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ChCh's Chat Coup BIT or no BIT

#1 User is online   lamford 

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Posted 2021-February-21, 04:07


Lead J Matchpoints

Charlie the Chimp is disappointed that no coup has been named after him. Even the Superglue Coup, where he played two small cards simultaneously from Kxx when declarer leads from QJTxx opposite A9xxx has not been attributed to him. He does get a Wikipedia entry for "once famously producing a remarkable (and impossible under normal bridge circumstances) quadruple squeeze against himself by retaining a small card to conceal his own revoke." Even that is no longer possible online. He therefore tried a new coup on this hand, from the North London club this week, hoping he will get the credit it deserves.

Dummy seemed a disappointment to SB, South, and ChCh could see what was coming. He asked RR, North, privately, "Do you play serious or non-serious 3NT here, and please reply to me not the table?". While RR was typing his reply, South, SB, won the lead with the king and led a club. Over a minute passed before West played the six, stating he had been asking a question and waiting for a reply, and SB rose with the king and went off.

RR had replied, privately as asked, "I don't think we play serious or non-serious 3NT here. I think we do play it when I pre-empt 3 of a minor and partner bids 3NT. If he is doubled and he pulls to 4 of the minor, that means he was having a joke, but if he passes that means he was serious. I don't know if that applies to 3NT after a limit raise. And I think partner would have wanted to bid Gerber anyway."

SB clicked the CALL DIRECTOR button furiously and eventually OO arrived. "ChCh broke tempo in a sensitive situation", he began, "and he could have been aware that this would damage the non-offending side".

"I had a demonstrable bridge reason," replied ChCh. "It is normal to wait for a reply to a question before reverting to the play; I cannot leave my first card face-up on BBO, as I wpuld in live play, and if RR had replied more quickly there would have been no break in tempo".

How do you rule?
I prefer to give the lawmakers credit for stating things for a reason - barmar
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#2 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2021-February-23, 10:56

I rule in favor of ChCh. His bridge reason is valid. And when asking the question he could hardly anticipate RR writing a novel in response, so that there would be a significant break in tempo.

#3 User is online   lamford 

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Posted 2021-February-23, 12:02

View Postbarmar, on 2021-February-23, 10:56, said:

I rule in favor of ChCh. His bridge reason is valid. And when asking the question he could hardly anticipate RR writing a novel in response, so that there would be a significant break in tempo.

Do you need to judge the purpose of the question?
I prefer to give the lawmakers credit for stating things for a reason - barmar
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#4 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2021-February-23, 12:54

View Postlamford, on 2021-February-23, 12:02, said:

Do you need to judge the purpose of the question?

It should be relevant to the bridge context at the time, of course. He doesn't get to ask RR what he's planning on having for dinner after the game.

The Laws specifically allow you to ask about partnership understandings, and what bids made or not made would mean.

#5 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2021-February-23, 14:34

View Postbarmar, on 2021-February-23, 10:56, said:

I rule in favor of ChCh. His bridge reason is valid. And when asking the question he could hardly anticipate RR writing a novel in response, so that there would be a significant break in tempo.


He knows that a pause here can benefit him and it can make no possible difference to his play to this trick, so what is his bridge reason for asking the question AT THIS POINT other than to conjure up the impression he has the ace.
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#6 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2021-February-23, 15:24

when was he supposed to ask? after it mattered? He asked as soon as dummy made it clear that it was worth asking, and got the answer as soon as he did. The fact that the game had continued after the opening lead wasn't his problem, nor could he have done anything about it. If he had asked after the club was led, well, then. But if he asked after dummy came down, and, well, the game continued, ?

I have a habit of saying to declarer "waiting for explanation" in situations like this. Of course, I have a habit of "sticking to the letter of the Law" when playing against certain people, and that might not be a requirement of Law unless asked, so...?

He doesn't know that the club is coming when he asks his question, so when it does come, he says "sorry for the delay, waiting for answer to question", and if the SB thinks that this person would lie to cover a think, that's his lookout.

Now, it could *cover* a think, because the question might have taken 20 seconds and the rest was dealing with all of that and the play and what to do here; that would be a problem (and very hard for declarer to notice - the TD could see the timing log, but they have to be called first).

If SB had asked "you playing, Chimp?" or "zzz" or whatever else during the long think and got that response back, then what?

I am actually very concerned about this one, because it's a situation I find myself in quite frequently these days. Whether because of distraction, or my usual trick of thinking at the end of T1 by leaving my card face up, frequently, I am finishing my thinking about the hand, and then looking at Trick 1 to work out what partner thought of the lead, and trick 2 is ready for me. And it looks like I'm tanking on that trick. I don't know what I should do, frankly.
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#7 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2021-February-23, 16:47

Is his request to only answer to him legal ? The "not thinking about this trick" or play face down would not be difficult to implement in online bridge and would avoid this issue.
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#8 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2021-February-23, 18:49

Why wouldn't it be legal?
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#9 User is offline   sanst 

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Posted 2021-February-24, 02:45

View PostCyberyeti, on 2021-February-23, 16:47, said:

Is his request to only answer to him legal ? The "not thinking about this trick" or play face down would not be difficult to implement in online bridge and would avoid this issue.

