Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Eugene Hung
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Oops! Teaches me to post on short sleep…but I still stand by everything else.
June 5, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I cannot imagine any top player passing this hand. In general, it is GOOD to open the bidding when you have more high card strength, more spades, more distribution, and more skill than your opponents.

1) High card strength: You just have 10 HCP, but they are two kings and an ace. For suit play, the Work HCP count grossly undervalues aces and overrates queens and jacks. The hand is worth at least 11 unless you play in notrump and your hand is not likely to do so. Don't be a point counter – you have above-average high card strength. Also, unless you play a light opening bid system and your opponents do not, your side rates to have more high-card strength than the enemy. Your RHO did not open in 3rd seat, so his range is effectively lower than the other two seats.

2) Spades: You have 4 spades. That means you have a comfortable rebid (1 if it's constructive, or 2 over a double). And if any side has a spade fit, it's almost certainly your side. This means the opponents have to bid a level higher to take the contract from you, and you're less likely to have to overbid the opponents at a higher level. (It's possible if they have hearts and we have diamonds.)

3) Distribution: You have 6-4 shape, and a void to boot. This means if you find a fit, you are playing with a 30-point deck, so game, or even slam is possible (as Danny Miles's hand shows). Given that you have 6-4 with 3 passes to you, the chances of a fit are far higher - the other hands will tend to be more balanced (no preempt).

4) When you are the better pair, open as many hands as you can. If you pass it out, the only skill that is being tested is your fourth-hand judgement. But if you open, even if it's slightly negative expectation in theory, in practice you have so many opportunities to gain later, it's not funny. If you bid better, declare better, and defend better, then create opportunities for you to do so!
June 5, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Agree with Danny. Also, I do believe LC the Elder at one point in time (40s? 50s?) would certainly write up 1-3 as forcing – only when 1-3 limit was achieving critical mass would he switch. As one of the few people to have actually played LC Standard in practice, I can attest that every non-optional convention/treatment Larry mentions is something that I see a significant percentage of people playing.

Anyway Henry, I personally like a lot of the ideas you suggested after a strong 2, but IMO they're not really appropriate for a documentation of what intermediates might consider “standard”. Kokish, a non-LC Standard convention, appears to be used more frequently than any treatments suggested in this thread and even that has pitfalls. Just yesterday, a new partnership I knew agreed to play Kokish with a 2 bust but then got confused as to whether 2 2 2NT was game-forcing or not. They lost a board in the process.
May 30, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Arik, that is a beautiful end position, thanks for mentioning it.

You are right, if East held AQ109(x) and not the A, even going up with the K would work. But this presumes a practical impossibility. My expert RHO would never pass with 3-card support, 7 HCP, and a spade singleton (x 10xx AQ109 J9xxx). Nor would he pass 1 with x 10x AQ109x J9xxx (he'd overcall in diamonds).

True, no opponent is ever required to do something, but then why trust RHO's 10 signal as well? I personally believe the 10, but under your exacting theoretical standard, you can't arbitrarily believe in one highly unusual action and ignore the possibility of another highly unusual action .

Anyway, perhaps I should have worked out that it was theoretically correct to play low, but in practice, at the table, I have to make a simplifying assumption (RHO does not have a red ace from his failure to bid) or I'd be spending 15 minutes on every hand. Thanks very much for the comment, though!
May 30, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Renowned author and bridge champion Larry Cohen presents his favorite 52 deals from his bridge career. As might be expected from a man who has played hundreds of thousands of hands, the 52 he's chosen are exquisite. You will learn about the rarest opening bid in bridge, 4-3 and 4-2 fits, brilliant coups, clever psychs. But more importantly, you will also learn about the consistent thought process needed to be a winner. Every deal is presented through the “play along with me” style, where Cohen shows the reader just one hand and asks the reader what they would do at each decision point. Some decisions are easy for intermediates, but others will cause even world-class players to go wrong! Most of these deals do not require advanced knowledge of bridge, just solid (extremely solid!) technique and understanding of bridge logic.

If you'd like to learn about system gadgets or a specific bridge area in depth, this is not the book for you. But if you'd like to see the highs and lows of a great bridge career, along with the chance to measure your general bridge technique with a champion, you owe it to yourself to read this book.
May 30, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Henry, I find your comments about improving strong 2 auctions enlightening, but remember, Larry's goal is not to present a system with more value, but one that is common enough for two unfamiliar partners to play. He even kept weak jump shifts at the 2-level even though he personally detests the treatment, because it's common and simple.

