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Illegal 1 level opening?

#1 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2022-May-01, 10:05

In a mid-level MP pairs tournament,dealer opens 1 (non vulnerable, no alert) holding:
Qxxxx KQT9x - xxx

The partnership is regular although not long standing and has a standard 2/1 convention card listing this opening as 5+ cards and 11+ HCP (2 is 6 cards and 5-10 HCP). They have no opening to show both majors weak and have not discussed how to do so. They have agreed that a weak two denies 4+ cards in the other major.

In your RA, would or could this opening be an infraction and if so on what basis and with what consequences?

If the RA follows WBF systems policy and "by partnership agreement an opening bid at 1 level may be made with 7 HCP or less" is a HUM, and HUMs are disallowed in this kind of tournament, is that relevant here?
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#2 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2022-May-01, 11:04

pescetom 'In a mid-level MP pairs tournament, dealer opens 1 (non vulnerable, no alert). The partnership is regular although not long standing and has a standard 2/1 convention card listing this opening as 5+ cards and 11+ HCP (2♡ is 6 cards and 5-10 HCP). They have no opening to show both majors weak and have not discussed how to do so. They have agreed that a weak two denies 4+ cards in the other major. In your RA, would or could this opening be an infraction and if so on what basis and with what consequences? If the RA follows WBF systems policy and "by partnership agreement an opening bid at 1 level may be made with 7 HCP or less" is a HUM, and HUMs are disallowed in this kind of tournament, is that relevant here?'
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Dealer's 1 opening deviates by 4 HCP from the minimum partnership requirement of 11 HCP . The director must decide whether this is evidence of a psych or a concealed partnership understanding. IMO, other considerations being equal, the rules suggest the latter interpretation but the relevant rules tend to be woolly and rarely rigorously enforced. IMO, the rules should restrict the director's scope for judgement.

IMO, system regulations are a bad idea that add no value to the game; but if we must have them, then we should enforce them in a meaningful way.

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#3 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2022-May-01, 15:17

Do they have an agreement to bid like this? If not, and the pair doesn't have a history of similar bids, this seems like an ordinary psychic bid.

It seems like a bad idea in 1st seat, but I virtually never psych so I'm not good at judging when to do them. The only benefit I can see is the lead directional effect.

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Posted 2022-May-01, 15:46

View Postnige1, on 2022-May-01, 11:04, said:

Dealer's 1 opening deviates by 4 HCP from the minimum partnership requirement of 11 HCP. The director must decide whether this is evidence of a psych or a concealed partnership understanding. IMO, other considerations being equal, the rules suggest the latter interpretation but the relevant rules tend to be woolly and rarely rigorously enforced.


The HCP agreed as minimum to open with minimal distribution is not necessarily a requirement with better distribution. And one has a right to deviate from the agreement in any case, by choice or even by mistake.

I doubt (but am curious to know) whether any other Directors would consider this a psych, given the hand. He has a significant holding in his declared suit, distributional value, a relative dearth of losers and at least some constructive intent.

I see even less evidence to suggest a concealed partnership understanding. One might argue that the agreement to not open a weak two with the other major put them under an obligation to discuss how to handle this situation, but we are talking about a normal casual club partnership, not committed experts.
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#5 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2022-May-01, 15:53

View Postbarmar, on 2022-May-01, 15:17, said:

Do they have an agreement to bid like this? If not, and the pair doesn't have a history of similar bids, this seems like an ordinary psychic bid.

It seems like a bad idea in 1st seat, but I virtually never psych so I'm not good at judging when to do them. The only benefit I can see is the lead directional effect.


They have no agreement to bid like this, nor any known psychic bids.
I can see potential benefit, but even more risk.
I agree it seems like a bad idea, but FWIW I don't see it as a clear psychic bid (which would be allowed anyway in most RAs), see previous post.

My question is more about specific RA regulations (and the way they are enforced and the degree to which they are compatible with the Laws) rather than judgement of the way this pair bid. I know the ACBL is trying to draw a hard line about many such things, cutting out significant deviations whether psychic or not. Many others follow the WBF systems policy with little or nothing under the skirt, the EBL IIRC follows the "Law" of 18 instead, but again how does all this work in practice ?
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#6 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2022-May-01, 19:53

Bids are not illegal. Agreements are illegal. There are regulations that "make" bids illegal, but they're "if you have this agreement, you are not allowed these specific deviations" and then "you decided to have the agreement and deviate from it in the way banned with that agreement" regulations. Still there's no thing as an illegal bid; it's a "bid not allowed with the given agreement", or a "bid that is evidence of an illegal agreement".

So, what is their agreement for 1? And was this first seat or third? And do the regulations say anything different between first and third?

