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All comments by Barry Rogoff
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There's a well known public figure who uses his own capitalization rules on Twitter. I can't imagine having an ego that size or how someone in that position would want to set such an awful example for students learning the language. So surely this guy has the same right.
25 minutes ago
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Sorry Steve, I don't get it. Are you saying that the second-best opening lead might make it easier for partner to defend accurately?

In any case, I've played against you and Betty enough to know that you always defend double-dummy. At least against me. ;^)
33 minutes ago
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“Smalldoubletonophobia?” That's a good one! I'll keep it in mind to use the next time I hear bad players trying to teach each other how to bid. It's truly amazing what kind of bad ideas still circulate that way even though they were abandoned by good players back in the infancy of the game. Sometimes teaching the game requires getting students to unlearn the things they've picked up by not knowing who to listen to.

There's a reason why rebidding 1NT with a small doubleton in a side suit is a bad idea. I'd love nothing more than to play against people who do that all day long.
an hour ago
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I don't get the analogy. 4NT doesn't conceal any information that you have and the opponents don't unless, for example, you know that this partner never bids 4NT with fewer than two aces. Concealing that would be a violation of ethics.

The point is that the game as played today doesn't provide a way to inform the opponents of things you know about partner's “tendencies” that aren't alertable or announceable. New players aren't aware that such a thing exists but over time they sense that “wired” partnerships have an advantage and that the Laws of the game do nothing to prevent it. The really sad thing is that those players look for ways to level the playing field without asking for advice, do unethical things like coffeehousing, and then stop playing because they don't like being forced into anything that causes them to lose self-respect.

This is why I would immediately correct any “tendency” on my part or my partner's should I become aware of one. Not only do I consider predictability to be a weakness, I don't want any information to exist that I know about but can't disclose without being asked. I've had a few long-term partnerships but no one has ever had a reason to think we were “wired” or unethical in any way.
2 hours ago
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I should have said, “…if one player is predictable and the other player knows it, acts on it, but does not disclose it unless asked, that's a violation of ethics regardless of how the Laws are written.”

Suppose you're in that position. You're playing with a partner who prefers passive leads to active leads. You know something based on familiarity with this partner that the opponents don't know. How and when do you disclose it? Do you wait to be asked?
18 hours ago
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A player who has the “lead tendencies” everyone is talking about is predictable and in my approach to the game that's a weakness. The question declarer is really asking is, “is your partner predictable with respect to what he would lead against this particular auction?”

I would answer: “No. If I could say that his lead is more likely to be attacking than passive I'd either teach my partner not to be predictable or I'd play with a different partner.”

The question actually implies that the defenders are “wired.” In other words, if one player is predictable and the other player knows it, acts on it, but does not disclose it, that's a violation of ethics regardless of how the Laws are written.

All long-term partnerships become wired to some extent. That's an unavoidable part of the game. But it can't be specific enough to include knowing partner's weaknesses well enough to predict whether an opening lead against a specific auction is more likely to be attacking than passive. Unfortunately, that sort of thing happens all the time at the club.

Steve's example about underleading an ace against a strong, balanced dummy makes the point perfectly. Any halfway decent declarer would expect an underlead and guess accordingly, perhaps based somewhat on sizing up the opponent. As has been said, that's just bridge. If, however, a player is known to be reluctant to underlead a ace, even when the auction calls for it, that's an example of being predictable and must be disclosed.

It's easy to say that a partner's predictability must be disclosed, but it's not so easy to say how it should be disclosed. That's why I would never allow myself to be put in that position.
21 hours ago
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Look at how many people in this topic have posted that they would rebid 1NT with two small hearts, the texture of the hand notwithstanding. That, by itself, is enough to convince me that a bidding poll would be a waste of time.
21 hours ago
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Not if I had a halfway decent alternative, like a five-card suit.
23 hours ago
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I think that's utter nonsense. When you choose an opening lead, it should be because you think it's the most effective defense based on what you've learned from the bidding. Choosing a card for any other reason is absurd.
Oct. 20
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After 1-1 the only rebids I would consider are 2 and 2. I wouldn't dream of rebidding 1NT with two small hearts. Even if I had three hearts, my hand is all controls and those hands are almost always better in a suit contract.

