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All comments by David Morgan
1 2 3 4
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“Bridge, think twice” is an excellent suggestion.
Oct. 13
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While Bobby Goldman rightly gets credit for publicising Super Gerber, the original publication was in “Blackwood on Bidding” by Easley (1957). He called it Super Blackwood – no surprises there! Of course, Easley's version was just for aces; the idea of keycard for a specific suit wasn't around then, even though the Culbertson 4NT had long before recognised the value of the trump king.
Oct. 11
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The Rimstedt brothers had a great auction using a toy I hadn't seen before:
1-1
2-3
3NT
where 1 was BAL or clubs and 3 showed a 5332 and offered a choice of contracts. 3NT did not need any misdefence to make game.
Sept. 24
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Poor wording on my part, Marty: I intended to convey that the spade suit quality was not good enough for a weak jump shift (3) – which, to me, suggests a hand like AQJxxx xx xx xxx – and that the hand's overall strength was insufficient to respond 2.
Sept. 1
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Apropos Richard's question: as someone who's not an ACBL member, it has always struck me as odd that the C and C Committee, of which Jeff Meckstroth was a member, tightened the rules on the use of 2 Multi after Meckstroth and Rodwell stopped playing it, and tightened the regulations around the use of conventional continuations after opening a mini notrump that might include fewer than 10 HCP after Meckstroth and Rodwell stopped playing a mini notrump.
Aug. 18
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I've always thought the modern Precision approach of differentiating strength first (as DavidC, Marty and others advocate) typically leaves practitioners less well placed when the auction turns competitive than if they had shown shape first.

The optimal solution seems to me to show suits then differentiate strength after the opponents have had a chance to interfere and declined to do so. If well-designed, this can also address wrong-siding and information leakage issues.

For example, playing 1 as a transfer response showing 5+hearts, a 1NT enquiry that elicits a cheap response showing minimum strength and exactly five hearts allows opener to jump to 4 or 3NT and avoid information leakage.
Aug. 11
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For those who are interested, the rounded frequencies are:
weak notrump 60%
any 18+ 30%
15-17 with 5+C 10%
4=4=1=4 1%
Gets a chuckle from many numerate opponents :-)
July 25
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As someone who's been playing forcing pass and other unusual methods since the early 1980s I'm pleased to see people like Sam and Michael playing a system like this (even if I think that they have the 1 and 1 openings around the wrong way).

However, I agree with both Chris and Marty that standard NCBO convention cards are mostly unsuited to helping the opponents understand something unusual. It is necessary to modify the card so that critical information is available to the opponents. We still have one pair that plays forcing pass in national events in Australia, but only when NV. (When V they play strong club with relays.) They have modified the standard system card and included details of their openings in a green column (when NV) and a red one (V). The back of the card includes two alternative defences to all their openings.

One other thing that players of unusual systems should do IMO is to provide frequency data for openings that have multiple options. Even when playing Polish Club, my partner and I included all the options for our 1 opening in the pre-alert section of the ABF system card – and added rough frequencies for each so that the opponents could understand what they were facing.
July 25
David Morgan edited this comment July 25
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Paul is absolutely right that a constant state of vigilance is required. A few years ago I played in a major national event in which two of our leading national directors were playing. Both used UI from their respective partners – and were suitably chastened when their infringements were pointed out (and appropriate director rulings made).
June 20
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Thanks for sharing more of your ideas for improving competitive bidding, Kit. My system notes treat X of a preempt then a new suit as a flexible hand but also promise extra strength. How do you show extra strength as doubler if you have such a hand? Or is this just another example of game before slam, and giving up on slam unless one partner is able to show significant extra strength?
June 20
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It's not clear to me why KT9x is excluded from a fourth-best lead (by agreement) but not KT9xx.
May 22
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The method in David's and Tim's book is one I suggested (and which was published in International Popular Bridge Monthly). David tweaked it slightly because he wanted to play 1N-2-2-2 as Baron, so needed a sequence to show INV hands with 4-5-x-y/5-4-x-y.

After opener's response to Stayman, responder could bid:
3 = a shortage in S, H or D
3 = a transfer to H
3 = a transfer to S
3 = a shortage in C

If opener responds 2 then the transfers to a major show GF hands with 54 in the majors (like Smolen). With slam interest opener can accept at the three level, allowing responder to pattern out with interest beyond game.

If opener responded by showing a major then a transfer to that major = invitational strength or slam interest. (You can put splinter raises here or bid them directly, or use both to distinguish between singletons and voids). An additional option, if you think this important, is that either opener or responder can bid 3N to show a 4333, allowing the partnership to stop intelligently when the hands are mirrors.

After 3, opener can relay with 3 to allow responder to show shortness (using whatever method you prefer). It is helpful (but not necessary) to agree that this promises a four-card major, which allows the partnership to find a fit in spades after a 2 response to Stayman. 3N should be limited to a hand with no slam interest, so opener can pass safely; with extra strength responder bids 4 (or 4 with a void, if you wish).

