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12C1e? Gambling? Unrelated to the infraction? A question on levels

#1 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2024-March-27, 13:40

A couple of weeks ago, I said this about 'gambling' action

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My guess is that N-S are equally inexperienced ([parenthetical removed]). Does 2 (as opposed to the other options, again) veer into 12C1e territory? It certainly would were I South - seems like a pretty classic "heads I win, tails I get the director to return me to 1" situation. But I think it should be a very high bar to cross ("gambling action, which if unsuccessful...") and this looks like novice judgement, not advanced gambling.


This week I get an email from a fellow club director about the following:
+150 wasn't a great score for E/W.

There were questions about "what is actually their agreement", "did South DTRT", "what does North play 2-X-2 as when it's a weak 2" and all the rest, which aren't relevant (I think) to the question I want to ask.

It was determined that the agreement on 2 was "weak 2", and that raising or passing 2 wasn't a LA with the opener's hand.

The question is, is passing 3 with that 25 - so bad that it rises to "gambling action, which if unsuccessful might have hoped to recover [via the director]"? Is it "an extremely serious error" (probably yes, for almost anyone, but) "unrelated to the infraction" (surely, if told it's a weak 2, everyone would double and double again, even if they thought 3 wouldn't be passed in the Flannery auction)?

I believe (as I said above) for certain classes of people, I would rule that. But how far up the skill level (and what skill levels) do you have to go to get there?

One thing I find interesting with this is that in D18, one would expect about half the field to be playing Flannery. In (at least the Mexican part of) D16, nobody plays Flannery (and vice versa for Bergen raises). For me, living in Flannery world for "ever", 2-2; 3, with or without the double, is an "unpossible auction" (partner said where we're playing, partner's captain), and basically screams "I have a weak 2". But that's logic that I wouldn't expect someone even at my skill level [who wasn't a TD, at least] to work out "at the table" facing this weird agreement they run into once a year. Am I wrong there?

But the player wasn't "at my level". How far down the experience chain do you go before, even being comfortable playing in a Flannery world, you wouldn't expect the player to recognize it to the point of "gambling" that it's forcing, and if not, the director will save me?

Does it matter to any of this if the passer themself plays Flannery?

Note, we're no longer explicitly in a "experts need to protect themselves" world, but I think the level in the ACBL still is "failure to play bridge, *for a player of their level*" (my emphasis).

I don't have answers - I have opinions (some of which I've written here). I'm interested in others'.
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#2 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2024-March-27, 13:44

Another question - if you do believe that passing was "unrelated to the infraction", does that not mean that there shouldn't be an adjustment (for the MI - assume there's no UI or "didn't correct MI in time" issue) to N-S? You've said that the infraction wasn't the cause of the good score...

That would not apply to a "gambling" 12C1e ruling, of course.
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#3 User is offline   jillybean 

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Posted 2024-March-27, 19:15

2 was alerted and when asked, explained as 'flannery' ? (whatever that means)
Why not pass a forcing 3, the opps may get to game, if I double again now I may alert them to their error.

(here comes another case of we will penalize the NOS because they did something unusual after being given MI and the Director believes it is gambling action, or not how others may play the game)
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#4 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2024-March-28, 08:34

Okay, assume it was properly explained as "11-15, 4 and 5". It probably wasn't, but I'm sure it would be explained if asked.

For the purpose of the questions, I assumed everyone thinking about it knows what Flannery is (even if the players involved might not). Sorry.

Why not pass a forcing 3? What makes the player think it's forcing? Note: these are actually questions, the answers to which might determine (your) answers to the questions I'm asking.
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#5 User is offline   jillybean 

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Posted 2024-March-28, 08:50

"Flannery" 11-15 4 spades 5 hearts but does this pair play the perfectly vanilla version? A convention name is not a substitute for disclosure of agreements.

If opener has shown 4S5H I don't know their methods but would assume 3D over a 2H preference is forcing unless 2D shows 4540 ?
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#6 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2024-March-28, 11:53

I don't play Flannery of any style, but I imagine that if I took this auction to players who do, they'd all tell me that 3 over 2 Does Not Exist. In fact, I'd expect that several of them would tell me "I bet partner forgot and has a weak 2 in diamonds."

2 is "we're playing 2." It could be a zero count with 3 hearts. It's not that 3 is forcing, it's that opener's systemic options over 2 are "pass" and "pass".

But you are giving me some answers to the 12C1e question. Thank you.
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#7 User is offline   jillybean 

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Posted 2024-March-28, 14:21

That interesting. I've never played flannery but now that I know there is a legal 3 way flannery version and I don't have to give up my diamond preempt, I may add it the card.

