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Definition of Artificial Call WBF 2007

#1 User is offline   mgoetze 

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Posted 2012-March-13, 16:41

The WBF informs me that an artificial call is one which "is a bid, double, or redouble that conveys information (not being information taken for granted by players generally) other than willingness to play in the denomination named or last named; or a pass which promises more than a specified amount of strength or if it promises or denies values other than in the last suit named."

Just to check whether I've understood this correctly, three examples from uncontested auctions

Playing two-way checkback, the auction goes 1-1-1NT-2-2. Now, 2 conveys absolutely no information whatsoever, since it is 100% forced. Therefore, it is not an artificial call. Correct?

Playing Jacoby transfers, the auction goes 1NT-2-2. 2 conveys the information that we don't have a superaccept of hearts, which is something other than willingness to play in hearts or diamonds. However, I think this is generally taken for granted by almost all players, so not artificial - correct?

Playing Walsh, the auction goes 1-1. 1 does show 4+ diamonds, but it furthermore conveys the information that responder does not have a 4-card major unless he also has game-forcing strength. This is taken for granted by some players, but not so many that it could be called "general", thus 1 is an artificial call - correct?
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#2 User is offline   mike777 

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Posted 2012-March-13, 17:28

Sidenotes

Even in two way checkback 2d is not 100% forced. It does convey some information, a willingness to play in 2d no matter what.

WaLSH IS NOT ALERTABLE, and dont see why it would be an artificial call. Perhaps it is "general" enough.
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#3 User is offline   bluejak 

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Posted 2012-March-13, 18:50

Whether it is alertable is {a} a matter of geography - it is alertable in some places - and {b} irrelevant to whether it is artificial.

Walsh is certainly artificial since it is not generally played. Unless it is how 75% of players would take it I cannot see it is generally played.

The same applies to transfers in my view: I think you are assuming a level of competence and knowledge that I doubt is there. There are a lot of players to whom transfer means always bid the suit.

The puppet completion was argued about for ever under the definition of conventional and will be argued similarly under artificial. You can say it shows nothing: but you can also argue that it is not a willingness to play there, since you only play there if partner wants to. I think it needs official interpretation to sort out.
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#4 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2012-March-13, 22:07

View Postbluejak, on 2012-March-13, 18:50, said:

Walsh is certainly artificial since it is not generally played.


This logic is flawed. Stayman is generally played, and still artificial. Same for takeout doubles. Walsh is a treatment, and imo natural.
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#5 User is offline   mrdct 

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Posted 2012-March-14, 01:14

View Postmgoetze, on 2012-March-13, 16:41, said:

The WBF informs me that an artificial call is one which "is a bid, double, or redouble that conveys information (not being information taken for granted by players generally) other than willingness to play in the denomination named or last named; or a pass which promises more than a specified amount of strength or if it promises or denies values other than in the last suit named."

The WBF alerting requirements tie back to "conventional" calls, not "artificial" calls. In each of the three examples you have given, the calls in question have "special meanings or which are based on or lead to special understandings between the partners" which are required to be disclosed in the manner prescribed by your SO pursuant to Law 40(b). In WBF events they would all be alertable under the "conventional" or "special meaning" principle, failing which the WBF also has the catch-all guideline in the preamble of "alert whenever there is doubt".
Disclaimer: The above post may be a half-baked sarcastic rant intended to stimulate discussion and it does not necessarily coincide with my own views on this topic.
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#6 User is offline   mgoetze 

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Posted 2012-March-14, 03:16

I am interested specifically in the WBF definition of artificial call. Surely blackshoe will not disagree that 1 is a "call" according to the laws, whether or not he considers Walsh a treatment. Given that 1 is a call, the laws provide a test for whether or not it is an "artificial" call.

