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Shropshire Congress 2 (EBU) Splinter

#1 User is offline   VixTD 

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Posted 2012-May-22, 07:14

Swiss Pairs.

1 = strong club system, alerted
3 = splinter, maximum hand with four spades and a singleton club, not alerted

3 was not alerted, but explained on request at the end of the auction.

Result: 4(N)+2, NS +680

East called the TD at the end of play and questioned South's decision to bid game after the splinter had not been alerted. He argued that for all South knows North could have a weaker hand with only four spades.

I don't remember NS's response, except that it wasn't very convincing. Is there a case for adjusting the score here?
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#2 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2012-May-22, 07:28

It does seem like after a limited opening and well-defined rebid, responder is captain, so I think it should be adjusted to a part score.

+2? Did someone duck a and then declarer got rid of the other one on the long ?

#3 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2012-May-22, 07:34

1. How limited was the opening? Up to 15 or something else?
2. You did not mention the 1 response. Was this 8+, 6+, or possibly weaker? If 6+ or less, why did North not make a game try?
3. What would a 4 rebid by South have meant? If also a splinter, what was the difference in South's thinking?
4. Did North break tempo at all before 3?
5. How did E-W manage to drop the 12th trick?!
(-: Zel :-)
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#4 User is offline   c_corgi 

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Posted 2012-May-22, 07:58

North's 3S looks ill-judged and pass is an LA to 4S by S (N hasn't even made a game try with 2 available over 3C). But where is the UI? It looks like N forgot to alert, but no reason to suspect anyone had forgotten, or thought partner may have forgotten, the system: 3S looks like he is responding to the splinter with a minimum. If 3S was slow that would be another story.
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#5 User is offline   PeterAlan 

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Posted 2012-May-22, 08:05

View Postbarmar, on 2012-May-22, 07:28, said:

It does seem like after a limited opening and well-defined rebid, responder is captain, so I think it should be adjusted to a part score.

This is just saying that where there's UI you're not allowed to make the right choice, and that's not the law. The question is whether bidding on to 4 as opposed to passing 3 "could demonstrably have been suggested" by the failure to alert 3, and I can't see how it was.
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#6 User is offline   CamHenry 

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Posted 2012-May-22, 08:06

View Postc_corgi, on 2012-May-22, 07:58, said:

North's 3S looks ill-judged and pass is an LA to 4S by S (N hasn't even made a game try with 2 available over 3C). But where is the UI? It looks like N forgot to alert, but no reason to suspect anyone had forgotten, or thought partner may have forgotten, the system: 3S looks like he is responding to the splinter with a minimum. If 3S was slow that would be another story.


The UI is in the absence of an alert: it is assumed that NS believes 3C is natural, rather than that he assumes it is a splinter but non-alertable.

(Of course, if NS can provide evidence that 3C is indeed a game-forcing splinter, there is no adjustment).
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#7 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2012-May-22, 08:12

it seems unlikely that a limited opener can force to game on his own, although the South hand is pretty close. But give North Kxxx xxx xxx Kxx and you're not even making 3.

#8 User is offline   CamHenry 

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Posted 2012-May-22, 08:18

View PostPeterAlan, on 2012-May-22, 08:05, said:

This is just saying that where there's UI you're not allowed to make the right choice, and that's not the law. The question is whether bidding on to 4 as opposed to passing 3 "could demonstrably have been suggested" by the failure to alert 3, and I can't see how it was.



South's thought process over 3S should be akin to:
"North believes I have a long club suit, at least within the confines of my opening 1D, and has therefore bid 3S. This presumably denies values in clubs, and is likely to show a minimum or a hand with no biddable 4-card red suit. If he had bid 3S after correctly alerting my splinter, that would DENY* game interest.

"My hand has improved substantially based on what partner most likely has, compared to what he has shown. This suggests bidding 4S: so I need to decide whether it's at all plausible for me to pass 3S. 3C is not forcing to game, because a GF splinter would go to 4C. Partner has shown (absent UI) something like QJTxxx/xx/Qxx/Kx, and I can expect game to be around 50% at best. That makes passing a logical alternative, even if partner's hand is a little better than this."

*: this assumes they don't play 3C as GF, and therefore 3S as a slam try.

