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All comments by Wayne Burrows
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I like this to show four hearts and use 2NT to show the minors.
Dec. 20, 2018
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Michael Bodell: “With the above I want to be clear that I'm not saying that a failure to double on an actual hand as here with the diamond A makes one not an expert. I think it is a mistake to fail to do so, but everyone makes mistakes.”

I am unconvinced that using double to indicate diamonds is the most efficient method.

1. I have to be able to pass to indicate no special desire for any particular lead.

2. Therefore double should indicate some particular lead.

3. The opening leader will often have a natural diamond lead.

4. This specific auction indicates that the A is the most likely key card to be missing.

5. From 4. and 5. we would expect partner to lead a diamond most of the time.

6. I may wish to direct partner away from a diamond lead.

7. Therefore double should indicate some non-diamond lead.

All of that however is irrelevant though as we must restrict our thought to what double or not double would mean for this particular partnership.

“If with in tempo pass it was like 50%♦,30%♣,20%♠ lead likely to be right and the BIT pass makes it 40%♦,59%♣,1%♠ likely to be right, then when ♠ was a LA to begin with I can't lead either a ♦ or a ♣ as both are suggested over the ♠.”

Maybe I am misunderstanding you but if I have a 50% choice and I know it then I do not choose a 30% or a 20% choice ever. That is if one action is 50% “likely to be right” and other actions are less likely to be right then it is 100% to make the 50% choice in the long run.

The reason we have variations in actions is that implicitly others think the probabilities are different not because the actual odds of success are different.

If we have two options for lead, for simplicity and one is 51% likely to be right (and the other 49%) then it is 100% that you should lead the 51% suit assuming the odds are known (and there are no special considerations - wanting to play for a swing for example.)

These odds are not known and the reason we have variation and alternatives is that different players make different (implicit) subjective odds about each situation they encounter. Some do not even attempt these assessments and rely on bridge maxims like do not lead away from a king versus a grand slam.

The odds of success do not need to add to 100%. In a situation like the present case perhaps most leads most of the time will lead to 7NT making. If a diamond lead is even a small percentage to hit the ace and no other lead is promising then it is theoretically 100% to make the diamond lead.

I estimate that south will a priori hold the diamond ace somewhere between 15% and 100% depending on how you judge Levin is likely to continue after 5 (or even 4 X P P) with the A and opposite an unlimited partner.

I also estimate that a non-diamond lead is less than 5% to beat 7NT. Under those conditions I think a diamond is 100% the right lead.
Dec. 20, 2018
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“So what? You must try to put the respondent in North’s shoes, without ringing bells to him.”

You must try to establish whether a bid is a logical alternative. In part in order to do that you need to establish first that your data is reliable.

This is not simply a numbers game. The definition of logical alternative might be but the polling process which is not defined in the law is not.

My point 5. was not intended to be exhaustive. At 7. I said “Wayne would try to look for other evidence to refute or back up any view that there was or was not a logical alternative (and that something was demonstrably suggested).”

Therefore when MR tells me that it is always reasonable to not lead away from a king not only would I ask those in agreement with MR what about the possibility of a diamond void here but I would ask those who do lead a diamond what about the danger of a diamond lead from a king versus a grand slam.

Given the limitations of a small sample poll I really have to get as much information as I can in order to make a judgement about both logical alternatives and what is demonstrably suggested.
Dec. 20, 2018
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For close decisions a poll of five or six people is almost worthless.
Dec. 20, 2018
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“How else do you, as a director, determine whether ”a significant proportion of the class of players in question, using the methods of the partnership, would seriously consider {an action}, and some might select {it}?“ ”

The problem with a poll is not “How else …” but that a poll of five or six people does not reliably answer that question.

If the threshold is say 10% actually choosing an action and the real population numbers are around 10% but below the threshold then based on a poll of five or six people you end up with close to coin flip 50-50 odds that your poll will point you in the right direction.
Dec. 20, 2018
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“Since double clearly shows the ♦A (I don't think any expert has said otherwise) then pass could (theoretically) be another ace.”

