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All comments by Roland Voigt
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I consider a 4 bid illegal, plain and simple. This has nothing to do with a “weird sense of ethics”, it is a matter of law. It strikes me as odd that this position - a very straightforward one imho - is offered simply as “something else”, like a suggestion to brush the law aside, because we might get away with it (especially against inexperienced opponents). Surely this cannot be the purpose of this poll?
June 13, 2018
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This is a matter which has been brought up more than once before, for various other bidding situations as well (light third seat openers, so-called “standard psychs” such as 2M-2NT, etc). The questions that must be asked are usually:

* Is there a partnership agreement?
* Is the agreement legal?
* Is the agreement disclosed properly?

In the OP situation, the first two questions do not seem to be very difficult. Obviously this pair has an understanding, and I see no reason why it should be illegal. Disclosure, however, is a different matter.

I believe that such pairs generally have an understanding which minor they prefer to open with which hand types (even if not in detail and in every single case). And I believe many of these pairs make no sufficient effort to disclose this understanding to their opponents.

On the contrary, I have often heard defenses which can be interpreted as attempts to bend the disclosure laws to their advantage, such as “opening the weaker minor is a normal tactical action, surely everyone is aware of the possibility” - even if they know that is not true.

I fully understand and share Frank's concern in this regard. In my opinion, pairs who frequently make such bids but fail to disclose their respective agreements are breaking the law, perhaps deliberately, but in a way so subtle that they can hope to get away with it.

I don't know what the proper course of action is. Record the hands to establish a pattern? Or penalize them right away for concealing their methods? One way or another, I believe something must be done about it.
June 13, 2018
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This is something I don't really understand. 1m is often a preparing bid, so why should I “save” the opponent with barely an opening myself?

We prefer to play 1NT as something like 13-16 here. But since the OP stipulates that it is 11-15, I bid it. J10x will do as a stopper most of the time, and it's not like there are great alternatives.
June 12, 2018
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My answer is the same as last time: It does not matter how many unless you are also counting the cases where you get it wrong. And by the way, you made this particular “blind” guess only after Marion gave details about the West hand, so I won't give you any credit for it. I am not interested in manipulated statistics if that is what it takes you to make your point.
June 12, 2018
Roland Voigt edited this comment June 12, 2018
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Michal,
comments like David's above are the reason why I do what I do in this context. For good reason, a practice for dealing with UI cases has been established. Essentially it comes down to verifying four issues: the presence of UI, the existence of LAs, the determination that the UI suggests the chosen action over another, and the existence of damage.

The first and the last issue are (usually) not the problem. Most of the energy is typically spent on the second matter, by conducting and interpreting a poll. This is not a bad thing because a single person will quite often be inaccurate about what the LAs are. However, the third issue is equally important, and it is neglected most of the time.

Directors have this tendency to ignore/skip the question of what the UI suggests. This laziness has become a habit, and as a consequence we nowadays often struggle to find sound arguments why one action is suggested over another by UI.

Unfortunately, rather than realizing our errors in this regard, we come up with poor excuses and fake reasonings such as “the UI must have suggested an action because he took it and it worked”. This was never the idea of the laws.

Don't get me wrong; I do not demand that directors start to write a complete thesis every time a player has UI. A crude, less than perfect argument will often do. If there are some borderline steps somewhere in the middle, we can give the benefit of the doubt to the non-offending side.

Still, the director is supposed to make an effort in this regard. Just making blind guesses about the hand of the player who transmitted UI is no such effort, and deciding that the UI “demonstrably” suggested something because the guess was right is, as I put it in another thread, an abuse of the system.

I am preparing an independent post on this subject, but for now I will stop. It is pretty clear that David and I will not find a common ground here.
June 12, 2018
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Michal,
since you seem to have trouble gauging even my name, I will summarize for you in very easy words: I don't want directors to shoot anything that hesitates.
June 11, 2018
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Kit,
you are right about what I mean. But I don't think replacing “suggested over another” with something like “more attractive”, “less terrible”, etc. is solving the fundamental problem that its eventual meaning is not well-defined.

