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All comments by Roland Voigt
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With RHO passed, LHO's 4 preempt can be made with a large variety of hands, so I wouldn't read too much into it. We should bid our own hand, not LHO's, and imho we just don't have enough to compete at the four level.
May 28, 2018
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We are outgunned in every respect, and I doubt much good will come from bidding 4. Incidentally, with this kind of hand I prefer to make a preemptive 3 raise over partner's opening right away.
May 27, 2018
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In this situation I see no reason to tell the opponents about the exact nature of my heart holding. If I believe I have the hearts well-stopped, I bid notrump. This rules out the natural meanings (heart suit or stopper-showing) of 2 for me.

As for the artificial meanings, I don't understand the distinction. What does “4th Suit Forcingish” mean anyway? Partner is supposed to continue describing his hand. This may translate into showing a stopper, more shape or whatever.

We do not change these agreements if responder is a passed hand. It might or might not be a good idea in theory, but we prefer to keep things simple.
May 27, 2018
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The 6 raise cannot have been entirely unexpected. Didn't I have a plan what to do when I bid 5?
May 27, 2018
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When I voted for 3 in the associated poll, I hoped to show a good suit but no extras. On this basis I believe West should have done more.

He can expect partner to hold a few diamonds but probably no honors there, which means the ruffing potential increases the value of his hand. At the same time, it tells him that his weak trump holding is not a major concern.

Of course, the meaning of 3 is a matter of partnership agreement. With a different meaning, it might be East who should have bid differently.
May 27, 2018
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It seems you are trying to twist my words as hard as you can. Answering your question would be a pure waste of time.
May 25, 2018
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deleted
May 25, 2018
Roland Voigt edited this comment May 25, 2018
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And what would you do with 13 cards?
May 25, 2018
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John,
I believe the logical chain “hesitation -> values -> action” is wrong. And I believe the logical chain “hesitation -> values -> no action” is also wrong.

As I wrote somewhere above, I don't see any clear correlation, because the values in partner's hand can be useful either in defense or in offense, and the UI does not tell us which. (That is why I specifically think that X is suggested over Pass, because it caters to both cases.)

Of course East's defense can be found self-serving. The director must judge what degree of credibility he gives such a defense. It is customary to dismiss a statement of the “I was always going to” kind when the chosen action is clearly superior to another LA. I think it is a different story if it cannot be established that the action is actually superior at all.

Kit asked what we would do if we had permission to use the UI (and if X and 3 were the only two options). He says he would bid 3, and I respect his view. Still, I disagree; I am not convinced that I would.

My position is that it is not clear - in the sense of “obvious” - that a 3 bid will fare better than Pass. (It is also my position that, even in a regular partnership, it is typically impossible for East to read what kind of values or what shape he has. This is what I tried to clarify in another subthread.)

To a substantial extent, the UI laws were designed specifically to avoid the need to read a player's mind. That is why we have the notion of LAs, so that we can determine the relevant plausible actions without speculating about this specific player's considerations. As I see it, that is also why we have the “demonstrably suggested” standard, so that we can judge that UI led to advantageous consequences without the need to play any “could have / would have” games.

Unfortunately, once these standards are not satisfied, reading minds is all that is left to us. As a consequence we are doing exactly what we are not supposed to do: making guesses about the player's train of thought and his intent.

And this brings us back to the question if we should assume by default that the player is innocent or guilty. Because - absent any clear and comprehensible insights that the chosen action must be superior to a different action - this is what it comes down to, and we are deluding ourselves if we think we have something stronger to build upon.
May 25, 2018
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Partner took the weakest action. If we weren't interested, why did we ask in the first place?
May 25, 2018
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“the fact that partner has some values means that it is likely that (some) further action will be profitable”

X is some further action. 3 is some further action. 5 is some further action. (When I gave the last example, it was 5, not 5 - David changed it, but never mind.)

I believe X is demonstrably suggested over Pass, but 5 is not. Therefore, apart from “some further action”, there must be more criteria - in particular some which are satisfied by X but not by a 5 bid. And then one can check where 3 stands.

You keep stressing the difference between “demonstrably suggested” and “taking advantage”. (And now you are introducing the wording “likely that … will be profitable”.) The logical fallacy is still the same.

When the player bids, he does not know for sure if he will be successful; he can only evaluate probabilities. At the moment he doubles, can he expect an advantage (i.e. is it likely to be more profitable)? Yes. When he bids 5 instead, can he expect an advantage? No.

Hence the same argument applies. There are some calls other than Pass which can be expected to lead to an advantage, and some more calls which cannot be expected to lead to an advantage. The phrase “some further action” does not serve to differentiate them.

If there is doubt, you pick the action which is less likely to lead to an advantage. That is how you avoid taking advantage.

Apparently you think that a 3 rebid by East violates “avoid taking advantage” but perhaps not the “demonstrably suggested” standard. This is dangerous because it essentially involves reading the player's mind.

Did anyone actually ask why East bid 3? Maybe he thought: “Nobody in my position would let the opponents play 2. I would normally double, but I am not allowed to do that because of my partner's hesitation. So I will bid 3, which might or might not work out - the BIT does not tell me anything in this regard, so the bid will be ok.”

Believe it or not, sometimes people reason like this. Is such an East player careful enough? Should he write “I am careful” on a sheet and hand it to his opponents when making his bid? I don't think so.

