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All comments by David Yates
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A tirade is an angry speech. That wasn’t angry.

I also wrote that I wasn’t commenting on the validity of the ACBL policy. TD/ACs have a responsibility to uphold the Laws. The ACBL does a lot of silly things, but that is not a reason to ignore or twist what the law actually says.

“DD minus par” means the hand is not “yours” - not that one has to bid carefully.
Aug. 29, 2013
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Not exactly true. The term “strong” is explicitly defined by the GCC as 15+ HCP.

The term strong does not mean one thing in one section of the Laws and whatever else someone else wants it to mean elsewhere.
Aug. 29, 2013
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When I was Adam's age we didn't have a junior program. And I had to walk to the bridge club in the snow.

We didn't have these fancy conventions. Only had Stayman & Blackwood - but we were damn glad to have them!
Aug. 29, 2013
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I was hoping this thread would be about cannibalism :(
Aug. 28, 2013
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If someone wanted to open 2C, I would not classify that as ‘wrong’, but that would certainly not be my choice.

The hand seems to be easy enough to bid after a 1C opening. 1C-1M/(NT); 2D.

For those of you opening 2C, have fun after 2C-2D; 3C-3H.
Aug. 28, 2013
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I think Mike Lawrence in his Book on Balancing, wrote that a balancing 1NT over 1M can be up to 15 or a bad 16. (11-14 over 1m). ML is a pretty good standard :)
Aug. 28, 2013
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Not sure I could missort this hand badly enough not to open.
Aug. 28, 2013
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So opening 1C as strong, artificial and forcing on 11 HCP is condemned by a psych by some, while opening 2C on a 10 count is OK? In the current texting vernacular: WTF?

The motivation for prohibiting certain psychic bids is to eliminate situations for high probability psychs. (This is not a discussion of the wisdom nor the veracity of the regs). Essentially, the underlying view is psychs are OK and part of the game - with the proviso that your partner has a chance to be the dupe. The inherent problem with psychs is that frequent and/or controlled use leads to undisclosed partnership understandings - and those undermine the basic principle of bridge.

A strong club opener wants to be in game opposite 8 HCP. The 1C bid limits the range of the other openings. If a 1C opening is slightly less in HCP, it is only so that responder will not elect to pass a marginal responding hand - which they might do in context of a strong club system. Strong club responders can pass with a hand that would NEVER pass in standard system. (Not that many expert pairs do).

Similarly, the main purpose of opening 2C is to force a response because opener is afraid of a one bid being passed out. In standard, given the wide range of a one bid, responder will always keep the auction open on weak hands. Therefore, the traditional view of a 2C opener is that it is an extremely powerful hand given that responder will always bid with 6 and often with less. (Most expert standard pairs today look like they play Fantunes - they always respond).

A 1C bidder is not selecting that bid to keep the opponents out of the auction. Simply because people jump into the strong club auction ALL THE TIME. If I elect to open 1C on Kx / - / AK10xxxxxxxx / - I am pretty certain the opponents will be at least to the four level when it comes back around to me.

If I open this hand in standard as 1D, the odds the bidding will go P-P-P is ZERO. The whole reason to open 2C is simply to try to buffalo the opposition and keep them out of the auction. To that extent, I view the bid as psych. From the Laws:

“Psychic call (commonly “psych” or “psychic”) A deliberate and gross misstatement of honor strength and/or of suit length.”

To argue that a hand is strong because IF your suit is trump because then the hand can actually take a trick is disingenuous to the point of being absurd. The problem with this as a 2C bid is that it is a total freeroll psych. (Again, not debating the wisdom - just the intent). If the opponents compete and partner bites and doubles, opener has every intention of pulling. Partner cannot go wrong. So no downside and we are TRYING to PSYCH the opponents out of competing.

Also, arguing it improves slam bidding (maybe it does because your intent was to psych the ops out of competing) cannot be right either. The partnership managed to get to a ~33% grand. So it makes from a great story - 11 card suits and crummy grands always do. (Missing the key ace, it was 50-50 the ace was on lead, they were almost never leading a trump , so 1 in 3 to guess a spade when not looking at the ace).

