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All comments by Steve Willner
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From Tom above: "This delay does not apply to alerts of passes, doubles, or redoubles, or to any announcements.“

I wish it were so, but it's far from clear. The ACBL's ”Alert Procedure“ document has been botched in a recent edit (about a year ago, I think). It now says, with reference to delayed alerts:
”Once the auction has progressed to the point that the opening bidder has had the opportunity to make a second call, conventional calls at the four level or higher are not Alerted until the auction is over."

Aside from seeming to say that delayed alerts start after rather than at opener's rebid, someone has changed the previous “bids” to “calls.” I'm sure that's a mistake, but no contact I've made has gotten it corrected.

Despite the text quoted, an example does make clear that delayed alerts start at opener's rebid, not after.

Another botch is that in the competitive auction 1-P-1, bids of 2 and 2 are “not considered cuebids” despite fitting the definition. They are said to be non-alertable whether they show the suit named or are two-suited takeout.

As to announcements, I've asked for but never received an official answer on whether they are considered alerts (and therefore may be delayed) or a different category (in which case they should always be immediate). It probably makes little practical difference.
16 hours ago
Steve Willner edited this comment 16 hours ago
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The ACBL has its own peculiar definition of “relay system.” Among other requirements, it applies only after an opening bid of one of a suit.

I don't have any doubt that Stayman in any form is a relay, but in the ACBL, it is never part of a “relay system” regardless of the followups.

For amusement, the mama-papa auction 1suit-4NT-5something-5NT- does fit the ACBL's definition of “relay system” and is therefore not GCC-legal. I don't recommend trying to get this enforced.
16 hours ago
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If you had a distributional raise available, then the 2 bid shows a power raise. In that case, pass should be forcing at all levels.

If your methods don't offer a distributional raise, it's reasonable to play the pass non-forcing, though I wouldn't wish to.
April 22
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In the ACBL:

If the 2 bid is game-forcing and not followed by a second relay bid on the next round, it's legal on the GCC. (Relay systems are banned, not single relay bids.) It's legal on the Mid-chart regardless. (for example, you might include invitational hands with long clubs in the 2 bid.) I believe the same rules will continue to apply with the future Basic+ and Open charts.

Methods that are legal on the Mid-chart but not GCC require pre-alerts, silly as that is in this case.
April 22
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The OP is about responding to questions. That's separate from how/whether to announce or alert. In response to a question, you are supposed to give a full explanation.

The Precision 1 is complicated, but you need to explain all the hand types. “Could be as short as (some number),” is hopelessly inadequate. Depending on what you actually play, something like “Several possible hand types: unbalanced with primary diamonds or with four diamonds and longer clubs, good 10 to 15 high card points; balanced 11 to 13 with at least two diamonds and no five-card major; or any 4441 shape including diamonds, good 10 to 15 high card points,” might be close to the mark.

For the 3D bid, describe your preemptive style. That might include expected range of playing tricks at the prevailing colors and any restrictions such as (lack of) defensive values or four-card majors if those are relevant in your partnership.

In the ACBL, any non-forcing 1 opening bid that doesn't promise at least 3c length is supposed to be announced, not alerted. I admit I haven't always followed this rule (alerting instead) when playing such things as 1D promises a 4c major.
April 22
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Was the member of the WBFLC giving an “off the cuff” opinion or a considered one? I am astonished by it because it so clearly contradicts the written definition of ‘irregularity’. If we can ask about every unexpected call from partner, that's a very different game than the one I'm used to playing.
April 20
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I'm coming very late to the discussion here, but is there any merit to playing A at trick 1? The lead might be from 32 doubleton or any weak suit – is West really leading from K on this auction? – and if you let East win T1, a low heart looks like bad news. In practice it will beat the contract immediately, so I'm a bit surprised East didn't find that play (even in an Apr 1 post).

Still a great article!
April 20
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Board 2, amplifying Michael Shuster's comment above: regardless of style or general approach, if your intention on this East hand is to rebid 1NT over 1, then open the hand 1, not 1.
April 19
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Roland has asked the right questions:
“Is an irregularity a significant occurrence in the sense of Law 74C4?”

It doesn't matter; L9A1 and L9A2 give specific permissions that overrides L74C4. (Keep in mind that L9A1 and L9A2 have limitations, e.g., dummy is not included.)

