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Sherlock's SB Story

#1 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2019-December-08, 15:40


"What do you make of these two travellers, Watson?", asked Holmes, arriving after a duplicate at The Menagerie Bridge Club, which was using 221b Baker Street, the home of the Baker Street Bridge Club, while its normal premises at Regents Park Zoo were being refurbished.

"Very strange", replied Watson. "All but one of the tables played both boards in 4S, except table 1 which played both boards in 7x, once with East-West doubled and minus 2, the other this one in 7x making".

"Indeed, but did you not notice that when EW was in 7x, they were the Secretary Bird playing with Vera the Vixen, and when NS were in 7x it was Charlie the Chimp playing with the Rueful Rabbit"?

"Good gracious," replied Watson, "How did you deduce that". "Well, I can see that there is an appeal going on, so Oscar the Owl must have ruled on a board, and only SB ever appeals." He continued: "And 7 doubled making smacks of some unauthorised information from another source, so it is my guess that Oscar the Owl ruled on this board, and SB is now appealing."

"What was the previous board?" asked Watson. "Quite interesting, and quite odd", replied Holmes. "I have the board here. I suspect SB opened 4S on QJT9xxxx x QJT x and later played in 7x opposite xxx AKQx x AKQJx."

"Looks like they had a mix-up over Blackwood to me?" asked Watson. "Well, yes and no, I heard SB berating Vera the Vixen in the bar for 'not bidding 5' on one board, when he would have passed". It seems clear that VV used 4NT and over the response of 5, she assumed that her partner had 3 key cards and went to grand." He continued, "Trumps, I see, were 1-1 but she was still 2 off, doubled. However I am suspicious. Vera the Vixen is far too good a player not to know that she could bid 5S and SB would go on with three key cards. I think she overheard from the other table that 7 was cold, but the other table must have played the two boards in the wrong order, as sometimes happens, and what she overheard was from the wrong board."

"Why do you think that?" asked Watson. "Well it was clear that ChCh and RR had been roved out on the previous round, as it was a 13 and a half table Mitchell," so they would have gone to the bar and not been able to overhear the previous round, so they are in the clear. So only VV and SB could have overheard. Now SB is a nasty piece of work, but scrupulously honest and ethical, and he would have called the TD if he had heard. Therefore Vera the Vixen, with the excellent hearing of a fox, the ethics and grooming of a skunk, and a similar level of cunning, assumed they could make 7S and that SB had AK, A for his vulnerable 4 level pre-empt."

"But how does this affect the other board, the one we are looking at here?" asked Watson. "Well ChCh, South, is one of the most unethical players at the club, and the result on the previous board was not lost upon him." "When RR bid 4C, which might well have been Gerber, he KNEW that this was the board that Vera had overheard from the other table, not the other one." He backed his judgement and bid 7S and he was doubled by East."

"Is it possible to make it; it looks a hopeless contract?" asked Watson. "Yes, of course," said Holmes, "with a bit of care and a bit of logic once you know it is making". "There was no trump lead, and West's vulnerable 2NT overcall (showing 5+-5+ in the minors) and the lead, entered here on the Bridgemate as the jack of hearts, makes the hand almost an open book, once you know it can be made." "No doubt when the contract made, SB hit the roof, but as far as I can see from the Laws ChCh is quite entitled to use the information from the previous board that Vera the Vixen had probably overheard something and probably used that information. I heard a loud argument between OO and SB on the subject."

Also, I was polled by Stuart the Stoat, TD from the nearby London Zoo, who asked what I would bid after 1S-(2NT*)-4C-(P) on the South hand. I replied 4 of course". He asked, "Would you seriously consider 7?" "I will let you work out my reply."

So a two-part puzzle:
a) What layout allowed ChCh to make 7x?
b) How do you rule when 7x makes?
I prefer to give the lawmakers credit for stating things for a reason. - barmar
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#2 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2019-December-08, 20:55


Thank your for the difficult problem, Lamford.
Assuming West is 5+5+ in the minors, I haven't worked out how South can make 7 :(
-- Unless West leads 4th highest :) or
-- East has AK of a minor :)

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#3 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2019-December-09, 06:15

View Postnige1, on 2019-December-08, 20:55, said:


Thank your for the difficult problem, Lamford.
Assuming West is 5+5+ in the minors, I haven't worked out how South can make 7 :(
-- Unless West leads 4th highest :) or
-- East has AK of a minor :)


And I thought the play problem was easier than the ruling. I am sure you can solve it now that I have corrected your diagram. But be careful at trick one, and be careful to ruff one card of each minor first to check that the above is the layout.

When SB explodes when it makes, you now have to rule ...
I prefer to give the lawmakers credit for stating things for a reason. - barmar
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#4 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2019-December-09, 07:47

View Postnige1, on 2019-December-08, 20:55, said:


Thank your for the difficult problem, Lamford.
Assuming West is 5+5+ in the minors, I haven't worked out how South can make 7 :(
-- Unless West leads 4th highest :) or
-- East has AK of a minor :)



What is east doubling on ? I couldn't work out if it was AK/AK in the minors or AK/AKJ so you could ruff a third club low, but Lamford has disambiguated that. The ruffing squeeze is lovely.
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#5 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2019-December-09, 09:39

View Postlamford, on 2019-December-09, 06:15, said:

When SB explodes when it makes, you now have to rule ...

