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proclivities

#1 User is offline   pilun 

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Posted 2022-January-01, 22:25



Against 3NT/E, North thought it a good idea to encourage spades after South's A lead. Nine tricks.

One issue is West's decision to pass 3NT. This is an established partnership. What questions should the director ask East-West?

You MIGHT get answers like "No agreement or partnership experience." "This or similar hasn't happened before." "Yes, we are both aware that this is a (widely) known psyching sequence but this knowledge is derived from the exposure that each of us has to high level bridge."
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#2 User is offline   sanst 

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Posted 2022-January-02, 02:51

Whar’s the problem? E might have mispulled/misclicked or just have forgotten the agreement. W has told everything there can be told about her or his hand, E realises legally his or her mistake after 3 and hopes for the best in 3NT. Thanks to S continuing spades that makes. No reason to change the score.
EW were lucky, NS inflicted the damage on themselves. “Next board, please.”
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#3 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2022-January-02, 04:53

View Postsanst, on 2022-January-02, 02:51, said:

Whar’s the problem? E might have mispulled/misclicked or just have forgotten the agreement. W has told everything there can be told about her or his hand, E realises legally his or her mistake after 3 and hopes for the best in 3NT. Thanks to S continuing spades that makes. No reason to change the score.
EW were lucky, NS inflicted the damage on themselves. “Next board, please.”


Not so sure, W didn't have xxx and side cards in the blacks or a diamond suit that's likely to run, W has AJx and a poor diamond suit so 4 looks more attractive than pass if you don't think partner's likely to psyche.

Also F2F or online ? who alerted/explained 2 ?
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#4 User is offline   sanst 

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Posted 2022-January-02, 05:19

View PostCyberyeti, on 2022-January-02, 04:53, said:

Not so sure, W didn't have xxx and side cards in the blacks or a diamond suit that's likely to run, W has AJx and a poor diamond suit so 4 looks more attractive than pass if you don't think partner's likely to psyche.

Also F2F or online ? who alerted/explained 2 ?

AFAIK W didn’t receive UI. So W isn’t under any obligation to distrust E’s decision to bid 3NT. When I’ve told what my holding is, I trust my partner, however stupid it might seem a that moment. Luckily, I’ve partner who usually can be trusted and if it goes wrong, well there’s the next board.
This isn’t a case of misinformation, this is a case of signaling positive for spades by N, which was an obvious mistake and an attempt to get redress by the TD. Well, that’s not what the TD is for.
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#5 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2022-January-02, 07:32

Who alerted 2♡ and when/why, F2F or what, which RA, what is the agreement about 3NT in this sequence?
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#6 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2022-January-02, 14:03

View Postsanst, on 2022-January-02, 05:19, said:

AFAIK W didn’t receive UI. So W isn’t under any obligation to distrust E’s decision to bid 3NT. When I’ve told what my holding is, I trust my partner, however stupid it might seem a that moment. Luckily, I’ve partner who usually can be trusted and if it goes wrong, well there’s the next board.
This isn’t a case of misinformation, this is a case of signaling positive for spades by N, which was an obvious mistake and an attempt to get redress by the TD. Well, that’s not what the TD is for.


Signalling like that could easily be the right thing to do if partner has AKxx and a load of diamonds.

It's not UI it's potentially fielding a psyche, particularly if there's a history of this sort of psyche.
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#7 User is offline   smerriman 

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Posted 2022-January-02, 14:38

View Postpescetom, on 2022-January-02, 07:32, said:

what is the agreement about 3NT in this sequence?

This seems to be the key piece of information. For me when I bid a new suit over a weak 2, it's because I want to play there if partner has support (or am maybe looking for cards for a slam), so I don't think I would ever bid 3NT in this sequence. Maybe others would, but I'd definitely want to know what it meant.
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#8 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2022-January-02, 16:00

View Postsmerriman, on 2022-January-02, 14:38, said:

This seems to be the key piece of information. For me when I bid a new suit over a weak 2, it's because I want to play there if partner has support (or am maybe looking for cards for a slam), so I don't think I would ever bid 3NT in this sequence. Maybe others would, but I'd definitely want to know what it meant.


For us 3NT would be (a rather unlikely) Non-serious, having already fixed trumps in hearts, forcing to 4 and alertable. Serious and other conventional agreements are possible. As TD I would certainly ask.
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#9 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2022-January-03, 08:00

View Postpescetom, on 2022-January-02, 16:00, said:

For us 3NT would be (a rather unlikely) Non-serious, having already fixed trumps in hearts, forcing to 4 and alertable. Serious and other conventional agreements are possible. As TD I would certainly ask.


Also depends exactly what the agreements are on 2, what hands with 5+ would start with 2N ? It may be that any that wanted to make a slam try would have started with 2N.

Form of scoring may also matter. There are hands where 3N is solid but 4 makes maybe with overtricks, less important at teams (AKx, KQ10xx, x, AKxx for example).
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#10 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2022-January-03, 08:19

View PostCyberyeti, on 2022-January-03, 08:00, said:

Also depends exactly what the agreements are on 2, what hands with 5+ would start with 2N ? It may be that any that wanted to make a slam try would have started with 2N.


