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Player education when in possession of unauthorised information

#1 User is offline   jallerton 

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Posted 2012-January-28, 01:56



This recently played hand (in England, screens not in use) was reported to me by the West player.

South's 1NT bid was systemically a transfer to clubs, but South forgot the agreement and intended his 1NT bid as natural. North did remember the agreement and duly alerted the 1NT bid.

The hand was played out in 3 and declarer drifted a couple off, N/S +100.

The TD was called.

The TD ruled that the table result should stand. The basis of the TD's ruling was that although South's Pass over 3 may have been an infraction, there was no damage from the infraction as (according to Deep Finesse) ten tricks are available for North/South in both clubs and spades.

East/West appeal on the basis that:
South's Pass in an apparently forcing auction looks very strange;
it's not clear what contract would be reached if South had bid on; and
If she had been left to declare 4or 4, North might not have played for the actual favourable lie of the cards.

South (who can probably recite Law 73C word for word) stated that he knew he was in possession of unauthorised information, but didn't know what the UI suggested. He also observed that East had bid strongly.

How would you rule if you were on the AC?
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#2 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2012-January-28, 02:48

S's final pass is a very odd bid and clearly takes advantage of the UI (PP ?), N's pass must be forcing. What would X mean ? If X is pens, then no damage is done as it's what I'd do on this misfit and I'd pass with the N hand.
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#3 User is offline   mamos 

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Posted 2012-January-28, 06:51

I'll come clean straight away. I was the TD in charge of the event and so ultimately responsible for the ruling made. The TD who went to the table did talk to me about the hand - he polled my opinion about South's call over the second double and explained the UI problem.
He talked to others and later told me that he believed that there had been an infraction of Law 16 but that he believed different actions by South would have lead to a more favourable outcome for NS. He therefore wished to rule that there had been no damage. AS TDIC I confess that I thought it likely that an appeal would follow and was content to allow the TD to make the ruling he suggested. Maybe this was not best, but other rulings had to be made and the tournament managed.

I do want to point out that my opinions below are my own and not "official" in any way.

Jeffrey refers to the question of what is suggested by the UI and I think this is crucial to this case. I would suggest there are two aspects to this.

Firstly South knows the partnership has had a misunderstanding because he has forgotten the system. He knows that his partner thinks he has Clubs and that there is a great danger that the partnership will reach a silly contract and sustain a significant penalty. It follows that in situations where he has a choice of calls he must not make the one that reduces the risk of disaster. In no sense can he make a call that "clarifies" or suggests that he has made an error.

Secondly he knows that the 3 bid from partner is a weak raise of the suit "he has shown", but that in traditional methods with or without the takeout double 3 is a strong bid - certainly forcing. Elsewhere South, Paul, has discussed how strong this bid is, whether it is game-forcing or merely a one round force. I remember these discussions 30 years ago when in some of my partnerships we agreed that we should treat it as GF, because stopping was almost impossible. I'm aware that this makes some medium hands difficult but that's why more sophisticated methods (transfer after double and Gazilli?) were developed. Whatever "forcing" means in this auction, I'm sure it doesn't mean that the partnership can let the opponents play in 3.

So to the auction. I was asked how I would call after the second double, the moment when South chose to Pass. I chose to Redouble, maybe not the best but at the time my thought was that this would make the later auction easier. I was not ashamed of my 1NT bid (again there has been discussion about what it shows and there have been a range of responses but if you are going to play 1NT as natural here after 1 X this appears to be almost exactly the hand everyone expects). I play often locally with an older but very sound traditional Acol player, he bid 3 "What's the problem?" he said. A regular partner of mine, probably not as good a player as Paul, bid 3. After all Jx is not that bad a holding opposite a possible six-card suit and we might well have raised to 2 on the first round with three small Spades.

I think it is very clear that it is Pass that is suggested. It is more likely than anything else to keep the partnership out of trouble. 3 might make partner think we have a good hand. What South seems to me to arguing is why Pass is the best call, but that just isn't the point. East has doubled twice and may be strong (but people bid on rubbish especially at these colours) Partner can clarify her hand.

Frankly I am amazed that it should seem doubtful either that Pass is suggested or that some players would think of different actions - Rdbl, 3, 3, and that some would choose them.

Much the same issues apply on the next round of bidding. IMHO some (many) players would regard this situation as forcing, there are LAs and Pass is suggested.

