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All comments by Steve Willner
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As usual, I'm coming late to the discussion. The official minutes are at
http://www.acbl.org/acbl-content/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Spring-2014.pdf

Odd that the complete botch of the natural two-card 1C opening in the GCC never came up.

Dec. 28, 2014
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Interesting cases that raise a lot of issues. I'll comment on them in order.

1. Dale J. is right that prior to 1975, the Laws on UI were nothing like now. “Using UI” was a _conduct_ offense, and “I was always going to bid slam” was a sufficient defense. Of course “old black magic” flourished, as one might expect. We've come a long way.

2. The issue of how to treat psyching is still a mess, probably because most authorities hate psychs but can't ban them without punishing LOLs (and the rest of us!) every time they (we) accidentally misbid. There are two separate issues to deal with: ensuring adequate disclosure, and deciding when a so-called psychic is really systemic and subject to the normal system rules. It doesn't help that the legal definition of “psychic” differs from the meaning most players understand. I have no hope the situation will improve in my lifetime.

3. The artificial scores (avg+/-) were arguably illegal and certainly wrong-headed; the TD should have assigned a score for 4H down whatever. Giving artificial scores was automatic back then, though, and is still too common today. As for the AC, it's hard to know why they went wrong, but one possibility is that the TD failed to explain the Laws. As mentioned in 1, the UI rules were fairly new at the time and still poorly understood, and there was little effort (so far as I can tell) to make sure ACs understood what the Laws actually said. That problem still exists but is much less. (I think Rich Colker had a lot to do with improving things, for which effort he was ousted from his position.)

4. Ruling whether 2NT was legal strikes me as very hard, and I wouldn't consider myself competent to rule on a player at Kit's level. Nowadays TDs would try to poll players of similar skill to see how they would approach the problem. If the 2NT bid was ruled illegal, then Kit is again right that the TD needs to determine what the result in 2Sx would be. In most of the world, that can be a weighted score (perhaps 20% 2Sx=, 50% 2Sx+1, 30% 2Sx+2, or whatever). The ACBL doesn't allow that, but there can be a split result. (With the above weights, it would be 2Sx+2 for the OS, 2Sx+1 for the NOS, but I've completely made up the percentages to give an example.) Anyway, as Kit wrote, the TD (or in this case AC) should do their best to work out what would have happened without the infraction, perhaps with a small (10%-ish) dose of favor to the NOS.
Nov. 19, 2014
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There are lots of opinions about what is better, but has anyone besides Mike Ma answered the question about what is standard? As he wrote, I'd expect NMF unless something else has been agreed. That doesn't deal with club stoppers, but it does find the spade fit if one exists.
Oct. 30, 2014
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Henry

Your question would be easy to answer with a simulation, but I don't know of anyone who has run one. My naive expectation would be that there should be lg2(M)+lg2(N)+1 rounds, but I don't have much confidence in this. (lg2 means base 2 logarithm.) My second guess is one more round than the above, but as I say, a simulation would settle the question.

If you are talking about a serious event, there should also be a “strength of schedule” correction. This correction compensates teams who have played against tougher opponents. Roughly speaking, you add to each team's score some fraction of the VPs scored by all that team's opponents other than in the head-to-head match. This has been simulated (contact me offline if you want details), and unfortunately the fraction depends on the exact format of the event. I believe some Australian events implement the SoS correction. One could also devise an entirely different scoring method (mathematically equivalent to some form of rating system but only applied to the specific event) that would have the same effect.
Oct. 30, 2014
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To John Adams: who is the “you” who is not consistent? And about what? My position “the regulations apply alike to all artificial opening bids” was stated just above your message. I don't understand why some people disagree.

To Ed: you seem to be fishing for reasons not to implement the regulations as written. OK, I guess, if that's what your club management wants. In fact, clubs are free to ignore ACBL regulations about play, and if that's what your club has decided, great! I took the OP question (with “ACBL” in the title) to imply that all ACBL regulations were in effect.
Oct. 30, 2014
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Are we going around in circles here? Nobody claims any _law_ has been broken. The infraction is of ACBL regulations: either the one against psyching an artificial opening bid or the one requiring players to know their system. If the non-offending side is damaged, they are entitled to redress. As I wrote earlier, the regulations apply alike to all artificial opening bids.

FWIW, I don't like either regulation, but nobody asked my opinion.

One advantage of having _both_ regulations (or neither) is that there's no need for mind reading.
Oct. 29, 2014
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??? I thought the whole discussion was about whether redress should be given or not.
Oct. 27, 2014
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Ed: I admire your touching faith that ACBL regulations are written with attention to such details. However, even if the regulation does nothing but establish correct procedure, a violation of correct procedure that damages an opponent still merits redress. Compare such Laws as 41D or 46A. No one would think of penalizing a violation _per se_, but opponents are still protected from damage.
Oct. 26, 2014
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For those who think the original ruling was terrible, do you really think it likely that “usually denies a four card major” was a correct explanation?

I agree the Daily Bulletin article failed to make clear a legal basis for the ruling, but that doesn't mean no such basis existed. We're all – at least all of us not in the hearing room – guessing as to the facts, but it's not hard to imagine facts and bridge judgments that would make the AC ruling correct.

