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All comments by Michael Rosenberg
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I find it interesting that if S is 6-4-2-1 or 5-5-2-1 in the minors (neither one is that likely on the auction), then only a DIAMOND lead is effective. S wins a heart and plays a second D. Or at least, it's interesting if I am correct.
Sept. 4, 2011
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1) I definitely agree that there should be clear rules as to when a force is created. But the idea that anyone could think this particular 4S bid as creating one frightens me. That question belonged to a different auction.

2)“I have never understood the attraction of responding 1NT with a weak hand and 3-card trump support. If you are that afraid of the raise turning partner on too much, simply pass.”

I would have said, rather:

“I have never understood the attraction of passing with a weak hand and 3-card trump support. If you are that afraid of the raise turning partner on too much, simply respond 1N.”

I like to play 1M-2M as mildly constructive - without that, there is too much pressure on opener to decide when to make a game try (this problem is alleviated for those that play Strong Club). But when I have a lesser hand, I still don't want to pass, since the fit makes game possible. My experience has been that passing tends to make opponent's life easier - it's usually clearer to them that it's their hand.

3) Regarding the Lightner Double aspect, I believe that it should not apply when nobody has any idea whose hand it is (as in the actual auction), ESPECIALLY when, as in the present case, overcaller has the opportunity to bid 5H for the lead. I think this is a more valuable strategy than waiting in the bushes with your void. Of course, I don't have this agreement with anyone but myself….
Sept. 4, 2011
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I guess the fact that it is matchpoints (which I had forgotten) does make the 2H bid less of an anti-percentage action (though no less stupid, given the risk of a misunderstanding). At imps, where you might have been dealt a huge penalty by passing, I think 2H would be insane.
Aug. 17, 2011
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Bill (9Hall):

IF it is true that “Both partners knew the situation was undiscussed”, then the 2H bid was not “overly conservative”. It was just plain stupid. Why make a ridiculous underbid AND incur the risk of a very serious misunderstanding?

I think it likely that the player who bid 2H had no thought it would be misinterpreted as a transfer. - until he heard his partner's announcement.

Aug. 17, 2011
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But how can you say you would have bid 3S “without all these complications”? Isn't it true you would never have bid 2H?
Aug. 17, 2011
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I agree with Joe - except for calling it a “little thing”. Bidding 2H on this hand was a mind loss. So one can't just ask what you would/should do over 2S. You can't have this hand. A (very extreme) analogy would be to say “you open 4N with xxxx, xxxx, x, xxxx and partner bids 5D. What do you do now?
So, in considering bids over 2S, you need to realize some are ‘impossible’ - 3N for example. There is no hand that can bid 2H then 3N.
So the problem needs to be presented thus: you are called to replace a player who is suddenly taken ill (perhaps explaining the 2H call) and you need to act appropriately. What should you do?
Well, the first question is ”what does partner's auction show (without the UI)?“ Partner thinks my 2H is weak, so he is either showing extra strength, or feels it necessary to improve the partial. I would say 2S could be anywhere from a valuation of 15 to 21 with 5 or more spades. If he has only 5 spades, he will have either extra values or singleton/void in hearts (else he should pass 2H). And his hand and spades are not good enough to jump to 3S. But there are a myriad of shapes he could have - 6-2-1-4, 5-0-5-3 and many others. He could have AKQJxxx, x, Ax, xxx - remember, my bid was weak, so there would be little reason to do more.
As I said before, 3N is not a possible bid on this auction. I'm not sure what 2N SHOULD show - perhaps something like —-, J10xxx, Qxxx, Qxxx? I really don't know. But my point would be that a player who bid 2H already has no idea what he is doing, so it's difficult to sensibly ascribe any action to him. Rather, perhaps we should just assume he now ”woke up" - and realizes he now has a hand worth a GF, as Joe says. So, I think the logical alternatives we must foist upon him are 3N or 4S, and since, based on the UI, 3N is far more likely to be a success, it should be 4S.

The issue as to whether you must choose the worst possible action, or the action you believe you would have taken, depends on one's parsing of the laws. It is clear to me that one may not choose an alternative that the UI suggests will help extricate you from your mess. It's not clear to me that I must choose a possible but unlikely alternative that I know will ‘not work’, as opposed to the bid I think I would have made - which may or may not lead to a good result.
Aug. 17, 2011
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Kit:

This is the rule I learned from Zia; give partner 3 hands consistent with his bidding - a very suitable hand, an average hand, and a very unsuitable hand. After seeing how you do opposite all these hands, you should have a pretty good idea of how high to bid

Ken:

Actually, I was discussing the actual (inferior) line of HAK. IObviously, after ruffing a D and W has qJxx you have to play clubs from the top. Sorry that wasn't clear.
Aug. 15, 2011
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Bidding: I would think it clear to sign-off over 4C. When you need a perfecto, and even then slam is not cold, it usually pays to give up - since partner, with a less well-fitting max, will often get you too high. In fact, when I read that a slam try had been made, my first thought was that the player had forgotten his methods and WAS signing off. Since Kit did not mention this, I presume that was not the case.

