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All comments by Joe Hertz
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(how do I delete a comment? I replied to wrong part of thread)
Dec. 10, 2014
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5. The Committee discussed the possibility of creating a new chart between the Mid- chart and the Super Chart.

Loving this one. This stops the madness of having games like the 5 table Howell at the First Christian Church in North Bend, Oregon and the A/X section of the Washington (DC) Bridge League's Unit Game both defaulting to the same convention chart.

Okay, that's not quite true. They let you play Multi-2 at the WBL.

So I'm going to wildly speculate here about such a beast.

-Weak unbalanced 1NT openers (Fantunes ftw!).
-The return of the Multi-2 opener.
-All National events without a masterpoint restriction will use this chart.
-Top bracket of Regional KO's will use this chart.
-Regional KO brackets above >????< to the old midchart? Would Multi stay Mid(6) then?
Dec. 8, 2014
Joe Hertz edited this comment Dec. 8, 2014
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I was dead serious when I said it was Schrodinger's lead problem.

I mean, sheesh Dave, let's pretend you're right and taking action ahead of time to stop a lead from the wrong hand is somehow “participating in the play”. Let's see what would follow.

Anyone whose partner has a bad habit of always leading from the wrong hand can do whatever he wants then? Worse, anyone who merely *claims* that to be the case can? He suspect it's happening, therefore he does something about it.

And hey, if my physical limitation prevents me from effectively stopping partner from making an error if I only see it coming at the last nano, then it stands to reason that a physical limitation of my partner that makes it *more* likely for him to make such an error would necessarily permit me to say “In your hand” any time I get the funny feeling that “uh oh – he's about to screw up again”, regardless if I was wrong about it (Oh, And good luck proving if I actually was wrong about it).

This interpretation, even if correct, would be totally unenforceable.

The only way to prevent that would be to say that doing it *at any time* constitutes participation in the play (which is certainly is the WBF's position). There's just no way that anything between those two interpretations can work, not unless you've got a mindreader for a director.
Dec. 7, 2014
Joe Hertz edited this comment Dec. 7, 2014
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Two Words: Executive Session
Dec. 7, 2014
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Heck, now that I think of it, here's an even worse situation:

Declarer while correctly leading from the dummy, says to dummy, “Lead the 9 of…no wait”.

The opps can now insist on a lead of a 9. If dummy only has a single nine in it, that's the one he has to lead. So at the utterance of a single syllable from the declarer, it might be too late.

So it can go, “Lead the nine, no wait I'm in my…” and the opp can say, “I accept the lead” because it was designated and a change cannot be made in that as there was clearly a pause for thought there.

This is officially now Shrodinger's lead problem.
Dec. 7, 2014
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Meh. What part of the play would we be talking about, assuming if it's not merely to prevent a revoke?
Dec. 7, 2014
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Ed –

In the above comment I linked to an article about a partner I have who is totally blind. And I happen to wear hearing aids that are entirely inadequate for the point my hearing as decayed to. (Deadly serious. Our convention card general approach is marked, “Bid No Evil”).

I dare say expecting one to preempt partner from the moment you notice his intent to lead from the wrong hand isn't a reasonable expectation for everyone. Unless the “In your hand”/“On the board” comment on every trick *is* appropriate, and I get the feeling that most of the participants here don't think so.
Dec. 7, 2014
Joe Hertz edited this comment Dec. 7, 2014
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Dave –

Please look at the boxed article on page one of this link and tell me it is really that simple, and that all any partner has to do is simply pay attention. What would you have Eddie do in the name of “paying sufficient attention”? Heck, Eddie keeps his hand stacked face down in his palm below the table level. He has to do that because that's the only way he can be sure he isn't exposing his cards. So how can I spot him trying to lead a card with enough time to stop it if it is out of turn?

http://web2.acbl.org/nabcbulletins/2002summer/db2.pdf

You're making an awful lot of assumptions here. I dare say that prescience on the part of dummy for declarer may be one of them. I would suggest that anyone who had that wouldn't find bridge to be very challenging though.

What about anyone with the form of Parkinsons that slows down reaction time?

In the case of the able bodied, sometimes the declarer plays quickly because his slow opps last round left him under the threat of a slow play penalty. Should he play slower at all times, even when he's sure of which hand is on lead, just in case because nobody's perfect after all?

Paying attention only gets you so far.
Dec. 6, 2014
Joe Hertz edited this comment Dec. 7, 2014
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I'll take it as a compliment, even if a little bit of a misguided one even though I've never taken part in any discussion she might be referring to. I haven't even seen one but I've only gotten active on BW recently.

She says technology and the internet are not the enemy. She wants to take advantage of both. Yay Suzi, bring it on! See, I'm supportive. I'm no Troll!

So let me ask this – does the ACBL chime in on the BW threads where their mgmt decisions are “attacked”? I ask because trolling is the act of saying stuff to generate a response. If the ACBL doesn't ever respond to them, then the trolls sure suck (or the ACBL clearly isn't the one they are trolling).