Mike
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#4 User is offline   paulg 

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Posted 2012-January-28, 07:32

View Postmamos, on 2012-January-28, 06:51, said:

So to the auction. I was asked how I would call after the second double, the moment when South chose to Pass. I chose to Redouble, maybe not the best but at the time my thought was that this would make the later auction easier. I was not ashamed of my 1NT bid (again there has been discussion about what it shows and there have been a range of responses but if you are going to play 1NT as natural here after 1 X this appears to be almost exactly the hand everyone expects). I play often locally with an older but very sound traditional Acol player, he bid 3 "What's the problem?" he said. A regular partner of mine, probably not as good a player as Paul, bid 3. After all Jx is not that bad a holding opposite a possible six-card suit and we might well have raised to 2 on the first round with three small Spades.

I think it is very clear that it is Pass that is suggested. It is more likely than anything else to keep the partnership out of trouble. 3 might make partner think we have a good hand. What South seems to me to arguing is why Pass is the best call, but that just isn't the point. East has doubled twice and may be strong (but people bid on rubbish especially at these colours) Partner can clarify her hand.

Frankly I am amazed that it should seem doubtful either that Pass is suggested or that some players would think of different actions - Rdbl, 3, 3, and that some would choose them.

Just to show how difficult this is, as I think Mike is one of our best TDs, I do not see how passing three clubs doubled is likely to keep the partnership out of trouble - it sounds like we are already in trouble given we may be in a 3-3 fit with a 6-2 fit available. Surely bidding anything else is suggested?

When originally given the problem without the UI, I passed three clubs as (1) partner will often be 5-5 and we are in our best fit (2) we are doubled into game and they may pass it (3) if I redouble they may find a cheap save in four or five hearts (4) my ace of diamonds may be facing a void and (5) we are doubled into game and I have club preference.

I fully agree with Mike's view on the final pass.
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#5 User is offline   wank 

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Posted 2012-January-28, 08:19

looks normal to pass 3x, but passing 3 seems more than a bit rum. i think X is the normal action, so no damage.
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#6 User is offline   sasioc 

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Posted 2012-January-28, 08:41

View Postwank, on 2012-January-28, 08:19, said:

looks normal to pass 3x, but passing 3 seems more than a bit rum. i think X is the normal action, so no damage.



My thoughts exactly, although I am no expert
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#7 User is offline   campboy 

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Posted 2012-January-28, 09:55

I agree that it is not clear what is suggested or what the logical alternatives are when South first passed. What was the double of 3?

It seems obvious, however, that the second pass is suggested over anything else by the UI that partner is weaker than the auction would suggest had 1NT been natural. I also think it is clear that there are LAs to this second pass.

In fact I think that, had another call been chosen, pass itself would not have been an LA. This criterion is, of course, not what we need to rule that pass is illegal, but, being a much stronger statement than "there are LAs to pass", it suggests that it should have been obvious to South that there were LAs to pass.
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#8 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2012-January-28, 12:24

View Postcampboy, on 2012-January-28, 09:55, said:

I agree that it is not clear what is suggested or what the logical alternatives are when South first passed. What was the double of 3?

It seems obvious, however, that the second pass is suggested over anything else by the UI that partner is weaker than the auction would suggest had 1NT been natural. I also think it is clear that there are LAs to this second pass.

In fact I think that, had another call been chosen, pass itself would not have been an LA. This criterion is, of course, not what we need to rule that pass is illegal, but, being a much stronger statement than "there are LAs to pass", it suggests that it should have been obvious to South that there were LAs to pass.

I agree with this, I'm also interested in the procedure here (and will simplify the problem away from this particular hand slightly to illustrate the point I'm trying to clarify, assume anything beyond 3 goes off for the purposes of this post).

Say it's decided that there are LAs and these are X and less successful things. If you reckon say 70% of the time you would X, 30% of the time you would bid something else and go off, how do you apply this and determine a result ? Are you required to take the worst option or can you weight the score which may result in no adjustment as X is a winner ?
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#9 User is offline   campboy 

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Posted 2012-January-28, 12:39

View PostCyberyeti, on 2012-January-28, 12:24, said:

Say it's decided that there are LAs and these are X and less successful things. If you reckon say 70% of the time you would X, 30% of the time you would bid something else and go off, how do you apply this and determine a result ? Are you required to take the worst option or can you weight the score which may result in no adjustment as X is a winner ?