Why not? There are no specific laws for online bridge and doing so, you can’t be accused of asking for the benefit of your partner. Playing against SB such a consideration should certainly play a role.
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#10 User is online   lamford 

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Posted 2021-February-24, 06:45

View PostCyberyeti, on 2021-February-23, 16:47, said:

Is his request to only answer to him legal ? The "not thinking about this trick" or play face down would not be difficult to implement in online bridge and would avoid this issue.

I don't think BBO has any interest in allowing someone to play face down while they are asking a question. Once they have led, they cannot "stop the play" until their next turn. Quite often a slow opening lead has been because the leader is asking someone about the auction. Recently, dummy had gone to make coffee after the final pass, and the lead had not been made when he returned 4 minutes later, because the leader had asked dummy (he did not want to ask declarer) whether they played better minor or short club. The lead was a doubleton, and the partner of the leader ducked with the ace successfully as he "knew" that the lead was not a singleton as it would have been quicker. No adjustment was made as dummy should not have left the table!

On this one, a suspicious TD might suspect ChCh of asking a fatuous question of North, suspecting that a club might be led at trick two, and the BIT that the question and answer would create would deceive SB. I share that suspicion, but would decide that a legitimate target was caught out by a clever coup.
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#11 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2021-February-24, 07:47

View Postlamford, on 2021-February-24, 06:45, said:

I don't think BBO has any interest in allowing someone to play face down while they are asking a question. Once they have led, they cannot "stop the play" until their next turn. Quite often a slow opening lead has been because the leader is asking someone about the auction. Recently, dummy had gone to make coffee after the final pass, and the lead had not been made when he returned 4 minutes later, because the leader had asked dummy (he did not want to ask declarer) whether they played better minor or short club. The lead was a doubleton, and the partner of the leader ducked with the ace successfully as he "knew" that the lead was not a singleton as it would have been quicker. No adjustment was made as dummy should not have left the table!

On this one, a suspicious TD might suspect ChCh of asking a fatuous question of North, suspecting that a club might be led at trick two, and the BIT that the question and answer would create would deceive SB. I share that suspicion, but would decide that a legitimate target was caught out by a clever coup.


This makes the "thinking about the whole hand not this trick" situation much more difficult online.
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#12 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2021-February-24, 09:31

View Postmycroft, on 2021-February-23, 15:24, said:

when was he supposed to ask? after it mattered?

At his own turn to play ?

I'm not thrilled with relying on the f2f laws for online bridge, but 41B would seem to apply here unless I am missing something.
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#13 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2021-February-24, 10:41

If he does ask at his turn to play, he gets the legitimate version of this problem. Not only does he not want a claim from SB that he was asking for partner (sanst's comment) but he shouldn't have to give "who asked" information away to declarer (never mind "what was asked"). Yes, I know, UI, and I'm CERTAIN this particular SB would never use it (and has lots of explanations as to why what he did was "what he always would have done") except to argue something to the director about "passing information" or "attempting to create a thought in declarer's mind"; but if everybody doesn't know someone who plays in such a way that the questions asked by the opponents (and which opponent) is helpful, then they're not paying sufficient attention, and are getting stolen from.

One of the benefits of online play is that this can happen somewhat asynchronously without distracting too much from everyone else (especially if asking dummy). Yes, it's against L41B, but most of the reasons for 41B often don't apply.
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#14 User is online   lamford 

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Posted 2021-February-26, 05:04

View Postpescetom, on 2021-February-24, 09:31, said:

At his own turn to play ?

I'm not thrilled with relying on the f2f laws for online bridge, but 41B would seem to apply here unless I am missing something.

Indeed. "The defenders (subject to Law 16) and the declarer retain the right to request explanations throughout the play period, each at his own turn to play." is indeed the relevant Law. In F2F play, West would leave his card face-up before asking a question. In fact Law 66A provides:

"So long as his side has not led or played to the next trick, declarer or either defender may, until he has turned his own
card face down on the table, require that all cards just played to the trick be faced."

