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All comments by Chris Gibson
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Hi Robert. I'm a younger player, and I worry that the average age of the bridge population is growing every year, and that the majority of successful marketing strategies used by the ACBL appear to be toward senior citizens and the newly retired. What strategies is the ACBL prepared to follow to attract people of all ages to the game?
Feb. 9, 2012
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Hendrik, stay on message. It was already asbaf earlier, a much catchier acronym :)
Feb. 8, 2012
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2 spades. It's where I live, implies a diamond fit, and takes away their cheap cue-bid.
Feb. 8, 2012
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I voted other because I didn't like your follow-up description of a strong jump shift, but I would think a strong jump shift. I know that I would definitely not pass, as ASBAF (All strange bids are forcing) rules would be in effect.
Feb. 7, 2012
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I really don't understand the strong objection to Peg's post, Randy. She's not demanding that people play up. She's not calling for the elimination of limited events. She's not disparaging people who don't play up, or saying that it's not possible to have fun if you don't play up. I think that the gist of the article is two-fold: Playing against better competition in turn makes you a better player (strongest steel forged in the hottest fire argument), and that even though the wins will be far less frequent, she thinks that the majority of the players will find them much more meaningful.

My own experience bear testament to Peg's article. I value my times playing against the best because it highlights both how far I've come as a player, and how much I still need to work on. And, frankly, at this point most of my most prized bridge memories are winning or losing plays against the top players competing in my region or at Nationals.
Feb. 5, 2012
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I would lead the diamond 2 in practice, but I wouldn't be surprised if the spade Q was the actual winning lead to set the contract
Feb. 5, 2012
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factors for me:

1) Will I have a car? If so, I'm staying at the cheapest hotel within 20 miles.
2) Do I have someone to split a room with? If so, I'm more likely to stay at the host hotel
3) Are there much cheaper options within a reasonable walking distance of the host hotel? If so, I'll go with those.

For the record, I've been to nationals in Vegas, Reno, New Orleans, Louisville, Toronto, and Seattle. I only stayed at the host hotel in Toronto, and that was because I couldn't find convenient cheap accommodations nearby, and because I had someone to split the cost of the room. That being said, it is really very convenient to be in the host hotel; you have someplace closeby to go between sessions if you want a quiet place to relax, and a place to store your things near the playing site.
Jan. 29, 2012
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In our unit we have two public bridge clubs, and three unit-run sectionals a year. The clubs have cooperated by both promoting the sectionals and by closing their clubs during the sectionals. In return, the unit splits the profit equally with the two clubs. During the last tournament, the clubs got a check for more than $900 each, though $500 is more typical.

For our unit, this arrangement makes a lot of sense. It keeps the board accountable to the clubs to make the tournaments profitable, and helps foster cooperation between the clubs and the unit board. Note that there is no conflict of interest in this agreement for our unit, as the unit board does not have any people who own the clubs, teach, or direct in the clubs.
Jan. 17, 2012
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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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