I realise that the WBF alert regulations do not refer to this definition. Unfortunately, the German alert regulations do. IMHO, this is extremely ridiculous, and it is for the purpose of convincing others that it is ridiculous that I am interested in the technicalities of this definition.
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#7 User is offline   mrdct 

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Posted 2012-March-14, 05:30

View Postmgoetze, on 2012-March-14, 03:16, said:

I am interested specifically in the WBF definition of artificial call. Surely blackshoe will not disagree that 1 is a "call" according to the laws, whether or not he considers Walsh a treatment. Given that 1 is a call, the laws provide a test for whether or not it is an "artificial" call.

I realise that the WBF alert regulations do not refer to this definition. Unfortunately, the German alert regulations do. IMHO, this is extremely ridiculous, and it is for the purpose of convincing others that it is ridiculous that I am interested in the technicalities of this definition.

OK, I think I see where you are coming from; but you probably should've said that your jurisdiction was Germany, not the WBF. The "WBF informs me" definition of "Artificial" in the OP is taken directly from the Definitions section of the 2007 Laws and obviously has application to any use of the term "Artificial" within the Laws and also, it seems, in the application of German alerting regulations.

My view on your three examples:

1. A puppet response of 2 to 2 in a two-way checkback auction

2 does not convey a willingness to play in so the call is artificial.

2. Accepting a transfer to 2 where the acceptance denies a super-accept.

The negative inference that the 1NT opener only has 2 or 3 is not something that would be taken for granted by players generally so 2 conveys information as to either or both of the strength or length in opener's hand so the call is artificial.

3. A Walsh 1 response to 1 denying a four card major unless game-forcing

Similar to (2), 1 conveys a huge amount of additional information about responder's hand that would not be taken for granted by players who did not know your were using that treatment so it's artificial.

It's not clear to me whether you think the definition of "artificial" is ridiculous or the German alerting regulations that are tied to it are; but these three examples are unambiguously artificial calls.
Disclaimer: The above post may be a half-baked sarcastic rant intended to stimulate discussion and it does not necessarily coincide with my own views on this topic.
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#8 User is offline   mgoetze 

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Posted 2012-March-14, 06:00

View Postmrdct, on 2012-March-14, 05:30, said:

1. A puppet response of 2 to 2 in a two-way checkback auction

2 does not convey a willingness to play in so the call is artificial.

Sorry, I can't see how the definition says this. Let's analyse the sentence: "An artificial call is a bid, double, or redouble that conveys information (not being information taken for granted by players generally) other than willingness to play in the denomination named or last named; or a pass which promises more than a specified amount of strength or if it promises or denies values other than in the last suit named." We are talking about a bid so I think it is fair to reduce this to "An artificial bid is a bid that conveys information (not being information taken for granted by players generally) other than willingness to play in the denomination named or last named." The main clause is then "An artificial bid is a bid", and there is a secondary clause qualifying the second "bid". Specifically, "an artificial bid is a bid that conveys information [...]" and the rest of the sentence qualifies which sort of information needs to be conveyed in order for the bid to be an artificial one.

I conclude that a bid which does not convey information cannot possibly be an artifical bid by this definition.

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It's not clear to me whether you think the definition of "artificial" is ridiculous or the German alerting regulations that are tied to it are;

The latter, mainly.
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#9 User is offline   mgoetze 

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Posted 2012-March-14, 06:34

Since people insist on talking about alerting policies in this thread, the WBF states

Quote

The following classes of calls should be alerted:
1. Conventional bids should be alerted, non-conventional bids should not.
[...]

Could someone point me to the definition of "conventional" for purposes of this statement?
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#10 User is offline   gordontd 

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Posted 2012-March-14, 07:01

View Postmrdct, on 2012-March-14, 05:30, said:

1. A puppet response of 2 to 2 in a two-way checkback auction

2 does not convey a willingness to play in so the call is artificial.

You better be willing to play there, because that's exactly what you'll do if partner passes (which is one of the aims of the convention).
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#11 User is offline   RMB1 

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Posted 2012-March-14, 07:30

View Postmgoetze, on 2012-March-14, 06:34, said:

Since people insist on talking about alerting policies in this thread, the WBF states
...
Could someone point me to the definition of "conventional" for purposes of this statement?


