Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Henry Bethe
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Tom; I will offer some answers from my perspective, which may be different from others

(i) Yes. But then I do not believe that 1-2-2-2 promises three spades.
(ii) Yes: VERY GOOD TRUMPS, usually six and surely no diamond control. Typical might be AKJxxx QJxx xx x. Club shortness is implied.
(iii) I do not know if there is a common agreement
(iv) I think it shows extra values and a suggestion of weak spades: Jxxxx AQxx AQ KJ might be typical
(v) Strong spades, strong clubs, no side control. KQx(x) xx xx(x) AKQxx. I do not think ALL four card forcing raises should go through Jacoby
(vi) With 5-5 opener should surely bid 3 or 4, since responder could be 2-3 in the majors
Jan. 26, 2011
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At least one of the Solons did believe that time penalties were a legitimate part of winning. In a trials match late in a quarter when his partner started to think he said “take your time: if we are late the penalty will be against them.” His partner then took 10 minutes thinking about how to guard against a 5-0 trump break – which he could have discovered by playing one round without cost to his chances (trumps were 4-1 and he could have claimed at trick three). The result was that the table went seven minutes over the limit and the opponents were penalized 3.5 imps.
Semi-automatic penalties could affect the pair playing complex methods: they would have to choose between the systemic advantages of the methods and the time-penalty cost.
Jan. 25, 2011
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Erin,
Do you have any suggestions? Practical ones? I can think of a few, all of which involve some cost.
1) With “bridgemate” in use, assign a new use for caddies. Two minutes after a round is called have a caddy walk the section giving a red card to each pair still playing the previous round and a green card to any pair waiting for opponents. If a pair accumulates two red cards, the second is taken to the directors with a notation as to the pair involved. If a pair has a red and a green card, both are removed. A red card is notification that you have been warned. If a pair gets a green card after being issued a red card, the caddy takes both and the pair starts fresh. Problem: needs, I think, one caddy per section which has manpower problems and expense. I would have increasing penalties: perhaps a tenth of a board for the first penalized offense, two tenths for the second, three tenths for the third, five tenths for the fourth, etc.
2) Another possibility would be to “clock” the receipt of the score. Players could be asked to indicate when they start a round by some entry on the bridgemate. In this way you would know how long each board/round actually took. If one board/round consistently or frequently took a long time there could be some forgiveness for slow play on that board/round. This would obviously need some programming.

I have no suggestions for the standard situation without bridgemate.
Jan. 25, 2011
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Bobby, a time limit does not mean that one has to use the full time for each round. If you have two hands where the auction goes 1N-3N and declarer claims some number of tricks at trick one, maybe the round takes five minutes, not the sixteen or seventeen allowed. So yes, the LIMIT should be the same; the time taken should not. If the time LIMIT is around seventeen minutes for two boards, or twenty-six for three, MOST two board rounds should be completed in about twelve or thirteen, three board rounds in twenty. It is only when you have complex hands that the full time allowed should be used.
You say professional monitors should be employed. How much do you propose to pay them? $25 an hour? That's what a good housekeeper gets. Works out to about $75 to $100 a session. Just not practical, imho. The solution, whatever it is, has to balance effectiveness with practicality, and ignoring the problem or saying there is no fair solution is equally unreasonable. You have to find the best remedy possible, not, to paraphrase Simon, the best possible remedy.
Jan. 25, 2011
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This is an issue that has been around since I first started to play bridge, probably since Bobby first started to play. The fundamental issue is whether bridge has time limits, in which case event-changing penalties are indeed appropriate, or guidelines in which case player discipline is appropriate when the guidelines are consistently overstepped. Many sports have time limits: football has a time limit for snapping the ball, basketball a time limit for getting off a shot, tennis a time limit for serving, chess for completing a specified number of moves. There are penalties in each case for failure to meet the limit, ranging from football's five yards to basketball's loss of possession to chess's loss of game. All of these are event-result affecting penalties, some more severe than others.
Brad says that he and Fred felt under time pressure throughout the Reisinger. I wonder what he suggests? Suppose two very slow players entered and consistently took five extra minutes a round, so they were five minutes behind after one round, ten minutes after two, fifteen after three and so on. How should this be dealt with? and how should the round by round opposition and the pair following them be dealt with?
There is a further issue to be considered: what difference should there be between the rules affecting two to four board encounters and longer ones of seven, twelve or sixteen boards. I do not know the answers. I only know that these are real issues that should not be answered in Bobby's somewhat cavalier fashion.
Jan. 25, 2011
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There are a number of women in the HOF essentially only for bridge accomplishments. Helen Sobel Smith, Sally Young, Margaret Wagar, and Josephine Culbertson predate Women's international bridge, and all four had successes in major open team events. Edith Kemp Freilich had a bridge career that started in the 1940's and included wins in all three major team events. Of the “modern era members”, not including Kathy Wei-Sender, four have no wins in Open events (if you consider the Mixed events as not open). They are Betty Ann Kennedy, Jacqui Mitchell, Kerri Sanborn, and Carol Sanders.
Gail Greenberg, who was Jacqui's regular partner during this team's dominant era, should, imho, clearly join them. And I would expect Beth (Palmer) in 2012 and Lynn (Deas) in 2013, neither of whom have open NABC wins (to my knowledge), to be easy electees. Although voters may want to wait and elect them together.
Jan. 21, 2011
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This would argue that no woman should ever be elected based on accomplishments in Women-Only bridge events. While I sympathize with that view to some extent, I also disagree to some extent.