I'm sure that I am alone in thinking there is too much emphasis put on the NOS, 'you must protect yourself" and not enough on the OS.
I may as well join them.
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#8 User is online   smerriman 

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Posted 2024-March-28, 15:03

View Postjillybean, on 2024-March-28, 14:21, said:

That interesting. I've never played flannery but now that I know there is a legal 3 way flannery version and I don't have to give up my diamond preempt, I may add it the card.

I know this is tongue in cheek, but good luck opening 2 Flannery with a weak hand with diamonds and desperately hoping your partner will never have anything other than a weak 2M response to allow you to escape to the same contract you could have opened with..

As to the OP, I don't know much about how the law should be applied. But if I were East, I would never even remotely contemplate passing without being 100% sure what 3 meant (regardless of whether asking the opponents may potentially convey some UI). While I would say it's definitely not 'unrelated to the infraction', passing without this surety seems like gambling to me at any level.

If East has a reasonable explanation of why they were sure 3 wasn't going to be passed out, that must be relevant to the decision (and where it would be different based on skill level).

View Postjillybean, on 2024-March-28, 14:21, said:

I'm sure that I am alone in thinking there is too much emphasis put on the NOS, 'you must protect yourself" and not enough on the OS.

To this point, regardless of whether East's pass was gambling or not, this doesn't impact N/S's rectification; this is just to determine the size of the adjustment for E/W.
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#9 User is offline   jillybean 

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Posted 2024-March-28, 21:40

Yes, of course I'm not serious about playing 3 way Flannery. I am concerned that after an infringement by opponents, it is often the NOS whom are assumed to be lawyering the game if their action falls outside what the Director deems normal or a poll dictates. It seems bizarre that a poll would be taken to judge the NOS action.
IMO, players who may chose alternative actions due to inexperience, seemingly ill conceived ideas or fabulous creativity should not be penalized.

How you filter these players from those taking the double shot, I don't know, other than history.
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#10 User is offline   sanst 

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Posted 2024-March-29, 05:14

Without all the hands it's impossible to see where NS would or could have ended. But one thing is for sure: East's pass is bad bridge, even from a beginner. With at least six tricks you don't pass 3◇.
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#11 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2024-March-29, 09:31

East's pass is bad bridge. So what? What does it have to do with the ruling?
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#12 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2024-March-29, 10:02

Again, the point of this isn't the "forget Flannery" pair (although this time it was "forget this partner doesn't play Flannery"). We get them by "use of UI" or, eventually, "your agreement actually is 'Flannery unless we forget, in which case it's a weak 2 in diamonds', and that's an illegal agreement. You will either never forget again, or stop playing the convention, or get a penalty for use of a disallowed convention every time it happens from now on. In addition to whatever bad score you either get or have assigned from the director call."

But this isn't unique. How many "forgot Drury" auctions have you seen? "forget transfers"? (Not as many any more, but "disagreement about whether they're on on overcall/pulling partner's double"? Yeah, that happens.) How many "He's used to Meckwell, but I convinced him to play Brozel today" forgets?

The question of "are you allowed to turn your brain off as soon as the opponents make a mistake" has been answered decades ago. So has the question "the opponents committed an infraction. Do we get a good score automatically?" Don't like it? Find another game.

But the barrier is set high for 12C1e, and it is set high on purpose. You can't "turn your brain off", but you can be thrown by this weirdness or make ordinary (or even sub-ordinary!) mistakes.

Hence my question, because I think this hand is close to that barrier - at least for anybody with either enough experience with Flannery to know that this auction Does Not Exist, or enough experience in bridge to work out that an "11-15, 4-5-xx" hand "can't" force opposite a "to play" response.

But I am biased - I'm used to Flannery (even if I won't play it myself), I'm a director with years of experience understanding systems I don't play "on the fly", I probably handle 3 or 4 of the ones that could be a problem for every one "people" see at the table, and my brain works this way - I remember systems by working out what it "has to mean" from the meanings of all the other calls and where we have to be for the rest. I know not everybody does.

Again, hence my question - and hence my not providing the rest of the hands "for the ruling". The ruling - for the Offending side, at least - was easy and obvious. I'm strictly looking at "is pass a gambling action" (and what experience would the player need to be "able to gamble") or "an extremely serious error unrelated to the infraction" (I agree with sanst, I believe it's an extremely serious error for almost any player. But is it unrelated to the infraction? And is the answer to that different with skill/experience?)

Spoiler

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#13 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2024-March-29, 10:04

View Postblackshoe, on 2024-March-29, 09:31, said:

East's pass is bad bridge. So what? What does it have to do with the ruling?
Is it bad enough to trigger 12C1e? If so, which category? And does the skill level of East matter in making that decision? If so, where is the boundary? Does experience playing against Flannery, or playing Flannery herself, matter?

