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All comments by Ian Casselton
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Hi Stu.

I suspect the issue here is a poorly written regulation which permits ambiguous interpretation. Your interpretation could be right (and as I have said above, I will stand corrected if so) but I suspect the actual intent was along the lines of the better written WBF one

“A pair opposing a HUM system pair will submit two (clearly legible) copies of their defence to the HUM system at an appropriate time and place prior to the start of that segment, to be specified in the Conditions of Contest. Such defences are deemed to be part of the opponents' system card”

Of course, the Multi-2 is not a HUM method, but it goes on to analogously cover written defences to brown sticker and similar conventions

http://db.worldbridge.org/Repository/departments/systems/policy.asp

Ian C
April 29
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Hi Ulf.

As an aside, just had a look at the the ACBL Defense Database (deliberate use of US Spelling): http://web2.acbl.org/defensedatabase/mc20.pdf

We play something very much like Option 1, but the implementation of it as listed is relatively poor - the one on p301 of the current Encyclopedia of Bridge is an improvement (and at least discusses the rationale of some of the options it chooses).

Ian C
April 29
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Hi Tom.

Rather than repeat it, see my comment to Ellis below.

If you are right (i.e. your written defence to a method forms part of your card, rather than theirs) then I stand corrected.

The obvious issue, if you are right, and which Ulf alludes to, is that as soon as we take the option to play a written defence, the opponents get a written mnemonic to their own methods.

Seems weird, but then again, I've seen RA's do some pretty weird stuff over time.

Ian C
April 29
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Hi Ellis,

I think I get your intent, but I'm not sure you've expressed it correctly.

In the variants I have seen of this (I believe, the idea may have started with Edgar Kaplan), then if

{1} The opponents are playing such a method, and
{2} You choose to have an allowable written defence to said method (provided or of your own creation), then
{3} Your written defence, in effect, becomes part of the opponents' system card - i.e. you may consult it if and as you would their card

The situation Ulf describes, on face value, appears to come from a parallel universe, where

{4} The opponents are able to try and force you to choose a specified (or one of a number of specified) defences, and
{5} If and when you do, the opponents believe they are entitled to refer to what in effect is their own system card, and
{6} The TD's seem to believe all is right in the world with {5} & {6}

For what it's worth, I think the whole idea of written defences is perverse* and I wouldn't want one supplied by someone else or a governing body even when allowed to have one - but if we are going to have such perversions, they at least need to be internally consistent.

Ian C

* but I take very seriously my obligation to provide one, as I must do regularly
April 29
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Hi David.

In the sad case (Bad Thing) that written defences are required, I agree.

The good thing about what Adam proposed is that it can be generalised.

Ian C
April 22
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I agree, Richard.

I particularly am interested in (read “like”) Adam's idea re (1) 1 - it's definitely usable in 4th, but also perhaps in 2nd (with 2 as Michaels or similar).

{Adam} As a matter of interest, is it your idea, or did you get it/derive it from somewhere else?

Ian C
April 21
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No problems, Richard.

May I add that I wasn't clear - I meant DBL = T/O of .

Ian C
April 20
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Hi Richard.

I can't recall the original discussion, but for what it's worth, I wouldn't contemplate for a second playing a defence where the direct DBL of 1 wasn't T/O (with the cue-bid showing whatever the partnership plays in a Michaels-like context).

That balancing seat is different is a fair point. Not sure I'd change the methods though (other than the 1NT range, which changes anyway). I might be persuaded to allow 1 as natural (reverting the 2 bid to being Michael's-like.

Ian C
April 20
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Hi Ben.

Alas, I think we have our own selection problem now (with events yesterday in South Africa) …

Ian C
March 25
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Hi Ronald.

I'm familiar with the 3 or 4 main defence approaches to the Multi 2.

The point was, in context, that you need to have a means to force partner for at least one round (other than a penalty pass). By default, Art's suggestion didn't have that.