Can we agree that there are (now) six major events on the ACBL calendar: Vanderbilt, Spingold, Reisinger, Platinum Pairs, LM pairs, and Blue Ribbons.

There are a number of what I consider “semi-majors”: the six-session Swiss in the fall, the opening Open Pairs in the spring (which is no longer), the fall NABC LM Pairs and BAM, and perhaps the terminal 4-session Open Swisses at the spring and Summer NABCs.

And then there are all the others, the Senior Events, the Women's events, and the four session events run in parallel with the Majors.

I would then add as major events the US Open Trials and the Bermuda Bowl, the Open Olympiad/Mind-Games, the Rosenblum, and the Open Pairs.

If you look carefully, the number of people who have won more than one Major is quite small; and the number who have won multiple semi-majors is also fairly small. Even the number who have won large numbers of the “other” events, in particular the Seniors and Womens, is not large in the context of the membership.

So I have no problem considering people who have won multiple Women's championships for the HOF, particularly if that includes a few Venice Trophies and or Olympiads or McConnells or World Women's Pairs. I would have no problem if this were for election to a separate wing, as the Negro League gets its own section of the Baseball HOF, but as long as there is only one place …
Jan. 19, 2011
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In a way this comes back to how many of partner's major you expect after 1m-1M-1N. As I have commented elsewhere, I have some success with a style that rarely if ever rebids 1N with three card support. Thus opener's expected length after 1m-1M-1N is about one and two-thirds cards.

Of course this requires some adjustments in structure after 1m-1M-1N-artificial force such as new minor forcing or two-way checkback.

