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All comments by Paul Barden
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Sorry Melanie, but I'm unable to muster any sympathy. If you won a world championship while being incompetent to play at the higher levels of the game, well done.
Dec. 12
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I see no ambiguity: SB has accidentally received extraneous information about the board.

The list in 16D1 is not intended to be exhaustive: “as” is used in the sense of “for instance”. The Law applies for example if one sees the result recorded on another player's scorecard.
Dec. 10
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Why did you double rather than bid 3 if it was impossible for it to be right to defend 3x?
Dec. 10
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I strongly disagree with Nick Jacob. “Forcing” does not mean that partner is free to pass if at the lower end of their range. Of course partner may take a view with a truly exceptional hand, but having no more than a king when you've opened a weak two at favourable vulnerability is not exceptional.

Suppose I agree with my partner to play a penalty double of a non-forcing 2 here, exposing possible pysches, but a take-out double of a forcing 2 (with the obvious agreement that if North passes South's rebid then 3 by me is natural). This treatment has some merit, but not if South is going to pass a “forcing” 2 perhaps 10% of the time. So for the game to be fair, “forcing” has to mean forcing.
Dec. 10
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I'll bet East was on the far side of the screen from South.
Dec. 9
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Under EBU regulations (which of course did not apply), this looks to me like a “red psyche” - “If a player psyches and their partner takes action that appears to allow for it”. The table score would not then stand.
Dec. 9
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ABF regulations require the alert of “a non-forcing suit response by an unpassed hand to an opening suit bid (whether or not after intervention)”.
Dec. 9
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The board is on the ABF website: it was played with the orientation as shown here.

I would ask for a ruling on this one.
Dec. 9
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I confirm that Ian Payn has done nothing to annoy me this week. I cannot say how long this honeymoon period will last.
Dec. 8
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I would not, any more than I would penalise a player who miscounted his points. Regulations govern agreements.
Dec. 8
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Paul L: your objections seem to be mostly a matter of defining terms, which of course one would do carefully in an actual regulation. I see that I was unclear as to whether I meant any fitting honour, or a specific fitting honour. I intended the latter, but one might go either way.
Dec. 7
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Michael, I meant AQx Axx KQ109x Jx
Dec. 6
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I made a suggestion about this last time the subject was discussed at length here, which I'll modify somewhat in the light of Tom's proposal:

“A strong hand must have at least 16+ HCP, or offer good play for slam opposite a hand with a fitting honour, or have at least five controls and offer good play for game opposite a hand with a fitting honour.

In assessing whether a specified fitting honour opposite offers good play for the contract, consider a hand with as near as possible its fair share of the missing cards in each suit. For example, opposite AQJxxx x AKxxx x, consider partner with Kx xxxx xxx xxxx. 4S is good, so it is permissible to treat the hand as strong.”
Dec. 6
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It doesn't look as if North meant 5NT to play. If 4NT was invitational, why would he decide after South accepted, showing two aces, to play in 5NT?

Apparently North intended 5NT to be a further invitation, to be accepted with AQx Kxx KQ109x Jx, but refused with the actual South hand.
Dec. 6
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If 4NT were ace asking, North was quite possibly intending to play in clubs. If so, he might well stop to consider before asking for kings, asking himself whether he was willing to play 6NT instead if necessary.

So I think it far from obvious that the slow 5NT suggested passing.

However, I don't understand why this expert North bid 4NT in the first place. And I don't understand why South initially accepted a quantitative invitation when he had the absolute minimum strength for a balanced hand, and no fit. I'd ask them to explain before I formed a view as to what might be going on.
Dec. 5
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Yes he should (I note that he couldn't make two tricks on a cross-ruff even if spades were trumps, but so what?).

Back to our 6NT contract: declarer's claim statement acknowledged that there was, in his imagined denomination, a “high trump” out. His claim therefore was that he would run diamonds until West played her “high trump”, at which point he would have the rest. We know that in reality West would do no such thing (if she did declarer's mistake would be revealed), so declarer runs all his diamonds.

I understand, and agree with, ruling on the basis that North thinks that the contract is 6. I don't understand not allowing him to play the line he said he would follow in 6.
Dec. 5
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In England, an artificial 1 opening should be alerted, not announced. When North announced “Could be short” (the EBU prefers “May be two” (or whatever number)), East-West were entitled to assume that 1 might be a balanced hand outside the opening NT range, but was otherwise natural.

If North-South were playing a strong club system, the 1 opening has to show 16+ (again, under EBU regulations). If it shows no more than “a sound opening”, that's an illegal system and North-South were fortunate to get away with it.

Declarer did well to make 3NT on a spade lead, but it's a lot harder on a club lead. If he wants the benefit of inspired declarer play he needs to explain his system properly.

Would West really lead a club given a correct explanation? We're told that 20% of the field led a club against unknown auctions to 3NT, but I wouldn't be surprised if that were usually after overcalling in spades. Still, East-West are entitled to a generous estimate, so I suggest adjusting to 20% of 3NT-1 and 80% of 3NT making. Unless it's established that North-South were playing an illegal system, in which case they lose 3 IMPs, or the table result, if worse.
Dec. 5
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I disagree with David Burn's argument. If declarer knew he was in 6NT he would cash 12 top tricks (if he'd known earlier he would have cashed 13). It's only because he thinks he's in spades that he can go off. Therefore I say we should follow the claim statement he made in the belief that spades were trumps.
Dec. 5
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That would be a shade less disingenuous had you not linked to the scores in a non-mythical competition.
Dec. 5
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According to the Blue Book, it's entirely legal to agree to include this hand in your 2 opening, but not then to describe it as simply “Strong”.

I suppose that a sufficient explanation would be along the lines of “Usually strong, but may be a hand with great playing strength falling short of the Blue-Book requirement for a strong opening bid.”

My view is that the Director would have done better to rule Misinformation. And to award no adjustment for it.

(The Blue Book regulation was changed last time there was a row on BW about it.)
Dec. 4
Paul Barden edited this comment Dec. 4
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