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All comments by Wayne Burrows
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I like to use the cheapest response to include nothing to say so:

No heart stopper, no six diamonds, no five clubs, no extra values

or

A minimum hand with three spades.
Dec. 30, 2018
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Maybe south remembered their agreement after 2 had been bid. It legal to take corrective actions after you have realised you made a mistake at least in the absence of UI.
Dec. 30, 2018
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I was thinking about this some more this morning.

In my view it really is untenable to expect a right to trick one pause that is not sanctioned by the laws or RA. Allowing players to determine ad hoc that they will pause without consequence is the type of procedural variation that creates a window for cheats. Many of the recent cheating situations have involved the exploitation of variations of procedure. We need to work on eliminating such potential for variation.

As third player one could easily come up with a routine that would allow you to give information to partner based on a third hand tempo break and even something more sophisticated that would allow you to think about the whole hand unambiguously when needed.

A step in the right direction is to mandate a pause or if not to make any third hand pause subject to the usual UI restrictions.
Dec. 27, 2018
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It is a long time but I believe there was an adverse ruling in the Venice Cup in Perth 1989.

Declarer needs to be careful when he has nothing to think about at trick one with say stiff honour in his hand or an automatic play as does third hand. This is a situation that could be misleading and the laws require players to take special care in such situations.

I do not think that it is a good idea for some players to be able to define normal accepted procedure when the RA has chosen to not defined the procedure in that way.

Either the RA should mandate the pause or the players should pause at their own risk.
Dec. 26, 2018
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The laws allow for mandated trick one pause but the Regulating Authorities as far as I am aware have not implemented such mandatory pauses.
Dec. 26, 2018
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“Otherwise, unintentionally to vary the tempo or manner in which a call or play is made is not an infraction. ”

If a player takes it on themselves to vary the tempo at trick one then they are not unintentionally varying the tempo.

“ Calls and plays should be made without
undue emphasis, mannerism or inflection,
and without undue hesitation or haste. But
Regulating Authorities may require mandatory
pauses, as on the first round of the auction, or
after a skip-bid warning, or on the first trick” L73A2.

If the RA does not make such a regulation then a player cannot lawfully act as if such a mandated pause is in place.
Dec. 25, 2018
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I tend to agree with Nick.

Especially after a takeout double I think it is very common to have extra values and only three (or perhaps even two) card support for partner's bid suit. More so when the higher the level of the double when distributional requirements for the double are more often relaxed.
Dec. 25, 2018
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Isn't there also a problem when doubler is 3=4 in the majors or 4=3 in the majors in the companion auction where partner bids 3?

This might depend on how you respond with 4=4 in the majors and not enough to force to game.
Dec. 24, 2018
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ha ha I had almost exactly the same experiences
Dec. 22, 2018
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There is a certain irony in Bridgewinners starting a thread and closing another because the other was deemed inappropriate and then ultimately closing the thread they started.

Personally, I do not think the primary purpose of discussions is change your mind or change the mind of others, although either of those can happen if you allow yourself to have an open mind, but the exchange of ideas is beneficial in itself.

I agree with Patrick that in 2000 comments having a couple of handfuls of short comments that add a little levity should really not be a problem.
Dec. 22, 2018
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The overloading of 1NT is one of the big problems for 2/1. I have long not been a fan.

So much so that when my current partner (and at least one casual partner) said that they wanted to play 2/1 I responded “That is my least favourite system.”

Having said that I understand that there are many ways to bid a bridge hand and system is not a problem for most hands and ultimately if you work on your system and style and expectation in a partnership then you will not have many problems and there will be good and bad hands for your methods - swings and roundabouts.

This auction can also be solved or helped with some sort of Gazilli so that the range of 2 is defined.

For us we use 2 as a weakness natural bid or any invite. Therefore 2 already establishes a game force.

“a) is 2NT weak and if so, forcing (lebensohl-ish) or not?”

We play 2NT as a weakness indicator (call it Lebensohl or Ingberman) over all reverses at the two-level. Even when a game force has been established.

“b) is 3m weak and passable”

Definitely not passable if you use either 2NT as a weakness indicator or 2 as a game force. We use both.

The meaning of 3m can be enhanced if you are willing to bid 4m with maximums and a good six card suit.

“c) Ill assume 3H is weak and 4H is 3 card limit raise? So what is 3S?”

We do not put any three card raises in 1NT. This helps with the overloading of 1NT. Our solution is to put limit raises in 2 which makes 2 not a game force but if your heart is set on 2 GF then there are other solutions.

Our 2 is three way:

1. GF with clubs
2. GF balanced but not four trumps.
3. Limit raise with three trumps.

That means also that we play 1NT is no longer forcing.

Therefore 3 is typically a 3=2=4=4 hand with some reason to bid hearts.

We would never bid 4.

I would bid 3 and have done so with three good spades.

“d) Hould 2S always promise 5, partially skirting the issue.”

I do not think that forcing 2 to show five is sensible. The 1NT bidder will often have a problem in spades and so it is helpful for opener to show a four card spade suit even without the prospect of a fit.

From the other side of the table the opener with five hearts and four spades will often have a problem rebid if there is not a natural spade bid available. On the other hand opener will often get a chance to rebid spades to show the five-six hand.

1 1NT
2

2NT weak around 5-7.
3 constructive with five clubs
3 constructive with five diamonds
3 two hearts
3 three good spades
3NT 8-11 usually a stiff heart
4m (9)10-11 with a good six card suit
Dec. 22, 2018
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Ray my mentioning of L73C was in response to your question perhaps rhetorical

“Surely you don't maintain that partner is entitled to act on that information as long as it's inconclusive which Ace you have.”

