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All comments by Bernard G. Schneider
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Should have been clearer. NOT an inverted raise.
May 15, 2015
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Understood.
May 2, 2015
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Will the column appear in the NYT online edition?
April 29, 2015
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By way of background, I have 5,000 master points, and my wife and I travel to about 6 regionals and one nationals a year. We play up when we can, including the Spingold and Vanderbilt, and once (when we qualified) in the Platinum Pairs.

Along the way, we encounter strong club systems where one diamond openings can be as few as zero, Fantunes, transfer responses, and transfer-relay systems. I know I am not fully prepared and hope for the best. For example, four rounds into a complex relay auction, right hand opponent bids a suit in which I have KQJ. If that is not to be the trump suit, I want to double for a lead. But what if that was going to be trump suit and I have doubled one of their landing spots? Can I avoid this uncertainty (but raise ethical issues) by now starting to ask questions? Should I have been asking questions all along about an auction that has no interest to me until receiving a full explanation when the auction is over?

I can live with that, but that is me personally. Others may not be so inclined. Perhaps the superexperts have devoted reams of study so that they know all of this before they sit down at the table; I am not so sure.

Agreeing with Bob H. and others, the influx of foreign players,and particularly young foreign players has been a blessing to the game. And I agree that allowing new methods will contribute to greater interest in the game among young people. But, given aging American demographics ( but which currently pays the bills), which wants comfort rather than adventure (think Gatlinburg), there is no real solution that keeps everybody happy except an increasingly segregated game. Experts playing in knockout team games at one end, and everybody else.

March 5, 2015
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To be clear,“ logical alternative” is an objective standard, not a subjective standard. Thus, even if a director was 100% convinced that a particular player would have made a bid even without the break in tempo, but if that bid was “suggested” by BIT he cannot make that bid as long as there is a logical alternative. Sometimes it is clear from the auction in question that there were logical alternatives, sometimes the director will poll other players.

At its heart, though, the process is objective in nature, intended to take us away from evaluating the credibility of the speaker.
Feb. 23, 2015
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Isn't best practice to first see if both sides agree that there was, in fact, a BIT. If the parties agree that there was then, I believe, no need to call the director at that time ( since all he will do is say “ call me back if necessary”). A time-saver and no rights are lost. Correct?
Feb. 22, 2015
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If partner bids 3 clubs, what do you bid with:
J9xxx, A, QJ9x, AKx?

Do you bid 3 no trump, or 4 clubs looking for slam. You now have a pure guess. Even if partner has a hand less than 16 points, slam may still be a good bet.

I realize that the opening contributes to the problem, but why not bid 2 spades, showing a doubleton honor, as being more useful; showing a fifth club less so.
Feb. 16, 2015
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Thanks, Kit.
Jan. 31, 2015
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How does one show 5+ diamonds and an invitational hand– the analog to the direct 3 diamonds which shows 5+ hearts?

I assume that a direct 3 hearts which shows “ a good hand with clubs” allows the partnership to play exactly 4 clubs if opener bids that over 3 hearts.
Jan. 31, 2015
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One thing that I have noticed playing in regional and national events against top-flight competition is that when the final pass is made, the lead is on the table immediately. The leader has done his thinking in advance, and neither his partner, nor declarer has any idea whether that lead was automatic, or a balancing of choices. In club games, there is information to be drawn when the opening leader dithers and mulls before shrugging and leading.
Jan. 27, 2015
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Exactly.
Jan. 2, 2015
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Mark, I hear what you say. You may be right in theory, but so wrong in practice.
Jan. 1, 2015
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At the intersection between the I/N game and the open game. A-level players need to understand, and should understand, that club games are for practice and developing good habits. Your aim in life shouldn't be to massage your ego by garnering a few extra match points.

Thus, in the interest of ambiance:

1- Absolutely stop calling the director when an I/N doesn't wait the full amount of time after a skip bid warning. Do not try to explain the negative inference that partner draws by a quick pass. In all my many years, passer's partner has never drawn that inference. I/N players hate this, and they have stopped listening.