“Is the unintended call an irregularity in the sense of the laws?”

No. Read the definition of ‘irregularity’ again. Making an unintended call isn't a deviation from correct procedure.

Contrast this with Frances' example below: dropping a bidding card on the floor is a deviation from correct procedure.
April 19
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Good grief. Laying out the steps isn't hard; following them may be.

As Paul pointed out, West's comment was a violation of L74C4. That deserves a significant PP regardless of the rest of the ruling.

The Director's next step should be to rule under L25A. This is, as others have written, a terrible law, but it has been on the books (with varying specifics) at least since 1975 and shows no signs of going away. We weren't at the table and don't know what investigation the Director did, but ruling that 4S was unintended and may be changed is plausible.

The final step should be to apply L12A1. In effect, the Director considers what might have happened if West had said nothing as required by L74C4. If that is more favorable to NS than the table result, the Director should assign an adjusted score, which can be weighted. There is probably at least some chance East wouldn't have noticed his mistake until too late to change, so some percentage of a score in 5H or 6H might be assigned, depending on how the auction and play might have gone. (I don't think there is any chance West would have passed 4S, so we don't need to include any weight for that.)

I don't see that L16 comes into this at all.
April 18
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I am astonished at some of the comments in this thread.

The rules for spectators are carefully phrased to apply only while play is in progress. After a session is over, there are no more spectators, and players may discuss deals with anyone. If discussion – or simply looking at a hand record – reveals a scoring error or other irregularity, players are welcome to bring that to a Director's attention. As long as that is done within the applicable Appeals or Correction period (two different things, though often expiring at the same time), the Director is obliged to rule. It doesn't matter how the player became aware of the concern. This is a practical rule because in general there is no way for the Director to know how a player became aware of something.

The key point in the OP case is “after the match.” In the ACBL, a match is a “session,” so the spectator was free to discuss deals with players. It would have been exactly the same if a teammate or dummy had said “How did you lose x tricks in that contract?!” and the declarer then realized what had happened.
April 17
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The Director is allowed to take claimer's skill level into account, but it will only rarely be relevant. When it is, it will often work to the detriment of a skilled player, who may be deemed to try a normal but unsuccessful line that an unskilled player would never have seen.

The L70D2 footnote might be paraphrased as “inferior and careless lines of play (but not irrational lines) should be considered ‘normal’ even for skilled players.”
April 16
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This is interesting… if I hover over a name, it shows profiles for most people but says no profile has been filled out for Franck. However, if I click on his name, I do indeed see a country (France).

Is my browser (Firefox) broken, or is this a BW bug?
April 16
Steve Willner edited this comment April 16
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That last question is the right one. Declarer will notice that South shows out on the second round, but what happens after that? (See Roland's answer above.)
April 13
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The bad players around here do the same as before: no pauses. What's changed is that many of the good players have made their pauses much shorter than before, some no longer pausing at all.
April 13
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I don't see how the proposed pause solves the problem. If asking a question “shows interest,” pausing afterwards doesn't make that information go away. In an “always ask” environment, I suppose requiring a pause after receiving the answer might help conceal whether the question was automatic or based on immediate interest.
April 13
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Where is “here” that screens are so frequently used? (Could people please put their location into their profiles?)
April 13
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Probably what's needed is that your system, and if applicable your bidding, must cater to all the hand types that are supposedly included in your agreement. That is, if 1D is supposed to include 10+ diamonds, you need to define suitable followups for that hand type, and responder needs to take that hand type into account. In other words, “He never holds that” becomes proof that the system doesn't really include that type.

That said, I don't understand why such bids are banned on the Open chart. (They are legal on Open+, as far as I can tell.) Using 1C and 1D that way are now legal on the GCC.
April 12
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Bits of entropy have to come from somewhere. A hardware RNG is a convenient entropy source, but many others exist.
April 12
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No one is claiming an expensive RNG, or even an inexpensive one, is _necessary_ for BigDeal. The question is whether an inexpensive RNG is _useful_ for BigDeal. Generating entropy somehow is necessary, and there are many ways to do it. Doing it with a hardware RNG is convenient, and I don't see why even a cheap one is problematic for the purpose.
April 9
Steve Willner edited this comment April 9
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