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All comments by Wayne Burrows
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“I really do think that the problem was in the polling.”

It seems to me that there is a real danger that those answering the poll answered on auto-pilot. Perhaps based on a maxim that a safe lead is always desirable against a grand slam.

This is a flaw in using polls. As I said elsewhere, the laws do not require polls. Polls are the way that directors solve the problem of determining whether the threshold for logical alternative is met. Any such poll must be interpreted with some care and caution.

A diamond lead is, surprisingly to some and therefore maybe counter intuitively, safe. It is without cost if:

1. South has the A

2. West has the stiff A

3. South has the Q

4. EW have 13 tricks without a diamond lead.

Each of these possibilities is reasonably likely. Together they are almost certain.
Dec. 6, 2018
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No UI should not be punished a priori.

The use of UI should be punished.
Dec. 6, 2018
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This is not an unusual ace asking bid.

It is just that there is an interesting inference available that is not usually available on these auctions. I do not have to disclose such inferences that allow me to use an ordinary key card ask in an unusual way. That is general bridge knowledge that is available to everyone without disclosure.
Dec. 6, 2018
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“♠Kxx ♥AJxxx ♦Ax ♣AQx”

Kit this hand is not possible.

1. Joe Grue has two key cards and this hand has four.

2. This is not even close to count 13 tricks opposite the missing key card and the queen of trumps. In particular, Grue is not known to be short in hearts nor to have a heart honour. It would be a huge leap of faith to jump to 7 with such uncertainty about the hearts.

Once you realise this latter point I think Levin is almost guaranteeing the KQ and quite possibly KQJ (and the A if that is not one of Grue's keycards.) But once you give him those cards now there are a large number of spade and heart tricks after Grue's correction to 7NT.
Dec. 6, 2018
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“Does the UI suggest a diamond lead? IMO it does. What could South be thinking about other than doubling? Nothing, so he is thinking about doubling. He must have an ace, as otherwise why would he double? By your logic, which is quite sound, that ace figures to be the ace of diamonds. Thus, the UI suggests the diamond lead.”

I agree that south if thinking must be thinking of doubling.

However I do not agree that it follows from that that he “must have an ace”. There are other holdings where he might think 7NT is going down. Partner knows you are stopping diamonds if he has holdings in two of the other suits that tell him they are not going to run then he might consider doubling.

I do accept that the ace that partner is most likely to have is the A. However I do not see how that information comes from the UI of a slow pass. It comes from the AI of the auction. I come to precisely the same conclusion whether partner doubled or passed. Just consider the alternative that partner has a different ace. Now a slow pass might be based on thinking that double did ask for a diamond lead or simply that he was unsure whether double would ask for some specific suit that he did not want to direct. That slow pass would not suggest a diamond. It is 100s to 1 with or without a slow pass that if an ace is missing on this auction it is the A.

The information “I have the diamond ace” is not in the slow pass. Even the information that a diamond lead is better than any other lead is not in the slow pass. The information in the slow pass is just that the player had something on which to base thinking of a double - it could be any ace or various other potential tricks.
Dec. 5, 2018
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There might have been a comment. I would be surprised if any experienced player at some time has not heard an opponent say something after they realised they had done something stupid.
Dec. 5, 2018
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“My lead choice is definitely based on logic. It is the logic that if partner had the ace of diamonds he would have doubled.”

That is not logic as I know it or have studied it.

There is no universal logic in which partner would have doubled if he held the A.

The the premise that partner would double with the A is flawed and I think it is in a general sense but maybe not for some particular partnerships then there is no logic to the insistence on a non diamond lead.

That is opinion and it is opinion that is based on some particular method or imputed style onto south. It is not the only way to play bridge.

Anyone who reasons no diamond lead because south did not double without establishing that that is the method played by south is not part of the proper population to determine whether or not a diamond lead has logical alternatives.

If you hold a strong view that double would show the A or any ace or that pass would deny an ace then perhaps you are not a peer of the player making the decision or not using the methods of that partnership. Therein lies the problem.

As Michael has said several times. What is the hand you are hoping to defeat 7NT with a non-diamond lead that is consistent with this auction?
Dec. 5, 2018
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The polls do not show that at all.

1. The polls may not have been conducted properly by asking pairs to use the methods of the partnership. In particular there does not seem to have been any attempt to establish what a double would mean. At least one of the people polled imputed a method onto the auction that was not established by the director as a fact for the partnership concerned.

2. A sample of six is extremely unlikely to establish anything to a reasonable standard. Certainly not a standard by which there is any fairness in taking away a normal lead given the auction. From a poll of six one should not be convinced that there is no logical alternative if zero poll for a different action and one should not be convinced that there is a logical alternative if one, two, or three and possibly more poll for a different action. Indeed a poll should almost never be taken as definitive. That is an extremely poor use of statistical data.
Dec. 5, 2018
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When the opponents bid 7NT with neither partner promising a particular ace or that the partnership has possession of all the aces and one opponent has denied that ace and the other somewhere between not promised it and denied it by not investigating for 7NT opposite an unlimited partner then the strategy of not giving up the thirteenth trick is poor. The danger on this auction is that they have thirteen tricks so you need to get your tricks first.