Watching SB explode is amusing, but … where did he get the power to reconstitute himself? Is he some kind of super-villain?
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#6 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2019-December-09, 15:19

View Postnige1, on 2019-December-08, 20:55, said:


Thank your for the difficult problem, Lamford.
Assuming West is 5+5+ in the minors, I haven't worked out how South can make 7 :(
-- Unless West leads 4th highest :) or
-- East has AK of a minor :)

View Postlamford, on 2019-December-09, 06:15, said:


And I thought the play problem was easier than the ruling.
I am sure you can solve it now that I have corrected your diagram.
But be careful at trick one, and be careful to ruff one card of each minor first to check that the above is the layout.
When SB explodes when it makes, you now have to rule ...


If East has minor suit AK(s) then several solutions are possible :(
But Lamford's squeeze layout is really pretty :)

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#7 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2019-December-10, 10:03

View Postnige1, on 2019-December-09, 15:19, said:



If East has minor suit AK(s) then several solutions are possible :(
But Lamford's squeeze layout is really pretty :)


I don't think others are possible if trumps are 0-3, strongly indicated by the lack of a trump lead against a grand. I think then you do need West to be 0-1-6-6 without AK of both minors. And Sherlock, who had seen the hands by now, effectively told you that.

But you are all getting side-tracked. There is a ruling to be made. Do you allow 7Sx or do you adjust and if so under which Law?
I prefer to give the lawmakers credit for stating things for a reason. - barmar
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#8 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2019-December-10, 10:51

View Postlamford, on 2019-December-08, 15:40, said:

b) How do you rule when 7x makes?

I'll bite seeing as nobody else does.

If South has no convincing explanation for the 7 bid then I would poll his peers to determine logical alternatives. If the result is that 7 does not exist then I would roll it back to an Adjusted Score on the basis of Law 16D3 and consider deferring South to a disciplinary hearing too.
The difficult part I think is the Adjusted Score, assuming the layout you revealed. 4+3 dosed with some percentage of 4+2 looks correct but not easy to assess.
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#9 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2019-December-10, 14:02

View Postlamford, on 2019-December-10, 10:03, said:

I don't think others are possible if trumps are 0-3, strongly indicated by the lack of a trump lead against a grand.
East's Lightner slam double forbids a trump lead. :) Arguably, it demands a lead :)

View Postlamford, on 2019-December-10, 10:03, said:

But you are all getting side-tracked. There is a ruling to be made. Do you allow 7Sx or do you adjust and if so under which Law?
MO on Sherlock's reasoning, it's reasonable for EW to call the director but he should rule 7=.
Mere suspicion is not enough. I've made dafter bids.
If, later in the bar, CC is heard boasting of his deductions from his knowledge of VV's acute hearing, then the ruling is more controversial.
It doesn't matter that VV overheard the auction for a different board. It's still UI for her and she shouldn't act on it.
Arguably, CCs deductions are based on extraneous information, but it would have been hard, even for an ethical player, to call the director to slander VV on such nebulous evidence.
That might save CC from a PP although the TD should probably adjust.
Equally interesting is whether the TD should take any action against VV -- if she uncharacteristically admits that Sherlock's reconstruction is correct -- when nobody had drawn attention to her shenanigans and they were unsuccessful
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#10 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2019-December-12, 08:59

View Postpescetom, on 2019-December-10, 10:51, said:

I'll bite seeing as nobody else does.

If South has no convincing explanation for the 7 bid then I would poll his peers to determine logical alternatives. If the result is that 7 does not exist then I would roll it back to an Adjusted Score on the basis of Law 16D3 and consider deferring South to a disciplinary hearing too.
The difficult part I think is the Adjusted Score, assuming the layout you revealed. 4+3 dosed with some percentage of 4+2 looks correct but not easy to assess.

If you ask ChCh he will say that he pulled the wrong card, and meant to bid 4S. Years of cheating have told him to deny everything and I don't think there is a single PP against him in the club record. So polling is a waste of time, as everyone would bid 4S of course. Vera the Vixen would deny overhearing anything at another table - she always does. Her score of 7Sx-2 was zero, as we know, and you cannot give her a PP for an unproven overhearing. Her explanation that she did not consider that SB might have zero keycards for a vulnerable 4S is at least plausible.

So, you need to PROVE that ChCh used UI from another source. He could not possibly have overheard anything. The barmaid confirms he was in the bar for the whole of the previous roumd and OO had to call him to say that he was "back in". So I think your ruling is illegal.
I prefer to give the lawmakers credit for stating things for a reason. - barmar
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#11 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2019-December-12, 09:10

View Postnige1, on 2019-December-10, 14:02, said:

East's Lightner slam double forbids a trump lead.