And what hand did the bidder think they had when they opened? Because if she double-counted the Q, would it be okay with a 9-count? Also, did she think this hand was "obviously an opener"?

Do they play Ekren 2 and she pulled one level too low, and didn't notice in time (or didn't know where her rights ended) for 25A?

But if she thought this fit their agreement (or at least something like QJTxx KQTxx -- xxx would be "light, but okay"), then this probably isn't gross enough to be psychic, and you can argue their agreement was that this is "light, but possible", and illegal.

But if their minimum with 5-5M is KQJxx KQTxx and a void, and she just decided for whatever reason to play games with this hand (again, third seat?) then yeah, it probably is not an illegal agreement, just a psychic.
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#7 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2022-May-02, 02:24

View Postmycroft, on 2022-May-01, 19:53, said:

Bids are not illegal.


This has a vague ring of truthiness, but:


How about 1NT with a singleton in the ACBL?

Aren't there many situations where a style of bidding is illegal?
Speaking of which, what are the penalties if you are 'caught' making such a bid even if your partner says "he's a complete maniac and I never have any idea what he''ll do next"?
Or if you play in an individual where agreements are impossible - notwithstanding the "card"?
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#8 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2022-May-02, 04:53

View Postbarmar, on 2022-May-01, 15:17, said:

Do they have an agreement to bid like this? If not, and the pair doesn't have a history of similar bids, this seems like an ordinary psychic bid. It seems like a bad idea in 1st seat, but I virtually never psych so I'm not good at judging when to do them. The only benefit I can see is the lead directional effect.
OK, in the OP context, should the Director rule the 1 opener to be a psyche? IMO, if Barmar is right, then thie relevant system regulation seems to be near meaningless/unenforceable.
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#9 User is offline   steve2005 

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Posted 2022-May-02, 07:20

View Postnige1, on 2022-May-01, 11:04, said:




corrected to add a spade so have 13 cards


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#10 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2022-May-02, 08:11

View Poststeve2005, on 2022-May-02, 07:20, said:

corrected to add a spade so have 13 cards
Thanks. IMO, The director should still treat an opener on
Qxxxx KQTxx - xxx as a CPU
-- even more so, with 5-5 in the majors :)
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#11 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2022-May-02, 09:16

View Postpilowsky, on 2022-May-02, 02:24, said:

This has a vague ring of truthiness, but:


How about 1NT with a singleton in the ACBL?

I haven't changed my opinion. And it says the same thing I said here. Agreements (express or implied) can be regulated and can be illegal. Evidence of illegal agreements exist, including bids made and systemic queries available. In the ACBL's case, the default position will be what is said in the charts - you are not allowed to have an agreement if you allow using judgement to deviate from that agreement in a way that, were it not a (non-gross) deviation, would be disallowed - and it's your job having made the call to make the preponderance of evidence go another way (assuming, you know, that you didn't deliberately deviate in that way).

But that doesn't make the *bid* illegal.

Quote

Aren't there many situations where a style of bidding is illegal?

Absolutely. And what is a "style of bidding" that partner knows about and expects?

Law 40 said:

A. Players’ Systemic Agreements

1. (a) Partnership understandings as to the methods adopted by a partnership may be reached
explicitly in discussion or implicitly through mutual experience or awareness of the
players.


Quote

Speaking of which, what are the penalties if you are 'caught' making such a bid even if your partner says "he's a complete maniac and I never have any idea what he''ll do next"?
Or if you play in an individual where agreements are impossible - notwithstanding the "card"?

That, also, is subject to regulation and in different jurisdictions is applied in different ways. But the eventual penalty is "you can't play together here" or "you can't play here" for a period of time (which could be indefinite).
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#12 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2022-May-02, 12:51

View Postmycroft, on 2022-May-01, 19:53, said:

So, what is their agreement for 1? And was this first seat or third? And do the regulations say anything different between first and third?

And what hand did the bidder think they had when they opened? Because if she double-counted the Q, would it be okay with a 9-count? Also, did she think this hand was "obviously an opener"?

Do they play Ekren 2 and she pulled one level too low, and didn't notice in time (or didn't know where her rights ended) for 25A?


Their agreement for 1 is 5+ cards and 11+ HCP, as stated.
It was first seat, as stated.
The regulations do not say anything different between first and third.
They do not play Ekren.
She didn't think this hand was "obviously an opener", but felt it might be worth opening even if she had no agreed way of opening it, given the difficulty of showing it later.

