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All comments by Danny Kleinman
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Remember the old Miller Lite commercials on television? Some handsome young people are partying and drinking beer with the TV on. “Let's watch baseball!” says one, turning the channel. “No, let's watch sport fishing,” says another, turning the channel again. Then a young woman beautiful enough to die for says, “Why not have both?” and flips the channel once more. We see a pitcher with a fish in his hand winding up on the mound, and the announcer says, “Here's the the windup … here comes the fish!” with a caption labeling the scene “BASSball.” That frightened me at first, as I'm a bass and I feared the pitcher would hurl the fish right through the television screen and bean me. But then I thought, “What if the pretty girl is right?” Why not have both? Keep the 2S jump shift for the good old-fashioned strong hands with spades and big heart fits (rebid in hearts), independent suits (rebid in spades) and 18+ HCP 5=2=3=3 hands (rebid in notrump). To facilitate responder's rebid, opener waits with 2NT. Here's the windup, here comes the pitch: now responder can bid 3C or 3D to show an invitational 5-5, too weak for 1H-1S; 2D-3C or 1H-1S; 2H-3D, which are still game-forcing.
Sept. 23
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I learned Acol back in the early 1960s, partly under some influence by Paul Heitner, and of course I idolize S.J. Simon. In the version I learned, 1NT openings were 12-14 HCP regardless of vulnerability. I've seldom played Acol, but when someone from England visits a bridge club in Los Angeles, I'm the one usually recruited as a partner (very few know Acol here) and we have no trouble. This happens infrequently; the last time may have been about a year ago. The 1965 World Championship book has a summary in which strong notrumps appear to be used when vul, but being vul has never scared me away from weak notrumps. What struck me as very odd about Reese's STORY OF AN ACCUSATION was Reese's lack of a system summary.

My involvement with THE LITTLE MAJOR is very strange indeed. It was probably in the autumn of 1964 when, after a long day's work at my 9-to-5 computer programming job and a steak dinner, I arrived early in the evening at Al Okuneff's rubber bridge club (the one that Bob Hamman called THE OFFICE) to see one of my favorite partners, Bill McWilliams, playing a set game with Ralph Clark. They used a system they called THE STRANGE SPADE, in which a 1C opening showed hearts, a 1D opening showed spades, a 1H opening was forcing and showed a strong hand without reference to any suit, and a 1S opening was “very strange indeed”(!). By the next day I had worked out some refinements and changes. Only long afterwards was I told that it was based on, and essentially similar to, THE LITTLE MAJOR. When I attempted to play my version of THE STRANGE SPADE at an ACBL tournament, I was told it was illegal (the only forcing one-bid permitted was 1C, not 1H), so on the spot I modified it to create a big-club system I called THE SHAPELY CLUB. Perhaps a decade-and-a-half later, a club called THE WILD WHIST held an “Anything Goes!” game, and I played THE STRANGE SPADE with James Kauder in that game.
July 8
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YES to both of Richard Fleet's ad-hominem questions. Details available on request.
July 6
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There was no confession.
May 10
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Ed Hiatt had no motive for killing Barry, nor did he remember killing anyone. What if he'd just been a hitchhiker that Barry picked up? What if he'd just stolen Barry's car after somebody else killed Barry? What if after killing Barry, the assassin had seen a stoned teenager on the street and said, “Here, kid, here's a nice car for you,” and handed over Barry's car keys, hoping thereby to provide a patsy? Where are Perry Mason and Paul Drake when we need them? Case not closed.
May 10
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From what I've read, the evidence links Hiatt only to Crane's stolen car, not to the murder, of which Hiatt has no recollection and for which Hiatt had no motive. Case definitely not closed.
May 10
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I never met Anders, but I corresponded with him via email. I considered Anders the best analyst of card play in the world. I am struggling to suppress my tears upon learning of his death.
March 22
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See Tri-Color Two Diamonds (December 1998 Bridge World) for a simpler way to combine 2C and 2D for use as powerhouse openings. Eventually I dropped 2D-2H; 2S as a prelude to showing strong 4441 hands to facilitate 2D-2S as an artificial positive response. Once at a national tournament my partner and I had these 2D openings on three consecutive deals.
Oct. 24, 2018
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Different strokes for different folks. For everyone: (concurring with Kit Woolsey) be willing to preempt to the hilt, getting your suits in before the opponents can show theirs. For experts with good memories: work out your own ideas and play what you think is optimal. My own idea was already stated here a couple of years ago (“Six-Shooter”). However, when I tried to teach it to partners who have difficulty remembering conventions, I failed. The memory burden was just too much. One defense against notrumps, another defense against Strong Club and Negative Diamond response, a third defense against Nebulous One Diamond. Fine for pros, terrible for clients. 65 years ago I could buy socks that fit my feet (e.g. size 11). No more. Now it's only ill-fitting socks (“fits shoe sizes 9-12”). Same with defenses against opposing openings that do not promise specific suits. Why not have one defense that is reasonable (though not optimal) against all? That will be the topic of a Bridge World article (I hope, soon). Like the socks that fit only approximately.
Aug. 24, 2018
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Nice to play a double as whatever you'd like to have available for your present hand. Last time I doubled as opener in this sequence I had five hearts, but my partner, trained by others to treat all doubles as takeout, pulled and we got too high in another strain. Worse still, a client several years ago passed my forcing pass after my RHO saved in 7D over his vul 6S. We collected a 350-point penalty. He told me that his previous pro had taught him that all doubles were takeout and he feared that if he doubled 7D I would take it as offering a choice among 7H, 7S and 7NT.
June 5, 2017
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2NT is easier than 3D for an opponent to double for penalties, thus triggering penalty doubles of the runout to 3D. After a “Weak Must Speak” 2NT, partner can often cooperate … or you can compete to 3D. After a “bad” 2NT, partner cannot compete over 3H even with a fine fit for diamonds because he must worry that you have clubs. So if you feel you “must” compete with suits and shape despite the lack of extra strength, the better way is to make the artificial bid (2NT) the stronger of the two.

