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Infraction or not

#1 User is offline   fito 

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  Posted 2022-August-27, 03:47

I am the professional of the Club and one of the best Spanis TDs. çlast evenning I was playing with a low level player of my Club. She does not play a lot of things, so I decided to play without any convention. so all our biddings are naturals.
The hand is 25:



Bidding goes like you can see. I was sitting in East, and when I just say 2 (not alerted) South asks for the meaning of the bid (incorrect, because not alerted, but that is not the question, I suppoussed to be playing a friendly tournament, and I didn't ask for a rule).
Wets says that we dont have any agreement, but instead of pass, which is the logical bid, and probably because the question of South, she decided to bid 2 (problaby you think it´s one of the worst bids in the world, but this is not the matter of the topic).
Of course, I think my pd has , but not a long suit because she didn't bids it over 1NT, and decided to bid 2, which be passed out. In this situations I prefer play a bad contract by my self...
When dummy were at the table, my pd says than she bids because she think we may have any agreement about majors (which was not the case), and she has no better idea than bid 2, and explain an agreement we don't have...
At this moment North (a high level player, some times member of Spanish Bridge Team) says than the 2 bid is illegal, because my pd "understud than we have any agreement, which was not explained". There were a big discussion beetween N and me, and she rebuked me because "like teacher and TD, I can not admit the 2 bid". I say than like teacher an TD the 2 lawful, but North continue trying to involved me in any ilegal acttion, or better explainded to try to create the suspicius than I teach my students to do any kind of illegaleties.
Your opinion about the bid of 2, my own and North's behaviours.
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#2 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2022-August-27, 07:08

It sounds like your partner did not understand your proposal to play everything natural, assuming you did communicate it.
Her 2 is bad bridge, but then 2 was not for all tastes either. Probably she was flustered by the requested explanation and thought she was responding to Stayman, or something similar. I don't see any clear infraction yet as you describe things, unless you were aware that she was flustered.
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#3 User is offline   Gerardo 

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Posted 2022-August-27, 12:00

In any case, if opp has an issue should call the Director.

No matter what qualifications player has as player, director, or teacher, when s/he is playing, s/he is NOT directing.

So either s/he call the director, or you should do when s/he started.

#4 User is offline   fito 

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Posted 2022-August-28, 04:21

View PostGerardo, on 2022-August-27, 12:00, said:

In any case, if opp has an issue should call the Director.

No matter what qualifications player has as player, director, or teacher, when s/he is playing, s/he is NOT directing.

So either s/he call the director, or you should do when s/he started.


sure, they did, but what I am asking now it's for your opinion. If anyone wants to know the TD decision, I´ll write it later.
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#5 User is online   paulg 

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Posted 2022-August-28, 04:36

A number of people at the table seem to have acted unwisely.

South's question about 2 is not unlawful but, perhaps, unwise given the UI that may be generated. On the other hand, I think it is surprising, at a table with at least two strong players, that 2 is not alerted and so South just wants to know. So I do not think asking is that bad.

West's 2 action is what weaker players do in a new partnership and I think a fair number of stronger players may do the same. Certainly not as unwise as East's 2 call imho :) I can see no reason why anyone would think that this bid should not be permitted.

North and East should know better than to discuss this matter at the table. They should call the TD if they want a ruling and, if one of them is directing, they should ask someone else to rule.

So I would reprimand North and East and remind them of their responsibilities. South and West appear blameless to me and could argue that they are being bullied by the stronger players.

I appreciate a lot can be lost in translation and hopefully it was a lot more friendly at the table.
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#6 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2022-August-28, 06:48

I agree with your conclusions but I don't think South's question about 2♧ was unwise, so long as she would always ask in such circumstances. A natural bid here is unusual and stronger players are expected to defend themselves against possible misexplanation, whatever we think about that. Yes if she doesn't always ask it generates UI for North during play, but we haven't been asked to jump through that hoop yet. The important thing is that East did not have UI about dubious diamonds before pulling to spades.
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#7 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2022-August-29, 10:35

[Warning: even after tempering, this sounds harsher than I intend. Apologies. Please read it as: I would wish for better, especially from National level players. But it's something that happens in every club, every session (partly because they learn the behaviour from National level players).]