A useful agreement after a shortness-showing bid is that a bid of the splinter suit by either partner shows slam interest (and does not promise first-round control).

If desired, a transfer to the other major after a major-suit response to Stayman shows a slam try with at least 54 in the majors; opener can accept the transfer to allow responder to pattern out.

5422 hands with a five-card minor and a four-card major can also be handled. With only game interest a 3N rebid after 2 is practical; with slam interest you could agree that these hands rebid 4m, whatever opener's response to Stayman (unless they have a fit for opener's major, when they should transfer to that major).

This structure has lots of advantages (e.g. avoiding 3N when responder has a shortage opposite the four-small major opener bids; finding a 5-3 fit when opener has a five-card major and responder shows shortness in another suit).

The memory load need not be burdensome. (For example, for those who use four-suit transfers, an easy mnemonic to remember that 3 shows a C shortage is that spades transfers to clubs; ditto with 3N showing a D shortage.)

Lots of tweaks are possible, depending on other agreements and partnership priorities.
March 21
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It’s not accurate to say that cycling was a level playing field because all cyclists were doping. That ignores the evidence that there were substantial differences in the doping regimes used by different cyclists. In part, this was because of differences in the regimes developed by different “doctors”. But it also reflected the amount of money different cyclists (and teams) were willing or able to pay. One thing was clear: the doping regimes Armstrong used were always world’s best practice, and were tailored just for him.

So it is not accurate to suggest that Armstrong is the tragic fall guy, the person who has suffered most for something everyone was doing equally. There is an element of tragedy – in the sense of a person who was great falling because of personal flaws – but that highlights Armstrong’s ruthlessness (and hubris). That was on display not only in the way he used legal action to harass critics but also in the way he used his power and influence (and, some suggest, his wealth) to secure the UCI’s assistance in avoiding suspension for many years.
March 7
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To be fair to Michael's memory, the hand is at the very beginning of the section on play in the second half of the book. Kaplan effectively combined two books, one for newer players, the other for advancing players, in one volume.
Feb. 21
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My understanding is that EK wrote most of the editorials until he was no longer well enough to do so. I wonder, therefore, if the comment was in one of Jeff's articles. I checked his two-parter on the 64 Olympiad but it's not in that. Nor is it in his report on the 73 Bermuda Bowl. Off the top of my head, can't think of any other articles where he wrote about the Blue Team for The Bridge World; haven't yet looked at the Bridge Journal.
Dec. 28, 2018
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My requirement is very similar: opener raises to three when he has a hand that would have accepted an invitation after opening 1NT, and responding 2M to Stayman.
Dec. 22, 2018
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Steve: You might want to look at Kevin Cadmus's book “BFUN: Bridge for the Unbalanced”. It describes a canape system based on Ken Rexford's book (which others have rightly referenced). It's playable (from a theoretical perspective) and looks like fun (although I haven't played it). It's a strong club, weak notrump (with all 5332 hands included) and pure canape system, so 1M openings are always 4 or 6+cards unless 55. This combination ensures you will be anti-field a LOT of the time.

It uses Symmetric-style relays, but lots of the continuations can be adapted to taste.
Dec. 21, 2018
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There is one other issue that is worth considering: contiguity of ranges. One advantage of opening 1NT with 15-17 is that balanced hands that open one of a suit are either weaker or stronger.

When playing a weak notrump the balanced hands are always stronger. This is often an advantage but, especially when the auction becomes competitive, it can be hard to differentiate between 15 counts and 19 counts.

It's hard for responder to know when to invite, and hard for opener to know when to encourage: is a good hand in the 15-17 range sufficient or does he need 18-19?
Dec. 17, 2018
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David and Zia are right. As Edgar and Freddy argued in their books on the Kaplan-Sheinwold system, opener's “problem” hands are those with 12-14 points and balanced as they have much less playing strength than their shapely counterparts. To improve your constructive bidding it's good to take those hands out of one-of-a-suit openings by opening a weak notrump.

If you don't do that then you want to open them one of a major, which preempts the opponents, as well as your partner.
Dec. 17, 2018
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I was at the next table . . . EW's argument was that 1S showed a hand too weak for a 1N response (which would be 9-11) or diamonds. West decided 1N was where he wanted to play opposite 5-8 BAL with no 4M: there was no game; while he knew there was an 8-card minor-suit fit there was no way to be certain to find it; and his major-suit singleton was an honour, albeit a minor one. (The event was an IMPs Swiss Pairs, so this was “just bridge” not matchpoint greed.)

When E showed a hand with long D, W was too good to bid only 2D. I didn't hear if this had occured before in the partnership's experience or whether the description of 3D was E's assumption of what W had.
Dec. 17, 2018
David Morgan edited this comment Dec. 17, 2018
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