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All comments by Steve Willner
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While Steve's method has merit, it looks “encrypted” to me. I haven't seen a rigorous definition of that term, though, so if there's a problem at all, enforcement would likely be random.
5 hours ago
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Thanks. That looks <edit>almost</edit> perfect. Just be clear that “cheaper” is with respect to the first cue. If opps bid 2NT showing red suits, should show , not .

The “almost” is because the criterion should not be whether their suits are touching but rather whether the two cue bids reach the same level in our suit. For example, we bid , they bid NT showing and . Those aren't touching, but we still want the cue to show .
5 hours ago
Steve Willner edited this comment 4 hours ago
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I played in cross-IMP events when they were scored by hand. (It's a bit of a pain when there are more than 5 or 6 tables.)

As Rosalind mentioned, there are numerous problems with Butler. One of the worst is that scoring higher on a board can lead to a worse overall standing in the event. (I think it was Hammann and Wolff who discovered this to the cost of several thousand dollars in prize money when they corrected +90 to +110.)

IMP pairs are fun events, but as others have written, they are more random than the same number of boards at matchpoints. If you want the toughest event possible, try KO teams with BAM scoring.
5 hours ago
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That's what I was asking: what specific later sequences or approaches do you use?
Feb. 19
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Thanks for all the comments so far. More welcome. Some additional thoughts:

1. Richard Pavlicek's writeup is at http://www.rpbridge.net/7g71.htm

2. thoughts on _when_ U/U or ICB should apply are very helpful, and I'd like to see more. Obviously opps have to have shown two known suits, but as noted above, in some such cases it's better not to use U/U. Is there a simple rule? Does partner have to have shown a suit, for example?

3. what I intended to address is which suits the cue bids show, given that U/U applies. In particular, I don't think RP's use of cheaper cue to show a raise is optimal when the two cue bids reach the same level in partner's suit. Before there's a known fit, we need all the space we can get to sort out strain, so cheaper cue should show the fourth suit. A common example is 1-2NT(minors)-. Here it's (slightly) better if 3 shows a raise while 3 shows length in .

Here's a much simpler version of “which suit” rules:

When opps have shown touching suits, including -, think of suit pairings - and -. Then a cue bid in any suit shows the paired suit, e.g., cue shows or cue shows . This rule is simple, and I don't think it's ever terrible. It may, however, be inferior in such auctions as 1-2NT(minors), where one might want 3 to show the raise.

When opps have shown non-touching suits, I couldn't find a simple rule that's never inferior. The best I can do is that any cue bid shows the next suit up, e.g., cue shows or cue shows . In some cases one might prefer the opposite, depending on what one's priorities are, but at least this is simple, unambiguous, and not terrible. If the situations where U/U applies are restricted, this rule might look better.

As you can tell, I'm struggling for the right balance between optimization and memory strain. Presumably that won't be the same for all pairs.
Feb. 19
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If you don't play some kind of SJS, how do you show a hand notably stronger than a minimum GF but not strong enough to bid above game?
Feb. 18
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Playing online with a stranger, anything could be happening. With a familiar partner, I'd be 99% to guess right.
Feb. 17
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“You always tell the taxi to wait when you visit the Louvre.”

Buchwald was a treasure. Thanks for reminding me.
Feb. 17
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What Tom suggests is the basis of “Dixon,” which I think is the same as the “ACBL #2 defense.” (In Dixon and #2, double includes strong hands, not only 13-15 balanced.)
Feb. 17
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Thanks, Gordon. The minute refers to Disciplinary Penalties. Is a standard Procedural Penalty still 10%, or was it changed, too? A DP of 20 or 25% seems about right to me, and some offenses deserve more. For ordinary carelessness such as going to the wrong table, something small enough not to have a big effect on rankings seems better. Among other reasons, Directors will be reluctant to give penalties at all if they are too big. Penalties should be an incentive to avoid future problems. If they do that, they are big enough.
Feb. 14
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After natural 2M, opps are likely in their best contract or at least a playable one. Reaching our own contract has to take priority.

After 2, opps have given us an extra step. We can use it however we want, but announcing general strength is a good start. That may let us collect a penalty, and if not, it should help in choosing our own contract.

