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All comments by Steve Willner
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Rainer's 1), 2), and 3) are closely related. 1) is simply a fact; 2) gives a use for the extra step; 3) is one reason that use is important.

If clubs are the key suit, and the ask is 4D, you can still stop in 4NT if the response is 4H or 4NT but not otherwise (unless you give up the queen ask after 4S to make 4NT a signoff). If 4C is the ask, you can sign off in 4NT after any response except void-showing 5C and higher.

I like ace-asking less than Rainer does, so I'd play Minorwood or Redwood only when the _asker_ is unlimited, but that has nothing to do with which bid does the asking.
20 hours ago
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“In practice clubs can make any regulations…”

Why “in practice?” As far as I know, ACBL clubs are welcome to make any rules they want about allowed methods and about alerting in their own games. (I believe they have to conform to ACBL rules for such things as STaCs and NAP/GNT qualifiers.)
20 hours ago
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I don't know what the rules say for Bridge Club Live. Pauses after skip bids are required in some jurisdictions but not others.

In the ACBL, Kit's (Jun 18) item 4) is the proper procedure. Item 2) is legal, but if a given player sometimes chooses 2) and sometimes 4), which one is chosen on a particular occasion gives UI to partner.

Looking at things that way, the question is not only what BCL requires but also what this West normally does. In the ACBL, the mandatory pause is often ignored, especially by weak players. If this West normally ignores the mandatory pause but has chosen to observe it this time, East has UI with the usual consequences. If West has done what he always does, then there's no UI, and East can choose whatever call he wants.

As a practical matter, it may be difficult for the Director to find out what West normally does. Asking West and East some questions is a good start. In the end, the Director has to do his best and rule according to what he finds out.
22 hours ago
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One of the benefits of claiming is that nobody can be deemed to commit a future irregularity. (There is a WBFLC minute to this effect.) As of now, when ruling on a claim, the ruling should not consider any line of play that includes an irregularity.

The 2017 Laws, when they come into effect, will complicate this principle. In this case, if the “play” subsequent to the claim is just to aid the Director in determining an equitable outcome, no revoke should be allowed. If instead it's an actual continuation of play under the new Law 68D2b, then the usual revoke rules will apply, as far as I can tell. The OP wrote “To demonstrate their point…” and did not mention any concurrence (L68D2b(1)), both of which make me think this case is a demonstration, not play.

When the Director notices a revoke that the players don't, the usual practice is not to call attention until it's too late for trick adjustments but then to restore equity under L64C. I don't think this is codified in law anywhere, but I've been told this by several senior Directors I respect.
July 17
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How did you plan to play 6S? What are its chances of making? And what are the IMP odds if you don't know what contract the other table will be in?

Would opener's bidding have been the same if he held Axxxx AKQxxx Ax -v-? Is the 5-level safe?
July 17
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It doesn't matter which way ‘round you play it, but 3 should have a wider range than 3. In effect you divide the range into thirds instead of halves and put two of the thirds into 3. Which two you pick is unimportant.

There is merit in playing 3 as split-range: either stronger or weaker than 3, which shows the middle third.

Of course this only applies if you like Bergen raises at all. I’m not a fan myself, but there are worse methods in popular use.
July 7
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Christopher: I think you need to look at the KS notes again: B-14 at
http://www.bridgeworld.com/indexphp.php?page=/pages/readingroom/kaplansheinwoldupdated.html#B-1

I don't think the example hand would be opened in KS.
July 7
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So if your 4/4 bids show normal strength, no alert is required. If they are weaker than normal – whatever that is – then alert.
July 7
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I should have added that “your masterpoints or top bracket” is the usual rule here in D25. It seems to me to work badly. What happens is that the top bracket becomes a Swiss with 20 or so teams, at least half of which (including mine) have no chance to win. That's not terrible for us: we take our lumps against good teams in the first two rounds, maybe three rounds on a good day, and play the rest of the day against our peers who are having the same results. The real problem is for the good teams. Winning the event becomes all about beating up on the weak teams instead of doing well against the other good teams.

The problem with Ray's suggestion to allow playing down is that there are some players who like beating up on the bunnies. (Maybe I'm wrong about this; I'd sure like to think so.) Let those players play down, and they will happily win bracket 5 or 6 instead of having to compete in bracket 3 or 4 where they belong. This is exacerbated by the masterpoint awards, which are too high for low brackets, but I think it's also a matter of those players' psychology.

The best approach, of course, is bracketing by some valid measure of skill. Any measure can be gamed if someone is keen to do so, but it takes determination. The problem is that a measure of skill is the last thing the ACBL wants.
July 7
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I don't see an answer to my question.