To summarize, if there is some clear and undeniable bridge logic that suggests 3 over Pass, we should say so. Just uttering “hesitation -> values -> action” does not work. On the other hand, if our ruling is solely based on mind-reading, we should say so as well. But then we must realize that we treading on very thin ice.
May 25, 2018
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Ray, I did not ask for David's credentials; I already knew them. I asked if he could substantiate his statistical claim that the partner can usually read the UI (with something other than a rank or title).

If it matters to you, I am a simple DBV director. I am well aware that he has the higher credentials.

When this discussion started, it was about bridge logic (the “action over inaction” thing, etc). David introduced a claim based on general statistical observations. I believe his claim is wrong, plain and simple, because my own experience says otherwise.
May 25, 2018
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“Since it would have been worthless whatever my answer had been, why did you ask the question?”

I wanted an honest answer from you if you have documented the negative findings as well. Since you referred to your official position, I concluded that you were dealing with the positives only. Too bad.

My current partnership is probably as regular as it gets. I don't know if you will believe this, but when one of us has UI, the other one sincerely tries not to take advantage of it.

Sometimes the UI we have can point in different directions. If I were supposed to write down what I think the UI means, sometimes I would be right, sometimes I would be wrong. In other words, I would be guessing, like everyone else at the table.

A recent example: My partner led the Q against 3NT. My holding was K9864 (with no side entry), Dummy had A7 and ducked. Partner hesitated slightly before leading the 5 to the second trick. Later when he got in he continued with the J, and I had to decide whether his original holding was QJ5 or QJ105 (declarer had followed with the 2 and 3)- I cannot give you the full hand, but there were arguments in both directions. I did not know what caused him to break tempo, and I misguessed the spade layout.

If someone tried to establish that UI can be read in regular partnerships, I would insist that these cases are counted as well. I seriously doubt that anyone ever does, though. Can you produce documentation that includes all the findings in both directions?

Basically, this is not very different from the statistical analysis in the major cheating scandals from the last three years. If you look only for the suspicious hands and discard all the neutral ones, you are distorting the statistics.
May 25, 2018
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“In thirty or so years on my country's laws commission? A few thousand, I'd say.”

Funny that you're waving this in my face like this. I have seen a lot of hands, even in regular partnerships, where the partner could not read the hesitation. If I were any more cynical than I already am, I would say the only logical conclusion is that players in your country are better at communicating illegally than in mine.

But that's nonsense, of course. In a position of bridge law enforcement, one is typically confronted only with the cases where the UI and its subsequent use lead to damage. If the partner misreads the BIT, nobody will send an email to davidburn(at)paranoidbridgerulings.ebu - these cases just go unnoticed. Your sample is worthless.
May 25, 2018
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“Since the UI suggests that the partnership take some form of action…”

Still false logic. The presence of values does not automatically imply that action will be more successful than inaction.

“in this case both action and inaction are suggested”

Wrong terminology. Neither is suggested, that's the point.
May 25, 2018
Roland Voigt edited this comment May 25, 2018
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“How many hands would convince you?”

I don't know. How many hands have you documented to arrive at the conclusion that in regular partnerships a player is usually able to read his partner's tempo, especially including those where the UI does not seem to demonstrably suggest a particular course of action to a neutral observer?
May 24, 2018
Roland Voigt edited this comment May 24, 2018
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A halfway rational thinker would realize that there are several possibilities, and that illegal communication is just one of them. Crucifying EW and labelling them as cheaters on the basis of a single hand is an act of fanatic paranoia. Yes, jumping to conclusions like this is exactly the kind of thinking I would like to get rid of - the faster, the better.
May 24, 2018
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On the contrary, you just reminded me of how important it is to liberate people from this kind of thinking.

Above I gave a different demonstration for how the very same kind of argument could be applied to a pair that makes successful choices while drinking tea. You rejected the example, and the main reason for it was that the BIT, unlike the tea, normally suggests something (i.e. carries what we might call “bridge information”).

But just a minute later you insist that it does not matter what the UI normally suggests or what information it normaly carries; that it only matters what the UI might suggest to a particular pair on a particular occasion (thus reviving the “could have” misconception from the 2007 Laws).

So what we have are two situations where a partnership makes an unusual winning choice under unique circumstances in each case, and you are discarding your own argument regarding the only difference between the two situations.
May 24, 2018
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“… arrant twaddle …”

Wow, I had to look that one up.

What you are saying is similar to what Michael Rosenberg has repeatedly suggested. I disagree with him as well, but at least he realizes that this would require a change in the laws.

The laws, as they currently are, do not support your position. They say which actions are disallowed when a player is in possession of UI from partner, namely calls/plays which are demonstrably suggested over others by the UI. They do not say that all unusual actions are disallowed. Nor do they say that an unusual action in the face of UI is automatically considered evidence of cheating.

In the end, it all comes down to a fundamental philosophical debate, something I have already observed in another UI discussion before: Should we treat players as innocent or as guilty by default? You are advocating guilt as the default, and you are acting like it is the obvious thing to do. I disagree.

Unlike Michael, however, you keep pretending that your views are in accordance with the current laws. In order to get the laws to work for your cause, you are bending them so far that they barely hold together. You are not actually applying the laws, you are deforming them.
May 24, 2018
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This brings us back to the neverending discussion about what “over another” actually means.

You are saying that 3 with BIT will be more successful than 3 without BIT. So what? I believe Pass with BIT will also be more successful than Pass without BIT (because more often than not partner will have sufficient values to defeat 2).

But what matters here is how the results with a 3 bid will be compared to the results with Pass.
May 24, 2018
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