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All comments by Henry Bethe
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Now I would have opened 1. Not because I have philosophical objections to 1N but because this hand is much too strong.
Jan. 20, 2015
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I pass: partner has advertised some values BUT DID NOT RAISE 2. He cannot have three clubs and a stiff diamond. His most likely shape is (I think) 4=5=2=2 but certainly 5-5 in the majors is possible. THis hand will not be a pleasure for opener to play.
Jan. 18, 2015
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I think the current Reisinger is a good event. The article was triggered by the rumor that the Competitions Committee is thinking of doing away with it.


I think there is a tension between having the second weekend “decide the most major event” and having a particularly attractive event to bring people in on the second weekend, perhaps even people who did not come earlier. When we have a six or seven day KO start on day 4, it will of necessity end the second weekend. For those few people (like Michael) who have frequent experience getting beyond day 2 or three. For three-quarters of us, the Spinderbilt is routinely at most a three day event.

Jan. 17, 2015
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By agreement. When I learned Stayman, it was. A few years later it was not. I think it is more, shall we say, fashionable today to play it forcing.
Jan. 17, 2015
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Kathryn:
that is the old-fashioned standard definition of a 1NT response to one of a suit, particularly if you don't play forcing no-trump. The point is that a 1N response is not a positive statement except in the sense that it says “I have enough to respond.” In all other respects it provides negative answers to an assortment of questions.

“I can't raise your major.”
“I don't have a major to bid at the one-level.”
“I can't bid my long suit because I am not strong enough or my hand is otherwise inappropriate.”
“I can't raise your minor.”
“I can't bid 1 over your 1.”
Jan. 15, 2015
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Mike: the Reisinger has had from 10 to (at least once) 21 teams in the finals, depending on the initial entry. It may even have had more, just I wasn't involved. It was tinkered with in a major way when the NABC Swiss was established with the specific intent to reduce the entry into the Reisinger. A successful effort, by the way.
Jan. 15, 2015
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The old events on the calendar in their current form - well only the VZ LM Pairs qualifies. Sort of - it was a six session play through until sometime in the 50s.

Before summer 1965 the Spingold and Vanderbilt were double KOs playing 32 board matches until the late stages when they extended to 36. Prior to that, in the mid 1950's, there was an RR among the final six or so teams. By the way, under the agreement between the League and Vanderbilt under which the League acquired the right to run the Vanderbilt KO in 1958, the Vanderbilt and the Spingold MUST have identical conditions of play.

The six session Reisinger came into being in either ‘66 or ’67. Before that there was a four session BAM for the “Chicago Cup(?)”. The Blue Ribbons started in 1964 or 5.

Jan. 15, 2015
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I would respond 1NT.

A 1N response does not say “I have a balanced hand.” Nor does it say “I have stoppers in the unbid suits.” It says,

“I have less than a game force, usually about 6-9 HCP; I have no four card or longer suit to bid at the one level; I have insufficient length in your suit to raise; I am not strong enough to bid a suit at the two level.”

It seems to me that is a good description of this hand.
Jan. 15, 2015
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I may be mistaken, but when I served I think it was called the CoCC which stood, I was led to believe, for Conditions of Contest & Conventions. Admittedly this is by now about ten years ago. Certainly the sort of things we discussed were how many pairs should qualify from one day to the next, carryover formulae, whether events should be scored across-the-field or in smaller groups. Also what conventions should be allowed in what events …

When I attempted to bring up ideas for new events and rescheduling existing ones, I was told that this was not the right committee.
Jan. 14, 2015
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Now I did not find long (three day) Swiss Pairs particularly unskillful. Perhaps this is because I did reasonably well in the few I entered. And my idea, in a way, is to have some events that attract all players at NABCs, and not solely events for the elitest of the elite.

North America has not adopted Swiss Pairs at all.
Jan. 13, 2015
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I psyched 1N once, in third seat playing BAM. I had something lik 3-2-2-6 shape with the club Jack; LHO had already taken off his shoes and was looking for some other means of adding up his points.

He asked the 1N range, was told 16-18 (yes, that long ago) and decided that partner was not going to be able to pass even his stentorian double. Since he had no long suit, he passed. Partner indeed bid Stayman, and it went pass-pass back to my abacus-less opponent. He did not solve his problem successfully.
Jan. 9, 2015
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I suspect that is because you open in 1&2 what many of us would consider a protective 3rd or 4th seat opener. :)
Jan. 9, 2015
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Unless, of course, you come from the DC area in which case 1 is auto.
Jan. 8, 2015
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We haven't of course. But that's because I think it is not answerable. There isn't really enough interaction. Even given the three great team events in the NABCs - which draw a global entry - there are perhaps many great pairs/individuals who aren't measurable. In addition, when you look for example at the Monacan record in the last few years, obviously it is first class. But how much of that success do we attribute to one pair? Or to one individual?

If we are looking for great players, how much should we attribute to Freeman, Katz, Mouton? Or, in days gone by, to individuals without a supporting cast like Jean Besse or Tim Seres.

There has been only one (that I know of) WBF sponsored individual; the problem I think is that an individual championship loses a very important part of bridge skill, namely partnership bidding. There is only one World Open Pairs every four years. Many of the best pairs don't enter. At least the people we think of as the best pairs.
Jan. 6, 2015
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I have no idea who is the best player in the world today, or the best pair. I do have a decent nominee for the most distinguished playing record of all time, and that is Bob Hamman.

He has played in 35 World team championships, the first in 1964, the most recent in 2012. His teams won ten of them, the first in 1970, the most recent in 2009. I did not count the number of seconds. He played with nine different partners, and won with five.

He won one World Pairs and was second in another. With different partners.

The other nominee, I suppose, would be Giorgio Belladonna, who played in 20 World team Championships between 1957 and 1979 and won 16(!) of them. He played with Walter Avarelli in most of the winning efforts. On the other hand, Belladonna apparently did not try his hand in the pair events.
Jan. 6, 2015
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John: the D4 system is what it says above: 2/1 with Walsh. It doesn't play short club, transfer responses to 1, reverse Flannery responses to one of a minor or any of many pet methods. 2N openers are a “good” 20 to a “bad” 22. Agreements are not close because it is assumed that you picked up a random near expert not from your local area about ten minutes before game time and went over your card in those ten minutes. You had more important things to discuss. Like leads and carding.
Jan. 6, 2015
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Now I will say that in 1965 old timer expert standard, a slow 3 showed exactly this hand: a doubleton spade and a partial club stopper. This was considered normal. A quick 3 showed three card spade support and a stiff club. This is a MSC problem from then.
Jan. 4, 2015
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Second choice would be 3
Jan. 2, 2015
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Relevant to Sartaj Hans' excellent article, this is a hand I would get right in part because I have spent many hours with “Adventures in Card Play.” A chapter or two on tricks with trumps, and the possible need to take an apparently unneeded ruff in the long hand to prepare for an unfriendly trump break.

As you might guess, trumps were 4-0 and clubs 3-2.
Dec. 31, 2014
Henry Bethe edited this comment Dec. 31, 2014
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Well, I thought it was cute because both experts in the match missed it. No, there is nothing more to it than the dummy reversal, needing clubs 3-2 but not needing a heart break. Both declarers played a heart to the ace after winning the opening lead and could no longer take 13 tricks.

Since both declarers were fairly good players even by your and my standards, I guess taking the immediate ruff in the long trump hand is not completely instinctive, even at our level.
Dec. 31, 2014
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