If we SIM the 11 diamond hand and also the AKQxxxxxx / Kx / x / x (IMO only marginally better example), we discover:

1 in 4 hands the DD par is actually a MINUS score for the 2C opener.

Most of the time the opponents have a profitable sac or could force a high level decision if they were in the auction.

Contrast that to the weakest example of a 2C opener in the ACBL Commonly Used Conventions guide: AKQ10xx / AKQx / xx / x. Only 3 in 100 hands were a DD minus par. Only 13 hands were opposition sacs.

With the 11 dia example, 25/100 hands were minus par scores and 54/100 the par was a sac by the opposition. At least 4/5 of the time the opposition wins by bidding. (more b/c you jam them). Hence open 2C and pretend it is strong and hope to prevent the opposition from bidding.

With the 9 spades example, 24/100 hands the par was a minus score for the “strong two” and 35 times the opponents had a profitable sacrifice and would gain by competing.

Just because the cops can be clueless and these bids are often allowed or overlooked does not make it correct under the rules. In any event, there is much more to be gained by psyching 2C-SAF than 1C-SAF.
Aug. 28, 2013
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I am really confused. Bracket-1 and it took them that long? It may also be possible that the oppts were playing a dual card system and your friends forgot.
Aug. 27, 2013
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There was hand at a previous NABC (Miami?) with 10 solid hearts that produced a whole bunch of calls when players decided to open 2C on the 10 count. These were basically decided along ‘experience’ lines. The newer players getting the “benefit of the doubt” and the more experienced being labeled as a psych.

If you decided not to challenge the result on the basis that you felt your less knowledgeable opponents were not trying to operate or gain an unfair advantage, then I admire your sportsmanship.

If you decided not to challenge the result on the basis that the ACBL was going to hose you on the ruling anyway - welcome to ACBL-land. I have no idea why “less experienced players” should not know that 2C is not appropriate on these types of hands. At some point they had to learn about 2C as strong artificial and forcing. Players have an obligation to learn correctly and this is not a limited game. (Though perhaps they were taught by an ACBL “certified teacher”.)

We could extend the ACBL interpretation of responsibility to say, driving. “I am a new driver and I did not really understand about yielding right of way, so the TD thinks that it was OK I hit you.”
Aug. 27, 2013
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1. At some point you must have known or there would not have been a post. One does not lose rights just because it took a while to figure out there might be a problem. BTW, if the ops had nothing to say after the hand, I would find that odd unless, perhaps, the opener was playing with a client who cannot count.

2. There is no distinction in the Laws between psyching 1C as strong artificial and forcing and 2C as strong artificial and forcing. Both are prohibited.

Regarding redress, it all depends on the specific situation. In this case, there is no misinformation (MI) because you were told the opponent's correct agreements. In an MI case, there would be linkage issues. The MI must have caused the damage. But this was never about MI.

You have potential redress here if the 1C was a psych and not a mistake. If it were determined that the 1C call was a psych, that would be an illegal action and the director could (or rather, should) assign an adjusted score. There could be procedural penalties as well against the offending side.

If the opponent simply made a mistake, stuff happens.
Aug. 27, 2013
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With respect to #1. “Do you have any redress?”

Certainly not if you fail to call the director. An irregularity occurred, you should call. That would have produced a ruling - which (as evidenced by some comments above) is not always the same as a correct answer.

With respect to #2. “Are there any rules pertaining to opening strong artificial openings”

Nearly everyone plays some sort of strong artificial opening. (Except Fantunes & Goren, theirs are natural and forcing). Players are not allowed to psych these art openings. A psych is a deliberate misstatement. I doubt this action was deliberate given that it looks like a normal club opening. (More below)

With respect to #3. “If it makes any difference your RHO is a winner of multiple national events so is unlikely just to have made a mistake.”

Great players make mistakes too. Most recently, one of the most experienced and best pairs in the world missed a grand slam in the Spingold because the GSF response was interpreted differently on both sides of the screen. Brain farts happen.