This is irrelevant. Who cares what every expert thinks. The only thing that is relevant is what double would have meant for the unpracticed Glubok-Antonsen partnership. That is not recorded.

As to whether any expert has said that double means something other than the A I do not know. What I do know is that three of the original pollees were leading a diamond without a double - What were they hoping for? I also know that other commenters here have said they chose a diamond without the double. You can comment on whether they are experts.

Also if as you suggest “pass could be another ace” then it seems to me that slow pass could be another ace and it took some time to work through that he could not double. In that scenario, a slow pass suggests a suit other than diamonds and the conditions of the law are not met.
Dec. 20, 2018
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On 3. No. I mean if the poll result is marginal then it is not conclusive. As I wrote elsethread polls based on a small number of respondents can be up to around a 50% chance of being wrong.

On 4. I do not think so. The law requires in order to determine a logical alternative that we are “using the methods of the
partnership”. If someone states partner would have doubled with an ace but they partnership methods prohibit that or even make that uncertain then their judgement is likely tainted.

On 5. Again I do not think so. If you accept opinions blindly then you cannot be sure that they seriously considered. It might have been a throwaway comment because it is just a poll. Basically, by asking additional questions you are getting some qualitative information to enhance the small amount of quantitative information from your small sample poll. Indeed there is no requirement for a polls but neither is their a requirement that the poll is conducted only quantitatively.
Dec. 20, 2018
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Ray:

1. So the player can tell me their substantial reason to believe that both has a logical alternative and that the action chosen was suggested. That seems a reasonable place to start.

2. The laws require the logical alternatives to be determined with respect to players playing the same methods. If someone cannot divorce their own pet methods or their perception of general bridge logic from the particular methods then they are no use to me. I am not excluding them because they do not agree with me. If I am getting a poll I have not yet made up my mind. That is precisely how I approached this problem. I looked at it then gathered evidence then formed a view. As a director I do not form an entrenched view before gathering the evidence.

3. I run simulations simultaneously with practicing at times. They are pretty easy to set up mostly. It would certainly be possible while directing a session - I may have even done that while directing on BBO in the past.

4. The laws do not require a poll. Polls are extremely flawed when based on very small samples as almost invariably they are.

5. If I can't understand their reasoning then perhaps they cannot demonstrate that the hesitation suggests what they are claiming. A demonstration is not merely an opinion. It requires much more than that.
Dec. 20, 2018
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Axxxx, Kxxxx, AKxxx do not make a grand likely without some extreme compensation which could only be solid clubs.

So maybe five heart tricks is an overbid but six or more tricks in hearts and clubs is not so much.
Dec. 20, 2018
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Michael R: Levin bid 7 having opened hearts and knowing almost nothing about Grue's hearts holding - likely fewer than four. I think there is a very strong inference that Levin has a good heart suit.

It is not clear who has the A but I think Levin is the overwhelming favourite for the king and queen or if not the queen then at least six hearts, and he probably has the jack as well.

He needs some prospect of counting 13 tricks in spades.
Dec. 20, 2018
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This suggests if double of 6 says do not lead a heart that double of 7 should say lead one other particular suit and pass should say lead the other particular suit.
Dec. 20, 2018
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Earlier this year I passed a 26 count in first seat. I was distracted by a discussion at the table and did not even recall passing but I must have taken the card out of the box. I certainly had no intention to pass. In my case it was too late as I did not realise until after partner had passed.
Dec. 20, 2018
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I agree with David, that almost everything in Ben's list should apply to all players.

It is an environment where variations in procedure are tolerated by all that allows cheaters to exploit those variations to their advantage.
Dec. 20, 2018
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1. Yes. He may know that hearts and clubs are not running and I have diamonds.