The only way to establish that the ACBL is being trolled (and who those trolls actually are) is to respond constructively and see what happens next. Members of an organization discussing the actions of the organization on an internet based forum isn't trolling. But claiming that it is trolling *is* a straw-man argument.

My next lesson on internet etiquette terminology shall cover the topic of flounces, Ceiling Cat, and Godwin's Law (with its associated corollaries).
Dec. 6, 2014
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First off, I cannot imagine such a suggestion getting made by the stronger team. The team that believes it will win should want to go in at full strength. Nobody actually rates their teams on the basis of, “Can my bottom four beat their bottom four?”. If both teams believe they will win, neither team makes this suggestion. If that suggestion was made to me by the other team, I might actually wonder if their top pair was even available for the match so I'd be inclined to say no on gp.

Also, I can't imagine a scenario where anyone sits their best pair willingly unless you really think there is a matchup problem for your best pair. But then this question becomes a fair consideration.

I know of a pair I consider to be relatively weak, but also consider them to be quite capable of fixing *anyone* in competitive situations. If I was captaining a team against one that had them playing me, I'd put my most conservative pair against them. That might not be my best pair. My best pair would then get their other pair. But I'd also like to think that anyone I had could beat them, the question is by how much.

And if somehow that didn't dissuade me, I'd also need a scenario where carryover is irrelevant. Even if a close score gets us both in, beating them handily still has to be better, right?

So now for me to think it MIGHT be a good idea, I'd have to believe that they are being straight with me about their top pair's availability, that it improves my chances of winning, that I'm worried about being able to get that close or better score I need in a straight up battle, that the desire for carryover is of negligible concern (which in all fairness, if I think I'm outgunned, I would carryover is the least of my problems), AND that this offer only gets made if the other team feels the same way about me and mine so that they'd make the offer because the team that perceives itself as the stronger team doesn't make this offer.

So it's probably quite unlikely to happen.

If it somehow did happen…hrm. I think it would come down to that I *really* don't like feeling like I'm playing fast and loose with the laws, so in the interest of being able to look myself in the mirror, I'd suggest to the other captain that we get a blessing for such an arrangement from the DIC of the event and then discuss it with the team.
Dec. 5, 2014
Joe Hertz edited this comment Dec. 5, 2014
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Personally, I just point to declarer or the dummy on every trick that our side won.
Dec. 5, 2014
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This all boils down to “Does preemptively trying to prevent declarer from leading from the wrong hand constitute communicating something about the play?

No way. It can't. Here's why:

Declarer tells dummy to lead a card. Dummy says, ”Youre in your hand“. RHO of Declarer says, ”I accept the lead of the card from dummy“.

Director is called. Having been the RHO in this situation, I can tell you the ruling the national TD made was, ”card lead from dummy is accepted“.

Declarer was upset because this denied him the dummy's ”right to try to stop him from playing from the wrong hand". Problem was he DID play from the wrong hand and so it didn't matter. Dummy should have acted first.

If the dummy isn't allowed to stop RHO from accepting that lead, he simply HAS to act preemptively. No other way around it.

So personally, I always just either point to declarer or dummy's cards from the moment the previous trick is won by one of them, and stay like that until the lead of the next trick is made.
Dec. 5, 2014
Joe Hertz edited this comment Dec. 5, 2014
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I don't think it's wrong, but it's not really a question. If they both needed the swing, they would do this even without discussion. They would see the seating and think, “Oh good. I dont need to ask for a coin flip”.

They probably wouldnt discuss it because their advancement could be quite possibly at the expense of the other team, so they couldn't expect the other team to help them here, but they'd be pleased with the outcome.

The real question is: Say that the systemic swing issue didn't occur to one of the captains of the teams. Would it be right for his opponents to mention it to him if it is in his team's interest as well as yours (either way, assuming you both needed a close or better outcome, or if you both needed a big win)?

If you think it is kosher to do that, then ask yourself this:

One team needs a big positive swing, one team needs no worse than a small negative one. One team has a dumb captain. One team has an intelligent one. Is it fair for the smart one to take advantage of the dumb one by trying to convince him what is in smart one's interest is actually in the dumb one's, or both of their interests (say trying to convince him that having the strong club pairs both sit N/S would be more likely to result in a swing)?

I suspect most of us would say the first scenario is okay but the latter one is not.

Dec. 5, 2014
Joe Hertz edited this comment Dec. 5, 2014
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I tend to believe that any scenario that causes a benefit to a team from losing a match is the result of a flaw with the structure of the event itself.

Surely some of us were totally aghast at the Olympic Badminton bruhaha where competitors were dumping matches in the qualification rounds for position in the KO phase.

Most bridge events I've competed in have avoided this problem by way of giving the top 25% of the field their choice in order of competitors from the bottom 50% of the field. This way there is no advantage to dumping matches. If you are #1=4, you have no obligation to select #13-16 as your opponents. Any unselected from #9 down are fair game.

