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All comments by Henry Bethe
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What you should do depends so much on preempting style.
Nov. 11, 2014
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By the way, my line was not that bad. A, ruff, A, ruff, A, ruff, ruff, ruff (high if East follows), ruff, . This wins if I can get all my ruffs in dummy, not that unlikely, and the first low heart ruff, and either a second heart ruff with the 8 or East forgets to ruff the fourth heart or the J is onside. It happened to fail.

For those who want to think deeper, Should both following to the second heart affect your line? remember, this is matchpoints. What do you need if hearts are 4-1?
Nov. 8, 2014
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Indeed. But would you have found that at seventeen? Well, maybe you would.
Nov. 8, 2014
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As a quick estimate this slam is about 40%. Wrong at matchpoints, wrong in general at imps. The only condition where it is right to bid a less-than-50%-slam is when you are down quite a lot in a VP scored match, which makes imps gained much more valuable than additional imps lost.
Nov. 7, 2014
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no Q, guys. just AQ10 xxx K10xxxx x. If my majors were reversed 3 would be the limit! And yes, 2N is either a weak NT or a slam positive hand too good for opening 1N.
Nov. 6, 2014
Henry Bethe edited this comment Nov. 6, 2014
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I agree with almost all the comments above. This time partner was 6-(3-3-1) with the K and a side ace and queen. Much of the time this combination of cards will offer a decent play for 5, although not so much if it is the A. As it turned out partner had AQ10 and a stiff club, so 6 was on the spade finesse, which was onside. I bid 3 and partner passed.

Now we were actually sort of unlucky. LHO had a 3-4-1-5 eleven-count and chose not to make a takeout double. RHO, who had a decent six-card heart suit, a stiff diamond and the club ace, chose not to overcall 2. If either opponent had chosen to bid, I think we would have been more successful. But that's where my (strictly local) reputation came into play: people are scared to bid against me. For no particularly good reason. Then LHO picked a club lead, holding us to 170. For a zero! In the seven table game there was also a 190. And a 940.
Nov. 6, 2014
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Peg,
I think I have written this before, but it bears repeating from time to time.

When I started playing, which was apparently about twenty years before you did, there were 46 regionals a year, on twenty weekends. Most regionals were four days long. The “Easterns” in NYC, the “Central States” in Chicago, “Bridge Week” in LA, and the “All Western” which was a curious hybrid played one weekend in SF and one in LA with bridge on a special train in between (!), all went over two weekends. In the case of the first three it was because of a large KO which either started on the first weekend or ended on the second. My home District consisted of eastern Ontario and western New York State. There were two regionals a year. One was in Toronto over Easter weekend, the “Canadian Nationals”. It still is. The other alternated between Buffalo every odd year and Syracuse or Rochester in even years.

I don't know what the regional count is now, but I think it is about 120, and that there are only about three or four weekends during the year on which there is no regional or NABC. Most regionals are six days (about to go to seven).

Our unit covered central NY from the PA border to the Canadian border and from about 50 miles east of Buffalo to about 50 miles west of Albany. The Unit held eight sectionals a year. I attended many of those sectionals in 1960-61 and again from late ‘62 to June of ’63. The Ithaca sectional in 1963 drew three sections for the Saturday two session open pairs (about 40 tables). In 2012 we drew 12 tables: 4.5 for a two session A/X pairs and 7.5 for a one session B/C/D. We had to consolidate them. For many years the Corning Glass Company sponsored a charity sectional. It was held over the weekend in the museum's auditorium and featured Steuben glass prizes as well as a free between-sessions (pretty good) meal in the company cafeteria. The year I played it drew about 50+ tables. By 1970 it was a thing of the past. I think the reason it died was that the senior corporate official who was a bridge player retired and there was no one at the company to keep it going. BTW, our (now slightly larger) unit now has about fourteen sectionals a year, all of which are in deep financial trouble.
Nov. 5, 2014
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If two jumps are available I play the single jump is FS, the double jump splinter. With only one jump possible I play FS.
Nov. 2, 2014
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There are two ways to get to 3 over 2 (or 2). One is the direct jump, the other is double followed by 3. They are similar in strength but the jump is very single suited, double followed by 3 shows more flexibility.
Oct. 26, 2014
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Amid this all, some good wishes to the two medaling Indonesian pairs. Lasut and Manoppo have been playing high level bridge on a world level since 1974.
Oct. 26, 2014
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The Mazurkiewicz team had to defeat a very strong sequence of teams. Starting with the R32, Rosenthal (T. Bessis-Lorenzini, Hanlon-Carroll from Ireland, Rosenthal-Silverstein), Nickell, Fleisher, Ventin (Swedes plus Auken-Welland) and Monaco. Really well done. Congratulations.

