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ACBL-legal 4-card relay

#21 User is offline   rbforster 

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Posted 2021-July-26, 05:39

View Postjohnu, on 2021-July-24, 14:24, said:

A 2 suited 2 is clearly natural under the new rules. In the definition of "Natural"

2(b) Any opening bid at the two-level or higher showing 5 or more cards in the suit
bid.

2(i) A call is still Natural if it also shows distribution in another suit

If 2 could be only 4 spades, it would no longer be natural.

In addition, 2 promising 4+ is still “quasi natural”, again still with possible implications for other suits. “Artificial” is reserved for things neither natural nor quasi natural.

3(b) Any opening bid at the two-level or higher showing 4 or more cards in the suit
bid

In Basic, weak twos are Natural (5+) and weak 3’s require 6+ (with some Hcp requirements on 2’s)
In Basic+, weak twos and 3’s are Natural (5+), (with fewer hcp restrictions on 2’s)
In Open, various types of weak or possibly weak Artificial openings are disallowed, but natural and quasi natural (4+) are fine, subject to a few hcp restrictions
In Open+, somewhat fewer weak or possibly weak Artificial openings are disallowed (usually to protect the top players from things like 2 multi)

I have yet to figure out if I want to preempt with 4 card suits for a weak two, ie 2H majors / Ekrens (4+/4+), but it’s fine in Open, or similar things that have the suit they bid.
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#22 User is offline   pilun 

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Posted 2021-July-26, 07:29

View Postrbforster, on 2021-July-26, 05:39, said:

In addition, 2 promising 4+ is still “quasi natural”, again still with possible implications for other suits. “Artificial” is reserved for things neither natural nor quasi natural.

3(b) Any opening bid at the two-level or higher showing 4 or more cards in the suit
bid

In Basic, weak twos are Natural (5+) and weak 3’s require 6+ (with some Hcp requirements on 2’s)
In Basic+, weak twos and 3’s are Natural (5+), (with fewer hcp restrictions on 2’s)
In Open, various types of weak or possibly weak Artificial openings are disallowed, but natural and quasi natural (4+) are fine, subject to a few hcp restrictions
In Open+, somewhat fewer weak or possibly weak Artificial openings are disallowed (usually to protect the top players from things like 2 multi)

I have yet to figure out if I want to preempt with 4 card suits for a weak two, ie 2H majors / Ekrens (4+/4+), but it’s fine in Open, or similar things that have the suit they bid.


While it may be good to know that it's okay to open 2 as "five hearts + five of a black suit", it should be noted that such bids fit the definition of Artificial Calls in the Laws of Bridge, no matter what the ACBL chooses to call them.

I'm just suggesting that it's not a good look to describe bids that are clearly Artificial (according to definitions in the Laws) as "natural". Semantics ....
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#23 User is offline   rbforster 

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Posted 2021-July-26, 14:02

View Postpilun, on 2021-July-26, 07:29, said:

While it may be good to know that it's okay to open 2 as "five hearts + five of a black suit", it should be noted that such bids fit the definition of Artificial Calls in the Laws of Bridge, no matter what the ACBL chooses to call them.

I'm just suggesting that it's not a good look to describe bids that are clearly Artificial (according to definitions in the Laws) as "natural". Semantics ....

I was just going off the ACBL’s definition since that’s where I play, and for their purposes Artificial is anything not Natural or Quasinatural, so for unbalanced preempts this means denying 4+ cards in the suit bid.

https://web2.acbl.or...AttachmentD.pdf
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#24 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2021-July-27, 15:18

I agree with Pilun, and in fact raised this during the comment period; and suggested using the no-longer-used in the Laws term "Conventional" to avoid this issue. I also suggested that for some terms where the "bridge" meaning differed significantly from the defined meaning[*] that this be reviewed or clarified, or at least clearly noted.

But the PTB said no, it was too late, and obvious anyway. So we have the concept of agreements that are Natural for Convention Chart regulation and Alertability, but Artificial for the purposes of the Laws. Which is totally irrelevant to players, as the only uses of artificial call in the Laws are:
  • when insufficient bids or calls out of rotation are artificial (the Director will make that decision and give the correct ruling);
  • setting a default of Special Partnership Understanding (but the RA can say that anything they want is a SPU if they care, and the ACBL effectively does);
  • RA can restrict the use of psychic artificial calls, but not non-artificial ones (The ACBL has decided it only wants to disallow psyching of Artificial calls. That's a subset, and therefore allowed. When the time comes that someone psychs their "hearts-and-a-minor" overcall of 1NT, I expect it to be loud and antagonistic, but the regulation is clear).

