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All comments by John Torrey
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*Under the new ACBL restrictions on opening 1NTs*, Ed is correct, down to his, “…just leave your judgement at home.” In ACBLscore it would be reasonable to give the 1NTers a score of “q9”, which means “score for 90, but no more than 40%.” other side gets the reciprocal.

Other jurisdictions can exercise judgement. An ACBL club director is in an interesting position, as clubs (as I understand it) have the right to their own rules on allowing conventions.
21 hours ago
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I recall a 3-table club “Swiss” with 20-point VP scale, where each team played the other 2 twice. Winner had 41 VP, second 40, third 39. I'd think that Barry's is less likely.
Jan. 18
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A hypothetical case: NS played 1NT and made 4 when West had MI and made an unfortunate lead. The Director determines that with a normal lead, declarer would make either 2 or 3: both equally likely. NS can't make more than 3 clubs or diamonds without a huge defensive blunder, but it turns out that the matchpoint score for NS +130 is just what the director computes when weighting the 2NT and 3NT possibilities. Is it okay to assign NS +130?
Jan. 18
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There is a way in ACBLscore to directly enter the desired matchpoints.

On the line where you would normally put the raw score (“48” for NS + 480, for example) instead first enter “S” (for Special, I think). Then for NS enter Mx, where x is the desired NS matchpoint score. Do the same for EW, as their score will not automatically be the reciprocal of the NS matchpoints. The program will only accept “M4” as valid if you first give it the S.
Jan. 15
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I agree with Peg that 4 making 6 is the best adjustment. But I disagree that a director or committee should consider, in assigning an adjusted score, whether offenders or plaintifs observed correct procedure. If there had been another table in this event with the same auction, at which North or South improperly notified East-West during the play, it would be a travesty to assign different results at the two tables. That's what procedural penalties are for, if you feel strongly enough about punishing deviations. I'd prefer to just let offenders know what's correct, and why. (It doesn't hurt to praise getting something right, as here.)
Jan. 12
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After South's pick-up, it would be a good idea for West (preferably, though North or East might also serve) to announce the apparent contract, perhaps “2 Spades doubled by South?” If South objects to this the auction is not over. If there is no announcement the problem may not be discovered in time to correct it without exposing a lead or dummy (or perhaps playing out the whole hand, if West doubled).
Jan. 11
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I was going to say that it was clearly Art's fault for not making an insufficient bid at some point. But there was too much chance that someone would take me seriously.
Dec. 31, 2019
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Suppose the director suspects that South's reasoning in saying that she would double 2 if only she had the correct explanation is specious. There are still good, practical reasons to roll the auction back.

First, South is allowed to reason poorly: if given the correct information, she would have had the absolute right to double.

Second, the statement that she would have doubled gives South a possible double shot at a favorable adjustment if the auction is not rolled back. South may even have been aware of this possibility. By rolling the auction back the director greatly increases the probability that the result will be determined by the real-time actions of the players, rather than by an after-the-fact ruling. That's a good thing.

Third, the rollback is authorized by Law, and the MI is not trivial. I would think that the information conveyed by the change pertains to the minors and not to spades, but if spade information is transmitted, the original “Transfer” is the ultimate cause and I'm fine with that.
Dec. 29, 2019
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Let's leave aside the question of whether North can ask questions for South's benefit. (He can't, as I understand it, but did have the right to ask, especially if he thought the announcement was not appropriate.)

The director's opinion of a player's at-the-table reasoning probably matters when making a ruling after the hand has been played. In this case, South got MI and wants to change his bid. Since North has not yet called, I think the director should cancel West's 3 and allow South to double (or whatever else he wants). This is just application of Law 21B. West's cancelled 3 becomes unauthorized to East, in the unlikely event that it matters.
Dec. 27, 2019
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The available contracts are the same ones I used in my version of mini-bridge when I was teaching beginners. (I made sheets of North & South companion hands as an exercise in contract-picking.

My conclusion from this effort was that the single most important thing in teaching bridge is to get the students playing outside the class setting, whether it's Spades or mini-bridge or hool or whatever that they actually play. My lessons were not successful in doing that, and I consider them failures (even though most of the students completed the course and said they enjoyed the classes).
Dec. 16, 2019
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The hand illustrates the cue-bid problem: partner has to bid something, so partner's bid may add no information at all.

xxx
xxx
xxxx
xxx

LHO opens 1 and partner doubles. You bid 1 and partner cue-bids 2
Dec. 10, 2019
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The first step is to play the 6 or 7 at trick one.