That the further appeal is being heard by the A&CC and not the LC, combined with the regulation Kit quoted, suggests that the basis of the appeal is bias not known at the time. That seems surprising, but the appellants are entitled to make their case, at least if the appeal was timely filed.
Oct. 24, 2014
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In fact, the ACBL has a regulation saying that players must know their agreements in “to be expected” auctions (ACBL's quotes, not mine). It seems to me the effect of that is to make the ruling for misbid the same as the ruling for psych.

Whatever the ruling is, it applies equally to psyching or misbidding Flannery or any other artificial opening.

By the way, the EBU has a specific regulation that in case of an illegal bid, the board is cancelled, and the sides get artificial scores (avg+/avg-). The ACBL has no such regulation, so over here we'd try to give an assigned adjusted score as the OP suggested. If that's impossible, we fall back to Law 12C1d and give artificial scores after all. (A bad habit of some ACBL Directors is to give artificial scores when there's no reason to do so.)
Oct. 24, 2014
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I don't personally care who gets the medals (except that it shouldn't be cheaters or their teammates), but the legal basis for changing the final match outcome and not others would be that only for that match was a valid complaint made within the appeals period.

As others have written, nobody knows what the brackets or results would have been without the doctors.
April 9, 2014
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The official WBF report of the disciplinary hearing is at
http://www.bridge.nl/documenten/Hearing21-22March2014.pdf
April 3, 2014
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“Before the spring NABC” won't help some of us who would like to play the new methods before then, specifically in the GNT qualifier. The changes were announced months ago, and I don't see why new documents weren't in place on Jan 1.
Jan. 20, 2014
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I'm surprised by Henry's second paragraph, Or rather, surprised to see him writing it, though I've seen the argument before.

For me, preacceptance shows an honor in partner's suit and fast tricks outside, _not_ necessarily length. For example, I'd preaccept clubs but not diamonds with AKJx Axx xxxx Kx and refuse both with AQx Kx Kxxx Kxxx. Henry must do something else, but I can't see what it is.

Notice that in my version of preacceptance, there's no lead value, and it will be fine if partner plays 3m when he has a weak hand.
Jan. 11, 2014
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If you are going to play Henry's suggestion, it looks better to me to play 3M-1 as the “2.5 raise” and 3M as the full-value raise. That lets you put some GF hands into 3M-1, passing 3M with the 2.5 raise but bidding on with the game-force type(s). Responder may need to be a bit careful about how to show a game-acceptance and shouldn't automatically jump to 4M.
Jan. 11, 2014
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Just to clarify, the “at his own risk” applies when the player who hesitates _has_ a demonstrable bridge reason, but an opponent guesses wrong what that reason is.
Jan. 11, 2014
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As of earlier today, there's no mention of 2H showing “hearts and another” on the Midchart nor any entry in the Defense Database. Anybody know what's up?

When my partner and I played multi (with no strong options, i.e., “Wagner”), we found the 5-5 hands rare. Instead we used our 2M opening to show a minimum-range opener with 6+M, hands that would open 1M and rebid 2M over a semi-forcing 1NT response. That frees 1M-any-2M to show hand types other than a minimum opener with 6+M. Exactly what those hand types should be depends on other methods and on what responder bid, but for us, 1M-1NT-2M showed 6+M with extra values. That keeps the bidding lower in case of a misfit while still showing opener's extras. I don't know that this is a huge improvement over standard bidding, but it seems better than wasting two opening bids for hands we rarely got dealt.

If dealt 5M-5m, we just open 2D or pass, depending on the usual factors that would affect a standard 2M opening. (trivial typo fixed)
Jan. 6, 2014
Steve Willner edited this comment Jan. 7, 2014
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Great article, as always.

The _Journalist Leads_ book says that when leading a spot card from an even number in a suit that has been bid and supported (as hearts here in effect), lead the highest spot one can afford instead of third high. I think the main gain is from something like xx32, leading an x shows immediately that leader has even count where the 3 could be lowest from odd with declarer concealing the 2. It doesn't work so well here, where H-9 could be from Q9xx or 9xxx.

Any opinions on this as opposed to straight “third and low”?
Jan. 1, 2014
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How about some discussion about third seat? I agree 10-12 NV first and second makes a lot of sense, and so does strong in fourth seat. If you are dealt a mini NT in fourth seat, someone else is almost sure to open before the auction gets to you. There's no point in reserving an opening bid to show 10-12 balanced. Even 12-14 will be uncommon after three passes.

In third seat, it's not so clear to me. 1NT is still preemptive, and preempting is more useful if fourth seat is strong. There's probably a bit more risk in using 10-12 or a bit wider range, but NV it seems tolerable. In practice, I got good results playing 10-12 in third seat NV, but that was at a much lower level of play than Kit's.

One other observation is that in the ACBL, even some quite good players (below Kit's level, but that can still be pretty good) don't know what to do against a weak or mini NT. Presumably that's just lack of experience, but why not exploit it?
Dec. 29, 2013
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In the ACBL, changing systems during a session is normally illegal, but I've never heard any restriction on changing systems between sessions. Where did you find that?

In a Swiss, each match is a separate session, so you can change systems (or indeed partnerships) between matches.
Dec. 29, 2013
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