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All comments by Paul Block
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Opposite a passed partner I'd have likely bid 3 at my first opportunity and then subsided. 4 was reckless. Now, partner has heard you bidding up to the 4-level (vulnerable) opposite his silence and has gotten excited about something like jxxxxxx, xxx,kx, q.
April 12, 2017
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I posted a similar hand:
http://bridgewinners.com/article/view/bidding-problem-2-v9dunuwb5n/
In both of these hands the expected 2 bid puts you in a bind if you bid 2 (which I had previously thought was normal). I didn't get much support for my 2nt follow-up.
April 12, 2017
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We were going to make some number of nt. Now, we're headed for a bottom in 5 or a decent score in 6m. I think I'll take door number 2, please.

By the way, I actually like our chances to make. It's just that the matchpoint considerations make this clear cut.
March 26, 2017
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On the last hand, I believe you mean, “North winning his ♠Q and returning a low diamond to the ♦Q.”
March 15, 2017
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I bid 2nt which I thought was normal - showing longer diamonds than clubs. Partner thought I should have bid 3d which I thought was overly risky when it's still possible that 3c is the best spot (and I certainly don't want a correction to 4).

I'm really surprised at the poll results because I thought that the generally accepted philosophy is that in bidding you should prefer to show more of your hand rather than less; namely, that by bidding diamonds and diamonds I show my partner 6 cards whereas by bidding diamonds and then clubs I show my partner 9 cards.

I was reticent to even post the poll because I really thought that it would be almost unanimous! I can't imagine passing here at matchpoints and all white. I'm amazed that passing is the majority position

This was the hand:

Board 8
West Deals
None Vul
………….♠A K Q 10 6 4
………….♥J 6 3
………….♦Q 8 2
………….♣3
♠J………………………♠9 8 5 2
♥7 4…………………….♥K Q 9 5
♦K J 10 7 6 4…………….♦A 5
♣A Q 9 6…………………♣J 8 4
………….♠7 3
………….♥A 10 8 2
………….♦9 3
………….♣K 10 7 5 2
EW 4♦; NS 2♠; EW 2♣; NS 1♥; Par −130

Obviously, once the auction comes around to me at 2s - p - p - ? I wish that I had bid diamonds and diamonds, so I can show my exact shape with 3c. Earlier, however, when I'm not even sure I might get another bid I really thought 2c was entirely normal and wholly uncontroversial.

For those who passed. Did you pass because you felt that the auction was already compromised by my 2 rebid (but didn't want to abstain)? This possibility was suggested by a friend who strongly felt that with a weak 6-4 minor suit oriented hand I really should bid: diamonds, diamonds and then clubs.
March 10, 2017
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I'm worried that all of my heart winners will get ruffed if we play with a trump suit. The ace of hearts mitigates that worry a little, but I'll still go out on a limb with “pass.”
March 10, 2017
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At this point in the auction I clearly wish that I had bid diamonds and then diamonds. Now I could pattern out with 3. Earlier, however, when the auction was still developing it seemed to me better to show 9 of my cards rather than 6.

Isn't my side better placed, now, if the auction had gone:
1 - 1 - Dbl - P
2 - 4 - ?
Here, partner has more of the the information needed to determine whether to bid on, sacrifice, double, or quietly subside. Of course, maybe this isn't such a legitimate worry since that North hand is not so common.

I'll post the results of the actual hand tomorrow.
March 7, 2017
Paul Block edited this comment March 7, 2017
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Pass and pass. Squirming by RHO slightly improves my confidence level that either we might beat them or that they might be missing a slam, but doubling is not a logical alternative. I pat myself on the back for the 4 bid and work on planning a defense.
March 6, 2017
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I had a minimum(ish) opener when the auction started. I like my hand for spades, but the 2 overcall by LHO has taken the wind from my sails. If they start with a trump, I expect partner to face a significant challenge even in 2.
Feb. 25, 2017
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The answer is, yes. Say the auction goes:
1 - 2nt(explained as 20-21 bal) - p - 3 (explained as prefers clubs over diamonds); 3 - p - p - ?
Partner must act as if still expecting 20-21 bal, and take the appropriate action from that perspective.
Feb. 24, 2017
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Kit, while I agree with you on almost everything that you write, I feel like I'm not getting your position on this issue. Why should West have to parse North's opaque statement to bid his own hand? Since when is deciphering linguistic gymnastics part of bridge?
Feb. 22, 2017
Paul Block edited this comment Feb. 22, 2017
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I also wish you nothing but goodness, and I did not mean for my comment to be any sort of personal attack. My concern was entirely with what you wrote which was wrong in so many ways that I had to confine myself to what I considered egregious and ignore the rest. I don’t believe that I called you any names. I called your argument absurd, and I stand by that.

