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All comments by Chris Gibson
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Hi Jill. What do you feel is a generally underrated quality at the bridge table that has contributed to your own success?
Jan. 12, 2012
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Thanks for writing these. If you don't have good ideas for “breaking the rules”, how about supplementing this series with a different column? Having paid attention to your writing on both the BBO forums, and now on Bridge Winners, I know that your thoughts have influenced my play and made me a more successful player.
Jan. 11, 2012
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My partner and I play what we believe to be a superior version of xyz, in which 2C encompasses all invitational bids, and 2D through 2N are transfers, either game forcing or drop dead. Jumps to the 3 level show good suits (5-5 if different suits, 6 cards if a jump in responder's original suit) and slam interest.

Partner is only allowed to break the transfer with about an ace extra in undisclosed values (no break is possible over a 1N rebid). The exception is the auction 1m-1S-1N-2d, where opener may choose to bid 2S instead of 2H.
Jan. 9, 2012
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Phillip - let me start by saying that I love reading your feature every week. I find the thought process you go through to be helpful in patterning what I could/should be thinking on these hands. That being said, I have a question…How long does it take you to play an average hand? I'm afraid that the exhaustive reconstruction and playing of the hand opposite various reconstructions would slow me down significantly and use too many mental resources for what is essentially an overtrick in a teams match. Is this really how you played every hand when you were playing in tournaments?
Jan. 9, 2012
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I should mention also that I, like Adam, had a solid fundamental in other games, and that I had been begging to learn because I always saw my parents and grandparents playing, and I didn't want to be excluded.
Dec. 28, 2011
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I learned at 7 or 8. It was a gradual process where my grandfather would have me count his high card points and whisper them in his ear, followed by being called in to “play” defensive hands that were practically yarbs, and finishing with actually getting to play more interesting hands. My brother had a similar experience. All of this was around a kitchen table, of course; I started playing duplicate when I was 24.
Dec. 28, 2011
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Brian - its a midchart treatment. I play that with my regular partner (or a version of it, anyway) in his preferred 2/1 system.
Dec. 21, 2011
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We had a lot of trouble with 2N in competitive auctions playing good/bad 2N for a bit. Then we made the meta-rule that in a competitive auction, 2N is not an offer to play unless there is no other reasonable interpretation for the bid (including good/bad 2N). I have not yet regretted making that agreement in 9 months of regular play, including both Toronto and Seattle.
Dec. 20, 2011
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Some things to keep in mind if you decide to adopt 3/low leads… I don't think the method works well with MUD leads (which is not a huge disadvantage in my mind, but whatever). You have to decide whether leading high from 3 small, or low from 3 small better fits your style. Because getting an original count in the suit led is the main reason we decided to switch to 3rd & low, we decided to lead low from 3 small in general, and to play a smith echo against suits to help clarify the position. Other people do other things, and successfully, too.

Also, you have a dicotomy between 3/5 and 3/low leaders. I play 3/low, where I lead 3rd best from an even number (4, 6, 8, whatever), and lowest from an odd number. Some people play it differently, though I'm not familiar enough with the different methods to comment intelligently on them or their comparative advantages & disadvantages.
Dec. 14, 2011
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Advantages are that it is easier to count the hand right on opening lead - using 4th best leads, you cannot easily distinguish later on whether you've led from K82 or K852, but 3/low leads you would lead the 2 from K82, and the 5 from K852, allowing you to have the choice of whether to show partner (& declarer) a 4 card suit later in the play.
Dec. 14, 2011
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Hey Joel. What did you do as a developing player that you think helped accelerate your bridge game? Where are you working to improve now?
Dec. 9, 2011
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I'm biased since I currently live in the Pacific Northwest. That being said, this was by far my favorite national that I've been to in terms of quality of playing site and the accessibility of the surrounding city. I think that not having it in a hotel actually increased my enjoyment, since there wasn't so much crappy elevator traffic to negotiate.
Dec. 6, 2011
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a heck of an accomplishment. Nice job.
Dec. 2, 2011
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allan - that sounds like a great idea.
Nov. 20, 2011
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Well, Richard, if you ever come back to Portland and want a game, let me know.

Chris Gibson
Nov. 17, 2011
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By the way, I see people making arguements for omitting Meckstroth, Hamman, et all as merely “great players” and not as influential. I disagree strongly; by being great players, their style has permeated down to even the club level. Thus, I hear about “Hamman's rule” from players playing in a 299er game, or people note how opening lighter and lighter has gained popularity without realizing Meckstroth and Rodwell's influence in showing that an active style is very dangerous. Hell, expert partnerships are playing big club systems called “Meckwell light”. That should show their pervasive influence that occurs merely from their success.
Nov. 10, 2011
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@henry - I thought about Blackwood, but Rapee not only had a ubiquitous convention that altered the game, but also was a successful international bridge player. I don't believe Blackwood's accomplishments as a player are anywhere close to Rapee's. I may be wrong, of course; Rapee was in his prime 30 years before I was born.
Nov. 5, 2011
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Eddie Kaplan too.
Nov. 4, 2011
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52 people most influencing bridge in the past 75 years, hmm… people who immediately come to mind (some in multiple categories)…

Populizers:
Charles Goren
CC Wei
Other potential entries include Warren Buffett, Frank Stewart, Alan Truscott, Omar Sharif, & Bill Gates. I have not included Ely Culbertson because his main work was before the timeline included.

Theorists:
George Rapee
Eric Kokish
Marty Bergen
Larry Cohen
Eric Rodwell
A large number of foreign players that I am not qualified to comment on

Writing:
Terrence Reese
Victor Mollo
Hugh Kelsey
Eddie Kantar
Jeff Rubens
Mike Lawrence

General Contribution
Matt Clegg
Fred Gitelman
Bobby Wolff

Players
Bob Hamman
Zia Mahmoud
Jeff Meckstroth
Paul Soloway
Nov. 4, 2011
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Hi Joe. When you are at the table at really good events, how much does table feel affect your play? Would you say that you depend on it more or less than other players? How has that developed for you over the years?
Nov. 3, 2011
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