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All comments by Joe Hertz
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If I thought it was a complex auction, I wouldn't have asked. I'm not even sure the bids in questions were skip bids as much as they were conventional. The opponents were certainly taking much less than 10 seconds for their bids. I have no idea why they wanted us to wait. I'm pretty sure they didn't care if we did…so then my mind went to “Why are they even using this thing??”. I regret not asking them why they wanted us to pause…the answer might have been interesting.

At the time, I made the request hoping I would *not* have to call the director should the stop card come out as a slam try was being directed. That would have been bad.
Aug. 12, 2015
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I've actually been involved with another type of organization that uses bunches of hotel space: Science Fiction Conventions.

That being said, I know most get their function space provided gratis in exchange for making their room booking requirement, and that the ACBL's deal should only be better given it is the largest booker of hotel rooms in the US. That, and nobody worries about a bunch of visigoth and/or kinkster bridge players trashing the hotel.

The biggest difference in their usage of the hotels would, in my mind be the space requirements. The ACBL would need much much more, but it will use more per attendee. So I would think the ACBL's deals would be better than ours would be. But also, I can only guess that the space requirements the ACBL has often limit the places it can go and therefore hurt its negotiating position. I don't know which way this stone tumbles.

I don't complain about this and to be clear I am NOT complaining about it because I know full well I don't know what's going on on the ACBL's side of the hotel negotiations. But I know my little world's perspective and here's what it makes me think, for right, wrong, fair or not, my perspective is that the ACBL doesn't get much bang for its room booking power, or at least as much as I'd guess it should but I have just enough knowledge to be dangerous that way –

1) No Negotiated Corkage Waivers? Corkage is a tariff of sorts charged by a hotel. It's a fee tacked onto you bringing in anything into the hotel that the hotel would otherwise want to sell you itself. It's purpose is to discourage you from doing that. This is why in San Francisco in 2012, if you won a bottle of wine at the prize desk for a section top, there was a warning of a fee that applied if you opened it in a public area of the hotel. Corkage. It's why coffee is expensive. It's the answer for lots of why's about Things That Suck™.

A Sci Fi Con's first order of business it to get corkage waived for the attendees. From my spectator's bridge player perspective, I've never seen it waived at Regional or NABC. Does it happen? If not, why not? I imagine it would be expensive, but probably would go a lot towards making folks happier.

2) Wifi. Last 3 NABC's I've been to (all Summer's) didn't have free wifi in the rooms. I've never been to a Con that didn't offer this…but Sci-Fi cons are attended by nerds. In this day and age, this should be de-rigeur. Hell, get those Resort Fees included in the room rate too.

3) Parking is always something the locals want thrown in and it costs. The ACBL will have this problem where a Sci Fi Con will not.

4) The thing nobody talks about. Comped Rooms. In exchange for the room book commitment being reached, not only is the function space provided, but some number of free rooms will be provided to the organization as well. Usually on a sliding scale. N paid rooms get you f(N) comped rooms. Obviously these go to the staff who runs the NABC, as they should, but there's a cost for those too. There are trade-offs going on. I'm sure at some point there is someone saying, “We'd love to negotiate a corkage waiver/parking discount/free pony rides, but if we did that we'd get N fewer rooms and it would cost us a lot”. The operative point here is there are differences in how the costs are recovered. If you get the corkage waiver, you'd need to charge more to play bridge so as to pay for the rooms of the director's who need to be there. The bridge players pay for it one way or another.
Aug. 12, 2015
Joe Hertz edited this comment Aug. 12, 2015
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The options on this poll for “Just alert visually” or “Just alert audibly” should never ever get used. I have a severe-to-profound hearing loss, and one of my early partners is blind.

Because people like us exist, if you alert, you do it both ways.
Aug. 11, 2015
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I love it when I see that happen on BBO (where they never show you your P's alerts). Instant Player Notation.
Aug. 11, 2015
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I had one occasion to ask people to not use the stop card after the 3rd time they used it in an auction where we were passing throughout. Same logic applied as would to ask for no alerts: It's more likely to help you than me in this situation. They refused.

