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All comments by John Torrey
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So if opener had passed instead of bidding 5, you would play that as forcing?
Jan. 4
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As director I'd try very hard to repair the situation.

I'll assume that the card-backs are not unique (ACBL card-backs have six colors), and that the aces “match” the decks in use. Assume that the situation is discovered after the first round.

Let the players bring the non-matching aces to the director, who puts them face-down on a table. Now let the players who have just played the boards find card-backs from the table that match the decks they have played, and put them in the proper hands. Aces from decks not in play can be used for this purpose. This process may or may not restore all the bad decks. The unrestored ones should be replaced and redealt by the director if possible (non-playing director required - may be possible while restored decks are in play for the second round). First-round players can also redeal hands they played using replacement decks. If redealing is impossible, shuffle the replacement decks.

Score the first round as played, as fouled if the hand had to be shuffled.

If my assumed conditions do not exist, I'd hope there are replacement decks to reshuffle, or another box of pre-dealt hands. We would play a shortened game with new hands. It might be possible to continue if the known card is a four of a known suit, but high honors are too tough.
Dec. 25, 2017
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Thanks. I see that this is new with the 2017 Laws. I missed it because I was looking for “procedural” which does not appear. It is interesting that the new Laws frequently add provision for penaltiy-in-addition-to-adjustment, as in 40B4:

When a side is damaged by an opponent’s
use of a special partnership understanding
that does not comply with the regulations
governing the tournament the score shall be
adjusted. A side in breach of those regulations
may be subject to a procedural penalty.

40B4 includes the word “procedural” and 73C2 does not. I suspect that (since the definitions identify two types of penalties, disciplinary and procedural) the omission is not significant and will probably be corrected in future revisions.

I believe that this is the first time that the Laws have explicitly recognized “procedural penalties” as applying to offenses other than the sort listed in Law 90B, which are all simple failures (though many could lead to UI) to follow correct mechanical procedure. These new provisions enshrine in Law the practice by appeals committees of assigning procedural penalties for breaches of ethical norms - a practice that dates back 25 years at least.
Dec. 22, 2017
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Not saying it's not there, but I've looked and not found it. Where do the Laws say this?
Dec. 20, 2017
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Edgar Kaplan built a structure in which we could adjust the score without telling players that they were unethical. Now we can tell them they are unethical without adjusting the score.
Dec. 20, 2017
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Movement names are not standardized. In ACBLscore-eze “Appendix Mithell” means you are adding 1 1/2 table to a base movement, with the full added table sharing boards with table 1 and an EW sitout between the added table and table 1. ACBLscore includes “Web-like movements” for sections with an odd number of tables - which I prefer to call “Appendix Web” movements (because a mini-Web is appended to a base section). I think that is what you are referring to; if so then 14 and 16 tables do not work. 14 1/2 is an ACBL “Appendix Mitchell” (It becomes an Appendix Web if it's a full 15; table 15 starts with 25-26 and plays boards in reverse order.)

The 16-table ACBL “Appendix Mitchell” has 16 1/2 tables and 30 boards in play.

Other name-confusion: I think what Rui calls Extended Mitchell is what I and some others call Hesitation Mitchell.
Dec. 17, 2017
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I changed my vote from Bridge_too_far to Other. My respect for my partner is not affected by whether he confesses to an undetected revoke that had no effect on the outcome. (If the revoke had an effect on the outcome, I'd say confession is ethically mandatory, whatever the Laws say.)

But I am saddened by the 2:1 margin favoring the first answer. The problem is that Active Ethics purports to be The Correct ethical behavior for the game. We are supposed to admire it and feel disappointed in those who fall short of it. It creates an expectation that is not justified. The player who says, “just put that card back in your hand and play what you intended,” may feel slighted when that favor is not returned. It should not have been extended, in my view. If the Laws are not our guide to ethical behavior then we are in a swamp of good intentions and random outcomes. The idea in duplicate bridge is that when the same actions are taken at different tables, the outcome should be the same.

Emotionally, I feel admiration for West. But rationally, I have to suspect that even his behavior - which surely went beyond the Law - may have been excessively generous. It's hard to know where to draw the line When you start competing for the most selfless act - and that is exactly the point. Just do what the Laws say. That's hard enough.
Nov. 23, 2017
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For extra pairs, an 18-table web is simpler than the 17 (no sharing required) and allows for one (2-board sitout) two (standard 18) or three (rover) extra pairs.
Nov. 22, 2017
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I like following the Laws. I pick 81C5.
Nov. 19, 2017
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The statement quoted is clear enough. I endorse it. What is less clear is how we deal with claims where this is not done. (The Laws frequently say that a player “should” do something, without providing a penalty for not doing so.) The Laws do not require us to disallow such claims. Rather they call on us to disallow claims where the the statement embraces a “normal” line that does not succeed. We must use our judgement to determine what is normal. It is wrong to argue that because we must use judgement there is doubt, and that therefore (since the Law says that doubtful points go against the claimer) the claim must fail. This reasoning nullifies Law 70D1.

Do you disallow the claims in all my example cases?
Nov. 16, 2017
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“Make sure your statement is watertight.” Good advice to claimers, but not the standard required by the Laws for allowing the claim, and we should not confuse the two.