2. Yes. These world class players had a misunderstanding about the A if that is possible then it is possible they could have had some other misunderstanding. For example, Michael Rosenberg, I think, has suggested Grue could have lied about the A. If that is possible then with a diamond void Levin might have thought all of the key cards were present when one was missing if Grue answered honestly to Blackwood. In that case any key-card could be missing.
Dec. 20, 2018
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Richard: Michael Hargreaves has already answered that question as it caters to stiff ace. Incidentally when I did some simulations consistent with the bidding to the best of my understanding a small diamond was preferred to the K - this was giving west ace or void.
Dec. 20, 2018
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“I'm trying to picture how this situation would have unfolded if Wayne were a director and was called to the table after an acknowledged hesitation by S. ”

1. The hesitation was not acknowledged. So firstly we need to determine whether the hesitation transmitted through the screen. The discrepancy between one minute and 7 seconds could in part be because of the effect of the screen. But let's leave that issue aside and assume the hesitation was acknowledged.

2. The director needs to determine whether the hesitation means that the lead “is demonstrably suggested over another by
unauthorized information.” As a first approach, I would listen to why the players thought that a diamond was suggested over some other lead by the hesitation. That would not necessarily be definitive. In this case, there is nothing in the appeal - the five bullet points in the write up - that suggests an argument for a diamond lead being demonstrably suggested. The argument seems to be that no one would lead from a king and implicitly because a lead was from a king and was successful it must have been suggested. I would be skeptical that a diamond was suggested if the players, and especially players of this standard, could not articulate why a diamond was suggested over some other lead from the hesitation. The law requires a demonstration.

3. If I was convinced that a diamond was demonstrably suggested over some other lead then I would need to determine whether the other leads were logical alternatives. Polls can only help in this process they cannot be definitive. In order to conduct a poll I would need to establish the defender's methods and in particular what double of 7NT would mean or if there was doubt about that meaning. It is most important to know what north, the player on lead, would think that a double would mean. I would also need to know what the opponents' auction meant including any inferences as pollees would be entitled to factor in that information to their choice of lead.

4. I would exclude from the poll anyone who claimed something inconsistent with the methods such as the definitive statement that partner would have doubled with an ace, or some particular ace if that was not consistent with the methods of the partnership.

5. I think it would be appropriate to question dogmatic views, like never leading away from a king, especially if it was established that a diamond void was possible with west as it inevitably would be. I also think it would be appropriate to ask what layout they are playing for if they lead for example a spade.

6. Computer simulations could help weigh up the credibility of the players at the table and the pollees. Why is someone suggesting a spade when there is (almost) no layout that a spade will beat this contract?

7. Wayne would try to look for other evidence to refute or back up any view that there was or was not a logical alternative (and that something was demonstrably suggested). Indeed when I first saw this problem I was not sure and so I tried to gather other data - I did simulations; I talked to others about the auction and implications and without trying to impose my view which was still being formulated.

The fact remains that I have not seen a convincing argument that a diamond is suggested. The language in the laws is very strong here “is demonstrably suggested”.

A hesitation, if it was about the auction and not something extraneous, does not relate to a particular suit. It just says I have got something. That is not enough. And it is especially not enough when the diamond lead is indicated by the auction.

With xx xxx KJxxx xxx if declarer has the A the likelihood of 12 tricks five spades, five hearts, and two aces is overwhelming. And therefore with the additional values or tricks shown by East's correction to 7NT the likelihood of 13 tricks is overwhelming. When there is a real possibility conveyed by the lawful auction that the A is not held, and there is such a real possibility, it is close to an insanity to not lead a diamond.
Dec. 20, 2018
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I want to know what double means before I commit.
Dec. 19, 2018
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“THEY CAN'T BE OFF AN ACE BECAUSE PARTNER DID NOT DOUBLE.”

This does not fit with the facts. They were off an ace and partner did not double.
Dec. 19, 2018
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What alternative bid are you suggesting instead of 2?
Dec. 19, 2018
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In support of Michael Hargreaves example, I have actually declared 6NT doubled off two aces held by the opening leader who had doubled and I made my contract after they were not cashed.

Sure it was not against an expert like Brian Glubok but neither was it a completely incompetent and inexperienced player) but if we start reasoning that everything or anything might be a logical alternative then at some level the laws effectively will become if it hesitates then shoot.
Dec. 19, 2018
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