P, P: nothing unusual.
1NT: 15-17, sure.
P: well, at least your new partner knew to pass with strength and no shape.
P: seems standard.
2: Okay, I know at MPs, "the only pair that plays 1NT NV is us", but a very risky call with a new partnership and a weaker player. You're bidding her points, and...
?: Sure, unusual, but they are entitled to your agreements, and they know your partner is one of the weaker players at the club, too. So may be not completely up on the Alert rules. I'd suggest this is one of the more common cases in the ACBL where things that should be Alerted aren't (okay, 1NT-X-p-2, because it's "obviously Stayman", and "Stayman isn't Alertable", but this auction too). But as Paul says, "any player may request an explanation of the opponents’ auction at their turn to call." (L20F1) and "Under 1 and 2 above a player may ask concerning a single call..." (F3) As Paul says, it passes UI ("...but Law 16B1 may apply.", the rest of F3), but frequently the UI is "80% of the world plays this as not Natural, and 20% of them don't Alert it. Is this one of those players?"
2: ...and "I have a big hand partner; knowing where all the points are, we could have game! I'll bid my 'long suit'." Yes, you know, and I know, that partner has that big hand - it's why you bid on a 5-count. But weaker players don't get that far, and haven't since Simon at least.
2: "I don't know what 2 means, it should be 6 diamonds and a club; but I'm a strong player and will score better in the hopefully Moysian spade fit than my partner will in her suit." Typical pro bid, and frequently you're right.

Okay, so dummy says at the table "we agreed Natural, but it could have been majors". She shouldn't have (if she didn't before), but oh well. And her thought process is likely: because 2 over 1NT is always Stayman (as I said above). So with my 12-count, I'll protect and see what partner does. If he bids 3, we should make it. That should probably have been her explanation, which would in fact have put you under UI restrictions, and probably the 2 correction would be disallowed (let's see how many pro-types would let their partner play 2 in this auction to see if passing is a LA). But she didn't.

North's comment that 2 is illegal is the second incorrect legal judgement here. West is allowed to make any call she wishes for any reason, absent any UI from partner (and of course, because you got the answer you expected, you didn't give any). She's even allowed to violate system if she chooses, deliberately, provided it surprises you as much as the opponents. As I said earlier, the explanation she gives the opponents should match the explanation she is going to bid with ("We agreed everything Natural, but maybe majors?"), but that doesn't make the bid illegal. And anyway, if he had an issue with it, he should call the Director when dummy and the statement show up.

"There was a big discussion" - okay, here things go way off the rails. And it's a common "strong player" or "pro player" pattern. If North has a problem with the auction, he gets the Director over to rule. But he doesn't, really, he just wants to show he's better than (at least one of) the opponents. And East leans in with "how dare you doubt my judgement, especially when you'd do the same thing with this partner" (this is all unsaid, the first half because it will cause punches to be thrown, the back half because it would insult partner even more than North is doing, and anyway, "we all" (E & N) know this already). Instead of doing what he is required to do and Call The Director, and Accept the Ruling.

Now if you were the playing Director, I won't say anything about your bridge ability, which I'm sure is very high, but I question bidding like this in "your" game. As a playing Director, it's important, especially in situations that are close to the Law, to bend backwards to stay on the "obviously correct" side of it. Which in this case would mean passing a clear, to you, "my suit is better than your suit" bid. And if you were the playing Director, the discussion should have after one "this is illegal" "no it's not" round, involved getting the Law Book and reading out of it. If you weren't the playing Director, then after one round, if not before, the discussion should have had "Director, Please", and let them read it out of the Law Book.

So, in short: South: nothing illegal, even if it is discouraged, and can cause problems in other auctions. West: did do something illegal (failure to accurately describe an implied agreement), but really minor, and if we're holding her to that, we'd have to penalize every pair at least once a session for worse. Certainly what North thinks the illegal action was, wasn't. North: The Director makes rulings, not you. Also, read the Proprieties and start playing to them. Having said that, again, penalizing this would hit at least half the pairs in an average club game. So a warning because a National Team member should know this. East: as North, but a second helping because as a teacher, you shouldn't be teaching these behaviours (or even accepting them); as director, you know better than to do this (and you're teaching your student to Make Her Own Rulings, too). Everyone comes off a little worse for wear (West least), but nothing that doesn't happen at the club every day. It shouldn't though, and definitely shouldn't at a Director's table (mea culpa, I'm catching myself doing this more than I should. It haunts me).

