Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Max Schireson
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Gonzalo I should not respond so late at night, but the position is makable. From that 7 card position on the 6th trump declarer should pitch a spade from hand so that N has to pitch a club. Now diamond, diamond pitching a spade from dummy, spade ruff, concede a club pitching a diamond and whomever wins the club has to put you back in dummy (with either a spade or diamond depending on who it is).

I thought that was a really cool position, but of course it’s unnecessary because declarer can simply keep a club.
May 18
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Actually since S has the T nothing bad can happen leading any diamond but leading back the J seemed like the clearest example of why there was no endplay.
May 18
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I am not a kickback fan because of the accidents so don’t take this as general support for kickback.

Do you think there is some systemic reason why kickback wrong sides more contracts?

If you think it’s important that the preempt hand not declare, it would be easy to come up with “transfer preempt KC” where you skipped the trump suit as a response step. This might work better playing kickback because you would get the extra space back.

Edit: removed mixup. I should go to sleep!
May 18
Max Schireson edited this comment May 18
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Thanks, that is simpler than the line I saw!

I had the silly notion of pitching dummy’s club, thinking that another spade is more useful.

You can still make with KJx - AKQx - in dummy and one more trump in hand but it is much more complicated, in particular when N keeps 2 clubs in the 7 card ending. Now you cash one more trump (on which N must come down to one club) pitching a diamond, two diamonds pitching a spade, ruff a spade and exit a club; depending on which pitching a spade and the defense will have to put you in dummy.

Much cleaner to keep the club, thanks.

Edit: corrected
May 18
Max Schireson edited this comment May 18
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I should add that the actual solution is both much harder and much more interesting than that!
May 18
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W doesn’t have the diamond intermediates; from that position N can just exit the DJ and his 9 will eventually take a trick.
May 18
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John,

What if they don’t think they “play it in a specific way”, they have just never discussed reverses so they both think that means they don’t have any special agreement that they promise extra values, and thus assume they can be made on a minimum hand. Thus “not playing reverses”, and nothing to put on their card.

There are many cases where what seems normal to a rank beginner is not normal to a more experienced player, but the rank beginners simply can’t be expected to alert what is normal to them.
May 17
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Neal - no because there it would not apparent that one side was responsible for the delay.
May 17
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Last year Cornelius picked my team over Rosenthal in the R16.

For that I will always say that Cornelius wins any USBC fantasy tiebreaker - or at least until someone else picks my team, which could be a long time!

He should get something for predicting an absurd upset that come closer than anyone expected to happening, right? Otherwise it’s too easy to just pick the favorites…
May 17
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That’s why Andy said “in the given circumstances.”

Of course for a player that usually bids 2C over 1N in 2 seconds, if they take 8 seconds because they have a slam try hand with a four card major and a six card minor, they have transmitted UI, even if their opponents are unlikely to get a ruling.

As for the other situation, say you (not intended to be personal, just a hypothetical player) are in a forcing pass situation and you think for 20 seconds before doubling. Your partner, who already knows a lot about your hand, might know that you don’t have a hand where it is 100% clear to double. “I was always going to pull, I had a void in spades.” High level auction, you were thinking about the different hands partner could have and the scores, these decisions always take time, so there was no UI, 20-30 seconds is normal for that type of auction. And it’s “automatic” to pull with a void on that auction…

But in the alternative universe you double immediately. Partner passes. “It was clear from the auction that I had at most one card in their suit, and it was possible I was void; pass was forcing so partner didn’t want my opinion; actually my void makes it more attractive to pass because partner can actually have length in their suit, they can be in real trouble.” You explain that you had already decided to double 5H when you chose your call last round, some of that time was to plan ahead so that you could do it in tempo specifically to avoid UI issues here. Again, no UI.

Yes, “normal tempo” can vary with the situation, but I think much of the variation attributed to the auction is actually based on players holding problem hands - for most auctions there are at least some hands where the action is clear, but nobody waits 20 seconds on those hands, so usually 20 seconds at least says you don’t have one of those hands. Whether that UI suggests anything to partner is a different issue, but it’s often there even when people say it isn’t.
May 17
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Regarding the USBC issue, I will explain what I believe is the relevant rule and the source of the 15 seconds that was referenced there. I was not onsite so I am working from my general knowledge of the rules and what was posted on the USBF website about the appeal. I am not trying to express any opinion about the actual ruling or appeal, just respond to statements about a “15 second rule” that seem to me to be without context.

