you can reasonably say “It is irrelevant what I think the law SHOULD be”. Presumably, we want our lawmakers not to think in that manner.
I guess you COULD say that you refuse to answer this hypothetical question - which, so far, is what you have done.
May 8, 2012
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I don't think it matters all that much what the rules are so long as you apply them consistently"
So, are you saying that there is no such thing as a law that is in inherently unfair?

I'll try again to get you to answer my question: if YOU were the person responsible for making the law, would you have the law be that a card played due to a physical malfunction is a played card?
May 8, 2012
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Peg and Phillip,

I'm not certain whether either of you is speaking generally, or about this particular case. I would ask each of you this question.

Do you believe that the rules should be such that a card played due to a physical malfunction should be a played card?

Robb G.

You say “in the case where the “wrong” card slips out it may be the only winning play.”

I totally agree - when that “wrong” card is due to a MENTAL error. Let's say declarer leads a winner from dummy planning to discard a loser and then ruff the next one in his hand. Instead (as often happens), he gets a trick ahead of himself and ruffs dummy's winner. That is a played card. It is a legal play, and the error was mental.

On one occasion, a player led toward dummy's K10xx, thought, and (aberrantly) called “small”. I played my stiff ace, and declarer then started to say “Oh I meant…” then realized he had gained by his mental error and said no more. Had I won the trick with my (say) stiff nine, I would not have let him take it back.

But I don't see the PHYSICAL error as analogous. There was no mental intention to play that card so, as far as I am concerned, it should not be considered a played card.

You also say “How do you feel when you let the opponents recover their slip but they do not reciprocate when you have a slip?”

I feel fine. I wonder how THEY feel.
May 8, 2012
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John,

You say “Assume he has seven spade winners (or else he's down already)”

Why? Why can't declarer have AQJ10xxx or KQJ10xxx and some heart/club honors (enough to pitch a D and have no losers outside of trumps). Then the only defense is 3 rounds of diamonds, and as long as partner's spot beats the trump six, declarer is down (he won't guess trumps, even if he can)?
May 8, 2012
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Let's take this situation: declarer is in 3N with these cards

AQxx
Kxx
KQxx
xx

xxx
AQxx
AJxx
Jx

Scenario 1: He receives a fortunate D lead, and cashes four rounds of that suit. then he cashes three hearts ending in hand, someone showing out. Declarer takes a spade out of his hand to take the finesse for his contract. Just as the spade is about to hit the table, he suddenly realizes that a heart was discarded on the diamonds, and his thirteenth heart is good!

Scenario 2: same hand, same lead. After cashing, the hearts which break 3-3, declarer tries to play the 13th heart, but instead a club falls onto the table - obviously by accident.

I don't know what the resolution of the rule discussion will be, but here's what I believe the rule SHOULD be. A card that is ACCIDENTALLY exposed due to a PHYSICAL error is in no way a played card. In fact, I think there should be no automatic penalty, but that any advantage gained by the offenders should be nullified, with any doubt going to the non-offenders. Often, it's just an irrelevancy.

But when the card is INTENTIONALLY played (or maybe played)due to a MENTAL error, then it is a played card.

So in scenario one, it is too late for declarer to take his play back. In scenario two, he simply picks up his club.

Going back to the case as originally presented, if Meckstroth, in the final of the Reisinger, were to drop the spade five on the table by accident, I would tell him to pick it up. I don't care what the rules are (though I hope Andy's interpretation is correct). In fact, this sort of thing has actually happened to me (except it was Soloway, not Meckstroth).

And by the way, Phillip - you ask “ Doesn't the team who came in second have a legitimate gripe against you?”

NO
May 7, 2012
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Lawrence,

It would be a huge (and weird) position for Geoff not to bid a slam. Fit is everything - and it cannot be diagnosed with no room. Not even giving partner 4-card C, let's say partner had Qxx, Kxx, Qxxx, AKQ. That is a hand that might not even be worth a try, yet slam is good. Or what about Kxx, AKx, Qxxx, KQx, with the totally wated HJ - Slam is cold on 3-2 clubs (and has play besides).
Unless you can diagnose the club position, you are going to reach this slam with 34 HCP and a five card suit.
Fit is crucial - not just for slams, but for games also. And often, random luck is involved.
May 7, 2012
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“However, on this hand where you expect 5? to be down 1 or 2, it can't be right to pass.”

Your pronoun is wrong - at least in my case. I DON'T expect 5H to be 2 down. It might make. And they might make.
If partner has something like J10xx, AKJ9xxx, xx, —, and declarer is the expected 2-0-5-6 then if the spade king is with opener, both contracts make. If it is onside we make SIX hearts - and they might STILL make if partner leads a high heart.

When I overcall 4H, I expect my partner to bid 5H on the hand you give. I feel a club void is very likely. Partner could have 8-card H. Yes, it could be losing. But it seems much wiser to me to bid.

The actual hand that ovecalled 4H would not have been a 4H overcall for me. Yet it was still ‘correct’ for us to bid 5H on the actual hand.
May 6, 2012
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The seven beats the six? Who knew?
Teach me to comment right after I wake up
May 6, 2012
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The play as given is almost certainly not the way the play actually went. Not only because West could have broken up the squeeze by shifting to a club, but also because Zia, on winning the heart jack, would have certainly cashed the heart ace pitching a spade and played on clubs.
May 6, 2012
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Today in the Round of 16, I held (Board 35, Match 5) K109, 1097, 109, AK754. Not an exact match, but it felt a little eerie.
April 29, 2012
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I'm sure I would have ducked without much thought, and I'm also sure Kit is correct that this might well be wrong.
I think Shan's point is a good one - 3N makes you think long diamonds, so winning and shifting is, to me, clearly more attractive.