The only thing I would say about you as a teacher is that you seem to be playing as if she was a client who's paying you for results, rather than a student who's paying you to learn. A teacher lets his weaker partner play a known fit, even when he is pretty certain he'll get a better result as declarer in a non-fit. Also, if you're teaching this person to balance on hands like yours (I'm not saying that's wrong), you need to explain about "bidding partner's cards" (and when it's right to do so, which is rare), and how not to hang partner when you know they're bidding your cards; and that lesson also doesn't take as well when you take over, especially if you get away with it. Now if she is in fact a "client who expects results, but we claim to be teacher-student because it looks better", then sure. But take your "sure teaching your students bad bridge" comments from opponents in good grace, because they're right.
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#8 User is offline   fito 

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Posted 2022-September-01, 08:01

View Postmycroft, on 2022-August-29, 10:35, said:

[Warning: even after tempering, this sounds harsher than I intend. Apologies. Please read it as: I would wish for better, especially from National level players. But it's something that happens in every club, every session (partly because they learn the behaviour from National level players).]

P, P: nothing unusual.
1NT: 15-17, sure.
P: well, at least your new partner knew to pass with strength and no shape.
P: seems standard.
2: Okay, I know at MPs, "the only pair that plays 1NT NV is us", but a very risky call with a new partnership and a weaker player. You're bidding her points, and...
?: Sure, unusual, but they are entitled to your agreements, and they know your partner is one of the weaker players at the club, too. So may be not completely up on the Alert rules. I'd suggest this is one of the more common cases in the ACBL where things that should be Alerted aren't (okay, 1NT-X-p-2, because it's "obviously Stayman", and "Stayman isn't Alertable", but this auction too). But as Paul says, "any player may request an explanation of the opponents’ auction at their turn to call." (L20F1) and "Under 1 and 2 above a player may ask concerning a single call..." (F3) As Paul says, it passes UI ("...but Law 16B1 may apply.", the rest of F3), but frequently the UI is "80% of the world plays this as not Natural, and 20% of them don't Alert it. Is this one of those players?"
2: ...and "I have a big hand partner; knowing where all the points are, we could have game! I'll bid my 'long suit'." Yes, you know, and I know, that partner has that big hand - it's why you bid on a 5-count. But weaker players don't get that far, and haven't since Simon at least.
2: "I don't know what 2 means, it should be 6 diamonds and a club; but I'm a strong player and will score better in the hopefully Moysian spade fit than my partner will in her suit." Typical pro bid, and frequently you're right.

Okay, so dummy says at the table "we agreed Natural, but it could have been majors". She shouldn't have (if she didn't before), but oh well. And her thought process is likely: because 2 over 1NT is always Stayman (as I said above). So with my 12-count, I'll protect and see what partner does. If he bids 3, we should make it. That should probably have been her explanation, which would in fact have put you under UI restrictions, and probably the 2 correction would be disallowed (let's see how many pro-types would let their partner play 2 in this auction to see if passing is a LA). But she didn't.

North's comment that 2 is illegal is the second incorrect legal judgement here. West is allowed to make any call she wishes for any reason, absent any UI from partner (and of course, because you got the answer you expected, you didn't give any). She's even allowed to violate system if she chooses, deliberately, provided it surprises you as much as the opponents. As I said earlier, the explanation she gives the opponents should match the explanation she is going to bid with ("We agreed everything Natural, but maybe majors?"), but that doesn't make the bid illegal. And anyway, if he had an issue with it, he should call the Director when dummy and the statement show up.

"There was a big discussion" - okay, here things go way off the rails. And it's a common "strong player" or "pro player" pattern. If North has a problem with the auction, he gets the Director over to rule. But he doesn't, really, he just wants to show he's better than (at least one of) the opponents. And East leans in with "how dare you doubt my judgement, especially when you'd do the same thing with this partner" (this is all unsaid, the first half because it will cause punches to be thrown, the back half because it would insult partner even more than North is doing, and anyway, "we all" (E & N) know this already). Instead of doing what he is required to do and Call The Director, and Accept the Ruling.

Now if you were the playing Director, I won't say anything about your bridge ability, which I'm sure is very high, but I question bidding like this in "your" game. As a playing Director, it's important, especially in situations that are close to the Law, to bend backwards to stay on the "obviously correct" side of it. Which in this case would mean passing a clear, to you, "my suit is better than your suit" bid. And if you were the playing Director, the discussion should have after one "this is illegal" "no it's not" round, involved getting the Law Book and reading out of it. If you weren't the playing Director, then after one round, if not before, the discussion should have had "Director, Please", and let them read it out of the Law Book.