My opinion (both as a player and as a director) is that 4S IS demonstrably suggested by the UI; it is less clear to me that passing is an LA as I had to try quite hard to construct a hand for North that didn't make game a decent contract.

Edit: Barmar's posited hand is indeed one that makes passing an LA. I had assumed North promises 8+ for his bid.
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#9 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2012-May-22, 08:37

Too much speculation. What is their actual system? As I understand Precision (if that's what this is) opener has shown a maximum limited opening, 5-5 in the minors. In that case why isn't N showing his diamond support? 3 looks to me like an "I have to show my fifth spade" bid, which suggests that this pair isn't very good. Or perhaps N knew 3 was a splinter, but having forgot to alert was reluctant to admit it because he knew that was a mistake.

If splinters are FG in their system, I don't think there's an LA to 4 for S. If they're not, pass of 3 is an LA, so the question is whether bidding game could demonstrably be suggested by the failure to alert. CamHenry thinks it is, but he hasn't demonstrated how it is. Maybe he thinks it's obvious, but it's not obvious to me. :)
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#10 User is offline   CamHenry 

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Posted 2012-May-22, 09:28

View Postblackshoe, on 2012-May-22, 08:37, said:

If splinters are FG in their system, I don't think there's an LA to 4 for S. If they're not, pass of 3 is an LA, so the question is whether bidding game could demonstrably be suggested by the failure to alert. CamHenry thinks it is, but he hasn't demonstrated how it is. Maybe he thinks it's obvious, but it's not obvious to me. :)


I do indeed think it is demonstrably suggested.

North's bid, in the context of the UI, shows a hand with:
  • No club values, hence no wastage there (or at worst, something like Kxx in C, which will provide a diamond discard)
  • No biddable red suit, hence at least 5 spades
  • A minimum, which mitigates against bidding game


On the basis of the UI, I would not be at all surprised to find North with Kxxxx/xx/QJx/xxx, on which game is very good (losing a H, a D and a C; makes if DK is onside or spades break) or QJTxx/xxx/xx/xxx (losing one in each minor; game is on the spade finesse despite N having a sub-minimum balanced hand).

Of course, N could have Jxxxx/xxx/Qxx/xx, in which case you lose a club, a diamond or two, a heart, and a spade or two - but even here game has some (slim) chances. My argument is that game is so much improved by the UI that it is therefore demonstrably suggested.
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#11 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2012-May-22, 11:32

Without the UI (i.e. partner Alerts 3 and cheerfully explains it as "maximum, 4 spades and a stiff club", Partner's 3 could very easily be on K-fourth in both blacks, losing a trick in each suit on normal breaks and a minor-suit lead, never mind the possibility of two trump losers. That's not the worst hand he can have, either - he could be queen-empty-fourth, KJxx in the blacks (now, *that's* pessimistic, but it could happen).

We're not looking for hands that won't make 4 and which bid 3 with the "partner forgot"; we're talking about the (fairly frequent, at least when the TD gets called (cynical me off: and it's usually the *correct* explanation of what happened, even if it's "conveeeenient")) situation where "partner forgot to alert, but he didn't forget the system" and bid 3 anyway.

[Edit: forgot I had the stiff Q.]
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#12 User is offline   c_corgi 

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Posted 2012-May-22, 12:02

I don't think North did forget the system (or he would probably have bid 3D preference). But I am coming round to the view that South's raise to 4 was suggested by UI that North might have forgotten the system.
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#13 User is offline   bluejak 

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Posted 2012-May-23, 05:40

View Postc_corgi, on 2012-May-22, 07:58, said:

North's 3S looks ill-judged and pass is an LA to 4S by S (N hasn't even made a game try with 2 available over 3C). But where is the UI? It looks like N forgot to alert, but no reason to suspect anyone had forgotten, or thought partner may have forgotten, the system: 3S looks like he is responding to the splinter with a minimum. If 3S was slow that would be another story.

You cannot get away from adjustments under the UI Laws by assuming that the UI from partner might mean something else. The UI suggests he has forgotten a splinter, and that is the assumption to make.

One question that intrigues me, Colin, where are you? The reason I mention it is that in my experience almost no-one ever forgets to alert artificial calls. On RGB there are often suggestions that a failure to alert is a forget, but such suggestions nearly always come from ACBL members. So I wonder if alerting is more unreliable there. So, are you ACBL? Is alerting of conventional calls unreliable where you are?
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#14 User is offline   c_corgi 

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Posted 2012-May-23, 06:01

View Postbluejak, on 2012-May-23, 05:40, said:

One question that intrigues me, Colin, where are you?