2- Absolutely stop calling the director when an I/N breaks tempo. The director comes, an unhappy discussion ensues ( He said, she said.), and the director goes away. Most all of the time the director isn't called back. As a general rule, a break in tempo of but a few seconds is characterized as a several minutes break. Ugh. As I said, you should be aiming higher; let go of the bumps in the club game.

And to those who will want to tell me that you are really preaching the gospel of proper procedure/ethics ( at the club level), think again of what you are really doing.
Jan. 1, 2015
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Hi Robb,

My personal opinion is that having this second committee at this time is not a good idea. I was pointing out that there is a difference between: (a) a bad idea; and (b) a bad idea made even worse by having the committee consist of members with little/limited credibility.

I know where I would put a substantial amount of money on what the ACBL will actually do.
Oct. 23, 2014
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There is one point that no one except Pietro focused on. Having followed, as best I could, the original proceedings and ensuing discussion on Bridgewinners, this is truly a subtle nuanced matter, involving bridge and non-bridge (language differences) considerations. As well,it occurred in the finals of a World Championship, a world apart from bridge that we mere mortals play (considering the pathway discerned and followed by the Chinese declarer).

The credibility of the outcome (if it can still be salvaged) will depend critically on the credibility of the ACC.

So my question is, exactly who are the members of the ACC, and what are their qualifications to decide this matter? I would have felt (somewhat) better, if recognized world-class players were involved.
Oct. 23, 2014
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The modern style is (hyper) aggressive, to bid and interfere in the opponents' auctions. Light opening bids,particularly playing a strong club system, e.g. 2 diamonds to show a really weak two bid in a major, overcalling on random hands.
Your thoughts on this. Will the trend to continue, and what is your personal style.

Also, what is your defensive approach to dealing with these methods.

Much thanks and welcome.
Aug. 14, 2014
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The following seems best, with ten different sequences available:

2 no trump 3 spades
3 no trump pass ( freeing up 2nt-3nt for additional
( sequences)
4 clubs - club slam try with general strength, not
as concerned with having partner declarer
Axx, Axx, x Q10xxxx
4 hearts- club slam try: xx, xx, xx, AQJ10xxx
4 diamonds and 4 spades: same with diamonds
4 no trump- slam try, 5 diamonds, 4 clubs.
______________________________________________________

2 no trump 3 no trump
4 clubs (forced)
pass–to play
4 diamonds–to play
4 hearts- minor 2 suiter, short hearts
4 spades– minor 2 suiter, short spades
4 no trump– 5 clubs, 4 diamonds.
July 2, 2014
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Now that the hand is shown, it does seem like a valid hand to give to the Recorder. There is no reason whatsoever for Declarer to make any inquiry. He should have known better than to ask on this hand, which helps him not at all, and which could only have deceptive effect on the opponents.
March 30, 2014
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The devil is in the details.

We actually need to know a little more about the actual hand.
It seems allowable to ask questions to determine what each defender may understand, or not. about his partner's hand.

On this hand, it does seem that this information could well have been irrelevant to declarer. It sounds like declarer had a trick to lose to Glenn, either an ace or on a finesses, at which point Glenn would be at a crossroads. If this was the actual case, on the particular hand, then any inquiry by declarer would be bad form, at least.

Perhaps otherwise if declarer had a choice as to which hand he would want to finesse into.
March 30, 2014
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Nobody has raised the issue of LHO's second double. When the auction gets to him a second time, he really has no idea what makes and what doesn't ( opponents' distribution a mystery), even if N-S have the balance of the points. Even if he feels he can make something, doubling only makes sense at IMP's if he has reasonable confidence that the contract can be going down two tricks (a one trick margin of error). He has no idea that North and South have both shaded their bids. Therefore, he must have, in addition to the king of spades, another ace.

If my thinking is correct, does it lead to a conclusion, based on the club shift, which ace West has. All things being equal, it seems that the only straw in the wind is East's low diamond play at trick one, suggestive of a club shift. When dummy comes down, East has a pretty good idea( because he knows which ace he has) of what partner is holding.
March 15, 2014
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