If what you wrote was merely intended as some sort of an inside joke I guess that I feel better, but it wasn’t written that way. That is another problem with the internet: some people find it difficult to get humor across.

Here were the other particular points that you raised with which I disagreed and which led me to write:

1. “North has a strong accent and has the tendency to speak fast - at times I have a hard time following exactly what he is saying. So, how much of an agreement was perceived, processed, understood, and established is unclear.”

There seems to have been no disagreement that Mathe had been agreed. It appears, based on what has been presented, that South forgot the agreement. He is entitled to forget his agreement. People with and without medical conditions make these sorts of errors all of the time. I’ve forgotten agreements many times before, even ones that were made recently. If you have new information to bring to the discussion please provide it. If you spoke with South and he did not understand his partner when his partner suggested Mathe this would be useful info. Without new information I can’t see how speculation is at all helpful. This sort of rationalization may help to keep a customer happy (I understand that trying to run a club is a difficult financial proposition) but it doesn’t really further the discussion as to whether the correct ruling was issued.

2. “Perhaps he was legitimately trying to take his partner's disability into account (although still not legal).“

This was a situation where he just did not have any latitude to adjust for his partner’s medical condition. His own actions are proscribed by the laws of the game. He owes it to his opponents, the field and the game to play in an ethical manner. If he thought that playing in some other way would be kinder to his partner. I think he was wrong.

3. “Clearly, North's actions were shady and should be addressed. But it seems like you initiated the damage by asking the questions in the first place. I am curious … if you really wanted to punish 2H (without doubling) or gain clarity on how to act over 2H, why didn't you just pass or direct your questions to North?”

Huh? How is he to have any idea what the opponents are doing here if he doesn’t ask. He didn’t hear the opponents discuss that they were playing Mathe, so he’s not in on the joke. He has a good hand and the opponents may be in the process of robbing him blind. He’d like to take some action, but the first step is knowing what he’s up against. If you want to understand the opponent’s auction the logical place to start would appear to be the beginning. Asking now keeps everything easier to sort than if the auction proceeds, 2s, p, p back to me and I find out that 2h was a transfer. If I as West opponent don’t want to try to take any sort of advantage it seems like clearing everything up now is the best solution.

4. “You were privy to the auction up to that point. When 1NT wasn't alerted and 2H wasn't announced as a transfer, you then suspect something is wrong (with your heart stack). Asking South first what 1NT means and THEN asking North what 2H means (when it is clearly a transfer after South's explanation!), seems to me like you want your cake and eat it too!”

I really see this as just the opposite. While this doesn’t make much sense, the auction really sounds like a normal nt/transfer auction. If he finds out that North just missed the transfer announcement, West can double 2h and no one has to call the director. Everything proceeds normally. I imagine that this was the scenario that West expected. Why would you want to have to call the director later to try to sort a situation that can be easily resolved with a quick question.

5. “For example, if you had simply asked North what 2H meant, he is now backed into a corner. If he says hearts based on his Mathe bid, now your argument is justified if you pass and he takes action.”

This assumes that West knew that the opponent’s auction was off the rails. It sounds like not many people play precision at this club, so while it is likely suboptimal, it’s probably not unprecedented for people to overcall 1nt with 15-18 balanced. It does not seem as if he was trying to back anyone into a corner, he was just trying to figure out what was going on.

6. But you muddied the waters with your over-asking, and now it becomes harder to untangle the web that you wove.

Wow, again! He is the non-offending side (NOS). How is “over-asking” some sort of offense that strips the NOS of their rights.

