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All comments by Daniel Korbel
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Congrats, guys.
Dec. 31, 2017
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Well, I think we need to differentiate between the people who believe it shows 4 trumps and wants to penalize the opponents (basically, 4 trumps and a maximum), and those who believe it can be 3 or 4 trumps with the same meaning, and those who believe it is typically 3 trumps with the same meaning, and those in your camp who believe it's mostly about spade length.

That's 4 distinct camps that will all vote for the same meaning.
Dec. 31, 2017
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To me, this discussion is extremely surprising.

I think you need to have 4 hearts to avoid the disaster of playing 2Hxx on a 4-3 fit with the suit breaking badly. We all respond on thin air sometimes, so in my opinion, if you are raising on 3 you simply do not have any safety in redoubling no matter how good your hand is.

Therefore I believe you absolutely need 4 trumps. As such, there's no hand where you “want to penalty double the opponents,” since you can never know exactly what partner has. I think it just shows a maximum raise to 2H with four trumps, sure, you are likely intending to pass partner's double of their runout, having described your hand, but it also facilities partner's decision on whether or not to compete to 3M. So I do not believe you are specifically looking to penalize them.

Again, I was very surprised by this poll result. Almost always, I am in agreement with BW Poll results. Perhaps the poll was just poorly worded.
Dec. 30, 2017
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I played it with David Grainger also and we eventually scrapped it for causing more trouble than it was worth. The ability to show a constructive preference is appealing, though.
Dec. 10, 2017
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I didn't like it. Maybe inexperience, but it felt like it hurt more than it helped. I tried it in two partnerships.
Dec. 9, 2017
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You're right, i messed up the auction.
Oct. 26, 2017
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Nice write-up, Mike.
Sept. 20, 2017
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I've been playing a lot of Dutch Doubleton and it's actually very effective. Henk is right that the 1S bid is not a negative, it just requests a relay to 1NT opposite the weak notrump type (or something else opposite a “real” 1H rebid).
June 13, 2017
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Congrats guys
May 7, 2017
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Nice article. Thank you.
March 22, 2017
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I like this idea, too. As we all know, the matchups can be very tough in any round, depending on who you draw, and almost universally difficult from R16 on. This means that a strong, low-seeded team (such as NRK this year) that won 2 upsets (one monumental) is still going to be facing tough draws every single round after their first big upset. Even if NRK are a team that on strength deserves a much higher seed, they are going to be involved in a lot of further matchups where they are around 50% (sometimes a bit higher; sometimes significantly lower).

It's tough to consistently win matches where you are somewhere around 50%.

In other words, it is very tough for an underseeded team to make the deep runs that allow a significant jump in seeding points. From my understanding, coming 9th/16th (including beating the 2-seed!) gives them each 1.2 additional seeding points. “Merely” upsetting the #3 seed, a significant achievement for an underdog seed, would have given them a measly 0.5 seeding points. This is not a lot of reward for a noteworthy achievement.

Many many times, when you are underseeded, you will not do nearly as well as NRK, as generally all your matchups are difficult – especially your first matchup. (unlike the top teams or so that – unless they are running into a very underseeded team – get a good path into the round of 32 or even further)

Under the current system, it takes an extremely long time for an underseeded team to rise to its true level, if it ever does so at all. The idea of awarding a bonus for an upset based mathematically on how big of an upset it is, is very appealing. You don't have to penalize the favored team that lost, it's not their fault they may have run into a buzzsaw.

If you are not convinced, consider this: do you really think a #62 should ever have more than a tiny chance of beating a #3 seed if the seeding is fair? The #63 seed is theoretically supposed to be the second weakest team in the whole event. Obviously NRK had more than a tiny chance to win given that they are known as a good team and also went on to win their next round match. And equally obviously there are many teams in the event that would not have had a reasonable chance to beat the #3 seed that were seeded higher than #63.

TL/DR; Isn't it worth taking proactive steps to fix seeding problems by rewarding upsets, rather than stick our heads in the sand hoping that in the (very) long run these problems will sort themselves out? This seems like a complete no-brainer to me.
March 22, 2017
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Sylvia is a singular talent, a bridge prodigy if you will. As Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
Jan. 14, 2017
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Chris has this exactly right.
Sept. 11, 2016
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it says right on their card (http://www.ecatsbridge.com/documents/files/2016WroclawSystems/OpenTeams/USA/Lall-Bathurst.pdf) under “General Approach and Style” that they play Light Openers.

Even if the sample size was statistically relevant (which it is not), the hands come up either around once every 200 or once every 80 hands or so. This is really quite infrequent and a pair doing this (and there's probably a lot of players who routinely open “anything” in 3rd seat out there) might not even be aware of this tendency. The occasional very light opener gets lost among hundreds of other hands. This is just bridge and ALL partnerships sometimes psyche or open very light in 3rd seat.

How can a partnership have an undisclosed agreement if neither partner is even aware of it?

Nevermind the fact that opening light in 3rd seat is such a well worn trope it comes as a surprise to no one, ever.
Sept. 11, 2016
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Justin and Kevin play the game the way it should be played: they are tough, ethical, honest, and disclose everything.

It's understandable that in the heat of the battle Spain might get upset and start seeing slights and perceived slights where they might not be any, but in my opinion they badly mishandled this situation. A quiet conferral with the powers that be in a more timely manner would have been much more appropriate.

A tiny sample size of what, maybe a handful of relevant boards where they open very light in 3rd seat is hardly a smoking gun, and in many people's opinions might even be “just bridge.” If you're up against a Precision pair and you're unprepared for some shenanigans, especially in 3rd seat NV, you are being hopelessly naïve, in my opinion.

In my opinion Spain will look back on this later and wonder what they were thinking. It's a shame to go after an ethical pair like this and foolhardy to give up 10 IMPs to do it.
Sept. 11, 2016
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Of all the American pairs , Bathurst - Lall are in my opinion without a doubt at or near the top of the ethical heap. Justin is one of the most ethical players I've ever played against.

It's certainly possible that they don't pass a lot in 3rd seat, NV (who does?!?), but there's absolutely no chance in my mind they have an intentional concealed agreement.

Sorry, Spain, but you guys just got this one wrong.
Sept. 11, 2016
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Josh, I could not agree with you more. You summarized my thoughts perfectly. The 3 IMP penalty is in my opinion completely uncalled for.

Also, congrats on your Swiss win. What a performance.
Aug. 2, 2016
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Congrats guys! Well deserved.
July 29, 2016
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“Can someone give me an example from high level play of expert partnerships successfully and intentionally stopping in 3NT or 4NT with two balanced hands and 33HCP?”

That jogged my memory of a hand written up by Jeff Goldsmith many years ago…

http://www.jeff-goldsmith.org/html/tough.html
April 7, 2016
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I personally like Rusinow from any length against notrumps (except in Dummy's or Partner's suits) and Rusinow from known length in own suits against suit contracts.

I know Rusinow from 4+ only is very popular but it's not my preferred agreement.
April 3, 2016
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