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All comments by Steve Willner
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I'm surprised by some of the discussion and in particular the idea that the criterion for accepting a minor-suit invitation is HCP. For me, it's some help in the minor and fast tricks outside. An ideal hand is m-Kxxx and three aces outside, only a 15-count. In practice, I'd accept with m-Kx and the three aces and similarly with AK and an A outside and something helpful in the fourth suit. On the other hand, with m-Axx and three KQs, if somehow I'd opened 1NT with that 19-count, I wouldn't accept a minor suit invite unless it promised an outside card. (For me to invite, KQJxxx would be enough.)

I don't know how easy this will be to simulate, but I don't see that the work so far has been on point.

As others have written, even if you never invite with the minor-suit hand, you need some way to sign off in the minor. Most likely that will be at the three level, though 2 is possible in some methods.
Aug. 28
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Coming late to this, and the following may be too double-dummy or just wrong, but…

If East keeps both diamonds, when dummy exits J, West can win and lead Q – K, A. Then when East leads a diamond and West cashes out, the South hand is squeezed.
Aug. 28
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Don't Pavlicek's methods give _more_ sequences for GF hands: fourth suit plus all the jumps? I don't think fourth suit denies GF values. It only denies GF values with a strong preference about strain.

The downside of Pavlicek's method seems to be fewer GI sequences. In particular, a GI hand cannot show a strong preference about strain. Or do I have this wrong?
Aug. 22
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I thought one of the big advantages of pass-double inversion is that it doesn't matter so much whether you think pass is forcing or not. If you don't invert, there's a huge difference in the meaning of double. If pass was NF, double shows extra values and hints at willingness to bid on. If pass was F, double denies willingness to bid on. In the inversion case, double suggests some tolerance of bidding on – either extra values or extra offense – regardless of whether pass would be forcing or not.
Aug. 19
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What am I missing here? Opponents have agreed , but now they've bid at a high level. Are they likely to play in that suit? I'd use double of the 5 bid to help partner make a 5 or x decision over the expected 5 correction. In particular, absent some special agreement, I'd expect it to show values in .
Aug. 19
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I was only trying to suggest possible reasoning for the C&C committee. Acceptable agreements are not hard to find, but absent discussion, would you be confident you and partner have the same agreement in mind? Whether this should be a consideration at the Open Chart level is a different question, but it _might_ have been a reason for allowing nebulous bids but forbidding more specific ones.
Aug. 19
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I too used to play that sort of 1 bid. My partner and I checked several times when we first started playing it and were always told it was legal under the GCC. In practice, no opponent ever questioned it. However, as you can see, about half the voters think this bid is now illegal in pair games under the Open chart.

I think Tim's “subset rule” is reasonable, but it has never been part of the convention regulations. The reasoning _might_ be that over a nebulous bid, playing “everything natural” is fine, but over a transfer, one needs an agreement about bidding the suit shown. In the example, over Larry's and my 1, a 1 overcall shows , but what does it show if 1 promises specifically ? Does it make a difference whether 1 promises exactly four , four or more, or 5+? And are you sure you and your partner will agree?
Aug. 18
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I'd probably raise with that vul at IMPs but not otherwise. Partner should be playing me for about 7-8 points with some wasted in opponents' suit. This hand is worth about 7 but has nothing wasted, so it's barely better than a minimum. Overall, I don't think there's much in it either way.

Against that, I know Wayne is a better player than I am, so if he sees a problem here, there probably is one.
Aug. 18
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“If your opps are the only ones to bid slam then you are going to suffer.”

Which is inherent in all forms of duplicate bridge. It's balanced by your gains when opponents do something stupid. If you don't like this, par contests are the answer.

Let's put it this way: opponents bid a bad slam, but you mis-defend to let it make. Don't you think you should get a bad result? But how can the scoring system tell whether it was a bad slam you let make or a lucky one that was unbeatable?
Aug. 18
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Why are you using a datum instead of cross-IMPs? Exaggerated swings on bimodal boards is a well known flaw of Butler scoring. Or maybe not as well known as it should be, but it's obvious once you think about it.

In all duplicate games, if the opponents do something good, you will get a bad score that you can't help. Next board.
Aug. 17
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IMPs or matchpoints? I wouldn't discard all 2542s; some will overcall 2, some will double, and some will pass.
Aug. 17
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Is a 1 opening bid promising a 4-card major and at least Average Strength legal under this Chart? (No promise of length.)
Aug. 17
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I don't think Wayne and I disagree on anything important. Context matters.

