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All comments by Bob Ciaffone
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One thing that should be realized in this discussion is the ACBL and your local bridge club have vastly differing interests regarding cell phones–with good reason. The ACBL wants to protect against cheating. Your local club is unlikely to have any cheating through cell phone usage. The ACBL may need strict rules, but the local club needs mainly protection from noise and time wastage.

There is nothing wrong with having your phone kept on “vibrate” at the club level (the best practical choice for those who wear trousers).
May 28, 2018
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“Out of sight” is an unnecessarily strict rule. My phone stays on vibrator alert. Having a phone ring is annoying. But looking at your phone to see who is calling you is a reasonable action.
May 23, 2018
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I love The Bridge World. But it would be better if it had two MSC contests, one on bidding and one on leading. Each would be scored separately. Maybe 2 lead problems per issue.
Jan. 27, 2016
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I think it is fine to play weak notrump part of the time, because you can play the same system for both without losing anything meaningful. I suggest you play weak NT non-vulnerable for both IMPs and matchpoints. I used to be ambivalent on what to play at both vulnerable, but have decided that playing weak notrump at that vulnerability may be fun but is not optimum.
Dec. 31, 2015
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As a rules expert in other games besides bridge, I can assure you that players new to a game or those who play in a casual environment often violate the rules of the game, usually unwittingly. We do not want to drive such players away from the game, but we do want them to follow the rules. So I like the mildest term possible to describe such infractions. “Improper behavior” sounds about right to me.
Dec. 20, 2015
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BBO says that in ACBL events that the partnership with no agreement is assumed to be playing the ACBL Yellow Card.
Dec. 16, 2015
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I suggest to you that the major suits are not alike. After a 1H opening bid by RHO, a wide-ranging balancing 1N by partner, and a 2H rebid by opener, advancer's double should be a negative double with a spade suit.
Oct. 4, 2015
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Danny, What would you use the 1NT bid for if you knew that your partner did not have 18-19 balanced?
Sept. 17, 2015
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The way I play bridge is to use 2C-2D-2N (all our bids) to show 18-19 balanced HCP. This is a wonderful convention that I invented and have played with several partners for more than a decade. This agreement fits into these transfer systems like a glove, and frees up a number of bidding sequences for other uses, so I am surprised that the transfer bidders have not integrated it into their systems.
Sept. 16, 2015
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A big factor in how you handle major suit opening bids (forcing or semi-forcing) is whether or not you play Flannery. Opinions on Flannery from some of the world's best players range from “my favorite convention” (S Weinstein) to “I hold as lot of sixcard diamond suits” (E Rodwell). If you are in the latter camp, you would like to pass 4-5 major suit minimum hands when pard bids 1N rather than be forced to bid a minor suit, so this would be an argument for a semi=forcing 1N over a 1H opening bid. Personally, I play 2D as a weak two in diamonds, so like 1s-1N to be forcing but 1H-1N to be semiforcing.
Sept. 15, 2015
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You no longer need to pre-alert when you open 1C and your hand could have a 4-4-3-2 shape. 1C on this shape is now considered a “natural bid” by the ACBL. (I applaud that ACBL change, which was made about 3 years ago.)
Aug. 20, 2015
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Excellent points, John.
Aug. 20, 2015
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I disagree with long pre-alerts. What seems best to me, especially for club games, is a pre-alert saying, “We play transfer bids over a 1C opening bid. We will alert you if we use a transfer bid.” If partner opens 1C, say nothing further yet. If you use a transfer bid, alert it. At that time, You must exlain that (a) Responder may have as few as 4 cards in the suit being shown. (b) Opener will complete the transfer only when holding support for responder.
Aug. 20, 2015
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The two above comments show how flexible transfers can be in this system. Think of how fast new ideas would evolve if they were in the general chart. Particularly, if they could be played online on BridgeBase and other sites.
I see there are either /or systems with balanced hands. the “or” category is an 18-19 HCP balanced hand. I think it is better using transfers if you open 2C and rebid 2NT on 18-19 HCP hands. This is a wonderful system that I have been using with great success for over a decade. It fits with transfer responses to 1C like a glove.
Aug. 20, 2015
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I apologize for the ineffective formatting. When this info was submitted to Bridge Winners, It was in the form of a Microsoft word document and then pasted. I do not know why the formatting did not carry over into the new document. Technical advice for doing this correctly would be appreciated by me. sorry.
Aug. 20, 2015
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When the opponents are in a game contract in a major and you are competing in the other major, and your partner tanks and then passes, how do you determine whether your partner was thinking about bidding one more in your suit or doubling the opponents? Is the huddle weighted in favor of bidding one more, as opposed to doubling? Does the length of the huddle help determine the answer? If an opponent is the huddler, how do you determine the probabilities of what he was thinking about? I feel under-educated in this area and would like to sharpen my competitive judgement; please help me. (:o)
Aug. 19, 2015
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I prefer to play the 1NT response to 1S as forcing, but the semi-forcing 1 NT over 1H. If I played Flannery, I would play both 1 NT responses as forcing. Opener's distro of 4-5 majors needs to be able to play in 1 NT if no Flannery is available.
Aug. 4, 2015
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It is not unusual for a player to play a card as soon as declarer asks dummy to play the card. For example, sometimes the dummy is a little slow because she is uncertain what card was called. A defender should not be penalized in any way for playing when a card has been clearly designated, but not yet touched by the dummy.
July 19, 2015
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There is no question that transfer responses to 1C are fully playable and definitely helpful to those who play a 15-17 or similar strong notrump point-count, as well as weak notrump players. Also note that a large number of weak notrump players prefer to play 12-14 HCP notrump less than 100% of the time. This idea was fully endorsed by Ely Culberson, who regarded it an error to play the weak notrump when vulnerable. Many bridge players nowadays feel the same way (I am one of them). If you favor a strong notrump some of the time and like to use transfer bids over 1C, I strongly endorse playing transfer bids with both the strong and weak notrump opening bids, rather than just using them when playing the weak notrump.
June 2, 2015
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Weak hands are much more common than strong hands. I realize the need to show strong hands in some way if you are using a simple acceptance of the transfer as non-forcing, but you can use either a 2N rebid or the sequence of 2C-2D-2N to show 18-19 point balanced hands. The completion of the transfer needs to be done on unbalanced hands with 3-card support, among other uses.
June 1, 2015
Bob Ciaffone edited this comment June 1, 2015
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