A small point: Kit says that if you win club king and shift to spade king, you should then cash club ace before continuing spades. This is incorrect. You should FIRST play the spade ten. If declarer shows out you can Then cash the club ace before playing the third spade.. But if declarer started life with QJ, AKx, AKxxx, Qxx, partner can win the spade ace and shift back to clubs - and 2N is still defeated.
April 28, 2012
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That says it all, Keith
April 27, 2012
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Oh yeah? Well I've been playing 1H-1S, 2H (or 3H)-4C as an artificial heart slam try for 35 years.
Ok, I know that's totally different - just spitballing - and showing how old I am.
April 26, 2012
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Hey Joe,

Is it a logical follow-up that 1D(2S)-3H, 3S-3N, 4C shows opener has the minors, with any strength?
April 26, 2012
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Ron Z.

I don't think declarer still is much of a factor. They just do it because they believe it - and for some it seems to have become a religion.

It's worth noting that I do think members of the PAW party are generally easier to play cards against. Not only on the hands they preempted - but also on the hands they don't.
April 24, 2012
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I didn't think the problem specified no DK. But I thought the intention was obviously that partner had it (else there would be no bidding problem). And I believe a later reading of the author's comments in the thread makes it clear that partner does have the DK.
April 24, 2012
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Henry B.

You say “Michael, at least on committees on which I have served, although South can retreat to 5?, North is not permitted to now decide that 4? was natural. He must continue to assume that 4? was a transfer, and that therefore 5? is a slam try in spades.”

So funny that you say that, because I believe in every analogous committee ruling that has occurred at the Nationals in the last 20 years, the opposite has been the case.
I have read these cases and thought “how did they suddenly know now that the bid was natural? Was there some UI in partner's reaction when they alerted?” But no Committee member I spoke to after could remember that even being an ISSUE.

The prototypical case is 1N(2C-some convention)-2H(intended as natural, but alerted as a transfer), 2S-3H. Now opener should take this as whatever 1N-2H, 2S-3H would have been in their system (often 5-5 in the majors). Yet somehow they ‘figure it out’ and pass. The Director/Committee say they have no UI, and can do what they want. But to me, it always seems fishy.

It's amazing how often players land on their feet in these situations. Funny that the disasters I have seen always seem to occur when they are playing behind screens….
April 24, 2012
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I don't think I ever claimed that “when you make them guess (e.g., after a preempt) that they guess right more often than they do when you give them a free run”
If I did, I did not intend to. I intended to claim that sometimes they guess right in the bidding and, whatever they end up declaring, thay tend to guess more accurately.

The reason I am making a point of this is I think most experts today think as you and Kit do. I think someone should present the other side. I worry about what gets disseminated as “fact” and ‘truth’ to the bridge public - almost as much as I worry about what parents around the world are telling their children.
April 23, 2012
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Bob,

You say “The fact is, when you make them guess after a preempt, they guess wrong a lot more often than they do when you give them a free run.”

My memory is that, in “The Admirable Crichton”, J.M. Barrie has a character say something like “Whenever anybody begins a sentence with ‘the fact is’, it's a sign he is not speaking the truth.”

While I wouldn't go as far as that, I dislike the idea of establishing something as a “fact”, merely by calling it one.

I would say that the following ARE facts: When you preempt,

1) Some of the time you will go for a number
2) A flawed preempt (one with too much defense compared to offense) when penalized, will more likely result in an adverse result (since your defensive cards play less of a role)
3) A flawed preempt (one with too much offense for other strains) will more often result in a missed contract for your side
4) Opponents will sometimes reach a successful contract they would not have otherwise
5) Opponents will sometimes avoid a contract that would have been unsuccessful
6) Opponents will quite often “guess” to make a contract (whether normal or not)that they would not have otherwise (due to the information gained from the preempt)

I have studied this matter for years. I feel that preempting is not the panacea that it's adherents claim.

I prefer to preempt when I believe I should, not just when I can.

If you are instilled with the belief that preempting always works, then it follows that no argument will convince you otherwise. If you start with a “not sure” philosophy, I think you will see there are many pluses and minuses on both sides.

I suggest you pretend this is day one - and start looking at preempts on a case-by-case basis.
April 23, 2012
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The ‘normal’ Texas problem is 1N-4H - alerted, but intended as natural. It has long been held by Committees that responder is free to go back to 5H after the ‘transfer’ is accepted. The principle being that the AI of the ‘impossible’ 4S bid is what counts (as opposed to the UI of the alert).

The actual situation is a little different, since responder might have various shapes that would be impossible if no comp. Certainly 4-6-0-3, maybe 3-5-0-5 or even 5-5-0-3. However, there can never be any security in a 4S bid, since partner might have 0-7 in the majors.

The question that the responder/Director/committee must ask is this: Is it possible that opener, when asked about the 4H bid, would say “4H is natural, NF” and then proceed to bid 4S? If the answer is no, then responder is free to do as he or she wishes. If the answer is yes, then he or she is not.
Experts would disagree on how often that answer has to be “yes” to prevent responder from bidding. Personally, if that “yes” seems possible, I would not allow the bid.

In the ‘normal’ 1N-4H auction the answer is clearly no. In the actual auction, I think we are talking about an inexperienced player as opener. Who would think 4H is a transfer here? I have no way to know what this player might say, or think, or what their partner should do.

Going back to the ‘normal’ auction, let's say opener had a history of opening 1N on offbeat hands, including 6-card majors. Then I would disallow the 5H bid, as it IS possible that he said “4H is natural” and bid 4S.

April 23, 2012
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