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More spice

#1 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2022-January-14, 11:54

MP, F2F pairs tournament.



NS are a regular partnership, W is a new entry and unknown to both partner and opponents. All four are experienced.
NS like to experiment with unusual opening schemes and have some notes about them.

Here S opens 2, explained by N as a 3-suit of 15-17 HCP.
E overcalls 2 and S after some head scratching bids 3NT.
W asks N what 3NT means in this sequence, N laughs and says he has no idea.
All pass and W selects his lead, then calls the Director.

S explains before Director arrives that he forgot the 3-suit agreement and had bid 2 to show a strong hand.
Director learns all this and examines the NS notes, which list 2 as a 3-suit of 15-17 HCP, with no further detail.
She questions both players separately and establishes that the agreement is to bid the short suit after the relay, after which other developments are natural, as is counter-defence.

She informs W that he may change his lead if he so wishes (he does not) and then asks all to play the hand and call her back when they have finished.
When she returns, she is told to her surprise that S made 9 tricks.
After some thought, she confirms the score of 3NT making.

Did the Director get this right? Are NS guilty of any significant infractions and if so did they damage EW?

The opening lead was J (I do not know subsequent play). 3NT= was 86% for NS.
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#2 User is online   smerriman 

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Posted 2022-January-14, 13:45

I'm pretty sure a poll would suggest 2NT is a logical alternative. And 3NT is definitely suggested by the UI, since you know partner will get the message that something has gone wrong and pass. So I don't think it can be right to let the score stand.
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#3 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2022-January-14, 14:09

Agreeing with smerriman, although that may not mean that the awarded score is other than 3NT=; just not arrived at with the table auction. 3NT is a Roman bid - all roads lead there.

S has clearly woken up to his agreement by partner's explanation. If North had said "Strong, Artificial and Forcing", and bid 2 (what would that mean in South's eyes?) South would have bid whatever shows a 23-balanced hand (sure the points are in the long suits. But how can they not be with 23? And the long suits aren't majors). Probably 2NT, at least around here.

Now, North would be very confused. 2NT isn't a suit (or is it clubs? Or hearts?) and isn't a response to 2-2 as he knows it (at least the explanation given here). North, provided South didn't make his wakeup too obvious, and explained 2 as (whatever it is in their real system) has no UI and can guess right. (Note that in the table auction, even with a bunch of UI, "passing 3NT freely bid" is always an option worth looking at at least.)

But in the auction we're positing without the use of UI, does North pass 2NT when the explanation is "laughs and says he has no idea"? Further bidding almost certainly gets them to 3NT, likely without anything pointing to "don't lead hearts" over the table auction. But pass leads to 2NT, without again changing the defence, so N/S +150.

How likely is any of this? Well good luck polling this weird agreement. But my guess is "I bet he forgot and opened strong" is going to be high, and that leads to "pass before we get in any more trouble". Even if "I don't know what that means, but I bet I'm facing short diamonds anyway", that is likely to lead to a lot of passing.

Say 75% of 2NT+1 and 25% of 3NT= ?

Note that South didn't have to explain why he did what he did - he just needs to provide the meaning of 3NT in this auction should they have one. And if South agrees with North (with the director present) that "this auction isn't in the system", Good Luck West. And since that's less information than West actually had for her lead, I don't see any damage there.

Note 2: if the pair is as enamoured of playing systemic games as is implied by the OP, I would be very suspicious of a South that didn't understand his obligations after being woken up by UI. Even if the rank-and-file get an explanation of why what they did was wrong, this particular player is in the "should know better" that leads me to PP in matchpoints. The *only* reason he bid 3NT (assuming 2NT is his "correct" bid) was that he was woken up by partner, and made a "hope it works" bid opposite most of partner's hands that might pass 2NT. That's *blatant* use of UI, and from someone with the number of "dealing with forgets" auctions this pair almost certainly has[*], "try to get away with it, and if the opponents are smart enough to call the TD, accept the adjusted score" is what he's learned to do - as opposed to "following the Law and taking the bad scores that result even without a director call". Time for "adjusted score, *and* a lesson you might remember."

