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Psychic Bid

#21 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2021-July-29, 17:35

View Postpran, on 2021-July-29, 14:20, said:

Exactly the same methods the Director uses for his inquiries in order to accurately assess the precise circumstances in other cases of irregularity?

Sorry Sven, I don’t buy it.
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#22 User is offline   Chris3875 

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Posted 2021-July-29, 20:51

This pair supposedly play Lebensohl, have (in their words) an "aggressive and combative" style of bidding. I don't play Lebensohl myself but would have thought 2NT would have transferred to clubs whilst 3C would be more invitational although having passed the first round I guess partner can assume few points. This style of bidding is causing a few issues with other players which is why I asked the question - there was no director call at the time.
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#23 User is offline   sanst 

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Posted 2021-July-30, 01:48

View PostChris3875, on 2021-July-29, 20:51, said:

This pair supposedly play Lebensohl, have (in their words) an "aggressive and combative" style of bidding. I don't play Lebensohl myself but would have thought 2NT would have transferred to clubs whilst 3C would be more invitational although having passed the first round I guess partner can assume few points. This style of bidding is causing a few issues with other players which is why I asked the question - there was no director call at the time.

No one here can decide whether this is a psych or not without asking the pair some questions. You need to know what alternatives they had in their system or whether it was a mispull/missclick or misbid before reaching a decision. From your posts I get the impression that they have ruffled quite some feathers, including yours. The only sensible thing I can say is, if they often deviate from their agreements, they should forewarn their opponents. But with no director present, you should shrug your shoulders and move on to the next game.
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#24 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2021-July-30, 04:36

View PostChris3875, on 2021-July-29, 20:51, said:

This pair supposedly play Lebensohl, have (in their words) an "aggressive and combative" style of bidding. I don't play Lebensohl myself but would have thought 2NT would have transferred to clubs whilst 3C would be more invitational although having passed the first round I guess partner can assume few points. This style of bidding is causing a few issues with other players which is why I asked the question - there was no director call at the time.


Maybe it's just semantics, but Lebensohl 2NT or a "natural" 3 is not invitational at all, merely competitive. If they had an invitational hand, they wouldn't have passed over 1NT. Given that with 5 clubs they could/would have bid 2NT and then passed the forced 3 bid, it makes sense that a direct 3 would show only 4 cards in the suit. Should that be alerted? Playing self-alerts online, then I think yes. Otherwise, probably yes? You would have to know they were playing Lebensohl at the time to have a chance of figuring out that 3 is likely to be a 4 card suit.

I play Lebensohl, but in this auction, I would play 2NT as 2 suited.
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#25 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2021-July-30, 09:35

View PostChris3875, on 2021-July-29, 20:51, said:

This pair supposedly play Lebensohl, have (in their words) an "aggressive and combative" style of bidding. I don't play Lebensohl myself but would have thought 2NT would have transferred to clubs whilst 3C would be more invitational although having passed the first round I guess partner can assume few points. This style of bidding is causing a few issues with other players which is why I asked the question - there was no director call at the time.

Note that this may not be a Lebensohl auction for them (because they passed first time around). It isn't for my pair, for example (2NT is "scramble", and I would make that call). But that's neither here nor there.

So, what we have here is "they don't bid like us, it must be a psych" (or "shouldn't be legal" or "isn't fair"). Please note, I am not denigrating you or saying that you are unusual - this is a very common feeling and response, especially when a new player or pair comes in to a club that is comfortable with all the pairs.

However, "they don't bid like us" is (in general) not illegal. Your club may have rights to restrict system in certain ways (although almost never are there concerns after the first round of the auction); and of course the system must be legal to your country's regulations (but this 100% is).

They're allowed to be "aggressive and combative" in their bids (not in their behaviour, of course). They must make their system and their style available to their opponents, (which they seem to be doing). It's your responsibility to be able to combat it (or, if it's not capable of being successfully defended against, start playing this style yourselves). The prime way of doing that is doubling them, especially "matchpoint doubles" (doubling at the 3 level with them vulnerable for -1 for +200 beats all partscores). There is a player in my club who bids very aggressively, because he gets away with it, and frequently goes -250 or -300 into game. He isn't quite so aggressive against me, because when I have a decision to make, and one of the options is "double [player]" (or "pass partner's 'do something intelligent' double"), I tend to pick that one. Sometimes it's -530, sure. But it's +1100 or +800, not +250 or +300.

