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All comments by David Caprera
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I am curious as to why 3H was the 4144? 3C is the relay, so we play shortness up the line. But if you play shortness high to low (numeric), 3H still isn't heart shortness. I realize it is all arbitrary, but I just find interesting the ordering decisions that we make.
12 hours ago
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As someone who plays 1S-2D-2H-3S as a splinter, I have no problem with 5D exclusion. I abhor auctions where partner jumps opposite an unlimited hand to say, “I am weak.” He is stealing my bidding space. Like having three opponents at the table.
17 hours ago
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Rubens once wrote about how best to bid a cold slam in a way most likely to get doubled. Perhaps the pair that was doubled had earned their top.
22 hours ago
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Depends on my partner. I have been told a story of Meckwell having the auction 2C-(P)-2D on 9hcp opposite 4hcp. It sounds like someone is screwing around and may be partner.
22 hours ago
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I don't buy the ethical problem. You are about to Smith at trick two. No surprise, you know it is coming. It isn't difficult to think ahead before playing to trick one.

(FWIW, our default is “middle-low-high”, if we can't Smith in the first suit we Smith in the second, and our subsequent play may be suit preference.)
Oct. 9
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There are two issues here that need to be separated. One, do they have a disclosure problem? Two, are they playing an illegal agreement? I am in favor of full disclosure but I am troubled if the result of opening light in third chair favorable four times in 5000 deals results in an impermissible agreement.

“You know Bob, I have enjoyed playing with you these last three years but I am afraid I am going to have to break up our partnership. That was our fourth psych and now we can't psych ever again. I think that puts us at a disadvantage to the field so I need to find a new partner.”

Psyching is part of the game. Some psych more than others. If you tend to psych more (more than what?), check the box “frequent” and be done with it. Of course there is no penalty for not psyching, so you should probably check the “frequent” box to protect yourself.
Oct. 8
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The bounty idea is similar to some of the chess ratings. In chess, if a weaker player beats a stronger player, his rating will go up by more than the amount the stronger player's rating changes if the stronger player wins.

It would have an interesting affect. You should choose as a partner/teammates the lowest rated players with whom you think you can win. You would not want Jeff Meckstroth if you thought you could win with “Bob the Mechanic.” And someone could come out of the middle of the pack to win the Crane Trophy because of their greater number of points per win.
Oct. 8
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This showed up for me to bid on Oct 7, 2017. It caused me to think only about Henry. Among any group of smart people, Henry was very smart. He also had a bit of the “rode hard, put away wet” character about him. But you couldn't dislike Henry.

2N, the practical value bid. For Henry. He was inherently practical.
Oct. 7
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In national debates with respect to tax reform, everyone wants their own taxes cut while tax revenue remains neutral or increase to cover the budget. “Don't tax you, don't tax me, tax the guy behind the tree.”

The ACBL faces the same issues. Too many districts, too many tournaments, too many fixed costs. Ask a tournament chair, “Do we have too many regionals/sectionals?” And the answer is invariably, “Yes, but don't eliminate mine.” Same with the ACBL board of directors.

If we average four or five regionals a week, that is 200+ a year. “Sectional in clubs” describes how valueless a sectional is thought to be. Maybe three Nationals and a trials is too many.

We can no longer afford to be everything to everyone. The ACBl is selling Kool-Aid to little old men and ladies so that they can be a life master. Knock yourself out. I want an organization that provides to me the opportunity to play the game I love against others who share my values.

How's that for feedback, Steve?
Oct. 7
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No. If I am a balanced 21 count, vul v not, and the auction goes (P)-P-(1H)-?, and Christian or one of his “colleagues” is my RHO, I am doubling with a 2=5=3=3 hand, hardly a takeout pattern of a 1H opener. I would be just about resigned to bidding 3N.
Oct. 7
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In the old days, 1S-3C would have been acceptable, but I think that today's auction starts 1S-2N. When you know what is supposed to be trump, you set trump first. It certainly makes many auctions easy.