I'd actually like to see a regulation say to *not* use the Stop card after the 2nd round of bidding or above the level of 2NT (whichever comes last) when the opponents have passed throughout.
Aug. 11, 2015
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I don't think Dave minds as long as everyone else understood he was complaining about it being a disruption to someone who habitually follows the rules for no other reason than that.

I mean, he wasn't the one who grossly misinterpreted what you said (and then implied less than noble reasons for what he did mean), and proceeded to do so in a “public forum”…right?

So sure, go for it. Carry on :-)
Aug. 11, 2015
Joe Hertz edited this comment Aug. 11, 2015
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Very long time ago, I was on the flipside of this. Against expert opps, Partner led an A against a suit contract, and I get asked what our leads are. Of course I'm holding the K. P has lead from Ax and I know it.

And yep, we do lead A from AK. So what's the correct, right, and proper way to answer this question? “A from AK” is accurate but totally misleading.

Maybe it was fine to do otherwise in this precise situation but I erred on the side of caution. I couldn't bring myself to go out of my way to offer up truthful information that I *knew* to be misleading to the opps. The appearance of impropriety bothered me. But I didn't want to give off the impression that I was trying to be very careful in my answer, less I give the position of the King away via a Poker Tell.

So I copped out of the dilemma. I say “Standard” (“Standard” is agnostic what to do with a lead from AK but quite specific about the Ax, which was the specific agreement at work).

Having disclosed the operative agreement, I then try to to project a business as usual attitude, so as to best walk the line between full disclosure of our agreements, and no disclosure of any kind as to the unasked “Whose hand has the King?”.

So then I get asked “Ace from AK?”. *Now* I felt I could say yes with a clean conscience. I have fully disclosed and actively tried to avoid misleading them (even if I tried to do so as casually as possible).

Afterward, I explained the issue, and the opp said he understood perfectly why I did it, but he suggested a better response might have been, “Ace from AK or from Ace and small” which I disagreed with him about. Nobody ever says that. It would be conspicuous by it's inclusion to the explanation and “Standard” covered the Ax situation that was in play.

After that, I tried to make it a point to always say “A from AK, Std otherwise” even when it's not an Ace being lead.
Aug. 11, 2015
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I almost had this happen to me this evening.

After P opens 3 followed by the spade vs hearts duck season/rabbit season auction, the opps were in 5 and I had QJx of trumps sitting on dummy's right.

We had won 2 tricks, I led the first spade of the hand, declarer ruffs. After the trick is quitted, but nobody has played to the next hand, declarer (no way is he cheating. He's a good guy. I need to mention that given the original topic), gets asked “No hearts partner?” and he has one.

Director is summoned. Nothing really changes since my held the trick. I then ask to speak to the director away from the table:

As the A of trump is gone, the dummy is left with a bare K. One of our winners so far was one of my trump honors. I can promote my other honor and set the contract if the declarer can be forced to ruff with that King in the dummy.

And I all but know we have 10 spades between us (P's 7 for his opener, my 3), and dummy had a singleton. This implies declarer started with two. But he erroneously thought he could ruff the very first spade, implying that he only had one (and P had 8). I now want to know if I get any protection if I were to make use of the inference I came into possession of by declarer's mistaken ruff attempt.

Nope, says Director. If I do it, I'm entirely on my own.

So we go back to the table and I'm decided I've gotta trust my own count, and I'm about to lead another spade where my P pipes up saying essentially, “Hey, can I change my play on that trick now that I know declarer did *not* ruff in front of me?”

“Sure”, says Director. So P now decides to overtake my winning spade. And now that he won that trick instead of me, I'm not on lead anymore.

I start screaming on the inside. I had won my trump Queen, not the jack. There is no way partner is going to play me for the QJ3 initial holding. His data can only be worse than mine was (I just raised his preempt. He's the one who made it).

Thank ghu, he did lead that spade, the dummy ruffed, and declarer had started with Qx.
Aug. 11, 2015
Joe Hertz edited this comment Aug. 11, 2015
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Another reason to use bridgemates.
Aug. 10, 2015
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That was it. Same year.
Aug. 10, 2015
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Awesome work.
Aug. 10, 2015
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I know this is beating a dead horse, but it's not even about proper UPS setups or “drive corruption”.