If I bid 2 partner may think I have a six-card suit. If I bid 2 partner may think I have four of them. There's an advantage to letting partner know that I have a real club suit, not a fragment, so I'd choose 2.

That would allow North to see the enormous trick-taking potential of the hand. Give South ace-fifth of clubs, the ace of diamonds, and the king of spades. 6NT is excellent. If South has the ace of spades, 7NT is excellent. The only important card missing is the jack of clubs. If South doesn't have the ace of diamonds, he must have AK of spades, in which case 6NT is excellent.

So over 2 North can bid 4 kickback (or 4 Minorwood, or whatever) and, upon hearing that South has three keycards (aces) can bid 7NT, expecting it to be on a 3-2 club split at worst.
Oct. 20
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Kit, given that the question should not be asked at this point for the reasons you state, how would you answer if you were the defender? Would you call the director? Would you file a player memo? If you were the director would you reprimand the player who asked the question?
Oct. 20
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I don't open 1NT with a singleton. Of all the times it's been done against me, I'd estimate its success rate at roughly ten percent. I remember one Swiss in particular in which we were playing a stronger team for the event in the final match. An opponent opened 2NT with a singleton honor, killed his side's chance to find a slam, and gave us the event.

I also consider it to be unfair against club-level opponents. I don't need anything like that to win a club game.
Oct. 20
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I don't know whether or not the question is strictly legal according to the Laws but it certainly feels unethical to me. There should be a law that specifically addresses what information a player is required to disclose about a partner's personal lead tendencies based on observation and not agreements.

I wouldn't play with anyone whose opening leads tend to be anything other than an attempt to find the best defense, whether it's attacking or passive. If I noticed such a tendency on the part of a student, I'd discuss it and correct it.

I believe Garozzo's Bols tip, which is to make an attacking lead against a small slam in a suit but a passive lead against 6NT. That's something I discuss with partners, not a personal tendency.

I would consider any other attacking vs. passive lead agreement a foolish attempt to improve one's results through rules rather than analyzing the logic of the situation.
Oct. 20
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That's absolutely true - if you want the option of using Kickback in this type of auction, which may not necessarily be the case.

Kickback is always Kickback, even when it's a suit that's been bid naturally - or it's not. You can't have it both ways.

You can agree that Kickback is off in situations where two suits have been bid and supported. You can use 4NT as RKCB in those situations as long as you agree whether it applies to the first suit to be bid and supported or the last suit.
Oct. 18
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Indeed. I like to think of hearts in this case as the “ostensible” trump suit for the purpose of slam investigation but not necessarily the best strain.

Unfortunately, I've had very few partners I could trust to cooperate on that level of sophistication and subtlety. It's not difficult to work out that 6 is not a grand-slam try in hearts (or anything else) but most would unthinkingly correct 6 to 6.

I've never read a bridge book that covered this concept. If anyone has I'd like to know about it.
Oct. 18
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I agree with Ulrich. It should show secondary spade support, which can be honor-doubleton, and skipping over it (bidding 4) denies that holding. You can agree to play that sort of sequence as a “picture bid” showing three-card spade support and shortness in clubs but there are hands where honor-doubleton solidifies responder's AQJxx spade suit into a secondary source of tricks, which may be exactly what's needed to make a slam.
Oct. 18
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The probability of wanting to make that bid is so low it's not worth having an agreement other than “opener psyched.”
Oct. 18
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It's just another one of those conventions that you agree to in order to make sure you'll never need it.
Oct. 18
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Nope. Being falling-down drunk might do it but tripping wouldn't ;^)
Oct. 17
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In theory, any non-penalty double gives the opponents a “free run” to some extent if they know your methods and have agreed to sacrifice partnership confidence in order to make what would otherwise be highly unsound bids. In club games, unfortunately, weak opponents care nothing about partnership confidence and make lots of highly unsound bids no matter what kind of doubles you play.
Oct. 17
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