If you believe that they have used information they are not entitled to use to make these "aggressive and combative" calls (such as tempo or questions asked), call the director and make sure she is aware. She'll keep track of this, and if there's evidence, it will be dealt with. But if they just make calls nobody else in the field make, and they're right more often than not, then maybe that's just "good bridge".

I play Precision occasionally (and open 1M with good 9s NV). In my regular system, I play 1NT overcall for takeout, and play it very aggressively, so we "double" with many hands that the room passes, and we don't let responder bid at the 1 level after our "double". We are known as a pair who "will never let our opponents sit comfortably". We open weak 2s favourable with Jxxxxx. I would not say "combative", but "aggressive", and it works for us. It's legal, your job is to beat us (we frequently stick our neck out, it's the nature of the game) or join us.

But to be clear:
  • Psychics aren't "bad calls that work" or "calls we don't like", and definitely not "calls *we* wouldn't make"; they're calls that are deliberate and gross violations of their system. This call clearly looks like it is their system ("aggressive and combative") - as I said, I'd have bid 2NT instead, because our agreements have that as "scramble", but we'd end up in the same spot (from the other side). So not a violation at all, so not psychic.
  • Psychics are legal (Law 40C), provided they do not devolve into concealed agreements. Once they do, then if they explain as required and the agreement is legal, still allowed.
  • Bridge is a bidder's game. Almost certainly the "right amount of aggression" is significantly higher than you and the rest of your club do, and closer to what this pair plays (even if they're past "right"). This especially applies to strong auctions (overcalling strong 1NT, overcalling strong 1 and 2), which is one of the reasons why balancing "aggressively"(in defence to this) over interference to 1NT is becoming more common.

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#26 User is offline   Chris3875 

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Posted 2021-July-30, 18:47

Thanks all for your comments. To be clear I rarely play against this pair and was not involved on the day, but I have been receiving a LOT of emails querying their bidding. There is a lot of suspicion (from the tone of the emails) that they seem to fall into contracts that seem "lucky" quite regularly. I'll say no more.
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#27 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2021-July-30, 19:53

View PostChris3875, on 2021-July-30, 18:47, said:

Thanks all for your comments. To be clear I rarely play against this pair and was not involved on the day, but I have been receiving a LOT of emails querying their bidding. There is a lot of suspicion (from the tone of the emails) that they seem to fall into contracts that seem "lucky" quite regularly. I'll say no more.


One hand is usually not enough to prove cheating. I have reviewed a handful of pairs who were 100% certainly cheating on BBO in my opinion, and some hands were pretty blatantly suspicious. This hand by itself is not especially suspicious, but if there was another similar hand where they didn't balance because there was a misfit, then you would have a pattern.

I suggest contacting Nicolas Hammond through Bridgewinners.com and ask him whether this pair shows up in his computer statistics as a suspicious pair. He has organized investigations of 50-100 suspicious pairs in the past year.
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#28 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2021-July-31, 02:15

View Postjohnu, on 2021-July-30, 04:36, said:

Given that with 5 clubs they could/would have bid 2NT and then passed the forced 3 bid, it makes sense that a direct 3 would show only 4 cards in the suit.

mycroft and now johnu have suggested it might be normal or even automatic to transfer to 3♧ and then pass with a less than invitational 5 card holding.
Just out of interest, do others agree with this? I find it hard to imagine a hand where I would choose to bid this way, rather than take my chances in 1nt.
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#29 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2021-July-31, 04:15

View PostChris3875, on 2021-July-30, 18:47, said:

Thanks all for your comments. To be clear I rarely play against this pair and was not involved on the day, but I have been receiving a LOT of emails querying their bidding. There is a lot of suspicion (from the tone of the emails) that they seem to fall into contracts that seem "lucky" quite regularly. I'll say no more.


Couple comments

First of all, if you want to discuss the logic of this bid, then framing your question around a psyche probably isn't the right way to go. It introduces all sorts of distractions and indeed, focused the discussion on the definition of psyche. Next time around, I'd simply as whether or not East should balance over 2 and, if so, how.

Second, looking at isolated hands is a horrible way of determining whether or not a pair is cheating. As other folks have already suggested, get in touch with Nicolas Hammond and ask him to review a statistically significant set of board results for the partnership in question.
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#30 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2021-July-31, 09:55

View Postpescetom, on 2021-July-31, 02:15, said:

mycroft and now johnu have suggested it might be normal or even automatic to transfer to 3♧ and then pass with a less than invitational 5 card holding. Just out of interest, do others agree with this? I find it hard to imagine a hand where I would choose to bid this way, rather than take my chances in 1nt.