* speaking from personal experience. I'm not as much of a system freak as I was 20 years ago, but I still remember.
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#4 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2022-January-14, 14:30

If you poll this, you might find 3 is a LA as well as 2N, now it's anybody's guess where the auction goes.

3N is blatant use of UI as surely he's showing more than 23 in a strong 2 auction (and what does pass show in the strong 2 auction, a reasonable case for minimum balanced) ?
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#5 User is offline   sanst 

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Posted 2022-January-15, 04:52

S made a mistake, N explained the 2 correctly, as did S, by sheer luck, of the 2 answer. S became aware or in any case could have become aware of his mistake by the explanation, but without it he would probably have made a NT call, 2NT or 3NT.
The real problem for EW is, that E was put on the wrong footing. E assumed a 15-17 HCP three suiter on his left and would probably have kept his mouth shut if he had known that S made a mistake. In that case W would have led a spade and killed the contract outright. But, you’re not entitled to know that an opponent made a mistake.
However, W learned of the mistake before he faced the lead and had the opportunity to change it. So NS could claim self-inflicted damage, but I wouldn’t go with that. This is certainly not a serious error. I’m afraid it’s a case of bad luck, where a mistake results in a good result.
A poll could show what is a LA for S, 2NT, 3NT for the adepts of Hamman’s Rule, of maybe even 3.
If NS introduced this agreement recently and had not much experience with it, I think N should have said so when asked to explain. For me, that’s part of ‘full disclosure’. Would E in that case still have bid 2? The only one who can answer that is E and he’s not likely to say “Yes” when asked. So, it’s up to the TD to decide after hearing what the players have to say.
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#6 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2022-January-15, 11:18

This was face-to-face. As soon as South heard the explanation of his opener, and remembers his system, he is entitled to, and required to, explain per system (while still bidding "not woken up"). It wasn't "sheer luck", it was (legal) use of UI, and we'd have penalized him more for not doing that.

The key here is "is 3NT the systemic rebid for 23 BAL in a "strong 2 system" in the local area (or by other partners of South, or the previous system of N-S before they switched, whatever is available). I doubt it. Is 3NT "if partner gets confused and passes, this is where I want to play"? Hell yes - better than 2NT anyway. Is it wrong on this hand? Also yes, but sometimes even villainy isn't rewarded. Except because of that 2 call, and inability to guess "anti-systemic bid == forgot and has a normal 2 opener", they couldn't lose their "set up hearts" blinkers. That's not South's fault.

You don't get to "Hamman's rule" this one (at least not as a response to 2-(2).) The only reason there's any doubt about the systemically mandated call is that partner won't read it right - and the only reason opener knows this is unauthorized.

I can see an argument for 3. It's wrong (IMHO), but I can see it. My guess is system game players like this are not the ones that will treat this as a minor two-suiter that has to be opened 2 because it has 22 high. I didn't even think of it because of my well-known biases against 2 openers on two-suiters, especially when the primary suit is diamonds. But clearly I'm biased, and if enough people think it's in the mix, then fine. +some% to 3NT (after, say, 2-2; 3-3 (hope!); 3NT-???, maybe +some% to 5-1 (if there are auctions that the polling says mean "opener forgot and has a strong 2 hand with diamonds"), maybe +some% of 3+1 when north guesses to try the 5-1 fit undoubled "best of a bad lot", -some% to 2NT.
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#7 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2022-January-15, 12:31

Thanks all for the clear thinking so far.



I would add just one more element to the discussion, as the affirmation below went unchallenged so far:

View Postsanst, on 2022-January-15, 04:52, said:

However, W learned of the mistake before he faced the lead and had the opportunity to change it. So NS could claim self-inflicted damage, but I wouldn’t go with that. This is certainly not a serious error.


