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Polling question (followed by ruling details)

#1 User is offline   McBruce 

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Posted 2021-January-23, 18:48

Looking for answers to polling questions before you comment on the ruling I made:

Online Virtual ACBL game, matchpoints, your side is vulnerable:

KT
QT953
K96
654

Partner opens 1 in second seat and RHO overcalls 3. You choose double and LHO passes. Partner continues with 4 and RHO passes. You now bid 4 and LHO passes. Partner bids 4NT and RHO passes.

What calls do you consider?

If 4NT followed a significant tempo break, what would that suggest?

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Partner had A3 A7 AT85 AKT82. The break before 4NT was over 90 seconds according to table history, with no intervening chat or questions. 4NT was the final contract, making ten tricks with opening leader holding a club void and Jxx of hearts along with his J98xxxx of spades. The pair objected to my ruling that responding to Blackwood was a LA and holding four aces the 4NT bidder would continue, getting them to six. They did not dispute that 4NT was ace-asking, only that the player in question had the right to use judgment and pass even after the forever tempo break. I ruled 6NT-2 which cost them about half a board and moved them from 2nd O/A to 6th, about 0.90 silver points less. This happened on the penultimate deal of the tournament and I was unable to poll as I normally would in the 20 minutes we are given before results become final (actually, I used much of the time to ask people if they thought there was a possibility that 4NT might not be ace-asking in that sequence, which turned out to be a non-issue). You can confirm my guesses as to the results of that poll by giving opinions on the poll questions above as well as the ruling itself.
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#2 User is offline   axman 

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Posted 2021-January-23, 19:27

View PostMcBruce, on 2021-January-23, 18:48, said:

Looking for answers to polling questions before you comment on the ruling I made:

Online Virtual ACBL game, matchpoints, your side is vulnerable:

KT
QT953
K96
654

Partner opens 1 in second seat and RHO overcalls 3. You choose double and LHO passes. Partner continues with 4 and RHO passes. You now bid 4 and LHO passes. Partner bids 4NT and RHO passes.

What calls do you consider?

If 4NT followed a significant tempo break, what would that suggest?

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

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Partner had A3 A7 AT85 AKT82. The break before 4NT was over 90 seconds according to table history, with no intervening chat or questions. 4NT was the final contract, making ten tricks with opening leader holding a club void and Jxx of hearts along with his J98xxxx of spades. The pair objected to my ruling that responding to Blackwood was a LA and holding four aces the 4NT bidder would continue, getting them to six. They did not dispute that 4NT was ace-asking, only that the player in question had the right to use judgment and pass even after the forever tempo break. I ruled 6NT-2 which cost them about half a board and moved them from 2nd O/A to 6th, about 0.90 silver points less. This happened on the penultimate deal of the tournament and I was unable to poll as I normally would in the 20 minutes we are given before results become final (actually, I used much of the time to ask people if they thought there was a possibility that 4NT might not be ace-asking in that sequence, which turned out to be a non-issue). You can confirm my guesses as to the results of that poll by giving opinions on the poll questions above as well as the ruling itself.


Results are dubious without agreements to all the actions.
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#3 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2021-January-23, 23:04

Playing a normal system I consider 5 - he's telling me to pick a minor, he might be 5-6 or something; or answering blackwood. I don't think it's to play. After the pause, I think it could be to play, after partner tries to work out if it's safe to bid it, or if I might think it was blackwood.

If you can find enough people who would pass this, then it's reasonable to not be obnoxious about your ruling; I don't expect you will. To me, it's clear that the pause showed concern about going farther.

I would consider giving bits of 5NT-1 (pick a slam, passed) and 6 whatever it scores, and possibly even bits of 5 if the 4NT bidder convinced me zero would keep him out of slam (assuming 5 is zero). Yes, I know, split scores and BBO.
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#4 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2021-January-24, 03:18

There is also the issue of whether Blackwood would be plain 4 aces or RKCB hearts, or at least there would be over here. Asker holds 4 aces so in the first case he's already decided either to bid a slam or to play in 5♧.
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#5 User is online   paulg 

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Posted 2021-January-24, 04:57

I think class of player is important.

All of my club members, a couple of whom might be Flight B and the rest are Flight C (and Flight D), would take 4NT as Blackwood. In fact the reason that they could have bid 4 is because 4 would be Gerber!

I was thinking of passing, but I'm a Flight A player.

I don't think the length of the hesitation is particularly important to me, as I'd expect partner to know that this call has multiple meanings and none of them are clear. However, to many others, a slow 4NT would suggest that they are not comfortable with this being taken as Blackwood.

I think your ruling was fine, especially if the pair agreed that it was clearly ace asking.
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#6 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2021-January-24, 07:57

View Postpaulg, on 2021-January-24, 04:57, said:

I think class of player is important.

All of my club members, a couple of whom might be Flight B and the rest are Flight C (and Flight D), would take 4NT as Blackwood. In fact the reason that they could have bid 4 is because 4 would be Gerber!

I was thinking of passing, but I'm a Flight A player.

I don't think the length of the hesitation is particularly important to me, as I'd expect partner to know that this call has multiple meanings and none of them are clear. However, to many others, a slow 4NT would suggest that they are not comfortable with this being taken as Blackwood.

I think your ruling was fine, especially if the pair agreed that it was clearly ace asking.


My worry would be that the hesitation DOESN'T suggest pass.

I'm visualising partner with a spade void wondering what he can do that I'm not going to pass, 4 looks too much like heart agreement, then he realises blackwood is unambiguous if it's 4 ace holds the other 3 but what suit is it blackwood in if any ? etc
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#7 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2021-January-24, 09:46

If we can't agree on what the BIT demonstrably suggests, then it doesn't demonstrably suggest anything.

