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All comments by David Levin
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“Following my 4 bid, E-W and I began to put our bids away…”

I trust that this breach of procedure didn't actually happen.
Aug. 19
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Although the article seeks input regarding the play, I'm curious about whether West considered having Partner pick the strain for slam.
Aug. 18
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That makes sense. I must have misconstrued the phrasing in your earlier comment, although now I'm not sure how.

Added: This comment was addressing Steve's reply to my earlier comment.
Aug. 16
David Levin edited this comment Aug. 16
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"(2) East rises ace. If East returns a diamond, I will draw trumps, try spade ace and king, then take a club finesse. If East does not return a diamond, I can play either hand for the club king. But, since East could force my decision, I will play West for the club king.“

I'm confused by the last sentence. If lacking the club king, mightn't East prefer to return a trump, so as not to preclude your taking two high spades followed by a ruffing finesse in clubs? Or were you referring to a different ”decision" (facing Declarer)?
Aug. 16
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I find that if I comment (other than in the discussion-starter box) of a thread that I'm not “following,” the “Follow Discussion” button does not change to “Unfollow Discussion,” even though my posting the comment triggers my following the discussion. To resume not “following,” I then need to click the “Follow Discussion” button. Alternatively, one could refresh the page so that the “Unfollow Discussion” button appears and then click it.
Aug. 9
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Let's not overlook also employing Gerber, where “also” means not only “by the same partnership” but “in the same auction.”
Aug. 9
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May I suggest that a more suitable forum for this interaction between Mr. Gold and Mr. Selway might be an area having a four- or eight-sided enclosure.
Aug. 9
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+1 for “sticks out”.
Aug. 9
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Only now did I notice that page 4 has the not quite accurate “You pass, ending the auction.”
Aug. 8
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“Steve says we will have to guess the J.

”Is it imperative to do so at trick 2?"

I'm not sure why. Taking the diamond finesse at Trick 2 will build an eventual entry to Dummy, so long as the suit is 3-2 (which seems to me quite likely).
Aug. 4
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I watched an episode of Teletubbies when I was in my 30s, because a colleague's children liked it and I was curious. I've been considered to have a longer attention span than do most people, yet I could stand Teletubbies for no more than 10 minutes.

I haven't watched Scooby-Doo since being in grade school, but I'd guess that I could view an entire episode without wanting to shut it off.

I do have to credit Teletubbies with providing a contrast to the feverish pace of much children's programming.
Aug. 3
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Ed's comment reminds me of an incident recounted in Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! (p. 123):

When I arrived, sure enough, the big shots in the company and the technical people that I wanted were there, and the generals and everyone who was interested in this very serious problem. That was good because the plant would have blown up if nobody had paid attention to this problem.

There was a Lieutenant Zumwalt who took care of me. He told me that the colonel said I shouldn't tell them how the neutrons work and all the details because we want to keep things separate, so just tell them what to do to keep it safe.

I said, "In my opinion it is impossible for them to obey a bunch of rules unless they understand how it works. It's my opinion that it's only going to work if I tell them, and Los Alamos cannot accept the responsibility for the safety of the Oak Ridge plant unless they are fully informed as to how it works!

It was great. The lieutenant takes me to the colonel and repeats my remark. The colonel says, ”Just five minutes," and then he goes to the window and he stops and thinks. That's what they're very good at—making decisions. I thought it was very remarkable how a problem of whether or not information as to how the bomb works should be in the Oak Ridge plant had to be decided and could be decided in five minutes. So I have a great deal of respect for these military guys, because I never can decide anything very important in any length of time at all.

In five minutes he said, “All right, Mr. Feynman, go ahead.”
Aug. 1
David Levin edited this comment Aug. 1
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The second round of the given auction seems to have an extraneous “-P” at the end.
Aug. 1
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ROFL!
Aug. 1
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I second this advice because he is bound to reply within a few hours, and that's on a bad day.
Aug. 1
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Say, John, I recall your advocating that major-suit advances of takeout doubles of one-level openers guarantee at least four pieces.

What if the opener is at the two-level?
Aug. 1
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John, it's because you seem to favor long productions.
Aug. 1
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@Charles
I agree with your assigning opening-lead survival chances of 50% when the leader holds xx…, 100% when the leader holds the Q, and 100% when the leader holds AQ. I would question only the assessment of 100% when the leader holds the A.

From South's perspective, it could well seem necessary to attack a round suit on opening lead. Assuming that there's no clear choice between clubs and hearts (and that South would attack hearts by underleading the A), that yields a survival floor of 50%. But even this would produce a composite survival of at least 3/4, which would put making 6 at not less than 9/16 (56.25%). And South might not deem an attacking lead necessary.

So, even with this quibble, I'd have to agree that reaching 6 is superior to 4.
July 31
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I just went through adjusting the raw suit-break percentages for the ways to deal the other cards, and I see that you guys are right: a 3-2 break is about 68%.

So, that means I should have multiplied the 5/8 (for surviving the opening lead) by 3/4 (instead of 7/10), which yields 15/32. Even in my now exhausted state, I am confident in asserting that 15/32 is still less than 50%.
July 30
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I'm not sure how you get 68%. 20/32 is 62.5%, which adjusted for number of ways to deal the outside cards comes to around 64% I believe. Adding the stiff jacks would get to roughly 69%. Although this is considerably more than 2/3, I wouldn't characterize it as nearly 3/4.

Probably my rough figuring did underestimate the chances somewhat. But 6 by East still strikes me as sufficiently close to 50% that I wouldn't dwell on not getting there. (Failing to explore other strains is something I would dwell on.)

Added: I should also address your point about various heart holdings' having different appeal to the opening leader. If the A were led from half the time, and the Q were led from all the time, then assuming that Declarer would play the jack, Declarer's expected success becomes (1/4 [AQ] x 1) + (1/4 [A] x 1/2 [for non-heart lead]) + (1/4 [Q] x 1) + (1/4 [xxx] x 0) = 1/4 + 1/8 + 1/4 + 0 = 5/8. Multiplying that by 7/10 [no trump losers] gives 35/80 = 7/16, but this pessimistically assumes that Q.. will always be led from.
July 30
David Levin edited this comment July 30
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