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All comments by Henry Bethe
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These definitions are, to put it mildly, obscure. 2 is a jump shift, not a reverse. In 2/1 jump shifts are game forcing unless you are playing with Kit Woolsey. BTW, I, at least, agree with 2. I want to force to game, and I think bidding 1 is a false economy as you will have to catch up somehow later.

There is more obscurity on continuations over JS rebids than over reverses. In this auction, for example, should 2N promise a diamond stopper or be a grunt to find out the basis of the JS? If 2N promises a stopper, should 3 promise real support or be an unhelpful noise? I know I play that 1-1-3-3 is an unhelpful noise. Or should 3 be the “I have no useful bid” bid? From Will's comments they play 2N might be a dreadful hand, and 3 shows values with no direction, e.g not real club support, not four spades, not six hearts or five strong hearts. Also, not a hand that could bid 2N followed by 3N or 3N direct. Suggests weakness in one of the red suits.

Very murky bid. I know I wanted to bid 3 over 3 to see whether partner could bid 3N!

Partner raised to 5. I think that will (usually) be high enough.
Nov. 25, 2014
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I don't see this. North was playing with a spade suit of AKQ103 opposite a stiff. So the displacement of the card may have affected the play. I don't see how one can determine a bridge result here. North was not playing the hand everyone else was. In addition, with North only having five spades to cash, West would not get squeezed!

Since both North and East failed to count their cards accurately, neither is the non-offending side. So A- to both seems right.
Nov. 25, 2014
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Dutch is a corruption of “Deutsch” which is the german word for German. They were a protestant schism from Southeastern Germany, actually I believe Moravia which is now part of the Czech Republic.
Nov. 25, 2014
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I am somewhat surprised that no one has mentioned Kit Woolsey's “Partnership Defense in Bridge”, which is available through Amazon.
Nov. 23, 2014
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On page 4, I presume it is East, not West, who would be 2-7 in the majors.
Nov. 17, 2014
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I know it is similar. Thats why I mention it.

By the way, the Law, or at least the interpretation of the claim law has changed over the years. When I started, if you claimed before trumps were completely drawn you couldn't draw trumps - unless you said “drawing trumps” in which case a spectacularly bad trump break could lead to spectacularly bad results. I remember one notorious case where declarer had AKQxx of trump opposite four small. He ruffed the opening lead in the five card holding and claimed saying “drawing trumps.” Trumps were 4-0, and the committee forced him to play four rounds of trump following which the enemy could cash about five tricks in the suit he had ruffed.

It was only later that the words “but not irrational” were appended to “careless or inferior”. And that the intent of the disputed claim law is to restore equity, not to punish bad claims.
Nov. 14, 2014
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I remember a very tough ruling on this type of situation. Declarer had five trumps including the AKQJ and no blockage opposite three, and an established side suit for discards. After drawing three rounds of trump declarer claimed. The problem was that trumps had divided 4-1 and declarer did not say “drawing the last trump”. It was clear that had declarer claimed after drawing one trump with both opponents following we would have allowed the claim. It also became clear during questioning that declarer had not noticed the bad trump break.

Declarer was an old-timer with an established reputation. Two of the committee members were also establishment old-timers. Two were youngsters (late twenties). One was a tweener. The discussion became quite acrimonious.
Nov. 14, 2014
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I'd like to add some historical context. The change in composition of committees was fostered, as so many of the positive developments in bridge, by Edgar Kaplan. In 1971 he persuaded Freddy Sheinwold to take over as Chair of National Appeals, and convinced Sheinwold to add a number of younger experts to the panel. In 1972 Lou Gurvich replaced Freddy and continued the process of bringing players rather than politicians onto committees. A series of articles in the Bridge World at the time were extremely influential in reducing the use of black magic at the table. Didn't eliminate it, but reduced it.
Nov. 14, 2014
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I want to be in this slam in a short match. 1) I think it is very likely that I will get a heart lead. 2) Since I bid diamonds it is very unlikely that I will get a diamond lead, even from QJx. 3) On a heart lead this slam is a little under 60%.

Even on a trump lead I just have to guess later which red suit finesse to take - and they are likely to tell me.

Finally, on several of the layouts on which I go down in slam, even 4 is at risk.
Nov. 13, 2014
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Jeff, I sort of learned bridge in NYC. When I claimed the opponents would just have put their cards back in the board. It would have been insulting among my peer group - or Robb's, which was the same people - to explain the claim.
Nov. 13, 2014
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miss-saw the auction
Nov. 13, 2014
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Of course, when the moon is waxing, waning, new or gibbous your LHO might have Hxx and the overcaller AHHxx. Or Hx and AHHxx(x).
Nov. 13, 2014
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One of the stories that is worth telling over and over.
Nov. 12, 2014
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If you look at my vote you will see that I did.
Nov. 12, 2014
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Just in case partner has, say, Axx Axx QJ10xxx Qx
Nov. 12, 2014
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Even playing 16-18 no trumps I would have thought this hand too strong. Maybe playing Roman with 17-20? But by the time this came up we were playing 15-17(+).
Nov. 12, 2014
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Sometimes your methods aren't best on a particular hand. This might be one of them.
Nov. 11, 2014
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Three-level responses don't come up often because they are normally used to fill holes in what is covered by Stayman and whatever else one uses the two level for, e.g. major-suit transfers, 2 showing whatever, two way Stayman, four suit transfers etc.

Most commonly I suggest that my partnerships play all three-level responses show good suit (2/1 top honors) bad hand weak twos. This creates (in the majors) a useful difference between 1N-3M and 1N-xfer-2M-3M: the second auction is also a six card suit but one that does not expect to run opposite Hx.
Nov. 11, 2014
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At imps I would raise to 3
Nov. 11, 2014
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As it says in my profile, I believe that an opening bid facing an opening bid should offer a reasonable play for game. If this is an opening bid, then opposite a similar hand it offers some play for a partial. nuff said.
Nov. 11, 2014
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