I at least haven't said that, but I can totally understand why people could read it out of my statements (which are very "if this agreement, then that, but it's not my agreement, I would...") Let me see if I can clarify.

With my agreements with my regular partners (and I would hope worked out from meta-agreements with the semi-regulars), it's clear that I don't have a long club suit that is either weak or a weak hand (because I passed 1NT rather than transferring to clubs, or gambling 3NT on "if the clubs run, you'll make it; if they don't, 1NT isn't a lock" last round); that I have enough (or enough shape) that I don't think defending 2 will score well; and double would be "takeout" or "DSI", but obviously cards (because I would expect partner with 4 spades to float it). So for us, 2NT would be the kind of hand in the OP - "let's find a place to play, but I can't afford to double for some reason - either because I can't afford you to pass, or I have a suit I don't want to play in". With the 1NT opener in the OP after 2NT, we would clearly bid 3, and that would be passed.

This is totally different from my agreements over 1NT-(2), where 3 is GF NAT, and 2NT is Lebensohl (wants to play 3 of my suit, or GF with a spade stopper). This is the hand I don't actually *have* a bid for after this auction, in fact.

I would in fact guess that 3 after 1NT-p-p-2; p-p-3 would be something like 5 clubs and xx, maybe 6-indifferent, so yes, I wouldn't expect more from 2NT than 4 clubs. But it's not a "transfer"; I'd expect opener with the minors reversed to bid 3, and expect to scramble into 3 (which, sure, will be a Moysian, and likely won't fare well. Sometimes you should have left them in 2M) but get lucky today.

Ignoring my system now, it seems clear that they don't have this "2NT scramble" (meta-)agreement, and they have to just hope. In which case, bidding the lowest of the two minors gives us a chance of scrambling into diamonds if that's right.
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#31 User is offline   sanst 

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Posted 2021-August-01, 04:58

View Postjohnu, on 2021-July-30, 19:53, said:

I suggest contacting Nicolas Hammond through Bridgewinners.com and ask him whether this pair shows up in his computer statistics as a suspicious pair. He has organized investigations of 50-100 suspicious pairs in the past year.

There are some basic problems with Hammond's methods, the most important being that the algorithms are not published. If he claims, after investigating, that you have been cheating, there's no way you or anybody else can check whether the method used is correct. As far as forensic statistics are concerned, you need an pretty big set of data, probably more than thousand boards, chosen randomly, with the complete hands, auction and play. And, as Hammond wrote on bridgewinners.com: "I don't do (much) club data. There are various reasons. It is possibly to accurately process some club data, but I'm not going to give the details. The problem with club data is the wide variance of skill level. The same problem exists at tournaments, but to a lesser extent. In the book, I show the difference between top players, then top players when they only play against top players. It is the latter where it is easier to detect cheating."
Another problem is, that Hammond isn't a mathematician, let alone a forensic statistician. Add that to the unpublished status of the algorithms, and I for one wouldn't accept any 'proof' given by him.
There certainly is cheating in bridge, but it is very hard to prove. Even in the Fantoni-Nunes case, when all their competitors 'knew' that the pair was less than honest, the CAS decided that the methods used were insufficient to convict them.
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#32 User is offline   axman 

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Posted 2021-August-01, 15:44

View Postsanst, on 2021-August-01, 04:58, said:

There are some basic problems with Hammond's methods, the most important being that the algorithms are not published. If he claims, after investigating, that you have been cheating, there's no way you or anybody else can check whether the method used is correct. As far as forensic statistics are concerned, you need an pretty big set of data, probably more than thousand boards, chosen randomly, with the complete hands, auction and play. ...


