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Michael:

1. The laws require a demonstration. A demonstration that the information suggests a diamond lead.

2. Whether a hesitation means there is a “huge probability” of an ace might depend on how you define “huge”.

3. I have an open mind. I just have not seen any compelling arguments that:

a/ A slow pass suggests a diamond lead.

b/ A non-diamond lead on the auction is at all sensible.

In your next comment you say “Several people commenting here still don't seem to understand that 7NT is ‘special’.” One of the ways 7NT is special is that you must give your side the maximum chance to beat this contract. There is almost no other consideration.
Dec. 18, 2018
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The J and spades 3=3 is not enough on a heart lead. First if spades are 3=3 you do not need the jack. Second if they are then you need the opponent to ruff with the ace in order to safely pitch the heart.
Dec. 18, 2018
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Ray: I agree the pollees do not have to demonstrate anything. My point is that using a poll by the directors is not going to demonstrate that the information is suggested.

Michael: You have not proved that the hesitation shows an ace.

Others claim a double shows an ace. Yet others think that double would show some other particular ace - an unusual lead - in that case pass would show the dA.

Your axiom seems to be that “hesitation … shows an ace.” Once you make that premise your reasoning is circular to some extent.
Dec. 18, 2018
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I do not think east did anything much wrong. He was constrained to bid 1NT and 5 seems automatic with a useful 9 count. Maybe systemically there is something better than 3 but bidding your long suit on a constructive auction cannot be bad.

West, on the other hand, has nothing extra at 5. And the K is a big negative - there is no useful loser for west to throw on the A.

I voted more west than east because there is a huge problem here with a similar hand where east has no major controls and either a slightly better hand or east is better fitting then we cannot show the major controls before 5 and allow east to bid on with the better hand.

So I blame west with a bit of bad luck.
Dec. 17, 2018
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“Demonstrably” means “in a way that is clearly apparent or capable of being logically proved.”

I really do not care what other people think an action suggests if it is not capable of being shown to me. Something is not “clearly apparent” if another person has a different view. If I do not see something then you can only demonstrate it to me by giving me a convincing argument.

I haven't seen one in this thread for the suggestion of a diamond lead.
Dec. 17, 2018
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“Appellate panel pollees: ”When given the information that the tray was slow, all deemed this suggested a diamond lead.“ (My emphasis)”

This does not seem to me to be a good way to determine that information demonstrably suggests a particular action. Maybe every pollee made the same logical error. A demonstration is a proof.

“unanimity of poll responses isn't required to conclude that an action was demonstrably suggested by UI”

Unanimity does not demonstrate anything. Demonstrations are not conducted by a vote, majority, unanimous, or otherwise.
Dec. 17, 2018
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“There is no auction to 7N after a KC auction that, on the surface, ”strongly suggests“ an ace is missing. You have to think deeeply.”

1. I would have thought it was normal practice to able to bid key card with a void when partner has denied a first round control in the suit. I have seen this many times and used key card in this way lots of times.

2. To make a diamond lead standout you do not need that an ace is missing to be strongly suggested. It is enough that there is an appreciable chance that the A is missing and that other leads offer significantly less chance. If I have zero chance on a non-diamond lead and 10% chance on a diamond lead then a diamond lead is standout.

Somewhere in the range 10-15% was the a priori odds I got with a reasonably naive simulation where I allowed west to have A or void consistent with the auction. I am sure the real odds are much higher than that as most hands with the A would or should be bidding 5NT over 5 - that inference is stronger given Levin's expertise.
Dec. 17, 2018
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“ knowing that a lead from a K is abnormal against 7N”

It really is irrelevant what is normal on every other auction or even most other auctions.

We need to concentrate on this particular auction with this partnerships methods.
Dec. 17, 2018
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An UI ruling is a technical matter it is not a matter of ethics.

The ruling in the first instance should be that the player either misjudged or not that a particular action should be allowed in the circumstances.
Dec. 16, 2018
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This has been well known for a long time.