After 1S-2C, opener will never expect responder to hold four pieces. That means responder needs to be willing to take control.

If you want to pursue 1M-2C as an artificial game forcing relay, I wouldn't be starting with 1M-2C-2D artificial. You really need to go “all in” on some pattern and control relay structure. Ours is “Interesting To Be 25 and Single” to, in order, describe 1. extra values, 2. two-suited, 3. balanced, 4. two and a half and three suiters, and 5. single suited hands. All pattern responses are ascending numeric, based on frequency of occurrence. Our control asks are “VCR's”. 4D is a stop signal. Last relay 5N. All you need to get started. Oh, and bidding 1000 practice hands.
Oct. 7
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In what may be a blasphemous statement, “I don't give a flying f about masterpoints.” But what I care about is being able to play a four session long match knockout when the event is billed as such. Three way matches are bad enough, but turning it into a glorified swiss is unacceptable. And the answer is simple, “We have too many regionals, each with too many events, designed so that everyone wins.”

Make the tournaments matter and this problem will take care of itself. If you don't believe me, take a look at next week's ACBL calendar of events. There are six regionals next week. This totally dilutes the pool of pros and top players at any one tournament. We don't all win, we all lose, and in the long run this is not good for bridge, the ACBL or its members.
Oct. 7
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If they psyched either the opener or the redouble, you will wish 1N was natural. And when you initially doubled with your 3=4=3=3 20 count and 1N is not this hand, good luck trying to bid Re-redouble.
Oct. 7
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I recognize the merits of simplicity and consistency, but if the overcall is a “transfer”, for example, 1N-(2H showing spades)-?, DBL showing hearts and 2S as takeout just feels better to me than does DBL is takeout of hearts and 2S as what? More takeout of hearts? Natural? Michaels?
Oct. 7
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Consider the simple auction 1S-3S-4N-5D (1-4)-5H (Q ask)-5N (yes Q, no K's)-? Opener still has all three suits available for a suit asking bid. Yes, I lost a step but it wasn't a step I really needed.

As for changing trump suits after keycard, our rule is that if we have the keycard suit queen, that suit is trump, but if the keycard suit queen has been denied, new suit bids are natural.
Oct. 7
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Double is card showing, forcing to 2N, second double through 2N takeout. 2N+ is four suit transfer lebensohl. Texas.
Oct. 7
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Could you please comment on your partnership agreement to bid 6S in reply to the Q ask with the Q and no kings. It would seem that “first step no, second step yes but no kings, kings up the line” leaves you room to explore further when partner has the trump queen.
Oct. 7
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I could not disagree more. If you aren't having fun playing at the top levels (this was a national trials), go enjoy yourself in the Gold Rush pairs. But in the big boy game, tactical bids like South's (North was bidding on the assumption that South had an opening hand; to say he “cheated” by a point is both inaccurate and accusatory) are a legal and expected part of the game. Yes, there should be full disclosure of partnership agreements including frequent psychs, but less than 1 out of 1000 deals is not, in my opinion, frequent.

Sometimes psychs work, sometimes they don't. What the do is take players out of their comfort zone. South created a real rebid problem for West. His reasonable choices are 1N, 2H, 2N and 3N. Instead he chose “Pass…Director.” To Pass is to stop playing bridge. We could post a poll, “Which was worse, South's pass or the committee's ruling?” I think I am close to voting “equal.”
Oct. 6
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Given the overwhelming choice of 2S, perhaps a more interesting follow up is whether you take the push when the auction goes …2S-(3H).
Oct. 5
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4-5-2-2. “The New Flannery”. Kxxx, AQxxx, KJ, Qx. If you open 1H and partner bids 1N, you have no “reasonable” bid. Some form of 5 card major ask won't lose your eight card major fit at the game+ level. (I don't imagine that we would agree about Jxxxx, Qxxx, AQ, AQ.)
Oct. 5
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