The player’s level is more relevant regarding the issue as to whether it was a psych. Does a psych makes sense for this level player? On both Bd 21 & Bd 22, the dealer is at unfavorable vul. 1st seat unfavorable psyching with 11 HCP and no source of tricks is absurd. It has a huge potential downside and very little vig. Also, what was the perceived state of the match? If RHO had no reason to think he was behind, why psych?

With respect to: “self-serving” commentary.

It seems many still have trouble with this concept. A “SSS” is a declaration by a person that serves no purpose and provides no evidence, but only argues or reinforces the legal position of that party. If RHO states “I had a Standard American flashback and opened 1C natural”, that statement has some evidential value. If RHO states: “I never psych” that is a SSS and has ZERO evidential value.

Also, what was the opposition’s reaction in the PM?

Given the way the Laws are written, it would seem based on what little has been presented that the 1C was a mistake and not a psych. Randomly enforcing the requirement that pairs know what they are playing is an incorrect response. If the opening bidder can be penalized as suggested, it means that there is no need for the provision of a “mistake” or “misbid” in the Laws, since every single “mistake” or “misbid” is by definition a lapse.

Bridge is a game of mistakes. Everyone makes them. To attempt to twist the Laws so they can be used to punish a pair for a misbid/mistake - when this is a single case and the pair has no established history of such behavior - is, quite frankly, truly frightening.

On a side issue - and there is no hand record to really judge the accuracy of my assertion - it may be your side that committed the fatal bridge error. (Bob H's point)

Bridge is a partnership game. Trust your partner. To decline a GI at IMPs because of “values behind” is not necessarily bridge. A 1C opener could be: x / xx / AKQJ10x / KQJx and that is not an awful lot of defense to 4H. (Many 1C clubbers might open such a hand on 15).

Sriram Narasimhan’s questions would be relevant if there were MI. Advancer’s bid showed 9+ and 4H. If that player had, for example, 11 HCP and five hearts - then missing game is a self-inflicted wound.

Again, this is just supposition as we have no data to make a decision. But just because I have 16 HCP, does not mean that your side does not hold 24 HCP + distribution. That is plenty for game. I have bid and made a grand slam when my opponent held a balanced 20 HCP.

It would seem to me that handling this type of case would be easier in David Bird’s world (UK) and very easy in FRG given the different laws. (Although, Germany is way too restrictive for my taste). If the Laws simply defined the opening bid as illegal - regardless of the reason - it would be very easy to handle this matter.
Aug. 27, 2013
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We definitely need something to prod players along. But I am not sure this is the proper currency.

Yes, some people do not care about the money. (Especially people who spent a bunch of it sponsoring teams). But to others, a seeding point deduction is meaningless. I do not really care if I end up negative. Bob Hamman is the Bill Gates of seeding points and he has a few hundred to go - but I suppose you could deduct from the front fifty, instead of the back couple hundred.

The problem with seeding points is that either(a) it won’t matter as to how the teams are seeded. Seed # are randomly assigned by groupings, so the seeding penalty would have to significantly alter the standing to drop a whole team an entire tier. Or (b), to the extent it does alter the seed #, then we have undermined the integrity of the draw. Is it fair to another team that drew the seeding penalized team that they now must face a much better team than they would have otherwise? We would now be punishing someone else for the slow teams transgressions.
Aug. 22, 2013
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Chess vs. Bridge

For me, the most significant difference between the time aspects of bridge and chess, is that chess players believe in the clock and bridge players do not.

In chess, a player out of time has lost. Period. It does not matter if he has an overwhelming position. It does not even matter that there is a forced mate. Out of time is a loss. The flag drops and it is over.

In bridge, I doubt there are any players who believe that a match should be defacto lost regardless of the score at match time expiration.

We claim these bridge matches are timed events. But we have no real mechanism to measure time, nor is there a consistent and enforceable method of measuring and addressing slow play.

Chess Clocks

Chess is the only game/activity where the players are responsible for keeping time. No one hands Usain Bolt a stop watch and asks him to tell us how fast he ran. In football, basketball, hockey etc, there is a separate time keeper.