Also with which hands would opener bid 4 rather than 3, if not this one?
If there are none, then 3 should have been alerted and the system looks designed to protect the psyche (Sanst, 2 is a near impossible misclick here).
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#11 User is offline   sanst 

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Posted 2022-January-03, 11:30

Just one question: what is the infraction? Without UI you’re free to deviate from your system and bid whatever legal bid you like to make. In the OP doesn’t say anything about UI, MI, a failure to alert or what 3NT is for this pair.
Pescetom, it’s not unusual where I live to have 2 as natural, preferably 5+, and forcing.
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#12 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2022-January-03, 11:55

It's very usual to have 2 Natural and Forcing, as it is here.

East psyched. That's also legal, "provided that partner has no more reason than the opponents to be aware of the deviation." That doesn't just mean UI.

West, with AJx and a diamond suit that is, to give it credit, threadbare, guessed to pass a "choice of games" (was it?) 3NT. Which, when it caught a stiff heart, enough diamonds to make them run, and no heart lead, came home for a great score. Frankly, even if it went down, it would be a great score against the field's 3 or 4 hearts or 10 diamonds.

It might have just been luck. It might have been good bridge and good guessing. Or West might have had some "help" guessing, and that help might not have been "GBK". The question is whether there is enough evidence of "be aware" from the hand itself, and any questions asked of the pair, to rule that there was a violation of Law 40C1.

Different SOs have different ideas on how to determine this. But one of them is definitely "see if unaware people would do it". I see elsewhere that about 25-30% of polled players did pass 3NT with that hand. Is that enough to overcome "West had reason to guess this was happening", or worse yet, "West has experience that East has done this before" (that he did not share with N/S), or worse yet "unspoken agreement not to pull 3NT to 4M in these auctions"?

Hence the question asked in the OP: "what questions do you ask to investigate this?"

Psyches, as I said, are legal. Some handling of psychics are more suspicious than others. This is one of the suspicious ones. So, in answer to your question, "there may not have been. But there very easily could have been. And it's the directors' job to investigate and decide."

A similar question, from years ago: back in the day, there was a section on the ACBL convention card on psychic tendencies. Everybody just checked "rare" in case the once-in-a-lifetime one came up for them or, more likely, they misbid (yes, I know, but that's what happened). One of my partners and I checked "Frequent", and circled it once or twice. I don't think we ever had an idea on what psychics would happen (partner once psyched 2NT with a 3-count, for instance. 5NT didn't play well), but we did know - and let the opponents know, in the authorized and required manner - that if there was a psychic at the table, it was 10-1 at least that it was my partner or I. Given that information - again, no UI at the table, no MI, no failure to Alert - if we were the pair, and we honestly divulged our proclivities to the TD on questioning, was there an infraction? If there's a difference, why? If "nothing at the table" again, why?

Also an interesting question: if we adjust based on "evidence of concealed partnership understanding", and it's not one of the jurisdictions (EBU "red psychic") where an Artificial Adjusted Score is required to be given, what would we assign?
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#13 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2022-January-03, 16:17

View Postsanst, on 2022-January-03, 11:30, said:

Pescetom, it’s not unusual where I live to have 2 as natural, preferably 5+, and forcing.

Quite normal here too.
But it would be very unusual to misclick it through a "mechanical error" when trying to bid pass, 3 or 2NT, or whatever, which was my point to you.
And also unusual (and inappropriate) to alert it (maybe not so under the relevant RA, OP has still not explained anything here).
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#14 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2022-January-03, 16:30

View Postmycroft, on 2022-January-03, 11:55, said:

I see elsewhere that about 25-30% of polled players did pass 3NT with that hand. Is that enough to overcome "West had reason to guess this was happening", or worse yet, "West has experience that East has done this before" (that he did not share with N/S), or worse yet "unspoken agreement not to pull 3NT to 4M in these auctions"?

There could be worse than that, up to "spoken but concealed agreement to rebid 3M with any hand and then see if he psyched".
Unless they let something slip in questioning I don't think we can hang them for anything at all (under regulations that reflect the spirit of the Laws), but as a TD I would record it and as an opponent I wouldn't congratulate them as some have suggested elsewhere.
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#15 User is offline   sanst 

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Posted 2022-January-04, 02:59

View Postpescetom, on 2022-January-03, 16:17, said:

But it would be very unusual to misclick it through a "mechanical error" when trying to bid pass, 3 or 2NT, or whatever, which was my point to you.
And also unusual (and inappropriate) to alert it (maybe not so under the relevant RA, OP has still not explained anything here).