The full treatment of “Weak Must Speak” (look up the Bridge World article) uses 3C as clubs with strength, and 2NT as either weak with clubs or strong with any of the other suits, which is optimal for technical reasons.
May 31, 2017
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Using standard methods, you must pass. Playing “Good-Bad” 2NT, you should bid 2NT, showing an unspecified minor suit with limited high-card strength. Playing the superior “Weak Must Speak,” you should bid 3D, showing a limited hand with diamonds.
May 30, 2017
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Thank you, Neal, for the correction.
Sept. 6, 2016
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Dear Rich,

In a well-directed game, where utilization of unauthorized information were not tolerated, querying alerted calls should be routine. The simple reason is that it's desirable to be aware at all times of what's going on in the auction. If you are, then you'll have no need for telltale huddles later (for example, deciding whether to make a risky Lightner Double if your partner will be on lead against a slam, as you'll have started thinking about it well in advance.

However, there's a complex reason. A bid may be alerted for any number of reasons: (a) because it is artificial, saying nothing about the suit named; (b) because it says something about the strength of the bidder's hand (“we have two ways of showing spades, of which this is the weaker”);©because it sends a compound message (“this shows diamonds AND HEARTS” or “this shows clubs AND AN UNSPECIFIED major”);(d) because it is systematically ambiguous (“this shows either hearts or both black suits”). Depending on what the alerted bid means, the next player may want to bid, make a lead-directing double, or pass. Suppose he inquires ONLY WHEN CONTEMPLATING ACTION, perhaps intending to make a lead-directing double only in Case (a)or (d). He may find out that (b) or © is the case, and then he'll pass. Then his inquire-and-pass conveys unauthorized information. His pass WITHOUT INQUIRING also conveys unauthorized information, namely that he would not contemplate bidding or doubling NO MATTER WHAT the alerted bid showed.

