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All comments by Drew Hoskins
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Want to eat up space while not giving them an easy way to penalize me or revealing my shape. With my 5 hearts and p’s likely club length, partner was unlikely to get me involved with my hearts anyway.
July 30
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The whole point of a civil penalty is to remove the financial incentive to cheat. For a professional pair, the punishment needs to be based on a calculation of how much a pair might have gained, monetarily, by cheating, and then suspending them for an amount of time such that they lose some multiple of that amount.
The bodies in power must make sure that lifetime earnings are very likely to go down for cheaters.
Sept. 21, 2015
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redacted
Sept. 21, 2015
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This is an awesome idea. I don't know whether it's before its time.
But imagine, in 10 years, we can probably be playing in virtual reality. When the technology is ready, this will give us great latitude to make the game seem natural and social but also filter out mechanisms of cheating and reducing errors like revokes.
Sept. 18, 2015
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“Defeated contracts” is too blunt of an instrument, but you can calculate the double-dummy best defense and figure out how often the pair achieves that result.
The thing to be careful of is that defensive skill will likely plot on a bell curve, and so just because a pair is an outlier doesn't mean they are cheating. That said, there are still statistical techniques available.
In addition, some pairs that are simply not as good at defense may be cheating, in which case their overall results would still look reasonably in range.
You can also look at how often a defensive result is an outlier when comparing with other tables. This is flawed if a pair uses different defensive methods than most others (e.g. freq. suit preference), or if a pair gets a lot of boards against a weak declarer. It also doesn't work in teams finals. =)
Overall no one signal will get you anything near definitive but if you synthesize a range of signals you can probably get a pretty good signal-to-noise ratio on probable cheaters.
Sept. 18, 2015
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Shelagh, the software would throw out all boards that the cheaters play. It's effectively like having a “ghost pair”. The only unfairness comes from the fact that then, different people play different boards. So you then have to assess whether that level of unfairness (not to mention any emotions of any opponents who feel they've been cheated) is a worthwhile tradeoff.
Sept. 16, 2015
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In the computer industry, we have so-called “white hats” who are paid when they find security vulnerabilities in our software and hardware. As we evolve our cheating countermeasures, it strikes me that it would be easy to implement a white hat program for pair games where a certain pair is instructed to try to cheat and get away with it and see if it gets noticed by people who are unaware that they were supposed to cheat. Those boards they play would be thrown away of course and the pair would not qualify for masterpoints for that game. After they play, we would evaluate whether it got detected.
In the absence of such a program, it is extremely difficult to measure whether your countermeasures are set up well.
Sept. 16, 2015
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Good job, Squeezey Bear is pleased! Faced with the same situation as E, I switched to the K of hearts to try to break up the squeeze. I congratulated myself when declarer frustratedly conceded a heart, but with all the spots, it looks like he could have squeezed me just as well.

I guess the main difference is the spade switch meant you got to take the spade finesse while you still had control of the hand.
March 22, 2015
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If I bid 4S, the auction doesn't scream for a trump lead. If P has the spade A, there's a good chance I can get a heart ruff. Picture partner with AQJxxx Axx KQx x. I can try for a heart ruff or fall back on the trump finesse.
Feb. 5, 2015
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Partner is not a passed hand.
March 25, 2013
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2S very nearly gets my values across. Partner will know I could have passed one spade with 3 and a weaker hand.
Nov. 20, 2012
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Brilliant article, especially the part about one's own emotional state.
Aug. 2, 2012
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6D - cool hand. My line was to cash the A of hearts, ruff a spade, cash the K of diamonds, K of hearts pitching a spade and then take a ruffing finesse in hearts, planning to pitch the last spade if the heart is ducked, or ruff with the 9 if it's covered.
Now I come home when diamonds are 3-2 or when diamonds are 4-1 and hearts are Qxx or Qxxx on my left (or Qx in either hand), as well as misc. smaller chances.
If my analysis is right, I lose to the other line against the stiff 8 of diamonds when the hearts don't work, but win against stiff 6,5,2 when they do.
July 31, 2012
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I was torn between 4C (partner, please pick a strain) and P, and then the likelihood of a bad trump break after the preempt decided me on pass.
At IMPs I would strain for a big score and bid 3N or 4C.
Feb. 26, 2012
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On the actual hand, 5S was a lock. W reasonably could have redoubled. If S instead pulled to 5C (or pulled after a redouble) with Qxxx of clubs, I believe that would go for 500.
Feb. 26, 2012
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I don't need to involve partner here as far as finding strain, and 2D doesn't really help him evaluate. So I will X to show my strength and let the other players tell me what's going on. After, say, (4S) P P, I will 5d and just have completed a great description of my hand.

Lynn's point about trying to get doubled is compelling, but I'd rather give us a shot of getting to slam.
Feb. 26, 2012
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I like 5S better than 5NT.
For one, I might be able to get out at the 5 level when that's appropriate.
Secondly, partner might hesitate to bid spades over 5NT even with something like Axx.
Partner should cater to me having doubt about strain; she knows I can always correct to 6S with 7 solid.
Feb. 24, 2012
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