However one describes it, the application must contain more than just the comparison of a single call with or without the UI. Consider the following simplified example:

South opens 1NT, West overcalls, and North tanks before passing. Suppose South holds a mundane 16 count and has to decide whether to reopen.

Let's say (this is the part where I am simplifying things for the sake or argument) that we would assume about 0-4 points in the North hand without the UI but 5-7 points with the UI - the usual “hesitations show values” idea.

This means, whatever action South has in mind, it would be based on 16-20 combined points without the UI, 21-23 points with the UI. Therefore, every action he could take - pass, double, 3NT, 7NT, whatever - would have a higher expectancy than without the BIT.

Even 7NT will be “less terrible”, as you put it. Of course South will still go down big time, but now he can hope to make 7 or 8 tricks instead of the 5 or 6 tricks without the UI.

In other words, if we do not compare calls and just consider each possible action in isolation, every single one of them will be (slightly) more attractive than before. But we cannot disallow every possible call, can we?

That is why we must compare the relevant calls. The observation that one call has become more attractive in face of UI is by itself insufficient to conclude anything. It might be that other calls have become even more attractive.

Back to the OP hand. 3 may have become more attractive compared to a 3 raise without opener's huddle, but a crucial step is missing, namely the determination that Pass has not become more attractive to the same extent.
June 11, 2018
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Once again, it must be clarified what it means that an action “is suggested over another”.

Does it mean that 3 must have a higher expectancy than Pass (taking the UI into account)? I don't think that is the case here.

Or does it mean that the difference between the expectancy with and without the UI is higher for 3 than for Pass, i.e. the expectancy has gone up more for 3 than for Pass in the face of UI? That may well be the case.

One way or another, Kit is right that East's bid seems to be a blatant violation of Law 73, so a PP may be in order. It would be good practice to speak to East first, but I cannot imagine what he would say to defend his bid.
June 11, 2018
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Does East have UI? Yes, I take it that the BIT was uncontested.

Are there LAs to East's chosen action? I would think so. Even without a poll I am pretty sure enough people will pass to establish this as an LA. I don't think we will find any other LA's, though.

This leaves the important question (apart from the matter of damage) if the BIT demonstrably suggests 3 over Pass. Then, and only then, are NS entitled to any kind of redress.

I can think of various reasons why West hesitated (and for the application of Law 16 it does not matter that West would have been well-advised to plan his rebid ahead with all these hand types):

* extra strength (between 2 and 3);
* heart support, something like 1-3-5-4 (between 2 and 2);
* near-balanced hand, something like 2-2-5-4 (between 2 and 1NT).

There may be more. For instance, I believe there was a bidding poll where it was suggested to rebid 2 on a 16 count that included 6-3 in the minors with very poor diamonds.

Even if West has a strong hand (like Kxx x AKJxx AKxx), I am far from convinced that 3 will fare better than Pass. (…)

(Edit: deleted last sentence)
June 11, 2018
Roland Voigt edited this comment June 11, 2018
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“Right away” - are you nuts? The poll is from June 1, Jyri's comment is from June 4. I can see only one kind of bias here, and that has nothing to do with Jyri's poll.
June 11, 2018
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According to the bidding diagram East bid 3NT, but the text says that it was North who bid 3NT. Only the text version makes sense for the UI discussion.
June 10, 2018
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“So does that mean, for you, there is no redress?”

Michael, I am not interested in playing “my laws, your laws”. I believe that, according to the current laws, a 6m bid may be a violation of Law 73, it may be subject to PP, recorder notification or whatever, but it is not a violation of Law 16 unless someone can demonstrate how the bid is suggested over one of the LAs.