What annoys me is to have players inquire about UNALERTED bids, which in the absence of an alert must be natural and standard. Such inquiries can be, and are, used to show values in the suit without need to make risky doubles.
Sept. 6, 2016
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When used as the only forcing opening, 2C is overburdened. The two hand types for which an Omnibus 2C works poorly are balanced game-forcing hands (2C-then-3NT derails Jacoby Transfers and Stayman on game hands, though “Kokish” mitigates this at some cost)and hands whose main suit is diamonds (2C-then-3D is an awkward start and can wrong-side diamond contracts). So devote a strong 2D opening to such hands.
Aug. 23, 2016
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When Howard Cosell hosted Monday Night Football on television, he would announce the lineups and state the colleges for which each player had played. When he announced Otis Sistrunk, he said “from the University of Mars.” So I propose the Sistrunk Rule. If Otis Sistrunk played bridge with his classmates, would they understand a call without need for explanation? If not, it's alertable.
Aug. 23, 2016
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First, be willing to jump to three of a suit with a hand on which you'd make a Weak Single-Jump overcall. For other hands: double shows the suit doubled, one of a suit natural (if there's any preempting to do, advancer can jump raise). Bids from 1NT through 2NT show two-suiters using a scheme I call Six-Shooter:
2NT shows minors.
2S, 2H and 2D show spades and another suit (2S shows blacks)
2C and 1NT show the next suit up and hearts.
Aug. 23, 2016
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Maybe, Barry, he considers that your writing is already so polished that the lifting will be light. Or maybe he trusts me to polish almost as well as he does. I compare my work in directing the MSC to that of a sculptor working in stone rather than clay, chiseling away until it takes its final form. No second drafts (though my articles have often been second drafts) for the MSC, just Jeff's editing and my corrections to his editing when it doesn't quite strike me as right.
Feb. 15, 2016
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Ed, I agree with you quite thoroughly. Usually (though not always) Jeff's editing did improve what I wrote, and The Secrets of Winning Bridge is excellent (my second favorite bridge book after Why You Lose at Bridge). It's rare, however, for writing to flow effortlessly without polishing. I can only imagine that Kaplan and Sheinwold had this gift, but I know someone who did: Barclay Cooke, whose handwritten letters to me read just as smoothly as his (well-edited) backgammon book Paradoxes and Probabilities. Jeff rates at the top as a writer and editor, but I attribute this to WORK.
Feb. 15, 2016
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As a staff member and frequent contributor to The Bridge World, I have a different perspective from those who have commented in this discussion, and I'll share my views here.

I will not comment about what kinds of content and features the magazine should have. A story will illustrate why. Many years ago, I telephoned the then syndicated columnist Alfred Sheinwold to compliment him on his latest column in the Los Angeles Times. Freddie reacted with disappointment verging on anger: “I'm sorry you liked it. I made a mistake in writing it, as the readers for whom I intended it will not appreciate it if you did.”

Freddie, like his former bridge partner Edgar Kaplan, was a “natural” at writing. I am not, and neither, I suspect, is Jeff Rubens, whose polished prose is the result of, well, polishing. Jeff is highly perfectionistic, and in some instances, he asks contributors to rewrite the articles they submit. Once, I complained to Jeff about an article I had to rewrite twice. He replied that an article scheduled to appear along with mine required ten rewrites by the author.

Some suggestions as to which bridge experts might be added to The Bridge World's staff are misguided because what we see in the magazine is the final result of Jeff's editing. You should see how badly some experts write. I know how hard I work to turn some of my panelists' comments into coherent prose, and I imagine Jeff has to work equally hard. Yes, some panelists know how to write (who could complain about Frank Stewart's, Kit Woolsey's or Eric Kokish's mastery of English, for example?), but they are in the minority, and sadly, like Jeff, they are almost as old as I am and I must fear they will not be with us as long as I'd like.

Some commenters on Bridge Winners scoffed at the continued participation of Carl Hudecek in the Master Solvers' Club; one hinted that Carl's bidding is antiquated. That may be so, but it doesn't make his bidding wrong. Old-fashioned isn't better than new-fangled per se. Though I've never met the man, I not only like and respect Carl, but I especially value his comments, even when I disagree vehemently, because they often reflect a distinctive viewpoint. Carl is one of the panelists I would most regret losing.

One commenter on Bridge Winners, as did several Bridge World readers at the time, objected vehemently to one of my Master Solvers' Club directorships in which my scoring of answers was substantially out of whack with the votes of the panel. Yes indeed, I had failed to hew closely to that vote; my fault, for underestimating the importance of the MSC as a bidding contest for readers. Soon I remedied that, so that the scores no longer reflected my sometimes idiosyncratic appraisals of the answers. I'm not sure I was right to change my scoring method, however, as downgrading imaginative and insightful answers strikes me as unjust to “lone wolf” panelists.

Rick Nelson was right: you can't please everyone. Witness the dislike of my friend Nick Straguzzi's brand of humor by one Bridge Winners commenter; others like Chthonic better than anything else in The Bridge World, and one of my bridge partners says she wants to bear his son.

I believe Jeff Rubens wants to please Bridge World readers (“It's your magazine!”), however. Jeff is as open-minded and fair-minded as anyone I know. He will welcome suggestions for the magazine, but appraise them according to his own lights. Though I am incompetent to appraise business decisions, I get a sense that many who bothered to comment on Bridge Winners would like to see “You Be the Judge” resurrected, and I shall suggest that to Jeff.





Feb. 15, 2016
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