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All comments by David Goldfarb
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I voted “auction 1 is fine, auction two is crazy” but I'm with a lot of the commenters here in that I probably wouldn't choose the 2 bid myself. “Not horrible” would be a better description than “fine”.
May 20
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Yes, you're right, as noted further down by Martin Henneberger also.

Patrick Laborde's calculation of the probability agrees with mine.
May 15
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Yeah, you're right: cash the A and if East plays an honor, cash the Q next; if West, lead to the K. In this way you pick up JT doubleton, or else get to take a proven finesse. So restricted choice doesn't come into it, and my comment above has a blind spot.
May 15
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Playing the A first seems right to me also, but I don't see why leading low from the K towards it makes a difference. Ace first, and if either player follows with an honor, take the restricted-choice finesse.
May 14
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Without the double N-S score +630 instead of +170, don't they? Saving at least a couple of imps.
May 12
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In 2005, the Doctor had “fantastic!” as a catchphrase. As best I can judge, he was using it to mean “really good”, not merely “minimally acceptable”. Has usage in England changed so much in 12 years?
May 8
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There's a local pro in the Houston area who has diabetes. I remember one Sunday he had trouble with his blood sugar after the meal break. Emergency medical technicians were called. After some treatment (chips and soda) they started asking him some questions to try to gauge his mental state, for example “What day of the week is it?” He had some trouble with that one. Then, “What game are you playing?” and he answered, “Swiss.” That caused concern among the EMT's, and they started talking about wanting to take him to a hospital, until someone managed to explain.

(I remember this well because his team was scheduled to play mine! One of the TD's filled in for about half the match until the pro was recovered enough to return.)
May 1
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I refer to ‘Round’ and ‘Pointed’ suits routinely
Me too.
May 1
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I'm pleased to see the votes for going up ace, and especially pleased to see the comments from Michael and Kit. That's what I did. On the J, RHO pitched a heart. When I next tried to cash a high heart, LHO ruffed in – the A lead was a singleton. I could overruff, but had to lose one trick in each suit for down one.

LHO held A94 A T984 KQ752; RHO 86 T986542 K32 3.
April 30
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In actual fact, declarer did not pass the 2S bid. He bid 3C, so I passed again. Partner bid 3NT, which I corrected to 4S, which made. I couldn't help wondering what I would have done if RHO had passed.
April 28
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Is there an argument that by passing the double, I have shown my hand: I have both majors, I have little or nothing extra, and partner should at this point be placing the contract?
April 19
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As did I.
April 19
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“We can raise directly on three” is a reasonable argument, but I've seen it said that distinguishing between 3 and 4 with opener is useful, so that responder can tell how high to compete based on the Law of Total Tricks.

For my part, I play 12-14 notrumps, and like to use double here to show a balanced 15+, thus freeing up 2NT to show a hand that would have jump rebid 3m without competition, and 3m to show a competitive hand with extra playing strength but not the world's fair in high cards…a 2 1/2 m rebid, as it were.
April 4
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If you play the methods that Fred Gitelman advocates in his “Improving 2/1 Game Force” series, after 1-2; 2-2, it is then impossible to play in 3NT: the bid is necessarily Serious 3N. Yes, it means that you give up on playing 3NT in auctions like these; on the other hand, you save memory strain and possible disasters trying to distinguish.
March 27
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1S-2C; 2H-2S; 3C-4H (splinter); 4S-P.
March 26
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Typo on page 11: “mede”.
March 25
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Opposite your sample hand, 3 is a favorite to make, and if it does go down, the opponents can make quite a lot in clubs. Why not make it harder for them to decide on bidding a club contract, by raising hearts?
March 22
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One thing I didn't realize when I was writing the article: this was my hand 11. It wasn't played as a duplicate.
March 20
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I don't think that makes any real difference to the play of this hand, but it's an excellent point.
March 19
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I'm going to guess…that the players use their pre-constructed decks of cards to play a game of Magic: the Gathering against each other. It's possible to play Magic with more than two players at a time, but it's really designed to be a 1 vs. 1 duel, so I'm going to guess that all the games in the tournament were played that way.

If you want to know the rules of Magic, I'm sure there are plenty of places to find them online, and that would be outside the scope of an article like this. The short version is that players buy cards that have various game effects, build a deck out of them, and then play to see whose deck is the more effective.
March 6
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