You can make your own estimates but depending on Levin's choices after his 4NT - if he has the A then 7 did not take into account that Grue was unlimited - then I estimate at the minimum there is an appreciable chance that he has a diamond void opposite no ace. Others have suggested as high as 100% if 7 can be trusted.

Indeed I am sure on post auction analysis given Grue is unlimited and does not know about possession of the A at MPs then 7 should deny the A otherwise how does Grue bid with everything that opens and shuts after 7.

So now you are saying that because partner thought after 7NT that I need to play Levin to have blundered in the auction.

If Grue has the hand with everything and he appears to have something close to it because he corrected to 7NT then I have no worries about giving away the thirteenth trick and extreme worries about giving away the first trick so they can cash thirteen.
Dec. 5, 2018
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This has a bridge application that occurs frequently.

The most common one I have encountered or recognised is when the bidding gets to 3m and I think I have no idea whether this is a good contract so I might as well try 3NT which has a bigger payoff it is right.
Dec. 5, 2018
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“If South had the ace of diamonds, he would have doubled. His failure to double denies holding the ace of diamonds.”

The conclusion does not follow from the premise.

If this is the agreement for NS then you might have a case. But such an agreement has not been established.

Until there is evidence of such an agreement then simply counting tricks means that the appreciable chance of partner having the A cannot be overlooked. I estimate a priori that the odds of partner having the diamond ace given the bidding having shown west to be void in diamonds or with the ace to be at least 10-15% and when other factors like Levin surely want to allow an unlimited partner some room after Blackwood or even at 4 to show additional values then the probability of the A is much higher.
Dec. 4, 2018
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The word bird* has always been ambiguous since the laws defined it to not be a pass double or redouble. People still say “it is your bid” for example when you have no intention of bidding.

*bid
Dec. 4, 2018
Wayne Burrows edited this comment Dec. 4, 2018
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Clocks would help.

Any time needs to be dependent on the context. For example slam decisions are reasonably likely to take more time.
Dec. 4, 2018
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Kit this is not an auction to be passive. The opponents have long suits in spades and hearts of unknown length. They probably have either a double fit or wests hearts are solid. You have two and three small. This is a minimum of 10 tricks and quite possibly more as dummy has additional tricks for 7nt. Plus assuming they have two aces then almost always this is 13 runners.

However the person who bid 7nt explicitly denied the dA and his partner did not promise it.

Seriously it is lying down to die to not lead a diamond on this auction.
Dec. 4, 2018
Wayne Burrows edited this comment Dec. 4, 2018
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“Jim: 3 is irrelevant. It occurred after the infraction, and can never negate the infraction. ”

No it did not. A tempo break is not an infraction.
Dec. 4, 2018
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“The so-called AI was merely an articulation of the UI S was providing.”

Nevertheless comments by the opponents are AI.
Dec. 4, 2018
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“When a suspicion turns into a certainty, thanks to partner's tempo, the laws force you into considering alternative actions.”

Actually they don't, well not under the conditions you state. You need an additional condition that there are no logical alternatives.
Dec. 4, 2018
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“You are arguing that the comment suddenly makes the information authorized. It does not!”

The comment is authorised information. It will affect the logical alternatives.
Dec. 4, 2018
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I would say more like “an auction where partner shouldn't have the ♦A, but might if he has made a thoughtless bid.”

Is that how you build up your partner?
Dec. 4, 2018
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Chris there is a huge problem with appeals or reviews or whatever they are being decided much later than when the problem occurred.

I had this in a minor tournament of about eight, eight board matches and the director did not even tell us of her decision from an issue in match 2 until after the end of play for the whole tournament.

More recently in a National event in New Zealand we had a problem with a grand slam as you did. It swung 30 IMPs - 15 out to 15 in. Our problem was with a claim not UI. Declarer claimed 13 tricks at trick one with only 12 top tricks. But the director who looked at the board said there were an obvious 13 tricks on a squeeze. There were thirteen tricks on a squeeze. The problem was that there was a red suit squeeze, or a black suit squeeze, or spade heart squeeze etc and some double squeezes that were possible to play for on the hand. Only some of the squeezes worked. Depending on the order of cards played before declarer realised there were only 12 tricks he might have had to give up one or more menaces. On review I convinced the director that the squeeze was not always working and he reversed his decision. But that is not the end of the problem …

Afterwards, I said to him it is really important to get those decisions right at the time. It is unfair to the field to suddenly ‘gift’ one pair 30 IMPs after the tournament is over. In this case it was a Swiss draw so not only was the result affected but draws for all subsequent rounds were affected. As it happened we had relatively tough draws despite being down the field multiple places from where we should have been and did not capitalise on the luck of the bad ruling. But it would have been really awkward if after the event we had been lifted from out of contention into the first place based on a ruling that should have been made several rounds earlier.
Dec. 4, 2018
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