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All comments by Jan Martel
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Have you read the definition of “purely destructive”? In order to be purely destructive, a bid must pretty much have no meaning and be weak. For example, an 8-12 point 1NT opening bid, which is barred by another specific rule, is not “Purely Destructive” because it is natural. Having average strength (or near average in third & fourth seats) is only one of the ways for a bid to avoid being “Purely Destructive.”
an hour ago
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@ Yu: Suction doesn't promise a suit, but it more often than not has the 1-suiter, so a reasonable defense can assume that and use a bid in that suit as a cue bid.
@Brian: People can play Multi & play against it in team games - if your club doesn't run team games maybe you should encourage it to do so. I don't play bridge any more, but I didn't have any problems finding events in which to play multi when I did and I'd be surprised if that had changed.
13 hours ago
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I did see that after I posted, Steve, and I still think that “Near Average Strength” and “Purely Destructive” are sufficiently far apart that it is wrong to suggest that changing from the strength requirement in 3rd & 4th seats “overrides” the rule against Purely Destructive bids. Probably I didn't express that well.
14 hours ago
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When a transfer bid shows a known suit, the opponents have a cue bid available. Multi doesn't show a known suit, so the defenders don't have a cue bid available.
Sept. 23
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I didn't intend to comment more, but I can't help it. Multi is not barred in the ACBL, its use is limited to events with 6 board or longer rounds and “open” fields. It is only disallowed in events with short rounds or less experienced players. Those of you who want to play it really should be devoting your time and energy to encouraging the use of the Open chart in more Swiss team events & KOs at Regionals & Sectionals.
Sept. 23
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I don't think that a purely destructive opening bid has Near Average Strength, so I'm not sure why you think the exception would apply to them.
Sept. 23
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I wasn't questioning the “thousands” but the “without problems.”
I really don't want to continue this discussion, but the only reason I gave that example was because I didn't have to look at anything to find it, I remembered it. Over the years I've seen plenty of problems by the defenders, perhaps some of them were because they didn't have good enough meta agreements, but your normal competitive meta agreements tend to assume you know at least one suit that the opponents have, so multi introduces a new situation. As for your list of other things that eat up time - they take time away from the table, not at the table, which is quite different
And now I'm going to find something more constructive to do than continue this endless debate that has been going on for years and will never be resolved.
Sept. 23
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Why isn't 1 a prime?
Sept. 23
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The technology by which bridgemates communicate to the server has not changed. They are almost always used in one large room where the wireless communication works just fine.
Once you have the program in place, producing Butlers is trivial - you just push a button.
The USBCs (aka Team Trials) have always had hand records, so I suppose you're talking about some other events there.
Thanks for your kind words and I didn't take the Butler reference as critical.
Sept. 23
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We'll have to agree to disagree about whether thousands play multi and against multi without an issue, particularly the ones who are playing behind screens (no, I'm not suggesting that use of UI is good, but just accepting the reality that it happens).
Having an agreement that (2)-3-(P)-3 is natural will keep you from having accidents, but it will leave a whole set of hands that you can't bid adequately. With some of those hands you'll decide to just bid NT and hope (and some of those times your hope will succeed, but it will be pretty spectacularly bad when it doesn't); some times you'll decide not to take the risk and lose a game swing. Is that “adequate”? You think so, I don't.
I agree that the ACBL approved defenses aren't adequate - that's one of the problems with trying to cater to everyone and not make it too complicated. I sometimes wonder whether we wouldn't have been far better off if ACBL hadn't tried to create adequate defenses for Multi, but that ship sailed a long time ago.
Sept. 22
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@Richard - I actually like and play Multi; so does Chip, and we participated in the ACBL's attempt to produce an adequate short defense to it (I don't think we succeeded there). But I think the fact that an adequate defense has to cover not just the initial bids over it but also what happens next is a good reason not to allow it in events with short rounds. It eats up time in those events, both because people have to discuss what they're going to do against it before the round (and most of the time that's completely wasted time since it doesn't come up in 2 boards) or they have to try to understand a written defense when it does come up. I don't think things have to be black and white - multi is allowed in open events with 6 board or longer rounds; to me that's a very reasonable compromise.
Sept. 22
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Yes, this is getting way off topic, but Yu (why does the computer want to correct that to You?), your “defense” just isn't adequate, because it doesn't cover follow-up auctions, which is where the issues arise. For example, you, and most everyone I know, plays that (2)-3m is natural. But you don't cover advancer's bids over that. If you do any simulations or look at any hands where the auction starts (2)-3m, you'll see that the advancer might have a hand where s/he wanted to bid NT but had a stopper in only one of the Majors or a hand with a 5 or 6 card Major where s/he wanted to explore playing in that Major. How do you interpret (2)-3-(P)-3? Is it a heart stopper, no heart stopper, or a heart suit? That's the sort of issue that needs to be covered to have a remotely adequate defense. And not knowing opener's suit makes advancing natural overcalls more complex.