Just to dot some i's and t's before getting down to business :)
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#13 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2022-May-02, 14:54

Seems to me the first thing the TD should do is ask the player why he bid as he did. I would not just assume there is a CPU here. To do that is to say that one can never misbid (or psych for that matter).
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#14 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2022-May-02, 15:14

View Postblackshoe, on 2022-May-02, 14:54, said:

Seems to me the first thing the TD should do is ask the player why he bid as he did. I would not just assume there is a CPU here. To do that is to say that one can never misbid (or psych for that matter).

FWIW I agree and the TD did ask.
Player replied to the effect that it looked a like a useful holding yet difficult to show after a pass and so decided to take the risk of opening it.
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#15 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2022-May-02, 15:37

View Postmycroft, on 2022-May-01, 19:53, said:

Bids are not illegal. Agreements are illegal. There are regulations that "make" bids illegal, but they're "if you have this agreement, you are not allowed these specific deviations" and then "you decided to have the agreement and deviate from it in the way banned with that agreement" regulations. Still there's no thing as an illegal bid; it's a "bid not allowed with the given agreement", or a "bid that is evidence of an illegal agreement".


Agreed. I also followed your previous discussions (thanks) about current ACBL policy and remember that "If an Agreement would be disallowed unless it satisfies a specific High Card Point or shape requirement, a player may not use judgment to include hands with fewer High Card Points or a different shape." Which is arguably a step beyond the letter of the Laws, let alone the spirit of the Laws, but has a clear and comprehensible logic.

I'm interested in what would/should happen in ACBL, but also and above all in other RAs, both those that more or less toe the WBF line (including Systems Policy 2.1.c) and EBU (including the Blue Book reference to Law of 18). Do/might they transform this unusual bid into an illegal agreement and if so with which acrobatics?
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#16 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2022-May-02, 15:40

View Postpescetom, on 2022-May-02, 15:14, said:

FWIW I agree and the TD did ask.
Player replied to the effect that it looked a like a useful holding yet difficult to show after a pass and so decided to take the risk of opening it.


Comment 1: There is nothing wrong with a partnership agreeing that they require 11+ HCPs for a one level opening and deciding to make a first seat psych with a 7 count

Comment 2: I think that the claim that the 1!H opener made blows the entire psych theory out of the window. If its reasonable to open on a 7 count, then its probably going to be reasonable to open an 8 count, a 9 count, a 10 count, ...

Comment 3: I'd want to get additional testimony such as How long has the partnership been playing together. What happened the last time they were dealt a shapely 8 or 9 count with both majors, ...

If the partnership is brand new / if the player only just realized that they need to change their agreements, I might treat this as a psych

If they partnership has a history of opening light, then they are have a CPU (and might be playing a HUM)
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#17 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2022-May-02, 15:54

View Posthrothgar, on 2022-May-02, 15:40, said:

Comment 1: There is nothing wrong with a partnership agreeing that they require 11+ HCPs for a one level opening and deciding to make a first seat psych with a 7 count

Comment 2: I think that the claim that the 1!H opener made blows the entire psych theory out of the window. If its reasonable to open on a 7 count, then its probably going to be reasonable to open an 8 count, a 9 count, a 10 count, ...

Comment 3: I'd want to get additional testimony such as How long has the partnership been playing together. What happened the last time they were dealt a shapely 8 or 9 count with both majors, ...

If the partnership is brand new / if the player only just realized that they need to change their agreements, I might treat this as a psych

If they partnership has a history of opening light, then they are have a CPU (and might be playing a HUM)


They will probably have played together 15-25 times, in tournaments of 18-24 boards.
Not sure how many shapely 8 or 9 count with both major in first seat that means, but I imagine very few.
Neither has a history of psyches, the player in question has a history of overcalling (but not opening) light.
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#18 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2022-May-02, 17:59

View Postpescetom, on 2022-May-02, 15:54, said:

They will probably have played together 15-25 times, in tournaments of 18-24 boards.
Not sure how many shapely 8 or 9 count with both major in first seat that means, but I imagine very few.
Neither has a history of psyches, the player in question has a history of overcalling (but not opening) light.


In this case, I'd ask them if there have ever before opened a shapely 8-10 count with both majors in fist seat.
If not, treat it as a psych

However, if they believed that they need to be opening such hands in the future, then they need to adjust their disclosure and they may have problems if they are systemically opening 7 counts
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#19 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2022-May-03, 09:18

View Postpescetom, on 2022-May-02, 12:51, said:

Their agreement for 1 is 5+ cards and 11+ HCP, as stated.
It was first seat, as stated.

Argh, I promise you I read it three times, and never saw the seat. "Dealer opens..." just didn't flag for me. Sorry.

Quote

She didn't think this hand was "obviously an opener", but felt it might be worth opening even if she had no agreed way of opening it, given the difficulty of showing it later.