So, there is software error in that any such request cannot be met by any player, and, indeed, the cards played to the last trick are not visible. Occasionally I have been distracted by the phone ringing, or the arrival of a glass of wine, and have not seen the cards played to a trick. BBO should allow the last trick to be viewed, until one has played to the next trick, as Real Bridge does.
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#15 User is offline   shyams 

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Posted 2021-February-26, 07:42

View Postlamford, on 2021-February-26, 05:04, said:

So, there is software error in that any such request cannot be met by any player, and, indeed, the cards played to the last trick are not visible. Occasionally I have been distracted by the phone ringing, or the arrival of a glass of wine, and have not seen the cards played to a trick. BBO should allow the last trick to be viewed, until one has played to the next trick, as Real Bridge does.

If you click on the trick counter on the left frame (the one where you see one vertical and one horizontal card with the count of tricks so far), the last trick played shows up.

This is only visible until one has played to the next trick. If one is dummy, the option remains active and it also allows the dummy to review earlier tricks.
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#16 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2021-February-26, 09:51

It does, in fact. BUT. The table does not know that you are doing it, or that you are "holding your card up" so to speak. Therefore, my variant of the "coup" in the OP.

I think the argument about the letter of 41B is a bit of sophistry. I think that, like much of the law book that is either ignored or made irrelevant by online, the reason behind it is to ensure that the UI that will be passed is at least passed at the least damaging time. With partner not knowing that you asked a question or what it was, does it matter if it's done at a particular time (so that the opponents can use that information in their play "at their own risk", of course)? Obviously, that's my own opinion, and doesn't have the weight of regulation or Law; and I am very willing to be convinced otherwise.

While there is less validity with this one, I know I have a habit of checking on "the classic" misinformation that has become endemic in the games I play in the ACBL - "we've won the announce war over 15-17 NT, therefore we don't have to announce (or alert) transfers or forcing 1NT either". If it doesn't match the card, or if there is no card, I ask. If that shows up when partner is bidding, yeah, technically not legal, but, you know, if they'd done the right thing in the first place...
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#17 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2021-February-26, 13:14

I would be in favor of a published law book for online play that does not include things like the revoke laws, and the bid/play out of turn laws, and the insufficient bid laws, since the software makes those impossible and those are changes that aren't in any way objectionable, at least not to me. Where the software doesn't allow existing law to be implemented (law 8 regarding when a round ends, procedural and disciplinary penalties, certain aspects of claim law, etc.) I would prefer that the software be changed to comply with the law. If that is physically impossible, as opposed to the online site just not wanting to do it, then it must be recognized that online bridge is not the same game as F2F bridge, and it should not be touted as if it is.
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#18 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2021-February-26, 13:42

Ah you lovely dreamer. Of course, you know that means I agree with you, in our glorious utopia.

The alternative, one that has in fact happened with some seriousness since March, is RA regulation. One benefit of that is that the wheels grind much less deliberately slowly than Law changes. (Note: given the way the WBF system policy has been Americanized, that is not always a benefit) New case shows up? We decide something, we promulgate it in regulation, and at least for games run by our RA, that's how it works. Other RAs will come up with other solutions or views about the same problem, and when it comes time to review the new regulation, we now have multiple options to take.

Okay, my idea of "reviewed regulations" also belongs to our glorious utopia. But still...
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#19 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2021-February-26, 17:12

View Postblackshoe, on 2021-February-26, 13:14, said:

I would be in favor of a published law book for online play that does not include things like the revoke laws, and the bid/play out of turn laws, and the insufficient bid laws, since the software makes those impossible and those are changes that aren't in any way objectionable, at least not to me. Where the software doesn't allow existing law to be implemented (law 8 regarding when a round ends, procedural and disciplinary penalties, certain aspects of claim law, etc.) I would prefer that the software be changed to comply with the law. If that is physically impossible, as opposed to the online site just not wanting to do it, then it must be recognized that online bridge is not the same game as F2F bridge, and it should not be touted as if it is.


I don't think that innovative online bridge law is utopia, but a stark necessity: the only possible way for bridge to grow rather than disappear in a few decades.
The irony is that with simpler rules and effective mechanisms it could easily compete with chess in terms of appeal.
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#20 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2021-February-26, 17:27

View Postmycroft, on 2021-February-26, 09:51, said:

While there is less validity with this one, I know I have a habit of checking on "the classic" misinformation that has become endemic in the games I play in the ACBL - "we've won the announce war over 15-17 NT, therefore we don't have to announce (or alert) transfers or forcing 1NT either". If it doesn't match the card, or if there is no card, I ask. If that shows up when partner is bidding, yeah, technically not legal, but, you know, if they'd done the right thing in the first place...


Don't even start me about transfers.
I'm not particularly worried about their 1NT response, but it does irritate me that my RA allows an announcement for forcing 1NT but then wants an alert for a more normal semi-forcing (which in f2f virtually obliges a question and an answer which is long at best).
I don't get you about 15-17 NT though. Can they bid 1NT in ACBL with no alert or announcement? What happens if it is 16-18, or 12-14, or 10-12, or 14-17?
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