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All comments by Henry Bethe
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As I learned bridge in pre-Walsh days,
1-1-1M or 1-1-1 is natural and non-forcing
1-1-2M (or 1c-1-2) is natural and gf and never balanced
1-1x-2N is 18-19+ balanced
Aug. 7, 2014
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I think you misunderstood the description: opener has a one suiter in spades with 18-20. Not clubs and spades. It would be useful to know before we answer whether opener sometimes lies, e.g upgrades, with extra playing strength. I betcha opener could have nine playing tricks without the promised honor strength.
Aug. 7, 2014
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Guys: it ain't the director who chooses to play 48 or 49 boards. At least not around here. It is the tournament chair or committee. And they are generally guided either by personal preference or by expressed wishes of the local players. In Ithaca we play 6x9 boards; the last time I played in Rochester they played 7x7. Same director in both places. Different local preference.
Aug. 7, 2014
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personal preference, and to some extent technical.
6 x 9 or 8 x 7 are better from a technical perspective because of the potential need to run three-ways.
The number of matches should not be fewer than about two more than would be needed to run a KO. So six matches are adequate when the field is small - as Tom says, <20 teams or so. With more than 24 teams six matches is inadequate. With more than about 50 teams even seven is too few.
Aug. 5, 2014
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I play penalty pass after “could be three or fewer” openings. After a known long suit (4+ cards) I play pass as either tolerance for at least two suits including the furthest away or a constructive hand. Thus after, for example, 1-X-XX, pass includes diamond tolerance.
Aug. 1, 2014
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As far as I know the limit on by-country entry into the pair event had been substantially lifted by the ‘80s. Certainly in Miami (’86) and Geneva ('90) the only restriction was that not more than 1/3 of the entrants come from one country. At one time the ACBL provided monetary support for entering the two pair events based on points from the major pair games. And, yes, the LM Men's and Open Men's pairs were on the list that gave points. I don't know whether the monetary support ended with New Orleans or Biarritz or earlier, but it certainly ended.
July 31, 2014
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I think you should understand the basis for all this. The League held at the time four Women's Team championships, four Open Team championships, and two Men's Team championships. The four Open and the two Men's events provided “points” towards qualifying for the annual Open team trials leading to representing the US in the Bermuda Bowl or Olympiad. The four Women's events (and the four open events) provided potential entry in the Women's team trials. The objection, a legitimate one, was that this was prejudicial to mixed pairs who wanted to reach the Open trials as they could not win qualification points in the two men's events since they could not enter.

Now my solution at the time would have been to eliminate the qualification points from the men only events. Of course this still would have left mixed-sex pairs with no event to enter when Men's and Women's events were being run in parallel. So it was decided to make all Men's events open. It was proposed to eliminate all sex-restricted events, but a large number of women objected to losing Women's AND Mixed events.
July 30, 2014
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Kit: I thought I made the point that one would rather be in 3N than 3 in the article. 3N makes about 40% of the time. It needs either the A and Q onside or the Q doubleton if there is no early diamond entry. 2 was the last (almost) certain plus score for N-S.

None of that affects my point that by putting the Q offside Brigidda was clearly siding with Schwartz, at least on this hand.
July 30, 2014
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In SAYC 3 is invitational, typically four or five spades, three hearts and about 10-11 support points. With a forcing hand responder has to bid fourth suit before supporting hearts.
July 30, 2014
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No more random than open bridge. Of course, given the Spingold results …
July 29, 2014
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I think there are a number of explanations for the decline in attendance in the Women's NABC team events.
One is clearly that many of the great women of twenty to forty years ago have “aged out” of participation. Carol, Betty Ann, Kathy, Edith, Mary Jane, Dorothy (and several more; this list is not intended to be exhaustive) … these are all players for whom, at least to my generation, the first name was sufficient designation for us to know who it was.
More important, I think, is that a fair number of the next generation of great women have decided to concentrate on open events. Even more so the still younger women, especially those from Europe.
As have the women sponsors. Consider Meltzer, Lynch, O'Rourke, Shugart. All have played in, and been successful in, open team events. There are probably others that I have overlooked.
Perhaps less important is that it is no longer necessary to win one of the three Women's Teams to enter the USBF Women's trials. But I think that may still be of some importance in explaining the decline.
July 29, 2014
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Just to add fuel to this discussion, I note that in the recent Spingold finals both responders holding AJ xxx 1098 AK10xx responded 2 gf to partner's 1, then rebid 2 over 2. Now 2 is not 2, but the principle is the same.
July 29, 2014
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Let me add some additional comments:
(1) 3 should have shown 6-4, or a 1-5-4-3 with no club stopper and very strong hearts. ALL hands with a fifth diamond and fewer than seven hearts should bid 3.
(2) A number of my expert friends tell me that 4 should be a SLAM TRY in HEARTS. Too bad if responder has a mafia here; the payoff for being able to show a slam try as opposed to a simple raise to game is much too high, and far more frequent than an extreme black two-suiter. With a black hand responder has to shrug his shoulders and bid 3 or 3N. (The shoulder shrug is very important, particularly behind screens.)
July 27, 2014
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Partner made a takeout double of diamonds. I have four cards in an unbid suit.
July 26, 2014
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Is there some reason that I do not understand for 3 rather than 3 on the previous round?
July 26, 2014
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Way to go guys. Early contender for the 2029 World Under 21 championships has been identified!
July 25, 2014
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I think West could also be 3-2-6-2 with the appropriate honors. But the basic conclusion, that it takes a fairly unlikely distribution of the opponents' cards is clear.
July 23, 2014
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This looks like a poster for a minimum 3 rebid.
July 22, 2014
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I'd like to offer the following addendum. This is a real hand, although at the table the A and K were switched.
Now to explain the title. Par hands, as many of you know, are single dummy problems for declarer or a defender. Sometimes they involve directions for the opposition to reach the key position. I feel very sure that if this hand were presented as a par problem to Kit - or Michael or Bart or any of many top experts and even some not so top - with instructions to play 4 on this auction after three rounds of spades are led, he would have found the solution fairly quickly. Even I might. Sadly, there is no guardian who sits on our shoulder and whispers “par problem” at appropriate moments.
The end position is, of course, a winkle.
July 22, 2014
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I suspect that Debbie is actually thinking that this format is ridiculous. Kevin should be playing the 37 seed while Michael plays Bye.
July 21, 2014
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