So, annoying for those who try to know the rules, and for those from out-of-country that have to try to understand how the ACBL world works (either here, or when imported to play in the Spingold). But not, actually, a problem.

* Who would believe that a mixed double raise (or 1M-3(M-1)) is a Preempt? Or that the EBU's example of a Psychic Control - the non-lead-directing double of 3NT by a psycher - just isn't for the purposes of Convention Chart legality? Who would have believed that there's a difference between a 3-suited takeout and a Three-Suited takeout?
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#25 User is offline   olien 

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Posted 2022-January-11, 20:24

View Poststraube, on 2021-July-23, 08:46, said:

If you're asking about the legal justification, it was simply that all of our other openings denied 4 spades and a limited hand. I think we mostly played this against friends (not even in a club) and alerted them to the 1D "inference" of four spades. I abandoned this system very fast because 1D was so underutilized and 1H handled too much.


I came across a pair that basically played this opening structure at a regional in London, ON just before the 2016 Summer Nationals in DC. I had no issues with the system, and did not call for a director, but, remembering the debate on here about its legality, and then whether or not one could claim it was “catch-all” in good faith since it showed length in a specific suit. I only recognized one director there, and asked him and was told it was legal. IIRC, the exact wording of my question was:

“If a pair plays a system with a catch-all 1 opening, but has defined the rest of the opening bids such that it shows exactly 4, is it still legal? Or would it be considered a transfer opening, and thus illegal?”

In London, I was told yes, its legal. At the DC nationals, I posed the same question to 2 national TDs, Gary Zeiger (RIP) and Mike Roberts, but not at the same time. Both answers were very clear, and along the lines of “the definition of catch-all means that it shows whichever hand types are not covered by the other opening bids. That this one also happens to show exactly 4 does not change the fact that it is still a catch-all opening bid.”
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#26 User is offline   olien 

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Posted 2022-January-11, 20:36

View Postmycroft, on 2021-July-27, 15:18, said:

[*]RA can restrict the use of psychic artificial calls, but not non-artificial ones (The ACBL has decided it only wants to disallow psyching of Artificial calls. That's a subset, and therefore allowed. When the time comes that someone psychs their "hearts-and-a-minor" overcall of 1NT, I expect it to be loud and antagonistic, but the regulation is clear).[/list]
So, annoying for those who try to know the rules, and for those from out-of-country that have to try to understand how the ACBL world works (either here, or when imported to play in the Spingold). But not, actually, a problem.



Not sure if you’re aware of how the ACBL directing staff is interpreting the latest bidding regulations, but it is being done in a way to regulate the psyching of natural bids. On the open chart one is allowed to make a natural, one-level opening bid with near-average strength (I believe on open+ this rule is only applied to 1st/2nd seat openings). The charts also define a psych (which they have not done before) as being off by at least an ace (4 HCP) or 2 cards in length. That means to qualify as a psych, one cannot open with 5-7 HCP unless it also meets the rule of 17. I tried the argument that hands in that range could still be a psych if off by at least 4 HCP from the partnership agreement and was quickly told “no, it isn’t based on the partnership agreements, it is based on what is permitted. As 8 HCP is permitted, and we assume a vast majority already play light openings in 3rd seat, then they have the implied agreement to open with as few as 8 HCP in that seat, and cannot accept the argument that they’ve never done it before with this partner.” I was blown away because I thought the laws still prohibited RA’s from regulating natural bids, but I guess they have decided that these qualify as being SPU’s and are cracking down on it by implementing a specific definition of how far off one must be to be considered a psych.
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#27 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2022-January-11, 22:53

Technically, the ACBL is no longer a Regulating Authority as defined in Law 80 of the Laws of Duplicate Bridge. In practice, the ACBL is an 800 pound gorilla, and does whatever it damn well pleases.
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#28 User is offline   olien 

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Posted 2022-January-12, 04:09

View Postblackshoe, on 2022-January-11, 22:53, said:

Technically, the ACBL is no longer a Regulating Authority as defined in Law 80 of the Laws of Duplicate Bridge. In practice, the ACBL is an 800 pound gorilla, and does whatever it damn well pleases.


The only objection that I have with this statement is the wording. I believe it should read:

Technically, the ACBL is no longer a Regulating Authority as defined in Law 80 of the Laws of Duplicate Bridge. In practice, the ACBL is an 800 pound gorilla, and does whatever it damn well believes the “average” player wants*.

*While relying on pro/client patronage to pay for it
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#29 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2022-January-12, 12:05

View Postolien, on 2022-January-11, 20:36, said:

Not sure if you’re aware of how the ACBL directing staff is interpreting the latest bidding regulations, but it is being done in a way to regulate the psyching of natural bids.
First, even though sometimes I play the part of an ACBL TD, I never speak officially for them. ObDisclaimer out of the way...