If A and B are LAs to pass but A is demonstrably suggested over B then it would also be illegal so the adjusted score would be based on B being selected. If neither A nor B is demonstrably suggested over the other (or any other LA there may be) then you may give a weighted score based on each being selected some of the time.
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#10 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2012-January-28, 17:13

View Postcampboy, on 2012-January-28, 12:39, said:

If A and B are LAs to pass but A is demonstrably suggested over B then it would also be illegal so the adjusted score would be based on B being selected. If neither A nor B is demonstrably suggested over the other (or any other LA there may be) then you may give a weighted score based on each being selected some of the time.

Indeed. I considered that double was suggested over pass (partner is likely to have fewer clubs in the unauthorised auction), as did Dburn who would have bid 4S! I thought that he was being flippant, but one never knows with David, as one has seen with claim rulings! I agree with others that double, if allowed, is automatic (you have an ace, three trumps, and only five cards in partner's suits) but it scores better, therefore the result stands. One of the AC thought North would remove the double of 3H, because she has a singleton heart (sic). Presumably that AC member did not notice the AK, A and singleton diamond either.

The TD indicated on the appeal form the results of his poll which was that "it was unclear whether [further] action by South constituted a logical alternative to passing. Most likely alternatives were ... double in lieu of the second pass." (The ... referred to the first pass, and is not really relevant)

The EBU guidance is as follows:

"What should an AC do if the ruling is appealed?

• They may ask the TD for details of any poll he took.
• They could consider their own poll, but this will not usually be practical."

The results of the TD poll, admittedly with an unspecified number of pollees, was stated on the appeal form. The AC decided to hold their own mini-poll of 3 amongst themselves, even though the second bullet point above suggests that the poll should be among others - how would a poll amongst themselves not be practical? - and considered double, 3S and 4C as the only LAs. They regarded North passing the double as 0% (!), and they produced the following, a contrived 0.6 IMPs to E/W and added a PP for North-South, even though the TD poll indicated that pass and double were the only LAs, and it was unclear whether there was a logical alternative to pass. I think double clearly is, although the poll view was favourable to South. The AC final weighting was:

20% of Four Spades making
40% of Four Spades one off
20% of Five Clubs one off
20% of Four Clubs making

It is not clear how North-South get to 4S or 5C. North has just given in to 3H (she has no UI). Whether that is a good hand evaluation is completely irrelevant.

I think Pass by South is over-ethical, as the other LA of double would have been more successful. Wank sums it up in his usual perfunctory way.
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#11 User is offline   gordontd 

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Posted 2012-January-28, 17:36

View Postlamford, on 2012-January-28, 17:13, said:

partner is likely to have fewer clubs in the unauthorised auction

You think this is more important than that partner is likely to have fewer points in the unauthorised auction?

Of course in the actual case she had more clubs than she might have in the authorised auction!
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#12 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2012-January-28, 17:43

View Postgordontd, on 2012-January-28, 17:36, said:

You think this is more important than that partner is likely to have fewer points in the unauthorised auction?

I am not sure. 3C in the unauthorised auction is invitational, particularly at red. A strong Canadian player thought it might be 14-15 with 3 clubs or 16-17 with 2 clubs, while in the authorised auction we are told that AKxxx x xx AKJxx is a minimum (yes I am aware partner cannot have a jack). Perhaps I should choose double. Dburn stated I could not choose pass or double even though he knew these were the only LAs in a poll by the TD. But double scores better as North would surely pass, so no adjustment.

The reasons why I do not regard other bids as LAs are:
a) 3S. Partner can only have five spades after failing to bid 3S over 3H. The second takeout double makes a 5-1 spade break likely, and the actual layout unlikely.
b) 4C. I have strongly implied three clubs with my previous round pass, and this could be a 4-3 fit on a bad day.

You only have to select from LAs, not from non-LAs. I think double is suggested over pass because partner is likely to have fewer clubs in the unauthorised auction, but pass is suggested over double because partner is likely to have a stronger hand in the authorised auction. So neither is demonstrably suggested.
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#13 User is offline   Trinidad 

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Posted 2012-January-28, 18:41

Just adding an opinion to the mix:

1) I find the 3 rebid a bit odd. I would certainly have bid 4. But North didnot have UI, so this is fine (but this evaluation does play a role later on, see 5).