Nobody should blame the ACBL for not being a very good web-hosting provider. It's not a skill anyone should expect them to have. Much of it sounds simple, but 99.9% uptime takes an awful lot of work. The ACBL runs a non profit organization that runs duplicate bridge events. Not server farms.

GoDaddy? DreamHost? RackSpace? I'll blame them mercilessly when they go down. This is their core competency. They exist to be hired by companies like the ACBL. FAIK it would get a sweet deal from these companies via tax status,.

The ACBL running it's own webhosts only furthers the perception that there is a not-invented-here issue in Horn Lake. It shouldn't try. Every time I hear about “our servers going down” or “suffering a glitch”, I face-palm…not at the problem, but that the problem is being filed under “stuff happens”.

No, it doesn't. Or it shouldn't. Really.

Don't complain about the servers having an issue. Ask why people in Horn Lake are trying to wrangle the web servers in the first place.
Aug. 10, 2015
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I know of at least one person who checks the box for “4” as the minimum expected length for a 1 opener even though he does *not* play a short club opener. His reasoning is that the 4432 hand that opens 1 is a <3% occurrence, and the wording on the box is “expected”, not “promised”.

This makes sense to me, but I'm fairly certain that it's not how the majority fills out their cc's.
Aug. 8, 2015
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George Retek was President and had a high level WBF Position, 13 years ago or so. No outcry then.
Aug. 8, 2015
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I'd so play in your club, John. I suspect that people would either drive quite a ways to play…or avoid it.
Aug. 7, 2015
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I've heard of similar stories. 1NT (2) 2

Then 4th seat turns to the inexperienced 1NT bidder and asks if 2 is a transfer. 1NT bidder says, “Oh, I think youre right!”

4th seat was holding 8 spades, and pulled off a Jedi mind trick coup.

Aug. 6, 2015
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“I think your opponent was entitled to advanced warning so he would know whether he was playing his strong ♣ defense.“

I don't believe precision (with its strong club opening) requires a pre-alert, so I doubt this to be the case…but in this instance, we were playing Fantunes, which has transfer responses to a 1 opening and that treatment most *definitely* requires a pre-alert, which we gave.

If ”We play transfer responses to our 1 opening" isn't a clue you should ask questions about what 1 shows before you start bidding to avoid confusion on exactly this sort of issue, then I don't know what is..

But even if he didn't ask then, the way this opp handled it was totally out of bounds.
Aug. 4, 2015
Joe Hertz edited this comment Aug. 4, 2015
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The TD said, “The players in this room are not equipped to handle bidding tactics like that” which isn't so much a legal ruling as an ad-hoc statement of policy.

I actually was hoping he *would* get ruled against so we could take it to a committee. Most of my list of worst director rulings I've experienced (even to this day) happened at NABC's when I played in the NLM room (often in the name of “trying to be nice” which actually was doing the people no favors at all). I wanted to make a point of the newbies deserving better than to get bad antecdotal data from directors about how to play the game.
Aug. 4, 2015
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It was the winning of Platinum points within his first 20 and winding up on a Flight B District GNT Squad before making LM that I was trying to make sound impressive :-)
Aug. 4, 2015
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Hamish -

I'm sure that could be true when the rules don't concern themselves with ethics, but bridge rules try to do that (even if organizations like the ACBL don't do a good job of explaining what those rules actually are to the new player).

Thats why I make the distinction of needing to know it is unethical when you do it. For most bridge players, they only find out what UI is when they took advantage of it the first time and found out they werent supposed to do so. An example of that is hearing partner mis-explain your 4 bid as control showing when you meant it as Gerber, and bidding the slam anyway despite the response, if gerber, telling you to stay out of it. If you knew the rule about your obligations with regard to UI and chose to do it anyway, you should get hit with some sort of sanction. What else would one call intentionally not following the rules?

What would you give as a bridge example of “Unethical but within the rules”?

Aug. 4, 2015
Joe Hertz edited this comment Aug. 4, 2015
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