One reason why chess can be timed by the players is that the process is fairly trivial. At 2 hrs/40 moves, the player presses the clock about once every three minutes at a slow pace. In addition to multiple clocks, bridge would require the timing chores at a much faster pace. If the first two hands were played to the end, a player would need to hit the clock some 26 times. Also during each round of the bidding. And if the clocks needed to be paused for disclosure (best) we could easy have our first forty clock presses per player in the first 15 minutes.

Tracking time should not get in the way of playing the game. Also, note this process would be completely unnecessary in most cases. If the players are capable of finishing the match on time, why in the world burden them with unnecessary time keeping duties? Play a card, hit the clock, play a card hit the clock. Is this bridge or blitz?

Timing in the Real World

I think that if ever a satisfactory method for accounting for each side’s use of time in a KO match, most players would support an IMP penalty graduating scale for excess time. Time faults per se would not automatically define the winner or loser, but time factors could no longer be as easily ignored as they are by some today.

I think the time needs to be automatically accounted by the activities of the players. As an example, if the match were played on BBO, it would be fairly trivial for the software to run time counters that switched automatically from player to player as bidding and play progressed. The counters would stop for disclosure. Some simple mechanism could determine whether a player was actually typing a question or stalling the counter. Typing and thinking about something else are somewhat exclusionary, so if that is what was happening, the clocks would pause.

That timing approach could be applied at a properly equipped “technology table”. What would be needed is a deck of cards with RFID chips. (Some RFID chips are the size of dots nowadays). When the card is placed on the table in the “played” area, the computer records the action as well as the card played. Blackjack tables with this technology were created for the casino industry years ago. All tables could be on VuGraph without the need for physical VG operators. Timing counters would run automatically unless a pause button was pressed for disclosure questions.

An alternative to RFID would be optical scanners built into the table. That is probably more expensive. In any event, unless the time keeping method was passive, I doubt players would accept it. Especially since bridge players never seem to accept any kind of change. While this could have been developed years ago, I doubt this will happen any time soon. If the ACBL’s mantra on screens is “too expensive”, do not expect them to spend money on game enabling technology.
Aug. 22, 2013
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Thank you, Michael. Some excellent points. Though I am not sure we can completely claim at this level (all day KOs) that bridge is not being played for money. Also, poker can be played for articles of clothing with attractive opponents :).

Your #1: “Removing boards is never appropriate” is also my #1.

Any rule that shortens the match brings in stalling tactics. It could reduce KO matches to basketball as it was before the shot clock.

What Bridge Players ALL Agree Upon is. . .

. . . their basic position that: “I only use the time I require to address the problem at hand”. If we do not have a method of quantifying that time, then time faults for slow play become arbitrary
Aug. 22, 2013
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L-74B4 states: “ “prolonging play unnecessarily (as in playing on although he knows that all the tricks are surely his) for the purpose of disconcerting an opponent.

It does not reference slow play per se, only that which has the specific objective of upsetting the oppts. Therefore, it does nothing to address the 99.99% of actual slow play. In the other 0.01% one would need to prove intent before getting the unspecified remedy.

My 0.01% is probably overstated. Slowness is - unfortunately - all around us, and you may add my name to Kit’s as one who has never heard of the penalty ever being applied. BTW, Good luck trying to prove intent.
Aug. 21, 2013
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When it was held in Vegas, there was more affordable Calcutta, the World Bridge Production pairs, which cost just a couple grand to enter. This attracted a pretty fair field.

If I hit the Lotto, I am going to Monaco.
Aug. 21, 2013
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I have to stop reading this thread because I need to go buy a Ferrari.
Aug. 19, 2013
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Sorry, I was referring to your last line: “These issues are difficult, and I don't envy the people on the C&C committee.”

The reason I am unsympathetic is that I do not subscribe to the notion that players need the type and level of protection they insist upon legislating. I am not completely laissez-faire. That can be the highest bracket in teams. But we really need to be more open (and consistent) in open play.

There is a huge difference between putting on shin pads & a helmet and outfitting a bicycle with training wheels. The difference being that at some point, the training wheels need to come off.
Aug. 18, 2013
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If the kids don't keep you young, I will try to oblige and prevent your fall from grace.

The eyesight is starting to fade and the hand isn't as steady - but presumably you'll be a slow enough target by then.
Aug. 18, 2013
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