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All comments by Roland Voigt
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Perhaps someone could actually demonstrate how a slow 3 bid suggests 3NT (over the alternatives). Those who say it must have because it worked are abusing the system.
June 10, 2018
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I think the problem itself is valid. Presenting a “solution”, however, can be a different matter.

People tend to overrate a single hand anyway, so one should be cautious when giving the full hand even if all the actions chosen at the table were reasonable.

When the table actions were off track, to put it mildly, one should avoid creating the impression that the outcome reflects the quality of the different poll options.
June 6, 2018
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At this point there is nothing to be uneasy about. However, if the opponents develop a habit of psyching in this kind of situation, it will establish a partnership understanding at some point (which is probably illegal), and I would advise them accordingly.
June 5, 2018
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I realize that it does not say “should recognize” or “suspect”. I wonder, though, if its intended meaning is “only when the player knows for sure”. I mean, how often can you really tell with certainty that an Alert is missing?

I once had to settle a dispute about a failure to alert a 2 opening (this was before announcements were introduced in the DBV). Regulations were such that virtually every 2 opening was Alertable - with the exception of a strong one-suiter in diamonds. In other words, the Alert was close to mandatory. Still, the opponents could not be sure because there was a slim chance that the partnership in question really had such a strong 2 opening in their arsenal.

What I am trying to say is that it makes little sense to apply this directive only when the player can be absolutely sure. “Recognize” must, as I see it, include some level of uncertainty, the exact amount of which is at the director's discretion.

Which brings me to another aspect I disagree with. When bridge players use terminology like “by far the most common meaning”, they often think “what I consider the common meaning”. People have a habit of assuming that what is normal for them should be normal for everybody else.

Regarding the OP example, I suspect that when I ask five people how a 4 bid should look like, I get five different answers.

Some play splinters as unlimited, some as showing exactly slam invitational strength, others as purely competitive (i.e. to help opener decide over 5). Some think 4 must be a singleton, some think a singleton or void is fine, and a third group - which includes this EW pair - has agreed it must be a void.

I concede that specifically void-showing is very likely a minority agreement. Still I believe that it was highly negligent of this North player not to inquire - to a degree that I doubt an Alert would have made a difference. Basically, this player assumed his opponents' splinter style would be the same as his own, when it was completely risk-free to ask.
June 5, 2018
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“Had East alerted” is not the same as “had North known”.
June 4, 2018
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Totally wrong application of the laws.

If the 7 bid is found legal, there is nothing more to it. The score stands for the simple reason that EW committed no infraction. It is irrelevant if NS might have bid 7.

On the other hand, if the 7 is disallowed, the contract will be rolled back to 6, at least for EW. A split score is possible, but only if it is judged that the failure to bid 7 is an extremely serious error.

The standards for an ESE are very high, certainly higher than taking the (perhaps) second best action in a difficult high-level competitive auction. Hence in that case both sides get the score of 6.

One way or another, the TD cannot make his ruling based on what he considers good or bad bridge.
June 4, 2018
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You keep stressing the comparative aspect of Law 16B, but that is what I was trying to say anyway. On the other hand, you are making a fundamental mistake with your conclusion: A score adjustment should be considered only if all the answers are “yes” (UI, LAs, demonstrably suggested, damage). No score adjustment is in order if at least one answer is “no”.
June 4, 2018
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We bid 4 with minimum, 4 with extras. Basically, we are just switching the meanings of 3 and 4; the idea is that we can still offer to play in 3NT after a diamond preference.
June 4, 2018
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Point taken, but this seems to be relevant only for the LA poll. I think one can ask what West's sequence (4 - 5 - slow Pass) suggests without having to find one who would actually bid this way.
June 4, 2018
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“out of tempo with the rest of the auction”

That is a misconception. BIT must be measured against the typical tempo for this particular situation (with other hands), not the tempo of the rest of the auction.

For example, when the RA dictates a mandatory pause (say, 8-10 seconds after a skip bid), a call made after 10 seconds is in tempo even if the rest of the auction was considerably faster - assuming, of course, that players generally follow the regulation. On the contrary, a call as fast as the previous calls may constitute a BIT.
June 4, 2018
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Assuming 4 requires an Alert, East's failure to alert is a procedural violation. The director should instruct East accordingly.