This is one of the problems with "mah Holy Judgment". They *design* their systems so that there are hands that "are worth opening even if there is no agreed way to open it, given the difficulty in showing it later". And then because of that, they "have to" make a bid that, were it their declared agreement, would make that agreement illegal. And then it's "they're regulating judgement out of the game." I'm not saying that happens in this case, but it absolutely does happen, and is one of the reasons for these kinds of judgement calls becoming more brightline/Walrus over the years.

I mean, this hand is a perfect Michaels hand provided you don't play it as "mini-maxi"; if you do, frankly, you probably think this is mini anyway. WTP?

And why 1 instead of the much easier-to-handle (and better lead-director) 1?

So, the argument is "is this a psych?" And then Hrothgar's questions come into play. Sure, they would consider KQTxx KQ9xx -- xxx "11+ HCP". Frankly, we all would. Do they consider KQTxx Q9xxx -- Kxx 11+? What about... And once you find out where their "11" actually is, you look and see if the hand they actually had is a gross deviation from that.

Or you look at "we have no way of handling this hand if I don't open it now" and say "then opening it now is evidence that your system implies this agreement" and deal with that.

From my feelings, though, this looks like "too new to know the rules" or "too life-C to have had to deal with this part of the rules" territory. In which case, it's probably simplest to rule "illegal agreement", handle the one hand with whatever penalty or process arises, and have a deep education session with the pair (including "We're not saying you did anything deliberately, I'm sure you did this in all innocence, but the FIGB believe it's too difficult for players [like you] to defend against systems that will regularly open at the 1 level this light; so you will have to figure out another way to show this hand in future. Do you play Michaels? Do you have a way to overcall majors after they open 1NT? Because this is a great hand for it if you do."

If it's an A player who just thinks it's "obviously right to open this hand, because..." you aim them at the regulations and say "take it up with them."
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#20 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2022-May-03, 11:12

View Postmycroft, on 2022-May-03, 09:18, said:

This is one of the problems with "mah Holy Judgment". They *design* their systems so that there are hands that "are worth opening even if there is no agreed way to open it, given the difficulty in showing it later". And then because of that, they "have to" make a bid that, were it their declared agreement, would make that agreement illegal. And then it's "they're regulating judgement out of the game." I'm not saying that happens in this case, but it absolutely does happen, and is one of the reasons for these kinds of judgement calls becoming more brightline/Walrus over the years.

I mean, this hand is a perfect Michaels hand provided you don't play it as "mini-maxi"; if you do, frankly, you probably think this is mini anyway. WTP?

...

So, the argument is "is this a psych?" And then Hrothgar's questions come into play. Sure, they would consider KQTxx KQ9xx -- xxx "11+ HCP". Frankly, we all would. Do they consider KQTxx Q9xxx -- Kxx 11+? What about... And once you find out where their "11" actually is, you look and see if the hand they actually had is a gross deviation from that.

Or you look at "we have no way of handling this hand if I don't open it now" and say "then opening it now is evidence that your system implies this agreement" and deal with that.

From my feelings, though, this looks like "too new to know the rules" or "too life-C to have had to deal with this part of the rules" territory. In which case, it's probably simplest to rule "illegal agreement", handle the one hand with whatever penalty or process arises, and have a deep education session with the pair (including "We're not saying you did anything deliberately, I'm sure you did this in all innocence, but the FIGB believe it's too difficult for players [like you] to defend against systems that will regularly open at the 1 level this light; so you will have to figure out another way to show this hand in future. Do you play Michaels? Do you have a way to overcall majors after they open 1NT? Because this is a great hand for it if you do."

I agree with all that, and thanks for taking the time to put it so clearly.
I don't think this pair really know the system well enough to make realistic evaluations about where it is weak and this player does occasionally make poor decisions about the opportunity to show her hand or not. They have no opening for this hand, but nor do they really need one (as her partner would agree, and maybe she too the next morning).
I think their "11" in general is pretty high by the standards of most people on this forum, about normal for an Italian club: so this bid is clearly a significant deviation.
Whether 7 with this shape is "gross" is a moot point: I would say that 6 certainly would be but 7 for me is not quite there, 8 no way and 9 is within or at the edge of their "11".


View Postmycroft, on 2022-May-03, 09:18, said:

If it's an A player who just thinks it's "obviously right to open this hand, because..." you aim them at the regulations and say "take it up with them."

But that is the rub, because our regulations say little other than:
- "by partnership agreement an opening bid at 1 level may be made with 7 HCP or less" is a HUM
- HUMs are disallowed in this kind of tournament
- pre-alert an agreement to open at 1 level with minimum 8-10 HCP.
Ho do you (or others, particularly other WBF systems countries) see these rules applying in this case?
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