I do not maintain that. However, we need to either determine that the leader did act on the information or rather not carefully avoid taking advantage of the information, or get past the demonstrably suggest requirement and the logical alternative test in law Law 16B.

There is no demonstration in the write-up and the determination that a diamond was demonstrably suggested was in the face of some experts who were polled saying that a diamond was not suggested. If there are such experts then I cannot see how we can be close to the requirement that the information demonstrably suggested a diamond.

In answer to your subsequent question which I did not explicitly answer:

“In such a case, shouldn't partner be required to lead a suit in which you are least likely to hold the Ace?”

No I do not think there is such a requirement in the laws when the information about which ace partner might hold does not come from the hesitation. We have to properly jump through the hoops in L16B or make a determination under L73C. The rule is not if it hesitates then shoot.
Dec. 22, 2018
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Expecting partner to double with the A is poor. Moreover the agreement that partner would double with the A is inefficient. It is all but inconceivable that an opponent would bid 7NT here without the A. It is much better that double says emphatically lead something else. It is less clear what precisely a double should mean.

With nothing else to go on a heart lead might break up a squeeze if there is stiff A opposite Tx and there might be.

Edit: Whoops I meant A not A above.
Dec. 21, 2018
Wayne Burrows edited this comment Dec. 22, 2018
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The word “is” is equative. Therefore the condition “is demonstrably suggested” is a strict condition. If "demonstrably suggested is not met then the condition fails.
Dec. 21, 2018
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And yet my experience is that I have never had the need for a double over 1NT 7NT or other simple quantitative routes to 7NT but have multiple times seen crazy 7NTs on other auctions.

Most memorably, on vugraph in an APBF our opponents bid 7NT and my partner doubled and the opponent redoubled. I did not find partner's ace on the opening lead and the opponents had top 13 tricks and my partner did not get her ace. But there was good news the thirteen tricks included stiff K opposite dummy's AQJx and I had managed to find the second best lead knocking out the only side entry to dummy. So I defeated the contract with my 10 at trick thirteen.
Dec. 21, 2018
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Ray, I thought it went without saying that there is a third possibility that the hesitation was with some holding other than an ace. After all our agreement to use double to direct the lead does not prohibit us from doubling when we judge that we do not care what the lead was.

Unlike Michael Rosenberg who admits to arguing based on what he thinks the laws should say my comments when not explicit try to interpret what the laws do say.

“As I've often said, I talk about what the laws should be, not what they are.” Michael Rosenberg upthread.

If I know from UI from partner that partner has an ace but the UI does not “demonstrably suggest” a call or play then I am not constrained by Law 16B1a. However that does not mean that I can freely act on the information. There is L73C1.

"When a player has available to him unauthorized information from his partner, such as from a remark, question, explanation,
gesture, mannerism, undue emphasis, inflection, haste or hesitation, an unexpected alert or failure to alert, he must carefully avoid taking any advantage from that unauthorized
information .“

Unfortunately, penalties under L73C2 are so rare as to be almost non-existent.

The downside of this law is that there is an implied onus to show that the player was not avoiding taking any advantage from the hesitation.

As I see it law 16B is more objective in its assessment through in particular ”demonstrably suggested“ but also ”logical alternative" - notwithstanding what I think are incredible shortcomings in how in practice logical alternatives are determined based on ill-conceived small sample polls - while the requirement for L73C is more subjective - did the player concerned avoid taking advantage from the hesitation?

As I wrote elsethread the L16B adjustment is technical - there is a logical alternative and it was demonstrably suggested. The L73C penalty is more putative - we think you did not avoid taking any advantage.

But L73C IMO requires more than the supposition that a player might not have thought of the bid or play without the hesitation as Michael might want it to say.
Dec. 21, 2018
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Why would the laws of bridge mean something different than the ordinary usage of the word?

Older versions of the laws used the word “reasonably” and the weaker requirement of “could … have been”

L16A 1987 says “the partner may not choose from among logical alternative actions one that could reasonably have been suggested over another by the extraneous information.”

Thirty years later we have:

“A player may not choose a call or play that is demonstrably suggested over another by unauthorized information if the other call or play is a logical alternative.”

So we have, presumably deliberately gone from the language of vague possibility “could reasonably have been suggested” with the qualifier “reasonably” stopping us fantasising too much to the strict certainty of “is demonstrably suggested”.
Dec. 21, 2018
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Aside from your sarcasm, this seems pretty close.

“not obviously suggested” implies it needs to be “obvious”.

“can be shown (demonstrated) to have been suggested” is the language of certainty.

“suggested in an obvious, easily understood way” seems synonymous or at least consistent with “to a clearly apparent extent”.
Dec. 21, 2018
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Double is not free.

That is precisely why double should mean something specific. To maximise your chance of beating the contract when you can.
Dec. 21, 2018
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“Without having an illegal agreement about the meaning of a BIT, this BIT would, in fact, show the same Ace a double would show under their agreement.”

No it would not.

Your scenario is:

1. We have an agreement that double asks for the lead of the suit previously doubled.

2. The opponent's get to 7NT.

3. I struggle to remember our agreement and pass slowly.

There are two possibilities. First, I may have remembered accurately our agreement and then passed because I have a different ace. Second, I may have forgotten our agreement and passed with the ace that double would have shown.

Therefore the BIT does not show the ace that double would have shown.
Dec. 21, 2018
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