There was no alert for the double, so, as SB knows well and indeed quoted 4B4c of the Blue Book that the double is not alerted unless it asks for a suit lead OTHER than the suit doubled:
4 B 4 Calls above 3NT
Once the auction is above the level of 3NT, no calls are to be alerted except for: <snip>
( c ) Doubles <snip> that are lead-directing but ask for the lead of a suit other than the suit doubled <snip>

So, East's double, not being alerted, requested the lead of the suit doubled, which is spades, however ridiculous the regulation is. And SB did not have any spades to lead. I told the L&£ about this bug in 2007, but it has not been corrected in either the Orange Book or the Blue Book.
I prefer to give the lawmakers credit for stating things for a reason. - barmar
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#12 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2019-December-12, 09:29

View Postlamford, on 2019-December-12, 09:10, said:

So, East's double, not being alerted, requested the lead of the suit doubled, which is spades, however ridiculous the regulation is. And SB did not have any spades to lead. I told the L&£ about this bug in 2007, but it has not been corrected in either the Orange Book or the Blue Book.


No, it simply said "you're going off" so was not alertable as it didn't ask for any particular lead.
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#13 User is offline   weejonnie 

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Posted 2019-December-12, 09:33

View Postlamford, on 2019-December-12, 09:10, said:

There was no alert for the double, so, as SB knows well and indeed quoted 4B4c of the Blue Book that the double is not alerted unless it asks for a suit lead OTHER than the suit doubled:
4 B 4 Calls above 3NT
Once the auction is above the level of 3NT, no calls are to be alerted except for: <snip>
( c ) Doubles <snip> that are lead-directing but ask for the lead of a suit other than the suit doubled <snip>

So, East's double, not being alerted, requested the lead of the suit doubled, which is spades, however ridiculous the regulation is. And SB did not have any spades to lead. I told the L&£ about this bug in 2007, but it has not been corrected in either the Orange Book or the Blue Book.

The problem is: what is an unusual lead? Do you have an agreement what is 'unusual' in the auction (which could be 7 or more rounds).

If I remember correctly there was an international case where about 26 imps changed hands when a lightner double wasn't alerted - the non offending side claimed they would have escaped to a (making) 7NT had they been given the correct information. (Not saying I agree with the decision to adjust since an experienced pair would suspect the double was lightner and could ask without giving UI.)

Back to the original ruling - and again I can't see how I'm going to pin anything on ChCh (as usual).
No matter how well you know the laws, there is always something that you'll forget. That is why we have a book.
Get the facts. No matter what people say, get the facts from both sides BEFORE you make a ruling or leave the table.
Remember - just because a TD is called for one possible infraction, it does not mean that there are no others.
In a judgement case - always refer to other TDs and discuss the situation until they agree your decision is correct.
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#14 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2019-December-12, 10:07

View Postlamford, on 2019-December-12, 08:59, said:

If you ask ChCh he will say that he pulled the wrong card, and meant to bid 4S. Years of cheating have told him to deny everything and I don't think there is a single PP against him in the club record. So polling is a waste of time, as everyone would bid 4S of course. Vera the Vixen would deny overhearing anything at another table - she always does. Her score of 7Sx-2 was zero, as we know, and you cannot give her a PP for an unproven overhearing. Her explanation that she did not consider that SB might have zero keycards for a vulnerable 4S is at least plausible.

So, you need to PROVE that ChCh used UI from another source. He could not possibly have overheard anything. The barmaid confirms he was in the bar for the whole of the previous roumd and OO had to call him to say that he was "back in". So I think your ruling is illegal.


If ChCh told me that he pulled the wrong card and intended to bid 4S then I would not rule against him - it would take a less plausible explanation or some kind of admission to do so, I agree. Luckily not many players are that brazen faced.

I somehow doubt that with resolute TDs a similar character would survive for years unscathed - "Il diavolo fa le pentole ma non i coperchi", as Italians say.
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#15 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2019-December-12, 18:20

View Postlamford, on 2019-December-12, 09:10, said:

There was no alert for the double, so, as SB knows well and indeed quoted 4B4c of the Blue Book that the double is not alerted unless it asks for a suit lead OTHER than the suit doubled: 4 B 4 Calls above 3NT. Once the auction is above the level of 3NT, no calls are to be alerted except for: <snip> ( c ) Doubles <snip> that are lead-directing but ask for the lead of a suit other than the suit doubled <snip> So, East's double, not being alerted, requested the lead of the suit doubled, which is spades, however ridiculous the regulation is. And SB did not have any spades to lead. I told the L&£ about this bug in 2007, but it has not been corrected in either the Orange Book or the Blue Book.
But no alert for 2N or 4 ?
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#16 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2019-December-12, 18:21

View Postnige1, on 2019-December-12, 18:20, said:

But no alert for 2N or 4 ?

Sherlock was not present, so he can only guess whether there was an alert. I expect that there would have been.
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#17 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2019-December-12, 20:23

I sometimes wonder why these folks are still alive, much less playing bridge — and I'm not talking about their age.
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As for tv, screw it. You aren't missing anything. -- Ken Berg
I have come to realise it is futile to expect or hope a regular club game will be run in accordance with the laws. -- Jillybean
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