Some claim otherwise but the definition of HUM included the standard short 1 opening by any plain reading of the language.
Dec. 16, 2018
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Peter, depends who is on lead if you miss the A so 50-50 grand in that case.
Dec. 14, 2018
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Actually 40A1(b).

40A3 is also relevant. “A player may make any call or play without
prior announcement provided that such call or play is not based on an undisclosed partnership understanding.”

To me, this plainly says if you have not disclosed your partnership understanding then you are not allowed to use that method.
Dec. 11, 2018
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I think it would be problematic if a logical alternative was defined based on the opinion of a person who did not ask what the auction meant. Therefore at least ordinarily an explanation should be provided.
Dec. 10, 2018
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Michael: Perhaps we wrote at cross purposes. I meant the a priori odds without the consideration of whether or not there as a tempo break.

The comment that there is a huge chance of a tempo break with the A is interesting because it is almost now as if an in tempo pass conveys information that the A is not held. Is the situation really that sensitive?

The situation where Grue might have the A is also interesting. If this is a real possibility then I suspect they will need a partnership discussion.

Suppose Grue has the A and Levin bids Blackwood with a void then when he hears two key cards and assumes they do not include the A then they could be in a no play grand whatever the strain.

Further if Grue might have the A then you and others have ignored that possibility. Say this is the hand where Grue does have the ace if such a hand exists. And they get to grand and south is looking at another ace. Now he might hesitate not sure what to do and especially if he thinks that partner might think a double asks for a diamond lead. To me the possibility of Grue having the A argues against the hesitation suggesting a diamond.
Dec. 9, 2018
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“Which is the better way to show ♦ A over 4♦ x
- XX
- 4NT”

I think this depends on:

1. Whether you want more information. If you redouble partner can conveniently cue 4 and you can gather more information. Alternatively 4NT is taking control. But as we see from Grue's correction to 7NT then it is important if you bid 4NT to confirm all the key cards with 5NT before bidding the slam opposite an unlimited partner.

2. On general principles it is better to allow the unlimited partner to take control of the auction and given west was limited by 3 then with the A it will frequently be best to redouble rather than 4NT.

3. Against 2. since Levin has a source of tricks KQJxx then it can be better for him to take control. If Grue took control on some auctions it might be difficult for him to find the Q.
Dec. 9, 2018
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Are players required to fill in an appeal form in the ACBL?

Amazingly my two ACBL tournaments - one regional and one national - did not see me before an appeal committee.
Dec. 8, 2018
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I have heard a national representative tell her partner that he should have known that she had a good hand because of her sides tempo issues.
Dec. 8, 2018
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The laws do not mention polling peers. Polling is some procedure that directors have used in practice to answer the question. The methodology of the polls is very often flawed. It is always flawed if very small samples are used.

It is also flawed if players will say in response to the poll things like what is reported above “the third said that partner would have doubled clubs with the ♣A and doubled 7NT with the ♦A.”

The law requires the judgement to be made with reference to a player using the same methods as the pair in question. There is nothing in the write up that suggests that this pair would have doubled with the A or the A as suggested by the pollee. The fact that the player did not double with the A suggests that a double might have suggested something else.

The poll results were “In response to the first question, three of the pollees said they would lead a diamond and the same players said the hesitation suggested a diamond lead. The other three players said they would not lead a diamond.”

This does not establish a logical alternative by any analysis. What is the logical alternative? The law says “A logical alternative is an action …”

No action has been determined. “(N)ot lead a diamond” is not an action. It is a cumulation of actions.

The subsequent poll is reported as follows “When asked what they would lead, two chose a diamond – with one, the king was considered. One considered a spade or a diamond; one considered a spade or a club and one chose a spade.”

So one person “chose” a particular lead that was not a diamond. That is one out of five. This is not conclusive as to the question of whether

“a significant proportion of the class of players in question, using the methods of the partnership, would seriously consider, and some might select. ”

I do not know if the ACBL has guidance on this law as to what percentage would be considered a “significant proportion” and what would be considered “some”. In New Zealand these are defined as: “significant proportion” - more than one in four; and “some” - more than an isolated instance.