Also, this generally avoids the distortion of opening 1D with (3-1)-4-5 and avoids the rebid problem with 1=4-(5-3) after 1m-1S.
Jan. 19, 2011
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Yes, I understand that one of the “advantages” of forcing club systems is the ability to open light(er) without putting too much pressure on partner. And I understand style issues. I have played – again as you know – forcing clubs. I think I introduced you to it when we were both in Washington.
I'm not going to argue that this is not a mandatory opening in your style. I guess I am simply questioning whether it is really a winning style to make this a mandatory opening. Obviously your record is far better than mine, so perhaps I am being presumptuous. I would not need much change to understand opening: move either of the spade honors into hearts and I would be much happier. Move both and even I would open . I consider it that close.
Thanks for responding.
Henry
Jan. 16, 2011
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Kit you say this is a mandatory opening. Pardon me for being Roth-Stonish – you know I am – but why is it a mandatory opening when almost any auction opposite partner's reasonable invitational hand leads to a minus score. I would pass the hand without thinking about it. And I might be able to get to 2 or at least I could pass it out. I was taught “plus good, minus bad” and if opening this hand leads to a minus score, why open?
Jan. 16, 2011
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I think the fundamental issue for 2/1 players is whether they can adjust their thinking from the classic “an opening bid facing an opening bid equals game.” When you choose to open these ace-less 11 counts, even with the suit texture, your hand will be a disappointment in a no trump contract or if you wind up playing in one of the short suits. The question, then, is whether the disruption to the opponents' bidding is worth the cost in your own constructive bidding.
Jan. 15, 2011
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Many many years ago I used to play every once in a while with the Beast. One thing that he insisted on was “Never rebid 1NT with three-card support for partner's major.” He impressed that so hard that I find it very difficult to do.
As a result my systemic expectation after 1m-1M-1N is one and two-thirds card support: I rebid 1N freely with a stiff in partner's major, particularly after 1m-1 with four hearts to make it easy for partner to bid 2. Checkback therefore gets a positive noise with Hx in the major.
A corollary to raising often on three card support is that responder has to be careful making game tries. So I raise to 3M with hands worth 2 1/2 and four trumps and use the jump reverse for a value raise to 3M (or more). (I use 1-1-2 as either a value raise to 3 or a strong JS; responder normally relays with 2N to find out which.)
Jan. 11, 2011
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Not really arguing with your choice, but my tendency is to play 1-1 is either 5+ diamonds, any strength, or a hand with no 4 card major unsuitable for 1N or an inverted club raise (either 2 or 3). This lets me avoid responding 1N on, say, 32 432 KJxx Qxxx.
Jan. 9, 2011
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I also have found it more useful to play new suit responses as a one round force and the cue promises support. I find nothing remarkable in Michaels hand as an overcall, and I would probably bid 2 followed by 2NT (not forcing) with Zia's hand. My own view is that 3 by Michael should then be nf, and Zia should pass or raise to 4!. I would not raise as eleven tricks seem a long way away.
Jan. 9, 2011
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I had not noticed that you deny shortness. In the context of your methods pass makes sense. I suggest, mildly, that your methods are unusual both in the lightness of your balanced opening bids and the shape restrictions on the single raise. In the context of those I agree that passing 2 makes sense. The rare good game you will miss is compensated by the frequency with which you will gain when 2 is the limit.
Dec. 28, 2010
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What would partner do after 1D - 1H with say, xx Qxxx AQxxx Kx which is a semi-nalanced 11 and 4H is pretty good: 3-2 in both red suits with extra chances. Or even x Qxxx AQxxx Kxx? Of course both these examples are carefully chosen to make the CQ a working card. I would point out also that the value of the DK is less in a Precision-ish structure than it would be in standard where it is probably facing length in partner's hand.
I subscribe to all your comments about devaluing 4-3-3-3 shapes, but I think it is unduly pessimistic to pass this hand. In the context of your methods I must admit I would try with 2N at the given conditions. I would have more sympathy for the pass at matchpointd or non-vul.
Dec. 27, 2010
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What are the odds that someone plays substantially the same spectacular hand in 1999 and 2010 and that a similar hand appears in one of the great collections of hands? Slim and none come to mind with slim fading fast. All we need now is to find a substantially similar report from the early 1990's, perhaps in a bootleg Polish bridge magazine.
Balicki has enough verifiable great hands that we have seen over the years, particularly since the advent of BBO, that it saddens me to see this tale.
Dec. 26, 2010
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On the hand presented a diamond is a very unlikely lead. West would be far more likely to lead any other suit in my opinion. In particular a trump (the winner) stands out when your side is known to have half the deck. A club would be my second choice. In the original O-K presentation partner had opened 1D which (sort of) justified the lead.
By the way, to be strict in attribution, virtually all the Adventures hands appeared initially in the Bridge World in 1973-1974 in a series entitled “The Way It Is”. My memory is that Jeff Rubens took great joy from editing those articles.
Dec. 25, 2010
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I hesitate to be a spoilsport, but really? With minor transpositions this is exactly the second hand in the Ottlik-Kelsey chapter on knockouts. It was a very popular game when “Adventures” first came out to either offer the hands as problems or to show them as if you had played them. So although I am among those who admire Balicki greatly, I would not believe this hand without some truly independent verification. Sorry.
Dec. 24, 2010
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First of all, with respect to Multi:
When Multi was freely allowed in NABC pair events, I would estimate that not more than two to three pairs of thirteen were using it, even in the finals. On those four or six boards, the probability is that Multi will come up perhaps once every other session. It is reasonable to expect that a pair will have chosen a multi-defense before the session, but perhaps not so reasonable that they will have memorized it. Wading through pages of notes to find an unusual situation takes time, and in short encounter sets, (2-4 boards) we might all be able to agree that time is not usually available, especially in high level tension-filled events. The decision to bar Multi in pair events was not a reflection on the complexity of the convention but more on the potential for time problems.
For Tim Capes' information, at least when I was on the Committee, about half the members either played Multi with their current partners or had played it with previous partners. Several of them suggested that allowing Multi in pair events was not worth the time burden.
It is of course not true that we ban non-game forcing relays. We allow Stayman, for example.
Dec. 8, 2010
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