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All comments by Richard Willey
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My issue with the recorder system is that it captures incomplete information. Because the recorder system only captures cases that look strange to someone, there's no record of of hands that didn't look strange.

How are we supposed to judge the frequency of the event if we only record the numerator and have no way to measure the denominator?

In all honesty, I think the system is nothing more than Kabuki theater, designed to distract people who feel aggrieved by psyches with the illusion that someone cares.



June 14, 2014
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> Anecdote: I once saw a professional player banned from
> ever returning to a particular regional for violating the
> 1% rule.

I'd bet dollars to donuts that the player in question was banned for being a douche bag and “violating the 1% rule” was seized upon as an excuse.
June 14, 2014
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The example that you have constructed clearly seems to cross the line. With this said and done, it is also very far removed from behavior that you describe as illegal and warranting penalties/sanctions.

“If you do it more than once, specific partners will learn to expect it. That's illegal. So….when it happens against me I fill out a player memo and forward it to the Unit (or District) recorder. The reason for this is, if it happens again within the same partnership it becomes an agreement. One that is illegal. And penalties or sanctions apply.”

I don't know where precisely this line gets drawn in practice. However, its somewhere in between these two extremes. It would be nice if the ACBL were capable of explaining where this line is. I'm not holding my breath.

FWIW, you should (obviously) feel free to file memos with ACBL recorder as you see fit. With this said and done, I would be shocked if the recorder system ever took any type of action on most anything. The ACBL is extremely bad at developing repeatable processes. In order to work well, the recorder system needs a lot of infrastructure behind it. You need a decent database combined with some decent statistical tools and smart folks to run this. Based on what I've seen from Memphis, I suspect that all those recorder slips end up either in a large box somewhere in the back of an office or, less charitably, in the circular file.

If you really feel seriously about the recorder, why not try a little experiment and ask the recorder for information rather than sending him recorder forms. See whether any of this data is accessible.

June 14, 2014
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This is not an area where the ACBL provides good guidance.

IMHO the answer ultimately depends on a number of different issues.

1. If partner starts adjusting their bidding to cater to the possibility that you have psyched, you are clearly way over the line.

2. If partner is cognizant that you are likely to make certain psyches in a given situations, you are probably teetering on the line

3. If you've made the same psyche before, this doesn't necessarily create a problem.

From what I can tell, the key issue is that the action is not one that partner would necessarily suspect
June 13, 2014
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Steve, I understand that this is a topic that you feel strongly about, however:

1. Your interpretation of the regulations in North America is way off

2. As an experienced player, you have an obligation to be able to describe regulations as that, not as you might wish them to be or, at the very least to remain quiet rather than spreading inaccurate information.

It is well established that players are able to make the same psyche multiple times with the same basic hand type. The most obvious example is Zia, who has a plethora of time tested psyches that he uses repeatedly within long standing partnerships.

There are plenty of other players who do the same and there is nary a problem from their opponents or with the tournament directors.

Just to be sure, I contacted the ACBL and directly asked them whether there are any restrictions baring this type of repetitive psyche. When pressed, they stated that there are no regulations barring repeated psyches within a partnership.

I understand that you don't like this rule. (I doubt that the ACBL does). However, these are the actual regulations under which we play.

If you don't believe me, ask Horn Lakes yourself.

June 13, 2014
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I would phrase it differently:

The recorder system is designed to track things that need to be recorded. Opening 1NT with a singleton doesn't fall under this category.
June 13, 2014
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I assumed that you were referring to the use of a super accept to show a stiff. I have no problem with folks opening NT with a singleton and have done so myself on more than one occasion.
June 13, 2014
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I would argue that the case that you describe is an example of a deviation and players are allowed to discuss deviations.

(I think that your use of the word “exceptional” is significant)
June 12, 2014
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Out of curiosity, do you have any information about either the level of experience of the TD or level of the event?
June 12, 2014
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Hella no…
June 12, 2014
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The most common definition of “range” is calculated by subtracting the smallest observed value from the largest. A 14-18 HCP 1NT opening would have a 4 point range.

Range is a measure of dispersion, so it makes sense that a 14 HCP NT opening has a range of 0.
June 12, 2014
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There is some question whether this document has any legal standing. (The ACBL has a bad habit of publishing official looking interpretations which later turn out to have to be personal opinions)
June 12, 2014
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>The strong pass does give you slightly more room that a >strong 1?, but the main attraction is 1? with horse manure.

This is wrong on so many levels.

Strong pass systems were developed around the idea that players should be able to make descriptive, constructive, and limited openings as often as possible. These systems were designed around limited openings that typically showed ~8-12 HCPS.

As a consequence of this, the all of the strong hands (13+ HCPs got shoved into a sinjle opening. The only opening that gave people enough room was a pass. As a consequence, you needed some way to show the bad hands. Hence the fert was born. I do agree that pairs took advantage of the preemptive nature of the fert. (Marston and Burgess uses 2C fert NV and a 1H fert when vulnerable). However, its ridiculous to claim that these systems were designed in order to enable the fert.

The easiest way to demonstrate this is to compare strngth of the opening bid when pairs were forced to transition from strong pass type methods to strong club methods. The lower bound for the opening increased significantly, demonstrating the linkage between the strong pass and the limited opening.

If you prefer, just ask Marston or Burgess… They've always been happy to talk about this stuff.

May 29, 2014
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Obviously not.

This clearly falls under the ACBL's definition of a deviation. Anyone with a modicum of experience should be aware of this.


May 22, 2014
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No offense, but I think that you're all performing the wrong calculation.

What you should be looking at is “What is the likelihood that there will be some random pattern that captures your attention at some point in time in the next year or two?”




May 4, 2014
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I've seen a couple suggestions that recommend treating this bid like a normal weak two, which, in turn, suggests treating the initial double as take out.

I think that folks are making a big mistake if they aren't able to double for penalty in direct seat.

1. Takeout doubles are going to be much less frequent than over a traditional weak two bid. (Opener is likely to hold 4 Diamonds in hand which significantly decreases the chance that you hold diamond shortage. Also, opener holds a 4+ card major, which decreases the chance that you can afford to double)

2. A lot of your best scores are going to come from defending two level contracts that are doubled. You can afford to pass with your penalty oriented hand and hope that partner can balance with a double.


April 28, 2014
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1 - 1 is natural, however, there are a number of hands with spades that would chose to relay rather than showing shape.


1 - 2 is a value raise. It shows three card heart support and ~ 7 - 11 HCPs. (You might bid 2 showing a 3=4=3=3 hand or some such)
April 21, 2014
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Do you actually believe that ACBL policy has a significant impact on the behavior of affiliated clubs?
April 21, 2014
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I'd like to see the ACBL give up completely and outsource everything to the EBU…
April 18, 2014
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You've just hit on a real sore spot with me..

Transfer Walsh responses to 1C are so simply that they don't require any kind of suggested defense. They're also almost identical to MOSCITO style opening bids which are so insidious that no suitable defense can be devised.

Personally, I think that the difference in treatment has an awful lot to do with the fact that, on the one hand, Chip Martel likes to play transfer Walsh and, on the other, members of the committee have stated that they won't allow MOSCITO to be played in the US.
April 18, 2014
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