My own standard is that the line should meet some level of “obvious.” I thought the case here met that standard. The point is that “watertight” is NOT the standard. Suppose declarer's claim requires four tricks from a suit with AKxx in the dummy and QJx in declarer's hand, with no side entry to dummy. If you would disallow the claim because declarer could block the suit by taking the ace and king first, then we are too far apart to have a useful dialog.

If you are with me on that one, then suppose that in the case here, declarer's hearts had been AKx (with 2 more tricks needed for success). The heart x is a “loser” but nobody would discard it: we'd allow the claim. Now make the hearts KQx (with one more trick needed). Again I allow the claim. Make them QJ10… I'm allowing the claim all the way down to xxx. At some point we may part company, but we can disagree about what meets the standard, but agree that perfection is not required.

In Debbie Rosenberg's Claim Ruling Poll (where declarer needed to unblock AQ8x opposite K7xxx to take the five tricks in the suit) I voted not to give declarer that fifth trick. The unblock was not obvious, in my opinion. To allow that claim and not this one seems inconsistent to me.
Nov. 16, 2017
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When I was an active ACBL director, we were instructed to distinguish between “bad claims” and “good claims, badly stated.” This is clearly the latter. Ask yourself four questions:

Is the flaw in the statement fatal? (I refer to the 2008 Laws - don't have the new ones for reference yet.) 70D1: “The director shall not accept from claimer any successful line of play not embraced in the original clarification statement if there is an alternative* normal line of play that would be less successful.” The * goes to, “For purposes of Laws 70 and 71, ‘normal’ includes play that would be careless or inferior for the class of player involved.” One view would note that discarding spades IS “embraced in the original clarification statement,” which would lead us to allow the claim without asking if the alternative is normal.

But let us ask. Is discarding hearts “normal”? In my view, there is nothing “normal” in requiring a capable player to discard hearts. A 500-point player should be assumed to get this right. If the hand had been played out, is there any doubt as to the outcome?

Third question: Do you want to play in a game where this claim is denied, or one where it is allowed? Whether I'm South or East at this table, I prefer the second. The Laws should not encourage Lawyering.

Finally: If you were North, would you be calling the director on this hand? I would not.
Nov. 15, 2017
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West had

K 8 5 3
K 9 3
Q J 10 9 8
J

I was declarer. I won the third diamond and played a heart to the 10, then finessed the spade return. I could have salvaged three club tricks at the end to make 1NT, but didn't. I posted because down 1 felt stupid. (My heart play lost on the layout but wins with 3-2 hearts when West has the jack or the king is doubleton, which seems like a reasonable proposition.)

Half the field was in hearts. Getting to hearts is easy when the opponents compete - something to think about.
Nov. 10, 2017
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A count-losers approach:

If the diamond finesse wins I have one spade loser, no diamond losers (trumping the fourth in the dummy), and two club losers. If the finesse loses I can still make when diamonds are 3-3, by discarding a club from dummy on my fourth diamond and ruffing my third club, losing a spade, a diamond and a club. Possibly I could also play for both club honors to be with East.

I will want to finesse twice in diamonds, so entries are important: best to trump the spade high to start with, then enter dummy with a low heart to the nine and take the first diamond finesse. If the finesse loses I may be able to combine a double finesse in clubs with the chance of the diamonds breaking. In this case I use a high trump to get to dummy for the first club finesse, and a diamond ruff for the second. If the defense ducks the first diamond I may be short of entries to play for the clubs onside.
Nov. 8, 2017
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This is board 10 of the Instant Matchpont game. East had

AQJ10
x
AJx
Axxxx

(I was South.) East thought 3 was a major underbid. There was discussion about whether 2 was a reverse or a jump shift. I thought it 3 was a good mainstream choice & posted the poll as a sanity check. (I wasn't sure I could participate in the table discussion without being rude. My partner was leaning towards East's views. In my defense, I did let West know about the poll.)
Nov. 1, 2017
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Did anyone else spend time wondering whether the auction was

1 Pass 1 Pass
1NT

and not

1 1 1NT All Pass?

It's the former.
Oct. 8, 2017
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East had AQxxxx, xx, –, JTxxx. At the table, West bid 4 and it made 7 on a diamond lead.

3 looks like an unlucky start, but when East bids 4 (not 4!) that is probably enough to get to 6.
Sept. 27, 2017
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Fixed, at least partly.
Sept. 5, 2017
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This was a quiz question that did not specify. The quiz answer was to lead a club, based on the threat of dummy's diamonds and our vulnerable diamond queen. (For quiz purposes, a heart lead is a “mistake”.) Your point is valid, but “Any” captures the original problem.
Sept. 4, 2017
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Yes, they did. But the whole thing is complex and difficult. The test is part of the unit mentor/mentee program, which is a very good thing, IMO. Many of the mentors are far from expert players and the role of the unit in guiding the bridge aspects of the program is hard to define.

This question was an attempt to address the principle that a player should consider her rebid before making her initial bid. I'd rather teach how-to-think-like-a-bridge-player than teach a long list of Rules, but it's hard and takes good teachers.

I have offered some feedback, which I hope is received as constructive. The feedback included posting some bidding polls here.
Sept. 3, 2017
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