Surely it's our obligation to try to win. But losing by a small margin is acceptable and winning by a huge margin isn't that much of a benefit, the correct strategy would be to minimize risk.

If both teams want minimal risk, they will both play that way whether there is discussion on that level or not.

If they don't, they won't.

Talk might let them both know what is happening, but it's not going to change anything.

We need an example where discussion would actually change a team's tactics for this question to not be moot.

Dec. 5, 2014
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I suppose it might matter in theory somehow, but this really isn't the case where it would.

Say for a moment that they didn't discuss it or that a team had seating rights over the other:

Team one takes their seats. Team two would place their pairs to avoid systemic swings.

Outcome: Discussing the matter is irrelevant. Both strong club pairs would sit in the same direction because both sides would prefer that and that what their teams will choose if they can manage it.

Now say the position is different. One team needs the swing and the other does not. Then discussing it would result in no agreement and a coin flip or the seating rights would determine things.

Outcome: Discussing the matter is irrelevant. The teams want different things. They won't agree, nor would they choose the outcome the other team wants if it was up to them.

To quote Billy Joel – Either way it's okay you wake up with yourself.
Dec. 5, 2014
Joe Hertz edited this comment Dec. 5, 2014
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1NT bidder was the partner of my regular partner in the side game, but yes.

It was a one session event he played in. He had already made his pigmented point requirements. As it happened, we didn't make it past round one in the MS, so it seems that nobody's interpretation of the laws has a violation. In any case, had we won, it was our intent he would play in only one half of one session at beginning of the minispingold as he was leaving the next day and the designated fourth's plane was likely not going to make it in time for the start of the event.

It was our belief he could earn masterpoints from both events, but not for a multi-session event going on currently from the sessions he did not play in. The same way that an overall award for a 6 person team is divvied up based on how many sessions each person played.
Nov. 25, 2014
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In a NLM game at the NYC NABC, I had nearly this very thing happen. Auction went as follows.

(1NT)- 2* - (3) -?

* == Single Suited hand.

At which point P says, “STOP! I have 12 cards.” 3 bidder had 14. Director is summoned. He says, “I should issue both sides an Avg-, but the card in question is trivially unimportant so we're going to just move it and continue the auction”. P is handed a card. P happens to be totally blind (the cards are braille) and they fumble the hand off.

The 6 is now faceup. Everyone can see it. Avg- for sure, right? NO Director says. It's really unimportant. Trust me. Okay fine. Auction continues. I have a flat 6 pts. I pass. Opener passes. P then passes with the biggest grin I've ever seen because director has handed him his 8th club. RHO was 4441 (4442 initially) and intended 3 as stayman.

Funny part: At the end of the night, the 1NT opener was vocally demanding his Avg- back. Director is having none of it, “Your partner bid 3 while he was 444what???”

Funnier part. 6 years later, I'm on the D6 GNT-C squad at the New Orleans NABC. On the day after I made LM, my partner (not the same one) wound up earning his gold card playing with the 1NT bidder. Found him at the partnership desk when he was sitting out a round from the mini-spingold.

So to sum up. I still dont know if matching Avg- was appropriate.
Nov. 24, 2014
Joe Hertz edited this comment Nov. 24, 2014
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Even when I was an NLM, my mentors always insisted on playing exclusively in Flight A events (and I'm in the DC area, so that meant playing against Robinson, Cole, Palmer, Cappelletti Sr., et al). But when I had someone closer to my masterpoint holding I found that even if I could talk them into playing up, if the event was a sectional or greater rating, I wanted to go into the A/X section or play in the nice safe NLM game.

I never found myself having problems with ignored skip bids, people trying to sneak a surreptitious look at their own convention card, or anything like that in Flight A. Everyone was gracious and welcoming. A bit like how I imagined medieval duelling. In NLM, everyone was still learning and nobody thought about ways to jostle for position. Even when people made an error on that order, it was out of ignorance and once explained to them they didn't do it again. It was all sweetness and light at that level.

Flight B? Hoo Boy. I once had a Sunday BCD Swiss at a sectional that had ten director calls. I counted em. The first one happened even before anyone looked at their cards in round 1 (The opps pre-alerted us to a mid-chart gadget they played but MidChart wasn't kosher in flight B). It went downhill from there. The last call was the director making sure we were okay because he hadn't heard from us in over fifteen minutes.
Nov. 19, 2014
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Ed – Quoting the response to the email where I asked about it:

“Gamesmanship is NOT part of our game. In my view penalties would accrue under Laws 90 and 91. Your described actions are no different than trying to fool the opponents into playing incorrectly by varying the tempo of card play. Not nice.”

I was totally convinced I had misexplained it or something.
Nov. 19, 2014
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I'm okay doing it every time if that gets me out of the problem with it. My plan was to only do it when I saw LHOs card on the way while I was still playing mine, but yeah.

I still want someone at the ACBL to say it's okay before I try it though.
Nov. 19, 2014
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