If the rest of this comes down to you telling me that “your” laws are fairer than “mine” and that I have my head in the sand (again), save your breath. I have also seen a lot of things, and I know for a fact that players do not need UI to commit all sorts of silliness at the table.
June 10, 2018
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“ It's staring me in the face. For you, I'm guessing, not so much. Why that is, only you know.”

I tell you why. In this kind of case - a situation we have seen so many times - I am trying to see the alternative possibilities and weigh them, instead of discarding them right away. Don't get me wrong, I am not claiming that it is a “gift” only I have. But the way people argue, it appears they either do not see or do not want to see anything other than their own position.

I could offer countless examples by David Burn, but since Henrik Johansson has joined the club recently, let me offer a quote by him (directed at me, in the thread “Break In Tempo”):

“what you are saying is that using the UI partner has extra values is always ok”

I never said such a thing. In fact he was very careful to put the word “always” in my mouth. On the contrary, I tried to make it as clear as possible that each case must be dealt with separately, and that the cases in which I would allow certain actions despite of the UI add up to something in the magnitude of “sometimes”.

Unfortunately, “sometimes” does not seem to be in some people's vocabulary. I would expect any educated person - and certainly an EBL director - to recognize that there is quite a wide range between “always” and “never”, but I cannot force them.

So if you guys can only deal in extremes, you cannot convince me. What I want is really simple - and something the laws want as well - namely an actual demonstration why one action has been suggested over another. I don't view “because he took it” as such a demonstration.

If someone had bothered right from the start to write down a proper demonstration, we could be done within minutes. Instead, the UI avengers just keep saying “it is so because it is so, period”, they expect that everyone absorbs the wisdom of their words, and anyone who does not agree fast enough is a clown or a sucker (DB's choice of words). It is disgraceful for anyone, let alone leading directors.
June 10, 2018
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Yes, I meant 3NT instead of 3. Have edited my earlier comment.
June 10, 2018
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“To me, seeing the causal connection between these two things is obvious. To others, it's not.”

Isn't this the problem with most of these discussions? That people consider things not just true or false, right or wrong, but obvious and not to be stained with any trace of a doubt?

It has been said earlier that without the UI nobody would bid 3NT. I have started a poll which is still underway but which, it appears, will show that nobody would bid 3NT with the UI either.

So if there was anything obvious at all in this case, it should be the the thought that the presence of UI did not contribute in any way to the 3NT bid. All we can deduce is that this North player seems to be a funny chap who takes an action nobody else would take.

Of course this is not the entire truth. North may or may not have acted upon UI. But the choices of peers does not tell us anything in this direction. Michael's “obvious” inference is, simply put, an example of mind-reading.

When I made my first comment in response to the OP case, I was specifically interested in a demonstration that does not involve mind-reading.

To be honest, I am having a great deal of difficulty declaring something that is based on mind-reading as obvious. But then, this brings us back to my first paragraph, that some people can only see the extremes and nothing in between.
June 10, 2018
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(deleted)
June 10, 2018
Roland Voigt edited this comment June 10, 2018
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No points, but thanks for trying.

What you are trying to show is that 3NT opposite a slow 3 bid will be more successful than 3NT opposite a smooth 3 bid. That may be correct but is useless.

What would be required instead is an analysis that compares 3NT with the LAs.

Edit: Typo corrected.
June 10, 2018
Roland Voigt edited this comment June 10, 2018
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I have no idea how I would investigate slam now. What comes to mind is bidding 6 and then investigating whether we have 12 tricks.

What I am sure about is that I would not have started with 1.
June 10, 2018
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It must all be seen in light of the earlier bids. Does partner's rebid show four or five hearts? If just four, no reason to jump through the ceiling. What is the minimum we are supposed to hold for a non-negative 3 rebid? If it is something like 0-3 points, we have little more than what partner expects.
June 10, 2018
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I said “demonstrate”, not “pollute my comment with random guesses”.
June 10, 2018
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