The rule is that behind screens, up to 15 seconds is presumed not to be UI. The other side can hold the tray so that an insta-bid is not visible to partner as such. Thus if the tray take 10 seconds to come back with two passes after (P) 1H (P) 1S (P) 1N (P) 6N and you push it across, your screenmate has no UI that his partner was thinking about doubling for the lead (which presumably is what someone might be thinking about there).

That doesn’t mean that anything beyond 15 seconds is always UI in every auction, just that - with screens only - faster than 15 seconds is presumed *not* to be UI. I believe that if the tray takes longer than 15 seconds the rules is that it “may be considered to have made UI available if it is apparent that one side is responsible for the delay.” This does not seem overly black and white.

Without screens there are plenty of situations in real life where 3 seconds is, for that auction and player, clearly a break in tempo, but it is very hard to win rulings in those cases. Same for the instapass that hits almost before opponents bid… and insta-double is penalty, thoughtful but technically “in tempo” double is take out. Being able to hold the tray is a good solution to these cases but the possibility of the tray having been held means that moderate delays don’t transmit UI. The 15 seconds addresses this issue and I think in that context it is quite reasonable.
May 16
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In this case the committee did not change the directors ruling.
May 16
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Regarding Oren’s tough loss right now the scores show them ahead.

Anyway there were a number of close matches so condolences to whichever teams lost. I am sure there will be full results soon, with the possible exception of the appeal.

Edit: it looks like the “total” does not yet include the final segment (as of 7:16 pacific), perhaps pending the appeal. It looks like none of the final segments swung the match, again pending the appeal, about which I don’t know any details.
May 15
Max Schireson edited this comment May 15
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Rough timing to have to play better than “the husband”.
May 13
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Beginners are beginners the whole world round, and have been from time immemorial.

Should we also penalize a beginner for bidding 1D - 1S; 4D unalerted without spade support (which an expert opponent would expect opener to have) or for responding 6N with a 4-3-3-3 15 count when their partner opens a 15-17 1N?

If we ask directors to penalize these situations we would have even fewer new players than we do now. I don’t think this is the intention of the rules, and if it is it needs to be changed.
May 13
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Where? I don’t see anything that covers this case.
May 12
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Ed

The question is about what bids are highly unexpected/unusual.

This judgement is subjective, and what is highly unusual in one context is normal in another, so I am suggesting a principle for how a club director can make that judgement call.

If they judge that the call is not highly unexpected/unusual in that context, then there is no failure to alert and no violation of any rule.
May 12
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John,

I think the issue is that some players think of “playing reverses” as being similar to “playing transfers”: a conventional choice. They don’t see that they are forcing partner to potentially bid to the 3 level so the requirement for extra values is a first principles argument, not a conventional/agreement issue.

I think it’s problematic to try to apply laws and regulations designed for serious tournament play to these players. They also might not have agreements about what is forcing in situations where most players would think that a call is clearly forcing. Again, I don’t think it’s sensible to require them to alert.

When playing with my son, I pre-alerted each pair that we played that he was a new player who didn’t know “standard” bidding and we didn’t have agreements in many common situations. I think this is the practical situation.

I think the principle that a new player should not have to alert an unusual treatment of a natural bid that they don’t understand is unusual is fair. I would explain that to them and their opponents, but eventually as they gain experience you can begin to do as Jim describes. One hint that it’s time for them to alert: the same is raised by opponents multiple times.
May 12
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Theoretically a call with a highly unusual/unexpected meaning should be alerted.

I would find it highly unusual if an expert pair bid 1D - 1S; 2H without extra values. I wouldn’t if a beginner pair did the same.

Personally I don’t think it is reasonable to require a beginner(-ish) pair that thinks they “don’t play reverses” to alert this.
May 12
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Melanie,

Does the same risk exist when asking around about playing strength?

I am not suggesting that asking around be mandatory, but I think it would be smart, so I see the two cases as symmetrical. Btw I suspect that the first person many clients would ask would be their pro partner, who would likely have a strong incentive to not see their meal ticket suspended, and certainly wouldn’t sabotage the team. The next set of people might often be connected to that partner, so might have a similar incentive.

References are often used in highly competitive business contexts and most people asking for references have a network that they think will give them honest info even when there is some competitive overlap. I am not saying your issue is nonexistent, just that in practice I think it is manageable.
May 9
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