Perhaps we should re-envision LC Standard as what one of the leading teachers of intermediate players envisions as “standard” today. Not what it “should” be, but what it “is”.
May 29, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Michael, I just consulted with Joe and you are correct: Lauria's bid was 4, not 4. The article has been modified to show the correct bid.
May 25, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
The actual sentence you criticized, though, is in the context of a discussion about the trick 3 decision, not about the whole hand. *At the point of discussion*, this line of play (“finessing the spade, and cashing 4 rounds of spades”), would work regardless of the location of the K. Obviously if tricks 1 and 2 were different, that line may not work – but that is not the situation he is discussing.
May 19, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
While what you say is an interesting (double-dummy) line, Kit is analyzing the situation at trick 3, with the second heart already cashed, and thus I find his wording appropriate. As another recent poll shows, not everyone defends like a champion, and nobody, not even champions, play double-dummy.
May 19, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
My impression is that experts playing with clients would be more likely to open 1NT, not less. You get to declare more that way.
May 18, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Sorry, the missing names on this case was an oversight. The names have been added.
May 16, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Even if I knew my partner had 4 spades, it is never attractive to bid above 2 unless we bid and make 4. There are no benefits to playing 3.

I agree that it is important to distinguish a full opener from a sub-minimum opener with 2, and I would have bid 2 had I been confident in its reception. But let me just point out that say, instead of holding Qxxx KQx A10 xxxx, what if Polly held Qxxx xxxx A10 KQx or Qxxx A10 xxxx KQx? Same side suit honor texture, same distribution, same loser count. Now the opponents can cash 3 tricks off the top and we need a 3-3 break. Even the actual hand is essentially 50% if we replace the diamond ten with the club ten, a difference that most systems would not identify.
May 15, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Well said, David. I hope someone with the power to implement your idea is reading this.
May 15, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Peg, I find your analogy inappropriate on two counts.

1) You are still acting in your self-interest by the illegal agreement. Regardless of whether playing might lead to a higher expected carryover or not, you are acting in your self-interest by taking an (illegal) action that guarantees qualification for the following day. A guarantee of moving forward is very good. In fact, I believe a 100% chance of entering the next day will lead to a higher expected result than by playing it out against a team you expect to beat.

To take an example from another game, if you were leading going into Final Jeopardy! by more than double, and a great category came up for you, would you bet it all? I would not – there is always a non-zero chance you will not get it, while the expected extra money from playing another day dominates any gains you can make with the aggressive bet.

2) You are actively attempting to break the law. There is a world of difference between actively trying to break the law, and choosing not to enforce a law that gives you an inequitable advantage when an accidental infraction occurs. One is a sin of commission, the other of omission. This is the second example brought up (the first being the tilted double cards) that is just a false analogy.

In the original, unusual, case, there is no bridge benefit at all to the non-offending side, bridge-wise, for refusing the spade. By waiving the penalty, you are going down 1 instead of making, and there is no bridge reason where that is better for your side.
May 14, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I have taken the liberty of diagramming your hand. Let me know if there was an error in the process. If you edit it, you can see the code that was used to create the diagram.
May 13, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Hi Ira, try clicking on the “spade” icon in the editor and a little window will popup and guide you through the process.
May 13, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
The idea that ace-empty is the worst suit to preempt in terms of offense/defense ratio has been validated by a study:

http://www.bridgebase.com/forums/topic/9893-tests-for-a-double-dummy-solver/page__view__findpost__p__93702

(post 64 explains the idea behind the values, it's sort of an offense/defense ratio.).

The conclusion:

“Notice that every single preempt with an Ace is at the bottom of the list. It's just too valuable on defense and makes a sacrifice less likely. And there's a big jump between the best hand with an Ace and the worst one without it. Naturally side Aces are even worse than trump Aces.”

Since reading this article many years ago, I have also noticed from my personal experience that this seems to hold true.
May 13, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
To be honest, I had not realized 3 Puppet was an option, because that was my first time playing the convention, and I had mentally streamlined my thinking that it was only applicable for game-forcing hands. Now that you mention it, it does look like a reasonable call. As the cards lay, 3 on the 5-3 fit was the best matchpoint contract, reached by a table or two, but it scored worse in practice. 3 was reached by more tables and the defenders of 3 consistently didn't twig to the 5-card heart suit when the opening bid was 1NT. So it's unclear how much of a system win Puppet would have been, if at all.
May 13, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Hi Ira – I like this structure. I'd be interested in hearing more about your ideas for 1NT - 2 - 2 -2.
May 11, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
OK, I just wanted to address one final point. It's debatable whether people always act in their self-interest, but not calling the director to waive a penalty on my opponent is clearly not in self-interest _within the context of the game itself_. If by calling the cops, I cannot do worse, but can do better, then clearly it is not in my self-interest (game-wise) to waive that right. Maybe I get an altruistic thrill which makes it a net overall gain to me, but I'm still taking a loss within the game itself. So it is possible for people to act against their self-interest in a limited sphere, and those are the actions which I feel should be allowed.

I think your last question on whether it's more effective to prioritize fairness vs. equity is very interesting. For clearly inequitable laws, I agree with you that in a free society, such laws will be self-correcting (although there will still be plenty of people who will follow the law “because it's the law”). But other laws are more insidious in their inequity and may take time to change; or the avenues for change may be infeasible. I still think maximizing equity over fairness will lead to better overall results, but I'm willing to concede that the other route might work.
May 11, 2012
.

Bottom Home Top