That is notwithstanding the fact my suggested defence to the Magic Diamond below doesn't strictly have that - so some mild hypocrisy from me. However, the DBL probably works in extremis (most strong hands will be balanced or near balanced and in any case contain 2+ diamonds).

With very strong and fewer than 2 diamonds, I would need to fudge.

Ian C
March 20
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Hi Art.

If you're going to do that (I'm not sure I would) then you would need to make 1NT either T/O of or any very strong hand (as the other three would logically no longer be forcing).

If this were inherently a good approach, then one of the more common defences to the Multi-2 would probably be switched to

X = T/O of
2 = T/O of

yet, this is not how it is typically played, but rather, the other way around.

Ian C
March 20
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Interesting, Alex.

It's a long time since I've played against anything Carrotti-based. If you have a copy of the system, or even the openings, please PM me and I'll give you an email address to ping it across to me for my interest only, if you don't mind?

Back the to the matter at hand, I could

-> Live with a standard Precision (nebulous) 1 defence, and indeed, would recommend that for a short match/round, and
-> Would be happy enough with the old DBL is a WK NT or very-STR-any based defence advocated by David, or
-> Even something akin to that advocated by John, e.g. a Multi 2 defence dropped a level, e.g. DBL = T/O of , 2 = T/O of etc

However, it seems to me that this 1 opening shares many characteristics with that of most Ferts, so if the match is of sufficient length, I'd run with a Scandanavian-style defence (an example of which was outlined by Brian Senior in his book “The Transfer Principle”).

I would modify this in one way - I would run a modest risk and not worry about catering explicitly for very strong hands (the oppo have opened) and would instead weight the defence to cater for the susceptibility to pre-emption you observed. Bringing this together

DBL -> 13+ BAL or an UNBAL/semi-BAL 1 opening
1//2 -> Natural overcalls, UNBAL/semi-BAL if opening strength (else DBL)
1NT -> 3-suited short , opening strength
2 -> see below
2/ -> WJO's

The possibilities for 2 are interesting: one of also a WJO, Michaels or the same as 1NT but stronger (limiting 1NT to 12-16 hcps or so). I prefer WJO (in part, because it allows keeping the variant of DBL up to strength more easily) but it is worth acknowledging the others.

Over the DBL, 2 is INV opposite a 13-15 WK NT, 2 is FG opposite the same, both are Staymanic in nature. After the 2 variant, DBL'er rebids Staymanically below 2NT with a MIN, NAT FG 2NT+ with a MAX. After the 2 variant, DBL'er rebids 2NT with a BAL hand (use your normal 2NT structure from here) being careful not to let the bidding die early with substantial extras. With diamonds, DBL'er rebids naturally.

With the natural overcalls, assume is a cue-bid if and until they are bid naturally by the oppo (in which case, switch the cue-bid to // in that order, depending on which is unbid).

Hope this helps!

Ian C

EDIT: Updated to varying the Scandanvian method in two ways - switched 1NT showing as a TRF to 2 showing clubs naturally. One somewhat amusing side-effect of this is that there are are no transfers left in the defence!
March 17
Ian Casselton edited this comment March 17
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Hi David.

I don't know the detail of the Dutch method, but am assuming from the context that it involves an element of human opinion/judgement - and the balance of this reply assumes this. My apology in advance if this is in error.

Your post implies that it is (a) possible to “select” the best team in a given scenario, and (b) that it is possible to put together the right group of people to achieve if so.

I am very dubious about both as propositions. The overall situation strikes me as very similar to secondary school/university entrance results in the UK - something that I am intimately involved in (and also have considerable experience from another country to compare and contrast with). Exam results (trials) versus predicted grades (selection committee).

In both bridge trials and university entrance “trials”, it strikes me that the “trials” approach is both the least bad and only demonstrably fair option. Yes, there is the odd special exception made for university entrance (and you can argue about that even, e.g. prevention of social exclusion or whatever) - but it is interesting to note that England/UK is one of the few countries that seems to be at the non-trials end of the spectrum in both cases.