... AND the methods of both pairs.
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#33 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2021-August-01, 16:43

View Postsanst, on 2021-August-01, 04:58, said:

There are some basic problems with Hammond's methods, the most important being that the algorithms are not published. If he claims, after investigating, that you have been cheating, there's no way you or anybody else can check whether the method used is correct. As far as forensic statistics are concerned, you need an pretty big set of data, probably more than thousand boards, chosen randomly, with the complete hands, auction and play. And, as Hammond wrote on bridgewinners.com: "I don't do (much) club data. There are various reasons. It is possibly to accurately process some club data, but I'm not going to give the details. The problem with club data is the wide variance of skill level. The same problem exists at tournaments, but to a lesser extent. In the book, I show the difference between top players, then top players when they only play against top players. It is the latter where it is easier to detect cheating."
Another problem is, that Hammond isn't a mathematician, let alone a forensic statistician. Add that to the unpublished status of the algorithms, and I for one wouldn't accept any 'proof' given by him.
There certainly is cheating in bridge, but it is very hard to prove. Even in the Fantoni-Nunes case, when all their competitors 'knew' that the pair was less than honest, the CAS decided that the methods used were insufficient to convict them.



Basically, what you say isn't worth the effort you took to write it. Hammond has some statistical methods that point to possible cheating going on. Some of his statistics may show that a particular pair (or player in the case of self-kibitzers) needs to be investigated because the numbers are suspiciously too good. Somebody needs to investigate the actual hands to see what is actually going on.

For bad players, it is frequently just a matter of looking at a few hands before you are convinced. They may make anti-percentage double dummy plays and bids that have no bridge logic, and are never wrong. My favorites are when one partner clearly makes a misclick in bidding, and the other partner makes an absolutely crazy bid to reach a normal contract.



In this case, South accidentally rebid 1NT showing 12-14 HCP instead of rebidding 2NT (they play 15-17 opening 1NT) with a 18 HCP hand. North fixed the auction by jump rebidding 3 with a bad 5 card suit and 8 HCP.



On this hand, North misclicked and made a Jacoby transfer to spades, but actually had 2 spades and 5 hearts and a game going hand so obviously should have bid 2[D]. South with 4 spades and 3 hearts had no choice but to accept the transfer (or superaccept), and after North bids shows both majors with 3[H], has no choice but to preference to spades (or make a slam try) with 3[S]. Finally, after North bids 4[H], South has the chance to make a questionable pass in the correct denomination. Well done North/South.

World class players take a lot more analysis, because they are unlikely to make such obvious use of unauthorized information. As for CAS (best known for letting Russia back into the summer Olympics after a national doping program was uncovered) who has absolutely no bridge expertise, overruling national and world bridge organizations was just a ridiculous decision by a group of people who are totally ignorant about world class bridge (and any kind of bridge, in general)
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#34 User is offline   sanst 

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Posted 2021-August-02, 04:41

View Postjohnu, on 2021-August-01, 16:43, said:

As for CAS (best known for letting Russia back into the summer Olympics after a national doping program was uncovered) who has absolutely no bridge expertise, overruling national and world bridge organizations was just a ridiculous decision by a group of people who are totally ignorant about world class bridge (and any kind of bridge, in general)

Even so, it’s the Court of Arbitration for Sport. and the WBF, with the consent of the national organizations, has accepted it as the supreme judge in disputes. Besides, there are 367 arbitrators and there will be some that know bridge. The decision in the Fantoni/Nunes case was based ob the statistical evidence presented, which was considered insufficient, and had little to do with bridge. It was a legal decision on legal grounds and as happens quite often, the fact that ‘everybody knows that they were guilty’ has no standing in a decent court of law.
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#35 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2021-August-02, 16:22

View Postsanst, on 2021-August-02, 04:41, said:

The decision in the Fantoni/Nunes case was based ob the statistical evidence presented, which was considered insufficient, and had little to do with bridge.


I think everybody can agree that the CAS decision had nothing or very little to do with bridge.
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#36 User is offline   sanst 

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Posted 2021-August-03, 03:07

View Postjohnu, on 2021-August-02, 16:22, said:

I think everybody can agree that the CAS decision had nothing or very little to do with bridge.

I never contested that. The decision had to do with the statistical evidence presented, which was insufficient according to the arbotrators. If you use such evidence, you should firstly decide what the reliability, accuracy and validity should be. AFAIK that was missing in this case.
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#37 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2021-August-03, 10:56

View Postsanst, on 2021-August-03, 03:07, said:

I never contested that. The decision had to do with the statistical evidence presented, which was insufficient according to the arbotrators. If you use such evidence, you should firstly decide what the reliability, accuracy and validity should be. AFAIK that was missing in this case.

If I remember correctly, the CAS decision was based upon few and dubious specific arguments, in particular they gave much weight to the fact that in some datasets a significant number of cards were not oriented either vertically or horizontally, ignoring the obvious fact that this in no way invalidated the analysis made.
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