“the only thing worse than masterpoints is a team ranking itself.”

Do you have evidence of that? Has it ever been tried officially? To be clear, I'm suggesting allowing “playing up,” not the opposite.

The small scale, unofficial experiments I've seen have worked pretty well.

“If you can opt into any bracket, the brackets end up with very little meaning.”

Why do you think that?

Your example seems bizarre. And come to think of it, if it happened, putting the strong young teams into bracket 2 would make for a far better event than spreading them out in brackets 5-8, as would happen under current rules. (I'm imagining a Regional event with 8 brackets.) Also better than if the strong young teams are allowed to enter Bracket 1, which they have to share with your “octogenarians.”
July 7
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I don't see a problem with the concept of bracketing for some events. If the nature of the event means it has to be divided into groups (see Christopher's 07-03 post), doesn't it make sense to have teams of relatively equal strength in each group?

It should be no surprise that masterpoints are a poor way to divide teams by skill. The surprise is not that they work badly; it's that they work at all.

I don't understand the assertions that “playing up” should be to the top bracket or nothing. If my team belongs, by skill, in bracket 2 or 3, why should we be forced to choose either bracket 1 (playing up to top) or bracket 6 (where our masterpoints will put us if we don't play up)?
July 6
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BW isn't showing me the bidding poll, but I gather there's a large vote for 6H. That tends to make it a LA, less suggested over pass, making the pass of 6 illegal. I suppose there's some worry that the BW voters are not peers of the player in question, but FWIW 6 looks like a LA to me, too.

If you buy that, Godefroy's ruling looks right to me. I'd probably vote for less than 25% of 6H-4 – I think a club lead stands out – but you'd want to do a poll to see what lead would be likely. We're probably quibbling about not-very-many IMPs.
July 6
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In any MI case, one of the first questions to be answered is “What is the true agreement.” We don't know that here, and a lot of other information is missing, so we can't reasonably answer whether the ruling was correct or not. As everyone seems to agree, you should have the right to appeal (not “protest”).

The exact wording of the explanation may be important. “With two touching suits he would have bid the lowest suit directly over the double” is not the same as the same words except with ‘would’ replaced by ‘could’. The former implies agreement or partnership experience; the latter is merely specifying alternative calls.

As others have also mentioned, the explanation of the initial pass should have included the possible hand types. “Forcing a redouble” is way too little information. Your partner should have insisted on more.
June 29
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I don't think we have to assume anything about purposeful or not. Just make the penalties severe enough that purposeful violations are unattractive. That would go against tradition but in my view would make for a better game.
May 7
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Thanks for all the votes. I'm surprised to see that my view is in a tiny minority. At the table, I was trying to decide between 4 and 5. Maybe I didn't make clear the distributional implications of partner's raise, or maybe I'm just nuts. Or overly influenced by the result.

My real problem was that partner's pass was slow, and I felt obliged to pass. (I didn't think he was thinking about doubling.) Later, I was wondering whether pass was a logical alternative, but now that seems clear. :-)

The full deal:
____AT3
____JT32
____76
____KQ97
K985_____Q
KQ764____A98
A54______KQT9832
T________64
____J7642
____5
____J
____AJ8532
(Sorry about the underscores, but BW seems to compress multiple spaces to one.)
Partner had about as little distribution as possible, but 5 would still have been a good save.
May 7
Steve Willner edited this comment May 7
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If I have the geography right, it looks as though a spot south of Orlando and towards the eastern half of the state would have been better for everyone. If this year's participation is common, I hope the organizers can take that into account next time.
May 4
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I don't agree with that last. In fact, it's rather the opposite. L23 covers actions that a cheat might take, but there's no hint that a player ruled against was actually cheating.

On the main point, I agree that L23 would not apply if no one had asked about a revoke, and also that the rules once someone has asked are murky. Despite that, I wouldn't give an advantage to anyone who revokes and then, when asked, denies having a card of the suit led.
May 4
Steve Willner edited this comment May 4
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“petty little odious bid” – Moyse?? He apparently thought it should be patterning out, i.e., natural, but then what is one to do with hands that are too strong to pass (or the auction is forcing) and can't bid anything else without misdescribing?
May 4
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Ed's ruling is the way I would have read the Laws, but there's a WBFLC minute to the contrary. According to that, if West objects to the concession, both East's claim and concession are cancelled, and play continues. As Ed wrote, though, the Director should be called, not least because there's a potential UI issue.

Here it doesn't matter because West has an easy, valid claim of all the rest of the tricks.
May 3
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What did East do wrong, other than miscount trumps? West may have a complaint about that, but nobody else does.
May 3
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