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All comments by Steve Willner
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If you don't play some kind of SJS, how do you show a hand notably stronger than a minimum GF but not strong enough to bid above game?
15 hours ago
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Playing online with a stranger, anything could be happening. With a familiar partner, I'd be 99% to guess right.
Feb. 17
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“You always tell the taxi to wait when you visit the Louvre.”

Buchwald was a treasure. Thanks for reminding me.
Feb. 17
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What Tom suggests is the basis of “Dixon,” which I think is the same as the “ACBL #2 defense.” (In Dixon and #2, double includes strong hands, not only 13-15 balanced.)
Feb. 17
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Thanks, Gordon. The minute refers to Disciplinary Penalties. Is a standard Procedural Penalty still 10%, or was it changed, too? A DP of 20 or 25% seems about right to me, and some offenses deserve more. For ordinary carelessness such as going to the wrong table, something small enough not to have a big effect on rankings seems better. Among other reasons, Directors will be reluctant to give penalties at all if they are too big. Penalties should be an incentive to avoid future problems. If they do that, they are big enough.
Feb. 14
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After natural 2M, opps are likely in their best contract or at least a playable one. Reaching our own contract has to take priority.

After 2, opps have given us an extra step. We can use it however we want, but announcing general strength is a good start. That may let us collect a penalty, and if not, it should help in choosing our own contract.

Regardless of how we use the extra step, announcing our best suit before they've announced theirs seems misguided. As you've pointed out, fairly often the two will coincide, and in that case, we probably want to defend.
Feb. 13
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That still seems low. I sometimes double with 5c in OM, but I wouldn't expect that to add much. I haven't kept records, but I'd guess my doubles are about 1/3 of interventions with another third to 2NT and the rest to suit overcalls (including jumps, which are rare). Maybe it's my perception that's wrong.
Feb. 13
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The question, as I understood it, was not about playing poorly but about possibly villainous pairs arranging to play an extra board against a weak pair.

I knew about the EBU change but don't understand why they thought it was good idea.
Feb. 13
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Number three applies after play is complete, not at the end of the auction. If you have misjudged the UI situation, there may be an adjusted score, but nothing can be done until play is over.
Feb. 13
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I don't think the dWS applies to this case. The existing rules say “always give the correct explanation.” The dWS says “give the explanation partner expects to hear.” In this case, those two are the same. They would differ if the opening bid had been correct but partner's explanation wrong.
Feb. 13
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I'm not fond of “the screen test” as a guide to the rules, but here it gives the right answer in Kit's formulation.

Perhaps a better analogy for what explanations to give is to imagine that you had psyched a 10-12 NT holding 17 HCP. Of course you'd explain your actual agreements for the weak NT. The only difference here is that your legal calls and plays are affected by UI from partner's announcement, whereas if you had psyched on purpose, they wouldn't be. You are allowed to get a good board from a misbid, just as you would be from a psych.

There's an official “WBFLC minute” to the effect that you should always give correct explanations, no matter how you come to know what your agreements actually are. That's incorporated in the “Commentary” linked below.
Feb. 13
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John (and Ed): maybe. See L72C.

You are allowed (perhaps encouraged) to give a PP to anyone who botches the movement. In my view, the ACBL's standard quarter-board is too harsh, but many Directors will give that. I'd give 0.1 board myself unless there's some culpability beyond ordinary carelessness.
Feb. 13
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Doug

Are you sure about those percentages for TOx? When RHO opens 2H, it seems to me I have a TOx a lot more than 4% of the occasions I intervene. Why should it be different if the opening is 2D instead of 2H?

I've seen a suggestion that x should show a sound TOx of one of the majors. That will make it a sound penalty x of the other and force opponents to reveal which suit they have. The cost is that you cannot double with balanced hands. I have no idea whether this method would be effective or not.
Feb. 13
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To summarize the recent history:
1975: text quoted by Richard above.

1987: L30C defining conventional pass added.

1997 big change, quoted by Ed far above.

2007: “convention” removed, “artificial call” added, also quoted by Ed above.

2017: major broadening of the definition of “artificial call,” also quoted by Ed. Probably most bids are now artificial, but I don't think this makes any difference in any rulings. The one exception may be L40B2(a)(v), which allows regulation of psychic artificial calls, but it looks to me as though the RA has authority under L40B1 and B2 to regulate those regardless.

For comparison, the new ACBL Convention(!) Charts have lengthy definitions of “Natural” and “Quasi-Natural,” and any call that isn't either of those is “Artificial.” The result differs from the Laws definition of the term, and here it matters. I expect other jurisdictions have their own definitions. I don't think there is any conflict in having differing definitions, but one has to be careful to use the definition that applies in each case.
Feb. 11
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As we've seen here, bridge terminology is far from standardized. “Artificial” is defined in the Laws, in the new ACBL “Convention Charts,” by the EBU in their regulations, and no doubt by other RAs. I don't know that any two of these definitions are identical. (By the way, the ACBL should rename its “Convention Charts,” perhaps to “Rules for Partnership Understandings.” Worldwide now, a “Convention Card” is properly called a “System Card.”)

“Convention” used to be defined in the Laws because it made a difference for some rulings. In fact the definition changed drastically at some stage, I think maybe 1997, and was later (2007?) replaced by “artificial.” I don't think the definition matters for any ruling, but maybe I'm missing something.

I personally much prefer the earlier Laws definition: a call not necessarily related to the denomination named. That still leaves much room for interpretation, in particular how to parse “necessarily related.” It certainly includes things such as bidding hearts to show spades, but it arguably excludes bidding hearts to show hearts plus something else (either strength or distribution).

Whatever you think “convention” should mean, it makes very little sense for it to mean the same thing as “partnership understanding.”
Feb. 10
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It wouldn't be a convention according to any of the Laws definitions when the term was defined there.
Feb. 10
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If you want the same amount of socializing and table feel that screens provide, why not have the North and East players sitting across from each other in one room and the South and West players across from each other in another room? As long as there's no communication between rooms or from adjacent tables, that should provide good enough security. Opposing players could still chat with each other if they felt like it, and there'd be no danger of chatter (or coughing or pens snapping!) being heard “across the screen.”

This wouldn't solve all UI problems, of course, but nothing will do that.
Jan. 1
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We in the ACBL could use some guidelines like those. There are some informal ones, including that a normal PP is 25% of a board, but I haven't seen very much written down.
Dec. 31, 2018
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I'll refer people to the literature on rating systems.

Lehman ratings have obvious flaws. I didn't see any explanation of how power ratings are calculated, but the little information given suggests flaws in them as well.

One characteristic of a good rating system is that it will take into account uncertainties in the ratings. That means playing with a newcomer won't immediately change one's rating one way or another because the newcomer's rating will be unknown. Assuming a fixed value and performing an iterative calculation is silly.

Addendum 20 hours later: actually John has a good point that I didn't see at first. While a decent rating system won't have the obvious flaws he mentioned, a rating system implemented by the ACBL might have all those flaws and worse ones, given the ACBL's track record with technology.
Dec. 31, 2018
Steve Willner edited this comment Jan. 1
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There is a vast literature on rating systems in bridge. Any good one will separately rate two partners (unless they never play with anyone else), and playing with a weak partnr will not in general reduce one's own rating. In fact, John's practice of playing with weak but improving partners should inflate his own rating. (At each game, an improving player is better than his past performance indicates.)
Dec. 25, 2018
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