There’s the possibility that E didn’t misclick or mispull, nor psyched - I think that’s unlikely - but just forgot the agreement and thought it was forcing, but weaker than 2NT. In that case there might have been UI if W didn’t alert. But as you wrote, we are still in the dark about some essential points.
That’s a basic problem with our discussions here, we rarely read both sides of the story and we can’t ask questions to both parties that are involved.
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#16 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2022-January-04, 04:07

Particularly if W hesitated before the final pass he will come up with the defence of "3N is an unusual bid here, I visualised QJx, KQxxx, AK, QJx where 3N is the only making game".
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#17 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2022-January-04, 10:38

You know, if they're smart enough to do this, they might get away with something. Lamford will have issues with that, but it happens. We know it happens. We can't really avoid it all the time. All we can do is our best.

But players who seem a little iffy but always manage to have "the right excuse" for their successful but suspicious behaviour get a reputation. And that reputation eventually catches up with them, whether it's just that their justification is treated with more suspicion than most players, or a pattern of behaviour and "right excuses" gets sent to their equivalent of the ACBL Recorder and a hearing is eventually held where the consequences are harsher than the odd bad board, or the club they play in decides that player's money isn't worth the tables-worth that don't want to play against him any more (or even the hassles of dealing with "what excuse is he going to come up with this time? as owner/director).

Not as often or as strongly as maybe should happen.

As a director that really does not want to be recorder, I just want to see what the "right" ruling is here, not what excuses the East or West players might have that will let them get away with it. I find it incredibly suspicious. But if the BW poll is running 25-30% pass straight up, then if East-West are BW-level players, then that's definitely an argument against suspicion (that's why we poll!). Enough of one? I'm guessing it depends on the regulations in force. I can see "red psyche" in the EBU even with it being a 30% action: "The TD will judge actions objectively by the standards of a player’s peers; that is to say intent will not be taken into account." It would be at least amber, IMuneducatedO (I Am Not An EBU TD, so I just read the regs, I don't apply them). ACBL has the psychic control definition, which we would have to determine - "does 3NT, having psyched, "convey" that the 2 bid was Psychic?" I don't know, good question. Others have their own.
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#18 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2022-January-04, 11:03

Some good discussion here, but I still have a doubt (bridge, not Laws) about the 3NT agreement. Everyone on BW seems to take it for granted that this will be a natural choice of game offer: I'm sure that would be approved by Goren, but I find it hard to believe that it would be the agreement of choice for a high level partnership today. I would have thought that Serious/Non-serious or other artificial meanings would be more useful than natural, given the likelihood that we belong in the major if responder never probed for a feature or similar suggestion of potential interest in NT and partner is now promising 3-card fit.
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#19 User is offline   sanst 

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Posted 2022-January-05, 03:09

View Postpescetom, on 2022-January-04, 11:03, said:

Some good discussion here, but I still have a doubt (bridge, not Laws) about the 3NT agreement. Everyone on BW seems to take it for granted that this will be a natural choice of game offer: I'm sure that would be approved by Goren, but I find it hard to believe that it would be the agreement of choice for a high level partnership today. I would have thought that Serious/Non-serious or other artificial meanings would be more useful than natural, given the likelihood that we belong in the major if responder never probed for a feature or similar suggestion of potential interest in NT and partner is now promising 3-card fit.

I rather doubt that these are ‘high level partnerships’. I can see this happening in a club game, E makes a mistake, becomes aware of it by W’s answer and chooses 3NT, maybe even in panic, hoping for the best.
I simply refuse to believe that ‘normal’ pairs make a habit of tricks like this, like mycroft seems to do. Most amateur players play for fun, entertainment, nothing else. Don’t forget that situations like this only come to the attention of the TD when a mistake results in a good score. Mostly the result is just the opposite :D. And I don’t like an attitude of “If they get a good result by making a mistake, find a way to punish them anyway”. That’s close to “guilty unless proven innocent”.
You’re right, 3NT has all kinds of artificial meanings in high level partnerships, but not for the average pair in a club, not over here in my experience.
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#20 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2022-January-05, 03:51

View Postsanst, on 2022-January-05, 03:09, said:

I rather doubt that these are ‘high level partnerships’. I can see this happening in a club game, E makes a mistake, becomes aware of it by W’s answer and chooses 3NT, maybe even in panic, hoping for the best.
I simply refuse to believe that ‘normal’ pairs make a habit of tricks like this, like mycroft seems to do. Most amateur players play for fun, entertainment, nothing else. Don’t forget that situations like this only come to the attention of the TD when a mistake results in a good score. Mostly the result is just the opposite :D. And I don’t like an attitude of “If they get a good result by making a mistake, find a way to punish them anyway”. That’s close to “guilty unless proven innocent”.
You’re right, 3NT has all kinds of artificial meanings in high level partnerships, but not for the average pair in a club, not over here in my experience.


Psyching opposite a weak 2 is one of the most common places for it to happen in the game. It happened twice many years ago in one weekend when I was playing with somebody I haven't played with before or since (once each).

One thing that hasn't been mentioned, was this online or F2F. I can believe E thought he was playing a multi if his partner self alerted 2 as weak now 3 (if there is no strong hand that bids this) wakes him up, but that still puts his partner under pressure over 3N.
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