I think the wording of the alerting regulations predates the 2007 Laws. The previous laws defined "conventional" with much the same text that now defines "artificial". I think that definition is the one that is relevant to the WBF regulation.
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#12 User is offline   mrdct 

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Posted 2012-March-14, 07:40

View Postmgoetze, on 2012-March-14, 06:34, said:

Since people insist on talking about alerting policies in this thread, the WBF states


Could someone point me to the definition of "conventional" for purposes of this statement?

I'll give it a go.

WBF Systems Policy
Clause 2.1 (definitions)
Natural a call or play that is not a convention ['special partnership understanding' as defined in Law 40B1(a)]

So under the WBF Systems Policy, "convention" takes the meaning of "special partnership understanding" from Law 40B1(a):

In its discretion the Regulating Authority may designate certain partnership understandings as “special partnership understandings”. A special partnership understanding is one whose meaning, in the opinion of the Regulating Authority, may not be readily understood and anticipated by a significant number of players in the tournament.

The role of the RA comes up no less than 11 times in Law 40, so it's important to consider the definition of "convention" with your local regulations firmly in mind. In my jurisdiction, for example, our definition of "convention" is:

A call that, by partnership agreement, conveys a meaning other than willingness to play in the denomination named (or in the last denomination named), or high-card strength or length (three cards or more) there. However, an agreement as to overall strength does not make a call a convention.
Disclaimer: The above post may be a half-baked sarcastic rant intended to stimulate discussion and it does not necessarily coincide with my own views on this topic.
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#13 User is offline   mrdct 

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Posted 2012-March-14, 07:49

View Postgordontd, on 2012-March-14, 07:01, said:

You better be willing to play there, because that's exactly what you'll do if partner passes (which is one of the aims of the convention).

The willingness to play there is conditional on responder holding a suit which is not known to opener at the time he makes the 2 call, so all that 2 says is "I'm doing what our partnership agreement tells me to do after the 2 puppet". 2 could virtually be considered a "pass or correct" bid which I believe is universally considered artificial, conventional and alertable.
Disclaimer: The above post may be a half-baked sarcastic rant intended to stimulate discussion and it does not necessarily coincide with my own views on this topic.
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#14 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2012-March-14, 07:49

View Postbluejak, on 2012-March-13, 18:50, said:

Walsh is certainly artificial since it is not generally played. Unless it is how 75% of players would take it I cannot see it is generally played.

So a 1 opening is always artificial since neither 4+ or 5+ hearts is played by 75% of players here in Yorkshire?

This is absurd.

A 1 opening may or may not deny 4+ diamonds unless ...... but regardless of style, a non-canape 4+ 1 opening is natural. Probably not alertable but even if you play a style that is highly unusual at the local club it is still natural, albeit alertable.

Same with Walsh.

All calls give some negative inference about strains other than the last one mentioned. If the negative inference is alertable is one thing. Playing Flannery may make our 1 opening alertable. But not artificial.

Playing an unusual notrump range may make some of our rebids after 1-banana openings alertable, although the 1-banana opening itself probably isn't. But it certainly doesn't make those openings and rebids artificial.
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#15 User is offline   mgoetze 

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Posted 2012-March-14, 08:21

Helene, we are not talking about whether a sensible person would call something "artificial" but about whether the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge would call something "artificial". These topics are not related at all.
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#16 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2012-March-14, 11:19

I think that a 2 forced response is artificial in that it's meaning is "it says nothing more about my hand" which certainly is meaning other than "willingness to play there." To take the argument to extremes, a 1 "13 cards" (let's assume that *is* in fact what they're playing, not "13 cards and no reason to bid a suit at the 2 or higher level" like it usually means) automatic over 1 strong shows "no information about the hand" exactly like the 2 forced response. However, I can't believe *anybody* would suggest that it is not an artificial call.

Calling on the Letter Of The Law may say so, but bridge isn't run by lawyers - if it were, the Law Book would be a lot bigger, and so would the Alert and other Regulations - and no more people would read them than do now, and no more people would understand them than do now. The spirit of the Law is that 2 forced (or 3 Lebensohl forced) is obviously artificial, and one should treat it as such.