After that it's not very clear, particularly at BAM scoring. Club ruffs loom. Greed is a terrible thing…
Dec. 9, 2019
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The forcing 1NT is the problem case for me. The spirit of the comparable call law is to allow a real bridge result, but eliminate cases where the offenders gain some advantage from the offense. When the response is a forcing 1NT, the opener always assumes that the responding hand is not an opening bid…but there are still cases like

1 1NT
2 2

where the opener “knows” that the responder would not have opened 2 or 3. I have a bias towards real bridge results (so might allow the forcing 1NT as comparable at my club) but the correct ruling probably is to disallow it. A strict reading of the laws probably says to disallow it also because of the possible opening-strength hands, but I do not see how this possibility could lead to an advantage to the offenders.

If this problem did come up at my club and I did allow the 1NT forcing, I would tell the players that the ruling at a tournament could well be different, and explain my bias towards real versus artificial results.
Dec. 7, 2019
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Apart from the ruling, the dummy deserves a partnership demerit for putting the spades on his right.
Dec. 5, 2019
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See http://web2.acbl.org/casebooks/New_Orleans_Fall03.pdf, Case 22. I was the floor director in this case, heard the spoken evidence, and found it very credible. The top directors would not even listen: only written evidence (from system notes in this case, because nobody would or could write this agreement on a convention card) would do. Sustained by the Committee, to (mostly) cheers from the commentators.

That was then, at a NABC, and this is now, at a club. Yes, the TD has to decide how much weight to give statements, and a club is different in that the TD probably knows the players and their history of credibility (and hates to tell regular, normally-honest customers that their statement has little weight). Even so I can't imagine basing a ruling on that statement, when a convention card is required and would have answered the question. (All that said, I should probably have abstained - as Ed did - when we do not have the hands. But I would consider MI to be present based on what we do know.)

I don't flog this frequently, but the suggestion in https://bridgewinners.com/article/view/a-modest-convention-disruption-proposal/ would apply here.
Dec. 1, 2019
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Adjustment: There are (at least) two possible violations here: MI (misinformation) and UI (unauthorized information). We are still digesting the 2017 Laws, but 21B1(b) still says the the director should assume misinformation rather than mistaken bid. in the absence of evidence to the contrary. The convention card is the first place to look for such evidence, and it is…absent. Law 75 gives us more to think about. The new wrinkle - which probably applies here - is in Law 75D3: “If the Director determines that the call has no agreed meaning, he awards an adjusted score based on the likely outcome had the opponents been so informed.”

As noted above, West has UI, and this could come into play if we decide that North and South would not find their spade fit even with better information.

Procedural Penalty: I voted that it would be “appropriate.” It would be, but (as also noted above) I would probably not give the penalty in a club setting, but rather tell East and West that regulations require them to have two identical convention cards, and that they could expect a penalty in a tournament setting.
Nov. 29, 2019
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Format problem. If I bid 4NT I need to have answers for 5, 5, 5 and 5 responses, but can't do that.
Nov. 27, 2019
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The hand needs another card.
Nov. 24, 2019
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I'm a diamond leader, but Lead Captain says that the best lead is the spade ace, with the queen second. Close on set percent (A 23.9, 7 22.7), not so close on avg tricks (4.14 to 3.40).
Nov. 24, 2019
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I run a twice-a-week afternoon club duplicate in the Durham/Chapel Hill NC area, in a full-time bridge center that can house 50+ tables. Several years back, Valerie Roberts (one of our local teachers) asked my club to host a novice game once a week for her students and other novices. (My open games are running 8 or so tables per session.) When the novice game faltered last year, Valerie and another player, Andrea Roitman, volunteered to teach half-hour lessons before the games. (Andrea has done great things at her retirement community: games with mostly beginners that draw 10+ tables.)

The lessons created a revival, but it's been hard to get the 3+ tables needed to have a separate game. It's a good group of people, who get along well; we do not have a “duplicate players are nasty” problem. When they merge with the open game, frequently one novice pair will grab an A-strat award, but many struggle. (The open C-strat can go to 2000 masterpoints.) I duplicate a set of novice boards every week, but they are seldom used. Andrea and Valerie say they will keep doing lessons “forever.” My novice email list has about 35 addresses.

Our novice (actually, 0-500) players enjoy the game but are not passionate about it. Maybe the game fee ($11 per player, a necessity to pay the rent) is a problem for some.

Just a note for those who say, “Clubs should do more.”
Nov. 24, 2019
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