However, players are expected to protect themselves to a certain degree. (I know that regulations to that effect exist in the DBV, and probably in the ACBL and most other RAs as well.)

What we have here is a four-level call which cannot be natural, a subsequent six-level decision, and a player who did not make any effort to inquire about the meaning of 4. Note that behind screens there would not have been any UI issues at all.

As far as I am concerned, North did not protect himself as required. More to the point: If this is not a situation where these requirements come into play, what is?

Regulations as mentioned above are basically guides on whether a failure to alert should be considered cause of damage. Hence East's violation should not be viewed as the cause of damage to NS. Score stands.
June 4, 2018
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“a BIT is more likely than not”

Bad terminology. In this situation, “normal tempo” may be slower than in most other sequences, but a BIT is still a BIT.
June 4, 2018
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As usual, I believe that more can be learned by simply presenting the East hand, giving the auction - including the BIT - and asking what it demonstrably suggests. (If you like, poll East's final action without the UI to determine LA's first.)

People often find arguments why a call that happens to work on the actual layout must have been suggested over others. Maybe they are even able to convince themselves, or maybe they just want to shoot anything that hesitates. Here I don't think the BIT tells East anything which helps him with his decision.
June 4, 2018
Roland Voigt edited this comment June 4, 2018
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With my regular partner I would bid 3 as a diamond preference. Absent such an agreement I simply bid 4, diamonds and forcing. Too much potential to offer 3NT imho.
June 4, 2018
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“we have exactly what we promised…”

Take one or two of our spades away and add some pips in the minors instead, and we would still bid 4 to make opposite a vulnerable 2NT overcall.

This hand does have extras. Whether it is enough to bid again… well, that is what we have bidding polls for.
May 30, 2018
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Regarding the BIT matter:

* The term does not actually occur in the laws. Law 73 says: “It is desirable (…) for players to maintain steady tempo (…)” But we must recognize that bridge players are not machines. That is why, among other things, Law 73 next explains that unintentional deviations are not infractions per se.

Law 16 speaks of an unmistakable hesitation. As I see it, “relatively good tempo” and “break in tempo” exclude each other.

* We must also keep in mind that an excessively fast call transmits UI as well. In particular, people are advised not to make overly fast penalty doubles.

I don't think it would be in the interest of the game if we equated “BIT” with “could have been faster”. We must acknowledge that normal tempo depends on the specific situation, and normal tempo for high-level calls is a couple of seconds in any case.

Of course, without having been there one must eventually rely on the testimony of the players and the judgment of the director. I would recommend, though, not to use the term “BIT” lightly.
May 30, 2018
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The most important part of the procedure is to educate the players that the director should be called at once, not after they made up a ruling and it turned out - usually some time later - that someone is not happy with it.

Apart from that, players are not allowed to enforce rectifications on their own. In particular, a player cannot just decide that an opponent's card is a penalty card. If EW were led to believe that it is ok to play on by declarer, I would interpret it as a request to waive the rights from the lead out of turn and the exposed card, hence I would rule there is no penalty card.

On the other hand, If I came to the conclusion that West decided to make a lead out of his own accord, I would apply the LOOT laws. It all depends on how things present themselves when I interview the players at the table.
May 29, 2018
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In order to find out what the LAs are, a simple poll (without mentioning any kind of UI) will be sufficient.

As for the UI itself, the OP is unclear. If partner made his call “in relatively good tempo”, then by definition there is no BIT.

UI may have been transmitted by partner asking about the agreements. But we must realize that partner doubled in a competitive high-level auction, and that he is entitled to know all the relevant agreements of the opponents when making his call.

I don't think his inquiry gives us any meaningful UI. Perhaps some will claim that this piece of UI demonstrably suggests one action over another (especially after seeing which action was taken, and that it was successful), but I just don't see it.
May 29, 2018
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If I held the West hand from my example, I would be torn between 1 and 4. I am too lazy to conduct a poll, but my guess is, both would be popular choices (with X as a distant third).

This may be a specific collection, but what you call “way more likely”, “obvious”, etc. is just a bunch of random assumptions. Don't understand what the directors did or what they have to do with it at all.
May 28, 2018
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