2) I don't have any problem with the pass of 3X. I hardly see any LA's and passing is hardly running away from disaster.

3) I find North pass of 3 somewhat odd. But I can imagine passing as a tactical move to make sure that EW aren't pushed into 4. From the point of view from North, the pass is not forcing and he expects / hopes that the auction will end. For South, however, this pass should be forcing.

4) The pass of 3 is odd. I wouldn't even consider it an LA. The only LA would be to double. The UI demonstrably suggests pass over double. (By passing, South is staying out of trouble and will score at worst -170. Doubling might lead to a horror scenario.) This makes the pass an infraction. We will continue to see what would have happened without the infraction, if South would have doubled instead.

5) When 3X comes to North, North will pull to 4. North has suppressed the massive club support, and it is highly likely that West is void in clubs. (East's double shows three and South should have five, leaving none for West.) 3 is likely making. Of course, 4 is not forcing to North, but South will interpret it as a pass and pull, showing a strong hand with 55+ in the blacks.

6) South will cue 4, and North will cue 4 .

7) South now has 2 LA's: Pass and 5. Pass is clearly suggested by the LA (which says that North might not have 5 clubs) and is therefore not allowed. NS will end in 5. This might well get doubled (and quite possibly redoubled). North will take 9 or 10 tricks.

These are the results that can be achieved without infractions that I find likely. How to weight these results is another question.

Rik
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#14 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2012-January-28, 18:43

View Postmamos, on 2012-January-28, 06:51, said:

Secondly he knows that the 3 bid from partner is a weak raise of the suit "he has shown"

I do not think it is common to play this as weak. I think it should be invitational. 2C is available for weak hands.
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#15 User is offline   Trinidad 

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Posted 2012-January-28, 18:47

View Postlamford, on 2012-January-28, 17:43, said:

But double scores better as North would surely pass, so no adjustment.

North would certainly not pass, since, from his point of view, West will be void in clubs. (South has shown 5 or 6, East has shown 3+ and North has 5, leaving less than 0 for West.) Therefore, North needs three defensive tricks from South, outside clubs, which is highly unlikely.

Rik
I want my opponents to leave my table with a smile on their face and without matchpoints on their score card - in that order.
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#16 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2012-January-28, 18:50

View PostTrinidad, on 2012-January-28, 18:41, said:

5) When 3X comes to North, North will pull to 4.

North bid a non-forcing 3C last time, and passed 3H. Why on earth will she overrule partner? She has AK, A, and a singleton, and I do not agree with West being void in clubs. East can have a good 2-4-5-2 or 2-5-4-2. The second double by East was takeout. It is terrible bridge to overrule partner here. And it is quite likely to go spade, spade, spade overruffed, and there is a potential diamond ruff as well whenever partner has either red ace.

Anyway, I regret that I have posted enough on this thread, and will have to call it a day now, as I have a huge amount of non-bridge matters to attend to. In my view the AC should not have ignored the TD poll, even if they thought it was wrong.
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#17 User is offline   gnasher 

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Posted 2012-January-29, 03:16

lamford said:

I am not sure. 3C in the unauthorised auction is invitational, particularly at red. A strong Canadian player thought it might be 14-15 with 3 clubs or 16-17 with 2 clubs,

The relevant question is not what a strong Canadian player would mean if he bid 3, but what it would mean in your partnership. If you hadn't discussed it, what matters is what we think Stefanie would have meant by it.

Quote

while in the authorised auction we are told that AKxxx x xx AKJxx is a minimum (yes I am aware partner cannot have a jack).

Told by whom?

What matters is:
- What would a player of your class, playing with Stefanie, think that she would expect for a natural 1NT?
- What would a player of your class, playing with Stefanie, think that she would mean by 3 opposite a natural 1NT?

lamford said:

It is not clear how North-South get to 4S or 5C.