So, in short: South: nothing illegal, even if it is discouraged, and can cause problems in other auctions. West: did do something illegal (failure to accurately describe an implied agreement), but really minor, and if we're holding her to that, we'd have to penalize every pair at least once a session for worse. Certainly what North thinks the illegal action was, wasn't. North: The Director makes rulings, not you. Also, read the Proprieties and start playing to them. Having said that, again, penalizing this would hit at least half the pairs in an average club game. So a warning because a National Team member should know this. East: as North, but a second helping because as a teacher, you shouldn't be teaching these behaviours (or even accepting them); as director, you know better than to do this (and you're teaching your student to Make Her Own Rulings, too). Everyone comes off a little worse for wear (West least), but nothing that doesn't happen at the club every day. It shouldn't though, and definitely shouldn't at a Director's table (mea culpa, I'm catching myself doing this more than I should. It haunts me).

The only thing I would say about you as a teacher is that you seem to be playing as if she was a client who's paying you for results, rather than a student who's paying you to learn. A teacher lets his weaker partner play a known fit, even when he is pretty certain he'll get a better result as declarer in a non-fit. Also, if you're teaching this person to balance on hands like yours (I'm not saying that's wrong), you need to explain about "bidding partner's cards" (and when it's right to do so, which is rare), and how not to hang partner when you know they're bidding your cards; and that lesson also doesn't take as well when you take over, especially if you get away with it. Now if she is in fact a "client who expects results, but we claim to be teacher-student because it looks better", then sure. But take your "sure teaching your students bad bridge" comments from opponents in good grace, because they're right.


Some information:
- There was a TD and my opp ask for him. He was agree with me, and does nothing with the hand.
- West it's a lady who didn't have pd this afternoon, and I play with her. I know her because she plays a couple of days every week, and I decided not to complicate the system. So, she didn't pay me for classes or results, only bridge for fun, but...
- I was there trying to get the large number of points that I can. If I play at my Club, and get a bad result, it is not good for me. That's why I bid over 1NT and 2.
- I agree with you there are a small UI in any parts of the bidding and later. But this is not the World Championship, so we ca not rule very hard. In fact, I didn't ask for a rule for the "UI" for the question of South (who is a low level player too).
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#9 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2022-September-01, 10:05

Oh as far as the ruling goes, I would rule "no infraction in the auction, no damage" as well (but I am not agreeing with you). I was commenting on the "big discussion" rather than (or, it seems, before and/or after) the director call. The solution to these problems is to call the director and accept their ruling. Big discussions are the ways some players try to get an edge over "call the director, accept the ruling". As I said, it's a pattern I see from strong players, and the sort of pro players who "know how bridge should be played, no matter what the Laws say." *Lots of* infraction there, but it sort of balances out, so no damage there either.

So, you weren't her teacher, you were a spare. But because not carrying her could affect your future pro dates, you "played pro" with her. That's all fine, not going to criticize that decision. But the response to "you're teaching..." is "I'm not teaching. I'm having a nice club game with someone who didn't have a partner. May I continue, or do we need the director back?"

There was UI, obviously, but it didn't affect anything (North was never going to do anything). I commented on the UI only because of the "incomplete explanation" given; if she had scrupulously followed the rules (which, I agree, nobody does and I'm not going to hold the newer player to it!) there would have been a *lot of UI* given from the "complete explanation" that likely would have made passing a LA for you over 2. *In that situation*, which I agree did not happen at the table, I would be concerned about the "pro pull".

Basically, there's a lot of "we think we know what the Laws are" that happened at the table, and in many cases, the players were wrong. That's what directors are for. I'm a little more concerned about you than the rest of the table, as you claim to be a director; but there are thousands of directors out there (including me) who get told "yeah, that's not what the Laws say" occasionally. North I'm quite certain plays these "that's unethical, but I won't use that word because issues, but you shouldn't do it anyway" games to gain over time; and I bet it works more often that we'd like to admit.
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#10 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2022-September-01, 14:44

View Postmycroft, on 2022-September-01, 10:05, said:

Oh as far as the ruling goes, I would rule "no infraction in the auction, no damage" as well (but I am not agreeing with you). I was commenting on the "big discussion" rather than (or, it seems, before and/or after) the director call. The solution to these problems is to call the director and accept their ruling. Big discussions are the ways some players try to get an edge over "call the director, accept the ruling". As I said, it's a pattern I see from strong players, and the sort of pro players who "know how bridge should be played, no matter what the Laws say." *Lots of* infraction there, but it sort of balances out, so no damage there either.

