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All comments by Steve Willner
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We need agreements on what 2NT shows. Presumably short (passing with length), but what else? Showing seems a good agreement. As others have written, 3 seems obvious unless 2NT is something odd.
March 8
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Thanks. I'm not surprised. This is the ACBL we're talking about. There's no perfect solution, of course, not even screens, but some approaches are better than others.
March 8
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My thought too. I might do as this player did, though unless distracted, I'd ask my question in tempo rather than after a pause. The difference between the player in question and me is that I'd do exactly the same thing holding the balanced zero-count.

The real problem with the player the OP asked about (see John Adams' messages above) is not this deal but the many other deals where the player has a weak hand and passes instantly. The bar to doing something about those deals is that nearly everyone – even plenty of good players – does that, and nobody thinks it's wrong.

One possible solution is to bring back the stop card but use it as they do outside the ACBL: the player making the skip bid puts the stop card out _and leaves it on the table for a suitable length of time_. The next player isn't allowed to act until the stop card is picked up. Don't hold your breath waiting for the ACBL to adopt this approach.

By the way, the pause after skip bids is not in the Laws but is a matter of local regulation. As I understand it, Australia has no mandatory pause, for example. They would (I expect) handle the OP case as a standard UI situation, but they will have far more tempo issues than if people adhered to the existing ACBL rules. Given that hardly anyone follows the rules, the Australian approach may be the next best option.
March 7
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I suspect the opponent's strong reaction was caused by consciousness of guilt, but suspicion is not proof.
Feb. 27
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I'm a mere colonial, but I'd still say “queen of clubs.” Extraneous prefatory words such as “play” aren't needed, though I admit to sometimes adding “please” at the end.

The reason to call the Director for the OP's incident is, in my view, not “protecting the field” or protecting one's own result. Rather it's that the opponents have insulted (I suppose young folks would write “disrespected”) the game. Their doing so makes the event unpleasant, or at least it would interfere with my enjoyment.

As others have written, partner's habit of touching or even reaching for dummy's cards before they are called for is a terrible one and needs to be stopped.
Feb. 27
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We agree on that last case above, but now I've found the ones we disagree on. Consider 1-(3=minors)-. For me, the cue bids reach different levels in , so 3 shows and 4 shows . Kerry does the opposite because opps' suits are touching. One could argue about which is superior, but they are different.
Feb. 23
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Sorry, I think your rule comes to the same thing as mine. What I wrote in our system notes was “In almost all cases, the cheaper cue shows the next available suit above that cue, and the remaining cue shows the remaining possible suit. The exception is when we have bid a suit, and the two cues force to the same level in that suit. In that situation only, the more expensive cue shows the suit we have bid.” Let's see:

> 1c - (1nt = h + d)

Both cues reach the same level in , so this is the exception case: 2 shows , and 2 shows .

> 1c - (2d = d + s)

2 and 3 reach different levels in , so this is the normal case. Cheaper cue 2 shows suit above, .

> 1d - (1nt = h + c)

different levels in , normal case, 2 shows .

> 1d - (2d = s + c)

same level in , exception case, 3 shows .

Am I missing an example where we get different answers?

What I'm wondering now is whether “we have bid a suit” should be “partner has bid a suit.” I like using the more expensive cue bid to show a known fit, but I'm not at all sure it should be used when rebidding one's own suit.

And of course there's still the large issue of exactly when U/U should apply at all.
Feb. 22
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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.
Feb. 21
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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 .
Feb. 21
Steve Willner edited this comment Feb. 21
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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.
Feb. 21
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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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