They would say that they are regulating deviations that aren't actually "gross" enough to be a psychic. The same way they've been handling 10-12 NTs when someone deigned to open KQT8 KJT8 952 43 since 1960 or so.

Quote

The charts also define a psych (which they have not done before) as being off by at least an ace (4 HCP) or 2 cards in length.

Actually, this is the definition:

ACBL convention charts said:

“Psych”: A call that intentionally and grossly misstates the strength and/or suit length of one’s hand.
with the following "example":

Quote

Generally, 2 cards fewer or an Ace weaker than the minimum expected for a bid would meet the definition of a Psych, as would an Ace stronger than the maximum expected.
To me (see my forum history) that "generally" is pulling a lot of weight, but also (see BW quotes as well as here) it's been "received wisdom" in the ACBL since Dan Oakie at least. I've certainly heard it a lot in the last 20 years when the players were saying "that wasn't a psych, it was only 2 points out". However, for wide-ranging 1 suit openers (and even with Precision-style limited 1 suit openers, arguably) the "generally" is a pretty decent definition of "gross", in my opinion anyway.

What has changed is that the regulation makers are cracking down on "our preferred agreement isn't technically legal, so we'll claim any illegal action is a 'psych' to get away with it" (in cases more than the previously demonized 10-12 1NT and 6-12 weak 2s on KQT974 and out). Because frankly, that's what has been happening, for 60 years or so, and previous attempts at regulation haven't worked.

Quote

I tried the argument that hands in that range could still be a psych if off by at least 4 HCP from the partnership agreement and was quickly told “no, it isn’t based on the partnership agreements, it is based on what is permitted. As 8 HCP is permitted, and we assume a vast majority already play light openings in 3rd seat, then they have the implied agreement to open with as few as 8 HCP in that seat, and cannot accept the argument that they’ve never done it before with this partner.”
Of course you honestly and scrupulously follow your *written* partnership agreements, which for weak third seat action is virtually unheard of in expert circles. So much so, that I'm sure your pro regular opponents have noticed this tendency, and are willing to state it on your behalf, on the record. Yes? That, they probably would accept!

If not, then it's very likely that your actual agreement "through mutual experience or awareness of the players" is such that random 7 HCP 1 opener isn't in fact a "gross" deviation, therefore not-a-psych. Arguments on the legality of the "we won't allow you to deviate if that would make an illegal agreement if it wasn't a deviation" have been done to death in this thread and others.

Quote

I was blown away because I thought the laws still prohibited RA’s from regulating natural bids,
That is not in fact the case.

Law 40B1b and c, emphasis mine said:

In its discretion the Regulating Authority may designate certain partnership understandings as ‘special partnership understandings’. A special partnership understanding is one whose meaning, in the opinion of the Regulating Authority, may not be readily understood and anticipated by a significant number of players in the tournament.

Unless the Regulating Authority decides otherwise, any call that has an artificial meaning constitutes a special partnership understanding.
The WBFLC has made it clear that the Regulating Authority has full and final decision on this. Arguments on the sanity or legality of this (and my opinion) are also easily searched for on this forum or others.

But even before that change, and the removal of the need for the Endicott Fudge ("You can play that, I guess. We don't want you to, but we can't stop you. So, you can't play any conventions after it, including conventional defences to conventional defences, even on the fourth round, even takeout doubles or Blackwood"), RAs were allowed to regulate "natural 1-level openings on hands a king lighter than average". Since I'm not sure, but I think 1997? Which for "ever", the ACBL has interpreted as "7 HCP" (and now the WBF does too). And since "forever", the following has been a requirement:

Old ACBL Convention Charts said:

DISALLOWED: []Opening one bids which by partnership agreement could show fewer than 8 HCP in first or second seat. (Not applicable to a psych.)


The only difference now is the Chartmakers explicit instruction that

New ACBL Convention Charts said:

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.
It used to be that players used to be able to claim "psych" and get away with it, because there was no bright-line requirement. Because so many people did - even though "we all know it happens, we even play for it when the opponents do it" meant it wasn't "a gross deviation" of anything, and that blatant disregard of "regulations we think are stupid" was causing many many issues - they put in the bright line.

And now the directors don't have to get into "if you could play bridge, you would" arguments, they just point to a sentence and say "if you have a problem with it, take it up with the people who wrote it."

What I find amusing is that before, the standard "get out of jail free" quote was "it's not a psych, it's just a minor deviation!" Now, when players want to play something they know is technically illegal, but that Would Be Stupid, sometimes they have to try "it's not a minor deviation, it's a psych!" instead.
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