So, you weren't her teacher, you were a spare. But because not carrying her could affect your future pro dates, you "played pro" with her. That's all fine, not going to criticize that decision. But the response to "you're teaching..." is "I'm not teaching. I'm having a nice club game with someone who didn't have a partner. May I continue, or do we need the director back?"

There was UI, obviously, but it didn't affect anything (North was never going to do anything). I commented on the UI only because of the "incomplete explanation" given; if she had scrupulously followed the rules (which, I agree, nobody does and I'm not going to hold the newer player to it!) there would have been a *lot of UI* given from the "complete explanation" that likely would have made passing a LA for you over 2. *In that situation*, which I agree did not happen at the table, I would be concerned about the "pro pull".

Basically, there's a lot of "we think we know what the Laws are" that happened at the table, and in many cases, the players were wrong. That's what directors are for. I'm a little more concerned about you than the rest of the table, as you claim to be a director; but there are thousands of directors out there (including me) who get told "yeah, that's not what the Laws say" occasionally. North I'm quite certain plays these "that's unethical, but I won't use that word because issues, but you shouldn't do it anyway" games to gain over time; and I bet it works more often that we'd like to admit.


I agree with 90% of that, but have one doubt and one reserve.

My doubt is about the idea that South's question was inappropriate and transmitted UI. As you confirmed previously it is legal, but it seems to me that it is appropriate and transmits no UI so long as she always asks in similar situations (vice versa, if she does not then when she does it is not just inappropriate). Which I guess is an implicit criticism of the disclosure regulations (nige1 R.I.P.) but that is an aside.

My reserve is that "the pro pull" would be of concern if at the table West was clearly uncomfortable about 2 (not reported here).
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#11 User is offline   Gerardo 

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Posted 2022-September-01, 16:33

While doesn't seem to be the case here, the answer to South's question may affect his/her bid (for example, may double with long if 2 is a single suited hand). May be a not good bid, but that's irrelevant.
If so, it is a valid question, alerted or not. It may transmit UI, that's not an infraction. *Using* UI is an infraction, so North may have an issue.

Is South supposed to assume 2 is natural, and get redress if not, or just ask in doubt?

#12 User is offline   sanst 

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Posted 2022-September-02, 03:05

It reads like the script of a bad movie. Two experienced TD’s should know better than to start a shouting match. Call a director or shut up, would be my advice.
The obvious infraction is North’s self directing and showing a lack of knowledge of the Laws. There are inadmissible bids, but the 2 is most certainly not. The call is made and remains on the table. If there’s an infraction that damages NS, the director - who most certainly is none of the players at the table - can award an adjusted score.
But there’s no infraction here. W gives the agreement of the 2 correctly, might have added that they are a new partnership and discussed the system just before the match, and for some reason decides to bid 2, which must have surprised E a bit. Maybe she was put on the wrong footing by S asking about the bid, but there was no UI given to either E or W. Why S deemed it necessary to ask, is unclear. It’s allowed, but it might give UI to N.
Anyway, I would let the result stand and give N a serious PP for self directing in a intimidating way and trying to impose an illegal ruling, although being a TD herself. Also E might get one for not calling a director but instead getting involved in a “big discussion“.
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#13 User is offline   axman 

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Posted 2022-September-02, 07:34

f>> so I decided to play without any convention. so all our biddings are naturals.

Events suggest that it is better to Insist we not use artificial conventions rather than I Decide to not use conventions. There is a distinction between We coming to an agreement and I unilaterally deciding I won't use artificial conventions.
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#14 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2022-September-02, 18:17

I think I would make the penalties joost suggests disciplinary rather than procedural.
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#15 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2022-September-05, 14:53

View Postaxman, on 2022-September-02, 07:34, said:

f>> so I decided to play without any convention. so all our biddings are naturals.

Events suggest that it is better to Insist we not use artificial conventions rather than I Decide to not use conventions. There is a distinction between We coming to an agreement and I unilaterally deciding I won't use artificial conventions.

The way I understood the OP, he did tell her. But she apparently didn't believe him.

#16 User is offline   axman 

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Posted 2022-September-05, 16:09

View Postbarmar, on 2022-September-05, 14:53, said:

The way I understood the OP, he did tell her. But she apparently didn't believe him.