Trinidad's auction is one example. Another is
Responder: 3, because Jx is quite good support in context and his hearts are nothing special
Opener: 4, because she prefers 5-5 fits to 5-2 fits
Responder: 4, cue, because opener has just made a slam try and we are rather suitable.
Opener: 4: not sure what's going on, but 4 seems a possible contract
Responder: 5, because 4 was a cue-bid, but we have no heart control.
If future responses could be on topic, i.e. comparing the two suggested systems, rather than some alternative nutjob method, that'd be appreciated, thanks. - MickyB
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#18 User is offline   Trinidad 

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Posted 2012-January-29, 04:41

View Postlamford, on 2012-January-28, 18:50, said:

North bid a non-forcing 3C last time, and passed 3H. Why on earth will she overrule partner?

North will not overrule partner, North will overrule herself. By bidding 3, she has misdescribed her hand by at least two clubs.
Furthermore, this is not a question of overruling partner's decision at all, since partner's double is not a decision. It is showing cards, or at most a suggestion for a penalty. With this much undisclosed club support, North will know what to do with that suggestion: Finally show that she has clubs.
Remember that in my opinion the only conceivable reason why North didn't bid 4 the round before was that she was afraid of pushing EW in a making 4. Why on Earth would she then leave an optional double of 3 in?

Rik
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#19 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2012-January-29, 04:41

View PostCyberyeti, on 2012-January-28, 12:24, said:

I agree with this, I'm also interested in the procedure here (and will simplify the problem away from this particular hand slightly to illustrate the point I'm trying to clarify, assume anything beyond 3 goes off for the purposes of this post).

Say it's decided that there are LAs and these are X and less successful things. If you reckon say 70% of the time you would X, 30% of the time you would bid something else and go off, how do you apply this and determine a result ? Are you required to take the worst option or can you weight the score which may result in no adjustment as X is a winner ?


It should be the latter, but it is very strange that the AC apparently did not consider double an LA; thus their weighting resulted in damage.
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#20 User is offline   jallerton 

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Posted 2012-January-29, 04:54

View Postlamford, on 2012-January-28, 17:13, said:

The TD indicated on the appeal form the results of his poll which was that "it was unclear whether [further] action by South constituted a logical alternative to passing. Most likely alternatives were ... double in lieu of the second pass." (The ... referred to the first pass, and is not really relevant)

The EBU guidance is as follows:

"What should an AC do if the ruling is appealed?

• They may ask the TD for details of any poll he took.
• They could consider their own poll, but this will not usually be practical."

The results of the TD poll, admittedly with an unspecified number of pollees, was stated on the appeal form. The AC decided to hold their own mini-poll of 3 amongst themselves, even though the second bullet point above suggests that the poll should be among others - how would a poll amongst themselves not be practical? - and considered double, 3S and 4C as the only LAs.


Certainly an AC should make use of any valid poll performed by the TD. Here though it seems that something has gone seriously wrong with the poll. Where did the TD find these people who apparently opted to defend 3undoubled non-vulnerable when partner had forced to game from strength? More likely, I suspect, the TD gave them a wrong auction or told the people asked about about the unauthorised information when conducting the poll. Judging from his comments, the Chief TD came to the same conclusion.

When the West player first told me and a couple of other people I was with about the hand, it was as a bidding problem from South's point of view and we had no idea that the hand was the subject of a TD ruling and ongoing appeal. All three of us bid 3, with double being mentioned as a vague possibility.

Quote

They regarded North passing the double as 0% (!), and they produced the following, a contrived 0.6 IMPs to E/W and added a PP for North-South, even though the TD poll indicated that pass and double were the only LAs, and it was unclear whether there was a logical alternative to pass. I think double clearly is, although the poll view was favourable to South. The AC final weighting was:

20% of Four Spades making
40% of Four Spades one off
20% of Five Clubs one off
20% of Four Clubs making

It is not clear how North-South get to 4S or 5C.


There are various possible legal auctions. See Trinidad's and Gnasher's examples.

Quote

North has just given in to 3H (she has no UI). Whether that is a good hand evaluation is completely irrelevant.


North has given in to 3 in the sense that she has raised clubs to what she deeems to be an appropriate level and has then passed. However, that information is unauthorised to South. South has to act on the basis of the authorised auction from his point of view; in this case that partner has shown a game force with 5+ and 4+ and has then made a forcing pass over 3.

By the way, North's bidding at the table is not completely irrelevant. If the TD considers her actions to constitute a "red fielded misbid" then an artificial score adjustment to +/-3IMPs (if this scores better for the non-offending side than the UI-adjusted weighting) might be indicated under EBU rules.
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