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All comments by Henry Bethe
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Bob:
You are right in one sense. The four reverse auctions present different problems. 1-1-2 is potentially much more space consuming than the reverse into .
I think many tried fourth suit forcing rather than possibly-very-weak at some point, and eventually rejected it (except I think it is still the popular method in England – Tommy Townsend may correct me).
The reasons for using 1-1-2-2 as potentially weak are (1) to let 2NT have its natural meaning, and (2) to put the minor suit game-going auctions on a sound footing immediately. If you play 2 in this auction as FSF, then you need 3 and 3 as weak preferences, and that has turned out to be less than optimal, particularly since 2 will from time to time be bid on an awkward hand with only three diamonds.
Stopping specifically in two of responder's major is not a frequent need, and not always possible when it would be advisable even when 2 is non-forcing.
In a “Walsh” context, it is actually useful to have a way to get out in the other minor when opener reverses into 2. Responder may well have four spades and six cards in the unbid minor.
April 23, 2011
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What is posted at the moment is a dead tie.
April 20, 2011
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For those who have not looked, Hampson beat Japan in a very close winners bracket semifinal and will face the Italians next.
April 20, 2011
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You check to see that they are two halves of the same card, then call the caddy and ask for a roll of scotch tape. What else would you do?
April 17, 2011
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Well, the actual story is from the Montreal Nationals in 1967. Paul Trent was playing with a good friend and held AKQJx of diamonds. As I heard it at the time, he opened 2H on three small hearts and the opponents got to 3N, which he doubled. His partner led a heart and dummy came down with something like three small diamonds and a scattering of side high cards including Kxxx of hearts. Declarer won the heart as Paul played the 2. Declarer lost a club to partner as Paul played the 2. Partner shifted to a spade. Paul played the 2. Declarer lost another black suit trick to partner, who still did not play a diamond. Paul tore his remaining cards into shreds (not easy to do) and scattered them on the floor. There was an anguished call for the director. Harry Goldwater, who knew Paul well since they both were from the NYC area at the time, looked at Paul and asked what happened. “I dropped them, and they broke.”
April 17, 2011
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GREAT PLAY. Great hand. But after the match West must have been mumbling to himself “When Brigidda gives me J1098 in a suit, she is telling me to lead it. Follow the bridge godess's insteuctions.”:)
April 16, 2011
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As I said, Phyllis, from time to time Joe would make me very very proud to have him as progeny. By the way, ask Joe. My son is as good as it gets. At least I think so. And I do feel very lucky.
April 15, 2011
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I would say, first of all, that the ratings on people which I guess are mostly the result of their success on BBO: Stars and 10-9-8-7 etc. are an improvement on the self-ratings.

I think part of the problem stems from perspective. I think there is a larger group of “World Class” players than Gavin accepts: probably closer to 500 than 200, maybe as many as 1000.

I would define “expert” as having the ability to defeat world class players with some regularity in say 24 board matches. That does not mean “more often than not;” it means maybe one time in three or five, or even 10. The win is a surprise, but not shocking. I would guess there are five to ten times as many experts as world class players.

Advanced players are qualitatively different from experts. A win by a team of advanced players against a team of World Class in a 24 board match would be shocking, not just a surprise.
April 15, 2011
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I still remember you from Brazil – when you were not what I would have chosen for Paul to emulate. The models of the second type are those whose activities and behavior are the opposite of what you would choose for your children. But every once in a while, Joe, you would make me very very proud.
April 15, 2011
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For one day, Barry. Then the sound of the laughing gods woke him up to reality.
April 15, 2011
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Actually, Joe and Brad, Role models come in different styles. There are those you say “imitate this” about and those you say “if you ever …”. Most of the time I think Joe is a wonderful model of the second type. :) And then he goes off and makes like the first type. Rare, But I have seen it happen.
April 15, 2011
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Gavin and Steve,
I am a computer idiot. My son is not.

But a somewhat different idea: Each entrant gets to pick 3 pairs. A pair's eventual value will be as if you had managed to buy $100 of the pair after the auction. So picking Levin-Weinstein, who with all due respect will probably only return 3:1 or 4:1 even if they win again, might not do as well for the investor as a third place Kranyak-Wolpert.

So all we would need to do after the event is show the list of entries with the Prize Money return on $100, and each person could calculate their own ending amount. Since their choices would be public, no one could lie about how they did.
April 15, 2011
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Steve,
the first couple years we had a “book” as well as an auction at the Cavendish. You could bet “win” (obvious), “Place” (top 3), or “Show” (in the prize money). 10% of the pool went to charity. after two years we were told it was illegal.
You could set that up online with the rule that you can't buy more than 10 units on any one pair in any of the pools. And some limit on the total units any one person can spend. Say 30 or 50. (And no actual money Only bragging rights at stake!).

Thinking more about it, we would need some way for the bets to be anonymous but for someone to get the info and post the evolving odds from time to time. And after the event to post each participant's “winnings”.

I might be willing to act as the bookmaker. Paul might be willing to help.
April 14, 2011
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I have a theory – not original – that when you basically intend to support partner you should start by bidding a suit where partner's shortness is a downgrade and not a suit where partner's singleton is gold. Thus with KQxx of spades and Axxx of clubs, respond 1S; with the black suits reversed, respond 2C. Yes, 2C may lead to easier later auctions in a 2/1 structure, but it should also lead partner to dislike, say, Jxx of spades and a stiff club and to like Jxx of clubs with a stiff spade.
April 14, 2011
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While I recognize that the fairly good trumps and the SQ may be just what the doctor ordered, unless partner would recognize 4D as “last train” - and most of my partners would not - anything more I think would place us in severe jeopardy. The five-level is not safe with only four trumps.
April 14, 2011
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I guess I am confused. I often am. I would have thought, as East, that to beat this hand the diamond has to cash and East needs either a high heart and a high spade or the AQ. I am, forgive me, not deep enough to consider that South might have a 9 problem. Obviously I should be.
April 12, 2011
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There are at least two possibilities, Andy, that would not make Stephen and his partner slow. First, they may have gotten a slightly late start on many rounds because the pair they were following was modestly slow. The fact that they apparently finished many rounds early suggests this might be the case. Second, the pair asking for boards was fast, and started rounds before the round was called.

I really appreciate this article: a premier event seen through the eyes of a good but not “name” player. Congratulations on making the Semis.
April 12, 2011
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Gavin;
I agree. In a non-competitive auction you, I and most modernists would respond 1 with 4 and less than gf values. On the other hand I, too, would bid 1 over the TO double of partner's 1. I do not want to encourage a lead; I do want to encourage a lead. In addition the double makes both spades and game our way less likely. On the other hand, if we are going to find a contract, somebody has to bid them. Which brings us back to the question of whether West should be making a support double for or bidding 1 over 1.
April 6, 2011
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Gavin, Do you think that a support double should take precedence over bidding 1 in this auction?

Otherwise, thank you for coming up with this idea. I look forward to the last installment in late September.
April 6, 2011
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So lets see: you missed a good 24 point game and stayed out of a bad 21 point game and unluckily lost imps on both. You missed a decent 24 point game (by the way, did one of you have the A in stead of the K, or the Q). Then you stayed out a bad 21 point game and gained imps on both. If you did the same things 100 times on each of the boards I would guess on average you would end up about 3 imps instead of 10 behind.

For what it is worth, I think you were wrong to act on the last board, but also that it is wrong to act with Marty's hand: He knows that you must have major suit length and at least about a 10 count, and there fore a likely misfit. And if you do have a fit, you are as likely to go plus against 1N as in 2.
April 5, 2011
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