7. “OR if after asking South about the original 1NT bid, you turned to North and asked him if this was their agreement, you win your case again because he must acknowledge that it isn't.”

West can’t ask North what his (North’s) bid means!!!!!! After the auction is over West could ask whether South had correctly characterized their agreements, but you can’t do that during the auction.

8. “But, instead, you asked him what 2H meant (back to the obvious); he is technically correct in answering your question the way you phrased it based on his partner's explanation although he isn't privy to the unauthorized info (although again, how much of this was an ‘established’ agreement). His subsequent actions were egregious, I agree. He must pass your double. But your question was flawed.”

How are you letting North off the hook. You say that his (North’s) actions were egregious, but you also say he was “technically correct” which is just not so, and you go on to again blame South for a flawed question.

9. If North passes 2H without all your questioning (as he is obligated to do), then you win at the time and don't have to make your case on bridgewinners. Sometimes it pays to sit still and be quiet!

As discussed, he didn’t know that if he passed, North would pass. He had reason to believe, from the sound of the auction and from his hand that 2h was not natural.

10. “Because you hold some responsibility in this matter and are not acknowledging it, I still vote for average +, average - with a PP for NS.”

Already discussed by Ed R.

When you add a comment to a site like this, and you get so many things wrong in one post, you will be called on it. I have nothing against you, but in your post you stated that you are a director. I am not a director, but I do find these discussions interesting. I feel that these types of conversations are valuable because the deepen everyone's understanding of the laws and our ethical obligations.
Feb. 21, 2017
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We've been over this sort of situation many, many times on this site. I just do not see how anyone can sympathize with North here. He had the clear obligation to supply the opponents information based on his partnership's agreements. He cannot take into account that this will create a UI problem for his partner. The UI problem that he creates for his partner is for his partner and the directorial staff to sort out.

I don't have the law citation, and I'm not a director (I'm sure one of the many on the site can supply it), but this has been discussed ad nauseam. If the North player does not understand his obligations under the law (given his experience level), it is my feeling that he has kept himself willfully ignorant.
Feb. 21, 2017
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@ Anne Martin - Wow! You wrote:

“If North passes 2H without all your questioning (as he is obligated to do), then you win at the time and don't have to make your case on bridgewinners. Sometimes it pays to sit still and be quiet!”

You had further comments about the careful order that West should choose to phrase his questions if he makes the (what you consider unwise) decision to ask.

I'm gobsmacked. I've never heard the theory that by failing to inquire about my opponents auction I receive maximum protection. In fact, my understanding is the exact opposite. I would have had far less sympathy for West had he quietly passed. In that case, I think many would have suggested that he was looking for a two-way shot by not asking. Following your advice, the NOS cannot win. Either they ask, and their asking created the problem, or they keep their mouths closed and get accused of failing to properly protect themselves.

This is absurd.
Feb. 21, 2017
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According to the OP, "North did not dispute that this was their agreement."
Feb. 21, 2017
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I feel like bidding 5 is conceding this board and 5 is too unilateral. If I bid 5, partner may guess to continue toward 6, and it may be right or it may not. If I bid 5, partner is endplayed into bidding 6 without a heart fit. Bidding now means that we will surely be guessing as the auction continues.

We're already way worse off than the 2/1 folks. Let's see what partner has to say. Maybe the opponents have gotten a little too frisky over our precision 1. It's possible that what looks like a system loss will become a system win.
Feb. 21, 2017
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Don't most open 1 with this shape?
Feb. 9, 2017
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I have no reason to believe that we can beat 6. Many other pairs won't open 1 (since this was precision) and my partner's 1 overcall (which might be anything) has done it's job. Let's not turn a plus position into a zero. I can't get a green card out fast enough.
Feb. 8, 2017
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Covering wins the the postmortem. “I'm sorry, partner, I played you not to be a fish, my bad.”

Obviously, this is tongue in cheek. Playing North with tx, I'm pretty sure that (especially, in the heat of the battle) dropping the ten on the first round would not have occurred to me.
Feb. 8, 2017
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Don't we get a telephone number (and all of the matchpoints) if partner finds a red card? I wouldn't have expected to find 70% of his hcp in the minors!
Jan. 15, 2017
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