Did you all notice that Marion Michielsen won her second championship of the tournament, adding the McConnell Cup to her earlier win in the Mixed Teams? Spectacular.
And that both Sally Sowter Horton Brock and Nicola Gardner Smith both added a McConnell to their previous two Venice Trophies and two “Olympiad” wins, completing their collection of Women's team game trophies.
Karen McCallum added her third Women's Team championship to three pairs championships - two Women's Pairs and a Mixed.
Oct. 23, 2014
Henry Bethe edited this comment Oct. 23, 2014
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Where oh where is Gazzilli when you really need him?
Oct. 22, 2014
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I can understand 1N on hand #1, although I would not. I cannot understand it on #2. I would not reverse on either hand. I consider hand 1 understrength for a misfitting reverse and hand 2 grossly understrength.

Hand 2 is the J too good for 1-1-1N; perhaps I play too much matchpoints, but I consider that the most descriptive auction for this hand. On #1 I would probably rebid 2. One of my mentors used to tell me “it is better to have a queen in reserve than to owe partner a queen.”
Oct. 22, 2014
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Michael, as I said in the intro, you may disagree with the methods but I don't really want to discuss them. You may be right, but we really like both a SJS 2 and a constructive but nf 3.
Yuan, wouldn't happen. Not ever. Now if you postulate 0=4=4=5 …
Oct. 21, 2014
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We have vacillated between playing 3 natural and 3 as shortness. Sort of like debating between short suit game tries and natural game tries. At one point we played 2 as a relay to allow the distinction, but found the cost too high.
Oct. 21, 2014
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Of course you can change your bid. Just press the bid you want to substitute.
Oct. 21, 2014
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Barry, East made a takeout double of 1C, not 1S. I personally don't particularly like 4-3-3-3 TOX but this certainly is not the worst I've seen, even by very good players. Having said that, I think West, who should know that partner is prone to balanced hand doubles, should have gone PASSive over 4. But he was sort of unlucky to find so much wasted and every card offside.
Oct. 20, 2014
ATB
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Well, I guess WEST should have bid game after East's 3 bid.
Oct. 19, 2014
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The “trueness” of a match is essentially a function of the square root of the number of boards played. Thus it doesn't make a lot of difference to the likelihood of the “better” team winning whether the length is 64 boards - squareroot 8 - or 56 boards - squareroot 7.5. With the aging of much of the bridge population, the reduction of one hour of playing time probably makes more difference as it reduces the exhaustion factor. One of the things to realize is that in very close matches it is really accidental which team wins. Often if one fewer or one more board had been played the result might have changed.

Having said that, the advantage of multiples of 16 is that they allow a full set of dealer/vulnerability combinations. I still think that the time reduction provides more benefits than the loss from an incomplete set of 16 costs.

The short matches were in the Mixed Teams, where the rounds of 32, 16, and 8 were 28 boards and the semis were 32 boards. Fifty-six boards is about 40% more likely to produce the “right” winner than these shorter matches.
Oct. 19, 2014
Henry Bethe edited this comment Oct. 19, 2014
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It isn't a KO semi. It's the second day of Swiss after which they will qualify 32 teams to KO play. The Swiss is being segmented into two groups. The top half from the first day, about 60 teams, from which 27 will qualify for the R32, and the rest of the field from which 5 will qualify.
Oct. 18, 2014
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