EBU. But my first response was ill-considered: even more so than acknowledged in my second.
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#15 User is offline   VixTD 

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Posted 2012-May-23, 07:00

I think 1 showed 8+ hcp (but not necessarily as good as this 8 hcp).

3 was not game forcing.

My co-director gave the ruling on this one, and decided to let the score stand. The main doubt I had about adjusting the score was that I wasn't convinced that the unauthorized information suggested bidding 4, so thanks for your thoughts on that.
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#17 User is offline   jallerton 

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Posted 2012-May-24, 12:31

Let's put it this way.

Scenario 1. I have described my hand fairly well to partner and based on that information he thinks 3 might be the best contract. What contract do I want to play in? 3.

Scenario 2. Partner thinks that I am 5-5 or 6-5 in the minors and still has enough spades to bid the suit again, presumably at least 6. If partner has at least 6 spades, what contract to I want to play in? 4 or maybe a spade slam (3 might even be forcing from partner's point of view).

The UI suggests that instead of Scenario 1 existing (the plan when I bid 3), Scenario 2 may exist instead. Therefore the UI demonstrably suugests bidding 4 over passing. Pass is a logical alternative so bidding 4 is a breach of Law 16.

To put in another way, bidding 4 is not carefully avoiding gaining any advantage from the UI, so bidding 4 is an obvious breach of Law 73C. So obvious to me in fact that I'd consider a PP here.
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#18 User is offline   FrancesHinden 

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Posted 2012-May-24, 12:39

What jallerton said.
South has UI that his partner doesn't know he has 4-card spade support and a club shortage. That UI suggests that they might be missing game, because the spade fit is still concealed. It demonstrably suggests bidding game. Thus we adjust to 3S, probably +3 unless EW can explain why they would only let 11 tricks through given they conceded 12 against 4S.
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#19 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2012-May-25, 02:55

I would still like to know what a 4 rebid from South would have been. We also need to consider Scenario 3: Responder's 4 rebid would have a completely different meaning and 3 was the only splinter raise available even with GF hands. In this case we need to determine of stopping short of game is a LA for this South hand opposite an 8+ response. My money would be on it being a LA but I still think it needs to be established since a good 14 plus a singleton queen and a spade fit opposite 8 hcp would normally be worth game.
(-: Zel :-)
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#20 User is offline   WellSpyder 

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Posted 2012-May-29, 10:08

View Postjallerton, on 2012-May-24, 12:31, said:

Let's put it this way.

Scenario 1. I have described my hand fairly well to partner and based on that information he thinks 3 might be the best contract. What contract do I want to play in? 3.

Scenario 2. Partner thinks that I am 5-5 or 6-5 in the minors and still has enough spades to bid the suit again, presumably at least 6. If partner has at least 6 spades, what contract to I want to play in? 4 or maybe a spade slam (3 might even be forcing from partner's point of view).

The UI suggests that instead of Scenario 1 existing (the plan when I bid 3), Scenario 2 may exist instead. Therefore the UI demonstrably suugests bidding 4 over passing. Pass is a logical alternative so bidding 4 is a breach of Law 16.

To put in another way, bidding 4 is not carefully avoiding gaining any advantage from the UI, so bidding 4 is an obvious breach of Law 73C. So obvious to me in fact that I'd consider a PP here.


I agree with this analysis IF partner actually thinks I have shown 5-5 or 6-5 in the minors. But is there any evidence of this? As I read the OP, 3C was actually correctly explained when asked about, which suggests North's failure to alert was just that rather than a failure to understand the bid, so any UI to South was actually misleading. Can we still penalise South for using UI if the "I" he has apparently illegally used is actually mis-information?
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#21 User is offline   jallerton 

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Posted 2012-May-29, 15:51

The evidence to suggest that North took 3 as natural is the fact that he failed to alert the call.

Even if North knew all along that 3 was a splinter, South does not know this. The UI from the failure to alert still strongly suggests to South that North has not understood his bid as showing primary spade support; hence the UI still makes raising to 4 more likely to be the winning action.
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