The one in five that considered a club would not be a significant proportion even if the sample was considered definitive and the two in five that considered a spade would not, in my opinion, convincingly show that there were a significant proportion. There needs to be some understanding of the amount of error in such a poll. If five people are polled and less than 25% would consider such an action then we cannot expect that every poll will give zero or one respondents saying that they would consider it. That is not how statistics work.

These are the rough numbers that I calculated. For a poll of six people from a population of 100 (my ball park figure) where 25% would consider an action then you will get two or more saying they would consider it around 47% of the time.

If you conclude that such a bid is a logical alternative because 2/6 is bigger than 1/4 then you will be wrong nearly half of the time when in fact it was not a logical alternative by your definition. That is how flawed this method is.
Dec. 8, 2018
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Jim: I do not accept that this is the end of the case under the current rules. As I have said elsewhere in this thread proving a threshold of say 10% from a poll of fewer than 10 people is extremely problematic. A much larger sample would be needed to determine that more than 10% would choose an action with anything like certainty.

In this case we have additional problems that have manifest. For example, did the pollees consider the methods of the partnership?

Logical alternative was in the law before the definition which now is included in the law. I do not think the definition is close to optimal. In particular I have often thought about the situation with weaker players. For weak players in many situations almost anything is by definition a logical alternative because there are some other weak players out there that would consider it. This is still the case if the particular person would never take the action claimed to be logical alternative by this definition. The problem is also caused by their being no definition of “class of player”.

The problem here as I see it is an extension of that. Obviously these are not weak players and in particular Glubok whose lead is under scrutiny is a not a weak player. Nevertheless when the logical alternative is defined as what someone else might do and then that is determined by a proxy from a loosely defined poll are we really determining the logical alternatives for that player with any certainty.

There will always be questions about the poll when it is so unscientific.
Dec. 8, 2018
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I am a bit surprised that you think that the A being held is so low at 30%. That means that 70% of the time Levin has the A and did not either redouble 4 to show it or bid 5NT to investigate a grand including the possibility of 7NT as Grue can easily have significant extra values over what was shown by 4.

I am not sure what hands you are imagining that Levin might have to bid this way with the A. The hand I suggested earlier based on the actual hand but changing the QJ for the A in high cards - Kxx KQJxx A Axxx - counts for 12 top tricks in no trumps opposite most bare minimum hands for Grue's bidding. The K, in a suit that has been cue-bid, could easily be the thirteenth as would a sixth spade.

Grue arguably made a poor bid with 7NT, although if Levin's bidding could hide the A then the gamble on the A could be the percentage action with extra tricks. However, to me it is almost incomprehensible that Levin would not investigate or at least allow the unlimited Grue to investigate. Therefore I am inclined to think from a class player like Levin that there is a much higher chance that he does not have the A and therefore a priori that partner does have that card.

“In general, I don't want to send the message that you can turn an ‘almost sure thing’ into a ‘lock’ via UI.”

I understand what you are saying but I am not convinced that this is what the laws say.

If I am defending 7NT and even with your numbers if there is a 30% chance that the opponents are off a specific ace and I know that their long suits are breaking well and will almost certainly produce 10 tricks and then counting two aces and the extras that Grue has announced with 7NT then I am not convinced that we should be forcing a person to give up the 30% chance of a set outright.

“Especially in a case such as this - where the ‘winning’ lead might not even occur to the player without ‘help’.”

The problem is that this is speculative. The law does not and cannot deal with what is in a player's head at the time he made a lead. The law has an objective test.

If the impropriety you suggest exists then it needs to be dealt with by other mechanisms and needs to be dealt with based on evidence of that specific impropriety and not by taking away a close to 100% action speculatively.

Based on your numbers, if a diamond lead is going to lead to a set at least 30% and another lead is going to lead to a set virtually 0% how can we really say that there is a logical alternative to a diamond.

The approach you are advocating is at least in this particular case “if it hesitates shoot it.” I do not believe that is what the law requires.

You seem to be arguing for that approach in what you describe as particularly tempo sensitive situations. You are entitled to that view but we cannot force that on a situation when it is plainly illogical to lead a non-diamond absent any UI.
Dec. 8, 2018
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