FWIW my initial reaction was "there are too many unstated assumptions here. What is the meaning of the auction given?"
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#8 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2021-January-25, 07:47

View PostCyberyeti, on 2021-January-24, 07:57, said:

then he realises blackwood is unambiguous if it's 4 ace holds the other 3


Quak quack oops, he holds all 4 :)
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#9 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2021-January-25, 08:11

View Postpescetom, on 2021-January-25, 07:47, said:

Quak quack oops, he holds all 4 :)


I was hypothecating he had a void, holding 4 aces in a hand with a void is difficult.
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#10 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2021-January-25, 11:18

View PostCyberyeti, on 2021-January-25, 08:11, said:

I was hypothecating he had a void, holding 4 aces in a hand with a void is difficult.


Got you sorry. Although I find it hard to imagine opponents stopping at 3 level with an 11-card spades fit.
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#11 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2021-January-25, 12:36

View Postpescetom, on 2021-January-25, 11:18, said:

Got you sorry. Although I find it hard to imagine opponents stopping at 3 level with an 11-card spades fit.


It's just possible, 3 bidder has an 8th one and the other hand has 3 without a ruffing value.
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#12 User is offline   sanst 

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Posted 2021-January-26, 03:02

View PostMcBruce, on 2021-January-23, 18:48, said:

They did not dispute that 4NT was ace-asking, only that the player in question had the right to use judgment and pass even after the forever tempo break.

What is missing, is what the 4NT player was going to do after he got the answer. We don抰 know what their agreement is, but he would know that it should show no aces. Was he going to pass or would he have gone forward? He should be quite convincing to make me believe that he would have passed 5 or 5, but who knows? But otherwise I would probably have come to the same result as you. And I would also have pointed out that a player not only has the right to use his own judgment but should do so, but that he, using that judgment, should avoid to give the impression that he might have used UI. Answering to Blackwood is a LA here and passing is, IMO, not. Any partnership should get in trouble if one of the partners didn抰 feel the obligation to answer bids like Stayman, transfers or ace asking.
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#13 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2021-January-26, 03:53

Unless of course the partnership discloses their agreement to pass such bids under certain conditions. 1nt 2♧ is explicitly not self forcing on my convention card for instance. Several low level pairs here seem to play 1nt 4nt as non forcing Blackwood (partner replies Aces if convinced he has enough points).
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#14 User is online   lamford 

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Posted 2021-January-26, 11:26

I would expect 4NT here to be pick a minor, although it could be RKCB for hearts. I think that a slow 4NT suggests that if it were live play, partner would have been folding his cards and starting to write the contract down to try to get you to passI

I would poll players of similar ability. Then poll different people with each choice in response, eliminating the pass of course which I expect to be demonstrably suggested. Assuming you tell them that your 4NT was RKCB for hearts, and 5C shows 0 key cards, they will surely pass that now. A lot depends on which response shows 0 keycards.
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#15 User is offline   sanst 

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Posted 2021-January-27, 02:56

View Postlamford, on 2021-January-26, 11:26, said:

I would expect 4NT here to be pick a minor

According to the OP 4NT was ace asking.
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#16 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2021-January-27, 09:16

according to the OP the 4NT bidder expected 4NT was ace-asking. Who, in their heart, truly knows 100% what this bid means in this auction (okay, the "4NT is always blackwood, 4C is always Gerber" pairs. Apart from those)? Which, of course, means that "tank-for-90-seconds" 4NT is either:
- I don't want this to be ace-asking, or
- partner might not think this is ace-asking

I note that either of those, with a spade stopper, suggests "pass and hope to survive" over "do what's asked and hope we're on the same page".

I can't really think of a position where passing a forcing bid in the presence of UI was not demonstrably suggested by the UI. Okay, "I psyched and am going to reveal it by passing the forcing bid". People just don't "use judgement" to pass forcing bids, in normal circumstances.
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#17 User is online   pran 

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Posted 2021-January-27, 09:42

Lacking any special agreement for the 4NT bid I (silly old-fashioned me) would have bid 5 ('no aces') and pass partner's next call unless it is 5NT to which I would have answered 6 ('two Kings').

(As TD I should rule on whatever final contract in which this auction probably would end.)
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#18 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2021-January-27, 10:00

View Postmycroft, on 2021-January-27, 09:16, said:

I can't really think of a position where passing a forcing bid in the presence of UI was not demonstrably suggested by the UI. Okay, "I psyched and am going to reveal it by passing the forcing bid". People just don't "use judgement" to pass forcing bids, in normal circumstances.


Which is almost what this is, where has the other king I had when I doubled gone ?
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#19 User is online   paulg 

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Posted 2021-January-27, 11:02

View Postmycroft, on 2021-January-27, 09:16, said:

the "4NT is always blackwood, 4C is always Gerber" pairs

Aren't these the vast majority of club pairs, who are now playing in virtual club games?
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#20 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2021-January-27, 11:15

View PostCyberyeti, on 2021-January-27, 10:00, said:

Which is almost what this is, where has the other king I had when I doubled gone ?
Sorry, if you believed that, you'd have passed 4. If you're only thinking of passing now, it can't possibly be because it wasn't an "obvious" 4NT, could it?

View Postpaulg, on 2021-January-27, 11:02, said:

Aren't these the vast majority of club pairs, who are now playing in virtual club games?
I'm not talking them. I'm talking the people with the following agreements:
  • (3)-4-4; p. After seeing dummy (a strong 2=6=3=2): "what's 4?" "One ace."
  • 2 SAF-2 (1+ controls); 4NT "Keycard for diamonds".

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