I know there are arguments about transfer completion, with *or without* superaccepts, but the argument for natural (because you *expect* to play in that suit) is much better. The arguments for artificial, of course, are also not on their face false.
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#17 User is offline   mgoetze 

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Posted 2012-March-14, 11:38

View Postmycroft, on 2012-March-14, 11:19, said:

I think that a 2 forced response is artificial in that it's meaning is "it says nothing more about my hand" which certainly is meaning other than "willingness to play there."


My understanding of the English language must be different than yours then, because as far as I am concerned this is not a meaning but rather a lack of meaning.
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#18 User is offline   mrdct 

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Posted 2012-March-14, 15:27

View Posthelene_t, on 2012-March-14, 07:49, said:

So a 1 opening is always artificial since neither 4+ or 5+ hearts is played by 75% of players here in Yorkshire?

This is absurd.

A 1 opening may or may not deny 4+ diamonds unless ...... but regardless of style, a non-canape 4+ 1 opening is natural. Probably not alertable but even if you play a style that is highly unusual at the local club it is still natural, albeit alertable.

Same with Walsh.

All calls give some negative inference about strains other than the last one mentioned. If the negative inference is alertable is one thing. Playing Flannery may make our 1 opening alertable. But not artificial.

Playing an unusual notrump range may make some of our rebids after 1-banana openings alertable, although the 1-banana opening itself probably isn't. But it certainly doesn't make those openings and rebids artificial.

This is where the RAs come in to develop local regulations and local interpretations as provided for in the Laws and and as provided for extensively in Law 40.
Disclaimer: The above post may be a half-baked sarcastic rant intended to stimulate discussion and it does not necessarily coincide with my own views on this topic.
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#19 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2012-March-14, 18:05

well, black is a "lack of colour", but we still treat it as a "colour", don't we? also, "nothing" is, in fact, "other than willingness to play in the suit named", no? It sure is in logic: None != anything, to speak Python for a minute.

What do you think of the non-artificiality of my "1 = 13 cards" call? If there's *any* call that has a "lack of meaning", it's that one.

As far as "stupidity" goes relevant to a regulation, I challenge you to find an Alerting regulation that isn't "stupid" in one case or another. Certainly, the ACBL's Alert Regulation is "stupid" in many cases, and the EBU one has been repeatedly and publicly labelled "stupid" in places. If the German one is "alert all Artificial calls, where Artificial means <WBF definition>", then you can either Alert your "stupidly not artificial" call and feel comfortable about it, or not Alert it. If it looks like you're avoiding Alerting it, using this Bridge Lawyer line of reasoning, in order to hide what you're doing from the opponents, then it will be met with PPs and eventually DPs. No worries. (No, mgoetze, this is *not* what I think you're doing!)

We have a spate of people here [edit: in the area where I play, not on the forums] who think that a call is Alertable based on what the opponents know about it. For instance, they feel they don't have to Alert 3 after 2NT has been Alerted and explained as Lebensohl (I assume they'd feel it Alertable if 2NT was Alerted but *not* explained - but you never know. Their argument is "but 2NT says opener has to bid 3, so I've already told them that. Why do I have to say it again?")
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#20 User is offline   mgoetze 

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Posted 2012-March-14, 19:00

View Postmycroft, on 2012-March-14, 18:05, said:

well, black is a "lack of colour", but we still treat it as a "colour", don't we? also, "nothing" is, in fact, "other than willingness to play in the suit named", no? It sure is in logic: None != anything, to speak Python for a minute.

In logic, structure matters a great deal. P(X) is a valid statement which may be true or false. P() is not a valid statement.

Quote

What do you think of the non-artificiality of my "1 = 13 cards" call? If there's *any* call that has a "lack of meaning", it's that one.

If it is bid on 100% of all hands with 13 cards, then it's not artificial. As you point out, most people don't actually play that.

Quote

If the German one is "alert all Artificial calls, where Artificial means <WBF definition>",

No, it's much worse than that, unfortunately. But <WBF defintion> does play a significant role.
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