Do we all agree this is not a serious error?
I don't know how play went, but I would guess that W failed to find the spades switch after S played A and another.
I would not expect players of their experience to get this wrong: they do not know each other, but play the same signals.
Whether that meets "serious error" is an interesting continuation of the line drawing exercise I started in a previous thread.
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#8 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2022-January-15, 15:25

Some random replies, to put things further in focus.

View Postsmerriman, on 2022-January-14, 13:45, said:

I'm pretty sure a poll would suggest 2NT is a logical alternative. And 3NT is definitely suggested by the UI, since you know partner will get the message that something has gone wrong and pass.

Agreed.

View Postsmerriman, on 2022-January-14, 13:45, said:

So I don't think it can be right to let the score stand.

It may be if there is 'Serious Error' (although S may deserve a PP in any case).


View Postmycroft, on 2022-January-14, 14:09, said:

If North had said "Strong, Artificial and Forcing", and bid 2 (what would that mean in South's eyes?) South would have bid whatever shows a 23-balanced hand (sure the points are in the long suits. But how can they not be with 23? And the long suits aren't majors). Probably 2NT, at least around here.

A 2 response would have denied decent 5+card majors or 6+card minors; probably nothing else for this pair.
N is more conservative about balanced shape and long suits, but I think S would consider this an automatic 2NT and N knows that.

As sanst pointed out, it is sheer luck that S offered a more or less appropriate explanation of 2.
They haven't agreed developments with a 3-suit beyond the relay (is that ethical?), but it would seem logical for partner to disclose a long suit rather than expose opener's distribution with a puppet (in which case the explanation was reticent).


View Postmycroft, on 2022-January-14, 14:09, said:

Now, North would be very confused. 2NT isn't a suit (or is it clubs? Or hearts?) and isn't a response to 2-2 as he knows it (at least the explanation given here).

I would expect 2NT to be diamonds, the most expensive suit to show naturally? But maybe that should be asked, or even polled too.



View PostCyberyeti, on 2022-January-14, 14:30, said:

If you poll this, you might find 3 is a LA as well as 2N, now it's anybody's guess where the auction goes.

I agree: whilst I share mycroft's reluctance about deviating from NT, East's 2 as a passed hand lengthens my partner's already probable diamond holding.

View PostCyberyeti, on 2022-January-14, 14:30, said:

3N is blatant use of UI as surely he's showing more than 23 in a strong 2 auction (and what does pass show in the strong 2 auction, a reasonable case for minimum balanced) ?

They play 2NT 20-21 and say they play natural defence in a strong 2 auction, so I guess pass should show 22+ balanced with no hearts stop and 3NT 24+ with stop.


View Postsanst, on 2022-January-15, 04:52, said:

If NS introduced this agreement recently and had not much experience with it, I think N should have said so when asked to explain.

I agree.
Or as DB would say "3-suit 15-17, but he may have forgotten and we haven't really discussed it anyway".

View Postsanst, on 2022-January-15, 04:52, said:

Would E in that case still have bid 2? The only one who can answer that is E and he’s not likely to say “Yes” when asked. So, it’s up to the TD to decide after hearing what the players have to say.

Also agreed, although 'Serious Error' comes into play if TD is really convinced E would now pass.
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#9 User is online   smerriman 

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Posted 2022-January-15, 15:43

View Postpescetom, on 2022-January-15, 15:25, said:

It may be if there is 'Serious Error' (although S may deserve a PP in any case).

Even if there was a serious error (I don't think it's even remotely close), letting the score stand wouldn't be the appropriate ruling would it? N/S would have their score adjusted based on how the bidding would have gone without UI, and E/W would also be adjusted based on that score minus how much they lost for the serious error.
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#10 User is online   sfi 

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Posted 2022-January-15, 16:45

View Postpescetom, on 2022-January-15, 12:31, said:

Do we all agree this is not a serious error?