Regardless of how we use the extra step, announcing our best suit before they've announced theirs seems misguided. As you've pointed out, fairly often the two will coincide, and in that case, we probably want to defend.
Feb. 13
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That still seems low. I sometimes double with 5c in OM, but I wouldn't expect that to add much. I haven't kept records, but I'd guess my doubles are about 1/3 of interventions with another third to 2NT and the rest to suit overcalls (including jumps, which are rare). Maybe it's my perception that's wrong.
Feb. 13
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The question, as I understood it, was not about playing poorly but about possibly villainous pairs arranging to play an extra board against a weak pair.

I knew about the EBU change but don't understand why they thought it was good idea.
Feb. 13
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Number three applies after play is complete, not at the end of the auction. If you have misjudged the UI situation, there may be an adjusted score, but nothing can be done until play is over.
Feb. 13
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I don't think the dWS applies to this case. The existing rules say “always give the correct explanation.” The dWS says “give the explanation partner expects to hear.” In this case, those two are the same. They would differ if the opening bid had been correct but partner's explanation wrong.
Feb. 13
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I'm not fond of “the screen test” as a guide to the rules, but here it gives the right answer in Kit's formulation.

Perhaps a better analogy for what explanations to give is to imagine that you had psyched a 10-12 NT holding 17 HCP. Of course you'd explain your actual agreements for the weak NT. The only difference here is that your legal calls and plays are affected by UI from partner's announcement, whereas if you had psyched on purpose, they wouldn't be. You are allowed to get a good board from a misbid, just as you would be from a psych.

There's an official “WBFLC minute” to the effect that you should always give correct explanations, no matter how you come to know what your agreements actually are. That's incorporated in the “Commentary” linked below.
Feb. 13
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John (and Ed): maybe. See L72C.

You are allowed (perhaps encouraged) to give a PP to anyone who botches the movement. In my view, the ACBL's standard quarter-board is too harsh, but many Directors will give that. I'd give 0.1 board myself unless there's some culpability beyond ordinary carelessness.
Feb. 13
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Doug

Are you sure about those percentages for TOx? When RHO opens 2H, it seems to me I have a TOx a lot more than 4% of the occasions I intervene. Why should it be different if the opening is 2D instead of 2H?

I've seen a suggestion that x should show a sound TOx of one of the majors. That will make it a sound penalty x of the other and force opponents to reveal which suit they have. The cost is that you cannot double with balanced hands. I have no idea whether this method would be effective or not.
Feb. 13
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To summarize the recent history:
1975: text quoted by Richard above.

1987: L30C defining conventional pass added.

1997 big change, quoted by Ed far above.

2007: “convention” removed, “artificial call” added, also quoted by Ed above.

2017: major broadening of the definition of “artificial call,” also quoted by Ed. Probably most bids are now artificial, but I don't think this makes any difference in any rulings. The one exception may be L40B2(a)(v), which allows regulation of psychic artificial calls, but it looks to me as though the RA has authority under L40B1 and B2 to regulate those regardless.

For comparison, the new ACBL Convention(!) Charts have lengthy definitions of “Natural” and “Quasi-Natural,” and any call that isn't either of those is “Artificial.” The result differs from the Laws definition of the term, and here it matters. I expect other jurisdictions have their own definitions. I don't think there is any conflict in having differing definitions, but one has to be careful to use the definition that applies in each case.
Feb. 11
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As we've seen here, bridge terminology is far from standardized. “Artificial” is defined in the Laws, in the new ACBL “Convention Charts,” by the EBU in their regulations, and no doubt by other RAs. I don't know that any two of these definitions are identical. (By the way, the ACBL should rename its “Convention Charts,” perhaps to “Rules for Partnership Understandings.” Worldwide now, a “Convention Card” is properly called a “System Card.”)

“Convention” used to be defined in the Laws because it made a difference for some rulings. In fact the definition changed drastically at some stage, I think maybe 1997, and was later (2007?) replaced by “artificial.” I don't think the definition matters for any ruling, but maybe I'm missing something.

I personally much prefer the earlier Laws definition: a call not necessarily related to the denomination named. That still leaves much room for interpretation, in particular how to parse “necessarily related.” It certainly includes things such as bidding hearts to show spades, but it arguably excludes bidding hearts to show hearts plus something else (either strength or distribution).

Whatever you think “convention” should mean, it makes very little sense for it to mean the same thing as “partnership understanding.”
Feb. 10
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