I try to start with “Please explain” or “Please tell me about the auction,” but too often such questions produce little information. Starting that way at least has the advantage that I don't worry about the necessary followup questions.
Aug. 16
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Like Tim and Mike, I think “clubs with no extra values” is MI, and I'd expect an adjusted score if I played opener for a minimum opening but that failed because he in fact had extra values.

Of course asking about an individual bid is bad form and conveys UI. Much better if opponents ask about the whole auction, but few do that.
Aug. 16
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Good example, and you are entitled to get lucky. Your bidding – at least the first rebid – was easy because you were bidding according to your agreed system (Ogust). No problem at that stage.

In the OP example, the explanation was correct, and the 2 opening was a misbid. The problem is that there is no agreed biddig system after a weak 2, so opener doesn't know what to do. In this case, opener can probably follow their agreements after a 2M opening and be OK, but in general, a misbidder has to bid according to some fantasy bidding system. That won't be easy!

Note also that in the misbid case, misbidder can “use UI” to give correct explanations to the opponents. That means explaining according to one system (the correct one) but bidding according to a different system – not easy!
Aug. 16
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Now that's an interesting interpretation. I was viewing “agreeing” and “using” as a single infraction, but if they are separate ones, that changes things.

Unfortunately, the Laws don't explain how to treat multiple infractions by one side. The advice I've seen is to consider results if infraction a happens but not b, b but not a, and neither a nor b, and give the OS the worst of those three (or of course the table result if there was no damage). Here that would mean the OP's opponents agreed to the illegal 2 bid but didn't use it, and that would lead to Mike's ruling. I am almost convinced but hung up on “b but not a,” i.e., using the 2 bid without agreeing on it. Nevertheless “two infractions” is quite a reasonable view. After all, the dealer in the OP case might have agreed the bid, then later realized that the agreement was illegal. In that scenario, he'd have had to pass.

I really wish the ACBL would give official guidance on how to rule in illegal-agreement cases.
Aug. 10
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The official definition in the new Convention Charts is “22. Preempt:​ A jump bid (by either pair) that does not promise at least Average strength.”

I'm having trouble making sense of what the Director told the pair, but I wasn't there. Sadly, it's no surprise if an ACBL Director gets a ruling wrong.
Aug. 10
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“Pass or correct” isn't ever a proper explanation. “PoC” describes what partner's followup will be, whereas a proper explanation should describe the hand types the bid shows. (“Asking for a 4c major” is _not_ a proper explanation of Stayman, but it's usually acceptable because Stayman is so familiar. As an exercise, I recommend working out what a proper explanation of Stayman would be.)

Furthermore, it doesn't look as though the OP 3 bid was PoC in the usual sense. In most cases, PoC suggests shortness in the suit named and allows for length in a different suit. At least this is what a 2 bid in response to multi 2 shows.

I can't tell from the OP, but it looks as though a proper explanation of the OP 3 bid would have been “Natural and non-forcing. Typically 4 cards in . weaker or shorter than .” (The 3 bid on the actual hand with such strong spades surprises me, but the OP can bid whatever he wants.) If so, I don't see why it would be alertable, but describing it as “PoC” would be MI. If the opponent doubled before asking for an explanation, the MI probably didn't damage the NOS.
Aug. 8
Steve Willner edited this comment Aug. 8
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It appears Mike and I differ on how to interpret “had the infraction not occurred” in L12C1b. In my view, the infraction was _agreeing to_ the illegal 2 bid. Had the offenders not done that, they might have agreed something else for 3. If I understand Mike's view, the infraction was _using_ the illegal 2 bid. Regardless of whether that occurred or not, the agreement about 3 wouldn't change.

L40B2a(1) deals with “partnership understandings,” and I'd argue that it tends to support my view by regulating what may be agreed, but I think Mike's view is defensible.
Aug. 8
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I think Paul and Louis have this right: the Director should have assigned weights to what agreements the players would have decided on as well as what judgment North would have made within those agreements. Having no natural 3 preempt deserves at least some weight, as does North not preempting if the bid has to be 3.

While I don't like artificial scores in general, using them for _an opening bid_ based on an illegal agreement seems fair. It really is hard to guess what would have happened after a legal opening, even if you have a good idea what that opening would have been (as is not the case here). Of course the procedure should be to give the NOS a reasonable defense (ideally from the defense database) and see if they are damaged, but the Director has to work out what score he would assign in order to tell whether damage existed.

I also would have liked to see a PP of 10% of a top. The ACBL likes 25% if giving a PP at all. The trouble with a penalty that large is that it discourages Directors from giving a PP at all.

I am not aware of any official ACBL guidance on how to rule when an illegal agreement is used.
Aug. 6
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