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All comments by Henry Bethe
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:) I too would find that, and so did declarer. Actually, one of the declarers got the K as a lead, but he was only in 6.
Dec. 31, 2014
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For truth in advertising it should be noted that Daniel lost an imp on this board when West at the other table chose to lead a small club. Dano picked up the clubs and squeezed West in & for the overtrick.
Dec. 31, 2014
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There have been systems which compelled opening this hand. All “strong Pass” and “intermediate pass” methods come to mind. As does at least one in which 1 showed any 13+ and other openings were either 8-12 or specialized preempts.

Having said that, this is close to being an opening using classic Work count: 10HCP plus 2 for the stiff. But 4-4-4-1 shapes are notoriously troublesome. They can be quite good if you find a fit, dreadful if you don't.
Dec. 29, 2014
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I played in the New England Individual twice, many many years ago. Before there was a concurrent KO. It was a generally unpleasant experience. Too many really bad players. I was quite young at the time - in my early twenties - and many of the older players had unpleasant comments they felt compelled to make as well as feeling that they owed me lessons. I have not gone back.

During the 1970s (I believe) the GNYBA ran an individual for local Internationals and high finishers in the annual New York Player of the Year races. As I remember, the event was well populated by people whose names you would recognize: the Mitchells, BJ Becker, Kaplan, Roth (but not Stone), Stayman, Cayne, Westheimer, Rubin (once), the Truscotts … and people you might not have known then, perhaps, but would now such as Berkowitz, Sontag, Weichsel, Tom Smith, Jimmy Becker, even me. The standard of play was quite high, the comportment (other than Ira) was excellent and the event was a lot of fun. I seem to remember that Jacqui Mitchell won the first, Mr. Becker the second. It died shortly thereafter.

In the early days of the ACBL, there was an annual Masters Individual. It was considered a major event on the calendar. It died when too many people who were not of a high standard became Life Masters. Which is to say, in the early 1950s. The really good players stopped coming when too many of their partners and opponents “couldn't follow suit.”

Dec. 24, 2014
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I see no reason why LHO rather than partner should have the strong hand, or any particular major. I would, quite likely, open 5 at the table. But I remember, dimly, a hand from my youth where my partner held a similar hand and heard the auction start 1N-X (penalty) to him. He tried Gerber, and bid 7N when I showed three aces.
Dec. 23, 2014
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I continue to be confused by those that would allow the (successful) raise to 7N. 4N TAKES CONTROL. The responder to Blackwood puts up a number of fingers and abides by partner's decision unless invited to contribute again. Suppose responder held J KQJxxx AQxx Kx. He discovered that partner has three KC for diamonds. After due consideration he decided that the risk of exposing the K to immediate attack in 6 is too great, and then has to decide between 6 and 6N. Reasonably he decided on 6N. The auction is over.

I learned this when I had 50MP, not 1000. Even after allowing for inflation reaching a grand implies far more experience than I had at 50. So I don't think allowances should be made for their “inexperience.”
Dec. 22, 2014
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I play that the reverser promises another bid. And that a rebid of 2M simply says “my suit length is 5+.” Forcing because opener promised another bid. In general NOT rebidding the responder's major denies 5+. Jumping to 3M shows a very good suit that should be trump.
Dec. 20, 2014
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I take a simple minded approach to this sort of problem. When one partner Blackwoods the other partner responds and accepts the Blackwooder's decision unless invited back in. The bid of 6NT was not an invitation to get reinvolved. Therefore Opener may not bid again.
Dec. 19, 2014
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Gee. We are playing matchpoints, not imps. Many of you would open 2 and rebid 2N on, say, KQx xx AKQJx AKx. I would myself. Constructions where opener is top-heavy in diamonds with a doubleton heart will often provide a poor play for game. So while I would bid game, I think that passing 3 is not outrageous but somewhat unlucky.
Dec. 13, 2014
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nah. He played with that one.
Dec. 12, 2014
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I wish I knew whether partner has a fifth diamond. If he does, 7 becomes very much in the picture. With a fifth diamond and either red jack it becomes much the best contract. But at this point in the auction I do not think you can find out: 6, I think would be looking for the Q.
Dec. 12, 2014
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If 3N is “serious”, then 4 seems clear. If 3N in non-serious I would bid it because I have good controls and the glorious Q.
Dec. 11, 2014
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Since I don't see what information is passed by partner's tempo, and I would tend to lead a spade on this auction, I lead a spade.
Dec. 8, 2014
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Well, no. After Saturday was over, Nickell's score was 49.84, Schwartz was third with 45.26 boards. This difference of 4.58 boards was reduced by the carryover formula to 2.29 boards. (The carryover is the ratio of qualifying teams to total: there were 20 teams in the semis of which 10 qualified.) I can't reconcile the published results to the carryover on the recap sheet, but as best I can tell Schwartz scored 32 on a 27 average in the finals, Nickell 26.5. So they picked up 5.5 boards on Nickell.

You can see some deals in the BBO vg files if you want to go look.
Dec. 8, 2014
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And perhaps they will become minutes showing the substance of the discussion rather than “this was discussed.”
Dec. 8, 2014
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Negative doubles were introduced in 1958 but made little headway for a few years. They were widely denounced as a “pigeon killing” method. Even in 1965 I think they were played by much less than half of the expert community. By 1970 they were essentially universal. But they were used only in the auction 1A-overcall-double. And responsive doubles only after 1A-X-raise. The modern extensions of all low-level doubles being takeout took a long time.
Dec. 8, 2014
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Well, I play 2 shows a force in the other minor, 2 shows a constructive hand in the opened minor, and 3m is not forcing ( and not particularly constructive as a raise).
Dec. 8, 2014
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For what it is worth, in 1959 the majority of the panel bid 4 with a significant minority bidding 5. Not one of the panel even mentioned 4. I found this surprising, even shocking. Two of the fifty-odd panelists tried 4, bringing scorn from Director Morehead. There were minimal quotes from the panel, as the vote was substantial and he had other problems in the set that needed more space.

Mind you, I don't remember my 1960 methods that well, but by 1970 we all would have expected 4 to show a very good hand with four card spade support and club control.
Dec. 8, 2014
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Actually the problem spots were different but I had some sort of disease of the spot-typing fingers.
Dec. 6, 2014
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Wouldn't it be nice to play penalty doubles on this hand? But (almost) everyone I know would play double as “responsible,” e.g. showing length in hearts and clubs, possibly hearts and some diamond support.
Dec. 5, 2014
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