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All comments by Steve Willner
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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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The reason that was illegal on the Open+ 6+-board chart seems to be that the 4441 type was Strong rather than Very Strong. I don't see why adjusting the “with spades” range would change anything. What am I missing?
Aug. 6
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Advancer knows intervenor's approximate suit lengths but not exact ones, especially at favorable. Advancer has only approximate knowledge of intervenor's high-card strength. Knowing that much, advancer bid 3 to compete over 3, expecting 3 to make, perhaps with an overtrick. Unexpectedly opponents bid further to 4. What is advancer supposed to do? This is mp, so undoubled 4-1 will be a bad score if 3 was making as expected.
July 31
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When I played relay methods, in an auction where everything was going to be alertable, partner and I just left our alert cards on the table. As each bid was made, bidder's partner would give a light tap on the alert card. If a non-alertable call was made – usually 3NT by relay asker – partner would snatch up his alert card as quickly as possible. Once the auction got above 3NT, we'd pick up our alert cards, but one of us would say something like “The ACBL says you don't get any more alerts, but it's still likely artificial.”

I don't think we annoyed anybody with this procedure, and I don't think anyone was misinformed by it. Opponents were sometimes amused by the quick snatch-up, and of course they were thereby made aware that the call was natural.

One tip if you play against a relay system: a good time to ask for an explanation is after relay responder's first bid at or above the three level. That bid will often reveal RR's exact shape.
July 31
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Peg: wasn't Ro16 behind screens? With written explanations? I'm surprised you wanted them stopped, but as to the explanations, that was up to you (and up to your partner on the other side of the screen). If there were no screens at that stage, then automatic explanations were improper, and I'm surprised any top experts would give them.

John: one of the reasons “please don't alert” was disallowed is because alerting becomes automatic, and it seems unfair to force players to make a special effort not to alert. (This is not the only reason.)
July 31
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Why does partner's double not say only “We were making 3?” At the point it was bid, the auction might have died in 3 had advancer passed.

In that context, whether to pull the double or not seems to depend on vulnerability.
July 31
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The fourth one is also basically always wrong.

The first option is worded badly: there's no penalty for misbids, but they sometimes lead to rectification (typically for UI).
July 31
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Could “1971” have been the rubber bridge Laws? My vague memory is that those used to be updated out of phase with the duplicate Laws.

It might be worth mentioning that 1975 was when what we informally call “use of UI” became a score-adjustment infraction instead of a conduct infraction.
July 30
Steve Willner edited this comment July 30
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As Nic alluded to above, it's worth calculating how many deals one needs to analyze to give a reasonable statistical estimate of the likelihood of cheating. The calculation is not hard given a required confidence level, estimated rates of false positives (suspicious plays by an innocent player) and false negatives (plays aided by cheating but considered normal), and the fraction of deals on which cheating affects play. That last can be estimated based on how often one needs to cheat to produce the desired advantage.
July 29
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The 1963 Laws are in the first edition of the ACBL _Encyclopedia of Bridge_ (title not exact). There were no Laws revisions between 1963 and 1975.
July 29
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Coming late to this, but I still don't see why anyone would wish to define “collusive” cheating. To me, the most serious offense is _premeditated_ cheating, which is often collusive but need not be. Is someone who steals the hand records in advance less culpable than someone who arranges to receive information from a kibitzer?
July 29
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Does anyone know more about the statistical model mentioned in the article? I'm _guessing_ they compare a player's moves to those of one or more popular chess programs and flag players who have too many matches, but I have no idea whether that would work.
July 17
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Probably 10 in the lower brackets, 12 in the upper ones. The idea of a KO is to play long matches.
July 12
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Or 6 6 6 6 7 or variations on that, putting breaks at places that best reflect the team strengths and preferences.

As other have mentioned, the real problems are
1. MP don't reflect team strength very well, and
2. teams have different preferences about the strengths of opponents they want to play.
July 11
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John has it right: even if failing to double were a “serious error” – and as others have written, it doesn't come close – it's related to the infraction. The only provision of L12C1e that could lead to a split score is the one about “gambling action.” Even if you deemed the EW failure to double to be gambling, you'd still adjust the NS score (OP's option 3).

I don't think failure to double is gambling at all. EW are entitled to assume South's hand merits the 4S bid in the face of the UI. If South had held what he should have held for the bid, 4S would probably be making.
July 8
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