I've played multi and played against multi for years. I've spent many, many, many hours developing a defense and helping other pairs learn a defense to multi, so no, it isn't “esoteric” to me, but I do recognize that it isn't trivial to deal with either.
Sept. 22
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Maybe my experience is different because I mostly watch high-level games, and I'm probably going to get my wrist slapped for this, but the reality is that players in club games don't need such clear agreements of the meaning of their bids because they have “table feel” to help them work things out.
The Multi accident that sticks solidly in my mind at the moment (for obvious reasons) was this one (sorry, I know there's a way to pull just the one hand and show it in a better way, but I don't yet know how to do that): http://www.bridgebase.com/tools/handviewer.html?linurl=http://www.bridgebase.com/tools/vugraph_linfetch.php?id=46006, board 20. That was an accident by the multi users, not the defenders, but it's a good example of why you need a lot of discussion and clear understandings to play Multi and also to defend against it. And it was a very expensive accident, since it decided the 2016 Spingold.
And as for it being easier if you use a written defense, I do have a lot of experience with that, and I know that using a written defense (to anything, not just Multi) without a lot of discussion and practice in advance can cause problems. Especially if the written defense isn't very complete.
Sept. 22
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That may be a foolish faith in the bridgemate entries - I no longer remember when, but I do remember a World Championship where I had to convince one of the teams that they shouldn't just trust the printed scorecard, but should actually compare with their teammates based on what they had written on their paper scorecards.
Sept. 22
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@Bob - that was Miami, not Orlando, and the problems that arose there with trying to use Bridgemates in widely separated playing rooms was one of the reasons we discontinued their use. The following year, in White Plains, where we had half the tables in individual rooms, was the final straw - bridgemates don't work well in a physical setting that isn't one large room.
However, it's also true that you are the ONLY person who asks for Butlers and having Butlers is the main advantage of using bridgemates, whereas it is clear that most players prefer not to have to use them and their use slows down the game.
Sept. 22
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Yu, try this thought experiment. Suppose that WBF had started regulating conventions before Multi was widely adopted in WBFLand. Clearly, Multi is a Brown Sticker Convention. Thus it would have been disallowed except for long matches at the highest level of competition. The only reason that isn't the case is that it was expressly exempted from BSC treatment because it had been adopted so widely.
Now consider that when the ACBL started regulating conventions, Multi had not been widely adopted in ACBLand. It clearly fell into the category of bids that are difficult to defend against (weak, no known suit), so its use was limited to relatively long (6+ boards, much shorter than WBF BSC restrictions) matches where opponents would have time for discussion of their proposed defense.
So, yes, there is logic behind the ACBL restrictions. And anyone who claims they don't need to work on defensive methods against Multi is wrong, as the many many accidents both sides have in competitive Multi auctions attest.
Sept. 21
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One of the advantages of being allowed written defenses is that you can do a much better job of defining bids after the initial one. So if you have the time to work on it, you could start with Frances' defense (if and only if IMHO you already play transfer responses to 1 in competition, so it feels natural to you) and then do a careful job of defining follow-ups, which you don't have to memorize, so can in some cases be 2-way bids (looking for a stopper/natural is the most common 2-way follow up we use against Multi).

You might want to look at the bidding records from the Netherlands-New Zealand match in this year's Bermuda Bowl, since one of the NZ pairs (Bach-Cornell) uses this method. It probably didn't come up a lot, but being able to see how it played out in real life is often instructive.
Sept. 21
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Perhaps those in favor of term limits are not the voters, since in this election the voters are the Unit Boards, not the players?
Sept. 21
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I'm not Kit, but I've listened to his ideas about multi a lot, and my reaction when I read your post (with the hand being Txxx Axx x Axxxx) was “wait, that's a 3 bid, not a 2 bid.” If I think it's an automatic 3, I'll give you very good odds that Kit does too :-).
Sept. 20
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Someone once explained to me that our Zone is different from others because ACBL is both the “bottom” organization (the one that sanctions clubs, runs tournaments, provides tournament directors, governs things like conventions that are allowed) and also the “top” organization - the one that provides a link between the NBO's and the WBF. In other zones, the NBO's typically act as the “bottom” level, as well as selecting their teams for World competition. I do not mean “bottom” in any pejorative sense, but more as the base of a pyramid.
One of the things that ACBL is best at is running bridge tournaments - for all the complaints we hear on BW, the NABC's are some of the best run tournaments in the world, arguably the best. Although I would never speak for Don or anyone else, I would be very surprised if there was anyone who thought ACBL should stop running tournaments in Zone 2 (which incidentally includes Bermuda for that purpose).
What Don was suggesting (I think), is that ACBL should continue to be the “bottom” level , but should no longer be the “top” - the organization that provides an interface between the NBOs and the WBF.
Sept. 20
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