Lead: Kit makes an excellent point about the lack of trump lead. On the auction, i think I would lead a trump from ANY holding - even Hxxx or the actual QJx. It might even have defeated the actual hand.

Play: I thought the analysis was superb. My only unanswered question was whether it might be correct to finesse C10 if LHO had 4-card H (and would it matter if he had QJxx or Hxxx?).
Aug. 15, 2011
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Eugene:

I think that, in the period following 9/11 (maybe 2 to 3 years), the majority of people accepted the increased scrutiny. But my belief is, in the present day, the majority "tolerate' it because they have no choice.

I am publicly advocating to go back to the days before 9/11 in terms of security.
Aug. 14, 2011
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Eugene:

I abide by the rules on airport security because I have no choice if I want to fly. Before I read your post, I THOUGHT I was in the majority….

Regarding taxes, I am happy to pay them (although I disagree with the specific structure, which I see as unnecessarily complicated) - I believe that's how a government works. But here, I thought I might be in the minority…..
Aug. 14, 2011
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Ignoring the sarcasm:

First one I agree was picky - actually, I thought your comment could be perceived as a little insulting to Boyd-Robinson - would you ever say that about Meckwell?

Second one I stand by. I don't think any player who thinks 2N is a preempt is rational - at least in that area of thought. So if one of the players was using that as part of their reasoning on the hand, and that was part of the problem, then I think they lost their reason (I have no thought that this actually happened, without a lot more evidence).

Your description of why a rational player might consider it a preempt would also a apply to a strong jump overcall or a jump cue asking for a stopper. Is there someone who would consider those to be preempts?

It's interesting to try to define what a preempt is. I would say a jump bid with limited strength, both playing strength and (especially) high card strength.
Aug. 13, 2011
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Ken:

I should have quoted Kit's full paragraph, which was:

“Since East did pass out 5, I will assume that in their partnership the 4 call did not create a force. Thus, the bad result is one of poor judgment rather than partnership confusion.”

Isn't that saying that, since there was no misunderstanding, it MUST be poor judgment? I really don't see another way to read it with the word “Thus” included.
Aug. 13, 2011
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Danny:

I agree that my disciplinary method might not have enough teeth - that's why I said “Deciding the appropriate disciplinary penalty is one of my many areas of non-expertise.” You say “what comes after the warning? Prohibition from events? We don't want to go there.” To me, It is far better to prohibit someone who repeatedly violated a rule from playing in that event, than to decide the result of the event with an arbitrary penalty.

Eugene:

What I would mainly like to see the ACBL change is that, in any event where screens are used (such as the Spingold), they are used from the start of that event.
Aug. 13, 2011
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False Premises Dept.

Steve and Kevin:

“For a partnership to last that long, you know they’ve gotta be good.”
Length does not equal strength - though obviously does not preclude it.

“they also don’t preempt over preempts.”
2N is not a preempt under any definition I would accept.

Kit:

“the bad result is one of poor judgment rather than partnership confusion.”
In my world, it is actually possible for a bad result to be neither of these things. In my world, bridge, especially bidding, is not an exact science. Sometimes, we take the percentage action but don't get the best possible result (I am NOT saying that happened in the Boyd-Robinson case - I just object to Kit's general statement). Perhaps things are different in Kit's world.

Aug. 13, 2011
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Eugene:
I
You say, “You might as well ask why the ACBL doesn't put screens in the first two rounds of the Blue Ribbons, or the early rounds of the Vanderbilt / Spingold.”

Ok, I'm asking - why not? In Philadelphia at the WBF-run event, there were screens in use at every stage of every event. The Mixed Pairs had about 520 pairs playing, yet every table had screens from the beginning of the event. As an American, I find it embarrassing that the round of 32 in the Spingold is not played behind screens.
I think that AT LEAST any event that has screens in the later stages, should have them from the very beginning. Screens, in my opinion, make things more fair. So why should things be less fair at an early stage? Doesn't that undermine the integrity of the early results - and therefore the entire event?