You can form you own view on the reason for this - perhaps it might form the basis of another article.

Ian C
March 11
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Completely agree with your sense of natural justice, David.

I think the underlying problem is even more fundamental - having a “Selection Committee” at all. It's an almost sure recipe for regularly having justice not being seen to be done - note Ben's comments above also on this. However, complete selection, which you allude to, may be less bad than the pretense of some form of a selection trial then a decision which on occasion will seem arbitrary.

Instead, have a properly* constructed selection trial (be careful of round robins here - though a double round robin re-seeded mitigates this somewhat) where the rules are complete, determinate and understood in advance - apply them - and voila, you have a legitimate team. I would also prefer** that the rules for 3rd pair selection are as above - it might be they should be drawn from from a lower finishing team than 2nd. A “Selection Trial Committee” need then only intervene for events that weren't reasonably able to be foreseen and hence defined in advance.

Yes, this might get a sponsor selected on occasion, but (i) sometimes sponsors play well (Brachman, Nickell etc), and (ii) team cohesion makes some groupings greater than the sum of their parts, and (iii) in five-plus handed teams, minimum playing criteria can mitigate the chances of a poor sponsor qualifying.

Selection Committees (with significant discretionary powers) are simply anathema and there needs to be a damn good reason to prefer them over a demonstrable meritocracy.

Ian C

* which must cater explicitly for the legality of the use of substitutes and similar, amongst other things

** and even more strongly prefer 6 handed teams that don't require 3rd pair selection, where possible
March 9
Ian Casselton edited this comment March 9
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Hi Roland.

A link to your separate post: http://bridgewinners.com/article/view/bridge-justice-on-the-edge/

Ian C
March 7
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Hi Roland.

A link back to my article: http://bridgewinners.com/article/view/slow-return-to-the-1990s/

I'll put a link forward to yours within it.

Ian C
March 7
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Hi Roland.

I can't comment with expertise as a matter of law, but sub-minimum actions occur all over the place within the game.

The time you stretch to make a 2/1 with a shaped hand, risking getting too high to ensure getting to the right strain. The time you don't relay, when you systemically should (e.g. after a game forcing 2NT raise) and instead jump to game with your aceless 11 count, etc.

The exact wording of convention/method/agreement, e.g. sub-minimum versus something more voluminous, may be open to debate, but it seems to me that methods which cater explicitly for bare/sub-minimums are entirely normal within bridge.

Ian C
March 6
Ian Casselton edited this comment March 6
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Good point, Paul.

I did know about Drury originally denying support, but had forgotten.

I'm not sure about the sub-minimum argument you make though. 80% plus experts open light in 3rd, especially NV - and they wouldn't believe they are psyching (notwithstanding some correspondence over time about undisclosed agreements).

Similarly, simple application of a “Rule of 14” or similar, in 4th, would lead to some sub-minimum openings which wouldn't be construed as psyches.

As such, I believe Drury-fit is intended as I describe above - not as a psych-control.

Ian C
March 6
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Hi Ed.

I'm not old enough and was born on the wrong continent in context, so can't speak with authority about the genesis of the Drury convention.

However, it strikes me that its intent was to avoid 3M down one when opener has a minimum opening, or a slightly sub-minimum one which the whole planet would in practise open in 3rd/4th. I doubt being a Psychic Control was core in the thinking and perhaps not there at all.

Michael Hopkins had it right above - on this occasion, Drury served to mitigate some of the downside of an ultra-light/psychic opening (as a semi-forcing 1NT might function similarly in others).

Hence my answer to the first question is a clear “not guilty”.

Ian C
March 6
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Hi Kit.

Given that West was an unpassed hand (perhaps being quite good, but either slightly too weak for a 2NT overcall or with modest heart length and a long suit perhaps too poor for an immediate natural overcall) is game truly out of the picture?

In effect, it appears your intent is something narrower, perhaps closer to Lebensohl does not apply when DBL'er is limited?

Ian C
March 3
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