I don't know how play went, but I would guess that W failed to find the spades switch after S played A and another.
I would not expect players of their experience to get this wrong: they do not know each other, but play the same signals.
Whether that meets "serious error" is an interesting continuation of the line drawing exercise I started in a previous thread.

It's not clear either made any error, let alone a serious one. West (presumably) led and continued partner's suit. East probably encouraged with outside entries. Both actions look normal.
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#11 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2022-January-15, 19:29

View Postsmerriman, on 2022-January-14, 13:45, said:

And 3NT is definitely suggested by the UI

3NT screams "I heard your UI and I am listening".
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#12 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2022-January-16, 08:06

View Postsfi, on 2022-January-15, 16:45, said:

It's not clear either made any error, let alone a serious one. West (presumably) led and continued partner's suit. East probably encouraged with outside entries. Both actions look normal.


It's easy to be swayed by knowing the hand, but only the initial lead looks normal to me. This East having seen the dummy would probably cover J with Q, but even if not, the hearts situation should be fairly clear to West after trick 1. Reflecting on what kind of hand might overcall 2 vulnerable yet not be willing to open 2, he might envision the four spades too.

In any case surely it makes sense for East to call for spades on the second round of diamonds. East can count South with 13 points in the red suits and 0-3 in spades, so a holding of AKQ is on the cards and would mean that a hearts continuation concedes the contract. If East is convinced for some reason that South will have to give up a club to West, then he can always take with K and play hearts himself, knowing that West will realise he still holds A. If not, then EW taking 4 tricks in spades is the only way to defeat the contract.

Or so it looks to me, there are better players than I am reading the thread. Whether any error is serious is another matter, although both are experienced and East is the best in the room.
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#13 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2022-January-16, 10:06

View Postpescetom, on 2022-January-15, 15:25, said:

It may be if there is 'Serious Error' (although S may deserve a PP in any case).

If a side commits an infraction for which the laws say "adjust the score", then you adjust the score. If the NOS commits "an extremely serious error (unrelated to the infraction)" then they do not get redress for the part of the damage attributable to that error. But it has to be extremely serious, it has to be unrelated to the infraction, and in any case the OS gets the full adjustment for the infraction. Procedural penalties are a separate issue.
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#14 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2022-January-19, 08:39

Agree that 2NT is a logical alternative. North will surely pass that. What on earth can he bid?

Now defending 2NT might be easier than defending 3NT. I assume a heart will still be led, but we poll people of the same ability defending 2NT and defending 3NT after winning the diamond king. Some might find the spade switch. So some percentage of 2NT+1 and some of 2NT-1.
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#15 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2022-January-19, 09:28

"I have 15-17 Roman"
"show your shortness by *bidding the suit*"
(2 overcall)
"I'm bidding 2NT, which systemically doesn't exist"

What does that mean? Anybody for "stiff heart"? or would that be an auto-pass?

North has no UI. Anyone who guesses that as "stiff heart" is auto-bidding 3; and then 3NT will be "oops, guessed wrong".

I'm not saying it's likely. I am saying it needs to be investigated, and potentially polled.
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#16 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2022-January-19, 10:48

View Postmycroft, on 2022-January-19, 09:28, said:

"I have 15-17 Roman"
"show your shortness by *bidding the suit*"
(2 overcall)
"I'm bidding 2NT, which systemically doesn't exist"

What does that mean? Anybody for "stiff heart"? or would that be an auto-pass?

North has no UI. Anyone who guesses that as "stiff heart" is auto-bidding 3; and then 3NT will be "oops, guessed wrong".

I'm not saying it's likely. I am saying it needs to be investigated, and potentially polled.


I think 'stiff heart' alone would be an auto-pass by their meta-agreements ('natural after interference'). The choice of a call which is neither systemic nor can be natural in the circumstances has to make North pretty suspicious, I agree with lamford that a pass by North is now very likely. But yes, it needs to be investigated more.
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