I believe there are many ways the ACBL is superior to the WBF. This is not one of them.
Aug. 13, 2011
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Peg:

I don't know exactly what I mean either, but something like first offence a warning, second probation, third suspension (or maybe community service?). Deciding the appropriate disciplinary penalty is one of my many areas of non-expertise. The important (for me) thing is that events should not be decided by these penalties.
Aug. 11, 2011
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At the moment, my main interest in this issue concerns the penalty. I simply do not see an imp or matchpoint penalty as equitable. Why should someone get fined a board, or 12 imps, when there are probably several others who just got lucky that they didn't fall into the same category/ Why should a match, or major pair game, be decided by this? (I believe one major KO match was already decided this way - I think Connie Goldberg was captain of the “offending” team).
I believe all penalties for violation of this rule should be disciplinary.
Aug. 11, 2011
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Comment 2: (Ethics related)

Phillip says “What unauthorized information did you gain?” The answer is the unauthorized information that declarer is now far more likely to mame the hand if he plays a club.
Phillip says “What inference did East draw?” Hr drew the inference that declarer now strongly suspected that he (Kit) held the CQ
Phillip says it is wrong if “he took advantage of information gleaned from his partner's hesitation”. But isn't that exactly what happened. Had the hesitation not occurred, the information would not AND COULD NOT have been transmitted. So what was this information “gleaned from” if not the hesitation?

Let's take a look at Phillip's analogies:

In the first analogy, where partner exposed a card to declarer and prevented you from baring your king, I see no reason why that fact should be unauthorized. The Laws define extraneous information as “a remark, a question, a reply to a question, an unexpected* alert or failure to alert, or by unmistakable hesitation, unwonted speed, special emphasis, tone, gesture, movement or mannerism.” So while the illegal play (or bid) is unauthorized, it's occurrence does not appear to be. However, if I am wrong on this point and it WOULD be deemed extraneous, you should bare your king just as you would have.

In the second analogy, you used the time of partner's hesitation to find a defense that you had not yet thought of. I hope you can see the qualitative difference here; in the actual case, it was the FACT of the hesitation that allowed Kit to make the winning defense. It would have been IMPOSSIBLE to know the winning nature of the defense without the hesitation. In the analogy, this is not so. The winning defense COULD have been found without the hesitation. Now, I'm not saying there is not a problem here, but I am saying it is a very different problem.

There is another (analogous) issue I have never known the answer to; let's say you break gtempo, and partner now acts. Are you allowed to take advantage of the fact that partner, who bid in the face of your hesitation, must have a clear action? in other words, is your OWN hesitation authorized information - when it comes to dealing with subsequent partnership issues?

Now, it's probably not clear from all this that I totally sympathize with what Kit did AT THE TABLE. Bridge is pretty tough, and sometimes it's simply too difficult to figure out what your obligations are - or even realize you have any.
However, I think looking back on it, he “should” realize that he should not have let partner's hesitation alter his defense.

There is a great tendency for human beings (in bridge and non-bridge) to rationalize and justify the actions that are in their self interest. Maybe it would be a better world if we used our powers of rationalization (and they are strong!) to justify actions that are against our self-interest (but give “justice” to someone else).
Aug. 8, 2011
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Comment 1: (bridge related)

Even given that one plays double of 2C as lead directing, I think it would be wrong to double on this hand (although it would have been a success here). First, the contract may be 4S, and you would really not want to direct a club lead against that. Second, as Kit points out, you might miss the simplest beat of 3N - partner having 5-card H. And third, it might simply help declarer. There IS an advantage to doubling, in that it may help you score the SQ.
I find the play fascinating, especially the club suit. The idea of discarding the C4, so that partner can discard one from 532, but not 732 is really clever. Although, in practice, I don't think many players would appreciate the value of the C7. Also, if partner HAS 532 and declarer AK4,it is pretty difficult to avoid an endplay.
What I find really fascinating are the possible club suit permutations. Not just on the actual hand, but in general. What should you discard from the various holdings, to ask partner to help you know how to defend? For example, if partner has 632, how does he find out if you have Q10954 or Q10974? I believe there are 37 possible Q10 fifth holdings with J8 in dummy and AKx in declarer's hand - and for each of those, there are four possibilities for declarer (and that's just Q10 fifth!).
Should you try to discard the card just above the one that is good enough for partner to keep? Or the one below? Or one next to a card that he should NOT keep?
Feels like the 10 must be Q1097x (but maybe not). Does it matter if the x is the 6?
I'm getting a little dizzy thinking about this….
Aug. 8, 2011
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I think the change in dress code, coming at this late stage is pretty outrageous. If the WBF wanted to change it, then it should not have applied till at least 2012.
Conforming to the WBF code might be a serious burden to some nations, or persons, whose finances are already stretched.
I certainly think the competitors should be required to be clean, and reasonably neat. One could also add rules such as “no shorts”. But I draw the line at REQUIRING logos - of course, teams should feel free to have one if they want.
Ultimately, I think any kind of dress code comes with an automatic problem: what is acceptable? Where do you draw the line?
July 12, 2011
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