That is, in fact, the question.
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#14 User is offline   jillybean 

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Posted 2024-March-29, 11:02

View Postmycroft, on 2024-March-29, 10:02, said:

Again, the point of this isn't the "forget Flannery" pair (although this time it was "forget this partner doesn't play Flannery"). We get them by "use of UI" or, eventually, "your agreement actually is 'Flannery unless we forget, in which case it's a weak 2 in diamonds', and that's an illegal agreement. You will either never forget again, or stop playing the convention, or get a penalty for use of a disallowed convention every time it happens from now on. In addition to whatever bad score you either get or have assigned from the director call."

"Never happens", there is no record of these things, different games, different Directors, the opposition doesn't call the Director.
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View Postmycroft, on 2024-March-29, 10:02, said:

But I am biased - I'm used to Flannery (even if I won't play it myself), I'm a director with years of experience understanding systems I don't play "on the fly", I probably handle 3 or 4 of the ones that could be a problem for every one "people" see at the table, and my brain works this way - I remember systems by working out what it "has to mean" from the meanings of all the other calls and where we have to be for the rest. I know not everybody does.

Again, hence my question - and hence my not providing the rest of the hands "for the ruling". The ruling - for the Offending side, at least - was easy and obvious. I'm strictly looking at "is pass a gambling action" (and what experience would the player need to be "able to gamble") or "an extremely serious error unrelated to the infraction" (I agree with sanst, I believe it's an extremely serious error for almost any player. But is it unrelated to the infraction? And is the answer to that different with skill/experience?)

Happy to read this. I sometimes think Director's rule a certain way because of their style of bidding or play and it's hard not to. Your average Director doesn't have your experience and knowledge of the players.

Happy to read the spoiler too.
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#15 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2024-March-29, 12:55

Yes, I agree (and I don't like it) - except I've done it at least twice. And I know of several times it happened in my old club (the owner was much less sympathetic to "but we forget often" than I am). Sure, maybe you go to another club, or go home and meet the other director, or ...

That's what report to recorder is for. So that a record does get generated. Yes, I have issues with the consolidation of recorder duties in the ACBL, but the upside - a big upside - is that you don't have to get "known" in multiple different places.

There's a program going forward for ACBL tournament directors to "record" issues like this one (and failing to Pre-Alert Precision, and playing "multi-landy" in a game where "landy" is legal, what's the difference?, and ...) Will that help? Will it eventually become more reviewable than it currently is? We'll see.

I absolutely understand the frustration. I would second the frustration with the ACBL convention card.

But I still want to know - how experienced does one get before passing a 25-count with 6 tricks, for whatever reason, into a "can't happen" auction, becomes "gambling" or "extremely serious error"? And if you think the answer is "never - people shouldn't have to work out what the opponents are doing if they commit an irregularity" - fine. That's a data point. I will become very suspicious of any "but they should know (that they need to ask)..." that I hear from you, of course - but you never have to worry if you never forget your system/use UI/...
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#16 User is online   smerriman 

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Posted 2024-March-29, 13:04

Does 'gambling' need to be intentional with respect to double shots to count as gambling? That is, suppose if someone with no knowledge of the MI laws thought 3 might be passed some percentage of the time, I would still considered passing as a gambling bid. That's why I would base my decision on East's explanation to why they passed. If their lack of experience was what prompted them to think 3 was forcing, then I would rule in their favour. If they thought, well, it might be passed, but I don't know what else to do, then I wouldn't.

edit - OK, ignore the first half, I guess unintentional gambling is generally the same as extremely serious error.
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#17 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2024-March-29, 16:34

The law says: "...or by a gambling action, which if unsuccessful it might have hoped to recover through rectification,"

So, we have to believe that "if it gets passed out, I'll call the director and get the double back, but they might keep going and I can double even higher". At least, that's the way I read the Law.
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#18 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2024-March-30, 08:50

View Postmycroft, on 2024-March-29, 10:04, said:

Is it bad enough to trigger 12C1e?

I say no, it's not.
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#19 User is offline   jillybean 

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Posted 2024-March-30, 09:27

View Postblackshoe, on 2024-March-30, 08:50, said:

I say no, it's not.

Please elaborate.
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#20 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2024-April-07, 09:19

Late to the thread, but I don't have much to add anyway. Although maybe I'm a useful data point because I've never encountered Flannery and the players at my club have never ever heard of it.

I wouldn't be in any hurry to accuse a player new to Flannery of a gambling action here. I would expect most players to ask about 3D, and smell a fish when no convincing explanation is available: but even then their imagination will be racing about what 2D really was (our players would suspect Multi with spades until 3D) and whether 3NT might be a better move than double if it was weak diamonds. Emotions could easily get in the way and lead to confusion and a pass, particularly if the Director is unsympathetic or puts pressure on.

Yes, there has to be a line for a player cynical enough to risk pass intentionally. I would dispense any player unfamiliar with the convention, though, except a real expert used to dealing with unexpected agreements.
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