Ah. Fond memories of how I learned the distinction.

Filling in with an odd player I made clear: 'only if fleshed out ahead of time would artificial conventions apply'. We did not get this far:

1st board out of the box...
1N-P-2S-P-

My tyro proved she knew how to get to 3m by being tentative with the bidding box and fixing her terrified stare upon me. 1000 to 1 she had 6 clubs in her mits. Pass. Maybe she learned that I meant what I said; and I learned that she didn't care what I said. So much can be learned from bridge.
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#17 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2022-September-06, 09:17

But that's not "artificial convention", it's just "system".

This goes along with "What we play is just easy and normal, so if we're a little fuzzy on the explanation, that's okay, everyone knows what we actually mean. But if you're off by one letter on your explanation of what you play, not only have we been damaged, but you're Trying To Cheat."

Quite literally, almost nobody can play without "artificial convention" any more - even not counting Stayman and Blackwood. I, even, had to ask to add Negative Doubles one day when we agreed to play "nothing" against the novices.

But even "natural conventions" are complicated - it's just that "we all" know them. But I bet few of the people who have learned bridge in the last 30 years know them, even as well as "we do".
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#18 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2022-September-09, 10:16

Takeout Double is an artificial convention. People seem frequently to forget that.

"What we play is just easy and normal, so if we're a little fuzzy on the explanation, that's okay, everyone knows what we actually mean. But if you're off by one letter on your explanation of what you play, not only have we been damaged, but you're Trying To Cheat."

People who think that aren't thinking clearly. Also, they're wrong on both counts. But you already know that.
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#19 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2022-September-09, 14:46

View Postblackshoe, on 2022-September-09, 10:16, said:

Takeout Double is an artificial convention. People seem frequently to forget that.

Which taken to extremes would mean that any double but penalty should be alerted.
The Taliban in me agrees, but the practical downside is obvious.
Ultimately, the problem is in alerting itself (nige1 R.I.P.).
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#20 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2022-September-27, 09:29

Very late, but I think I finally have what was niggling me about this figured out.

View Postpescetom, on 2022-September-01, 14:44, said:

My doubt is about the idea that South's question was inappropriate and transmitted UI.

The Law (20F3) specifically states that this question transmits UI, like all specific call questions transmit UI(*). The "general agreement" is that asking about an Alerted call at your first opportunity to do so transmits the UI of "They are saying I might want to know what this call means. I do." which is UI that is effectively unusable. Asking about Alerted calls (or the one, if all the others are clear to all) during the clarification period similarly transmits UI of "I want to know what's going on during the play."

Asking about non-Alerted calls, especially in situations where there is "really only one meaning that is not Alertable", transmits significantly more usable UI. What is it here? Well maybe the answer to the question determines what double means. Or what call is Stayman. or... but in any case, we're thinking of doing something other than pass here. But also, at least in many parts of the ACBL, what it means is "about 90% of players play an Alertable 2 overcall of a strong NT, and about 80% of them Alert it". Whether that applies in the OP's jurisdiction is something I don't know.


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As you confirmed previously it is legal, but it seems to me that it is appropriate and transmits no UI so long as she always asks in similar situations

No usable UI, sure. But this situation is one of those that are abused regularly, so it's definitely worth flagging for the director so they can determine if they only ask about these "some people forget to Alert" calls when their hand provides evidence of a potential forget (and therefore, "hey, partner, I have a hand that makes me believe this isn't natural").

In the ACBL, for instance, both negative doubles of (natural) overcalls of 1NT and penalty doubles are not Alertable. Do I check? Of course - usually by checking the card, but if I can't do that easily, then I ask. Sure, I pass UI, but what's the UI - I want to know whether that's takeout or penalty? Is that usable to partner?

In one partnership, we played that doubles of splinters were "one-under" lead-directors, but doubles of cuebids of our preempts were "non-lead-directing". But since (2)-2-4 isn't Alertable in either case, yep, I had to ask to find out if my double was "don't lead diamonds" or "lead clubs". Sure, it passes UI, but we did ask this one 100% of the time, because most hands would need to know which it was.

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My reserve is that "the pro pull" would be of concern if at the table West was clearly uncomfortable about 2 (not reported here).

Yep, didn't say anything about that because it didn't seem worth mentioning.

(*) Okay, what it says is that "16B1 may apply". But 16B1 is "these extraneous bits of information from partner are unauthorized", and the subsections are about "use of UI that suggests one action over another".
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