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All comments by John Brady
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To me K 2 AJ10xxxx Jxxx looks like a vulnerable weak jump shift in competition. That King of Spades isn't worth much on offense. This is a long broken suit in a weak hand, so 3D.

If the D suit was stronger so the hand was x 2 AKJ10xxx Jxxx, Responder has more reason to bid the hand constructively. Then I'd bid 2D planning on following up with 3D.
April 8, 2014
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When 3m is 0-9ish: (1) my opponents bid a Major part-score if they have it, or (2) sometimes we push them into a makeable game they wouldn't reach otherwise, or (3) partner guesses wrong and doubles the opponents if they bid over 3m, or (4) partner guesses wrong and doesn't double them when they bid over 3m and they're too high, or (5) partner guess wrong and bids 3NT with 18-19 and has no play.

I don't like guessing games, so I don't play the wide-ranging 0-9ish 1m-3m.

Pass works better with 0-5 IMO. But if partner insists on bidding 1m-3m with 0-5, then I either play a jump to 2S or a jump in the other minor as the constructive raise. Since I usually need 1D-3C for a natural invitation with long Clubs, I'll reluctantly give up the strong jump shift and play 1m-2S as the constructive raise.

But my first preference is to play 1m-2D/2H/2S as strong jump shifts, to play 1D-3C as natural and invitational, to play 1m-3m as 6-9ish, and to give up the 1m-3m 0-5ish preempt.
March 26, 2014
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If Opener has both 3-card support and extras, why not just raise a 1M response to 2M immediately?
March 26, 2014
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I see two problems. The first more immediate problem is ethical. There will inevitably be a question of a BIT or of previous partnership experience creating a de facto agreement.

The second problem is that, regardless of short term gain, violating partnership agreements loses in the long run. You're teaching partner to distrust you. If they don't trust what you're doing, they won't have the confidence to make the correct bid or play. After that, you'll stop trusting their bids and plays. Partnership rapidly goes downhill from there.

If your system bid doesn't work well in that situation, play what you agreed to.

Discuss it with partner and change your method later.
March 26, 2014
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That was my first thought: it's not so easy when the opponents preempt your bidding space. Without interference, this auction is fairly simple if you play strong jump shifts. Jump shift in Hearts and support Diamonds. Then cue bidding or exclusion RKC should get you to 7H.

Actually, interference shouldn't be that much of a problem as Dean's auction in the next comment shows.

Strangely, if you don't play strong jump shifts, the auction might be more difficult with no interference because Responder has to use an amorphous 4th suit forcing auction. If the auction goes 1D-1H; 2C-2S; 2NT-3D you should have the space to get to 7H with cue bidding or Exclusion RKCB. But say the auction goes 1D-1H; 2C-2S; 3S-4D. You might still get to 7H, but it's not so clear that Opener will cue bid Clubs twice, and Responder won't be able to jump in Spades for Exclusion. Without 2 Club Q bids, Responder might bid 7D reasoning that you might need a Spade ruff for the 13th trick.
March 26, 2014
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That's great auction. WIth such a strong hand and a big Diamond fit, the key is to immediately focus on Opener's Key Cards outside of Spades with Exclusion. If partner has the K of Diamonds and AK of Clubs, 7H should be on. If partner doesn't show the King of Clubs after 6S, 7D rates to be a better bet than 7H.
March 26, 2014
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Barry finds LTC “irrelevant to EVERY sort of evaluation problem you might every face.”

Bridge doesn't go well with absolute statements like “every,” “always,” and “never.”

There are flaws to every method of hand evaluation. So what? They're just tools for predicting how many tricks our hands will take. Use them all.

LTC and cover cards are useful tools. They're not the only tool. Often they're the right tool, sometimes they're not. That goes for every other hand evaluation method including all the different point count scales for honor cards, adjusting point count for extra length, adjusting point count for support and shortness, adjusting point count for bad shapes, adjusting point count for good spot cards, Quick Tricks, the Law of Total Tricks, Rule of 20, Rule of 22, Rule of 15 to open the bidding in 4th seat, “with 64 bid more,” “with 65 come alive,” and so on.

It doesn't make sense limit your hand evaluation methods to one tool, whether it be HCP or something else, any more than it would make for a carpenter to go out on a job with a hammer as his only tool and expect it to be the right tool for EVERY situation.

On distributional hands, LTC focuses hand evaluation on winners and losers instead of predetermined “points,” on the quality of honors in your long suits, and on duplication of values by lower honors in short suits. Cover cards focus your attention on fitting honors in long suits, duplication of values in short suits, and the quality of trump support. What's the problem with that?
March 26, 2014
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Commenting on David's aside about killing all the lawyers: (1) Please don't. I've been a lawyer for more than four decades. (2) Killing all the lawyers may be just a wee bit excessive. (3) Yes, the U.S. legal system is a mess. It's archaic and stacked in favor of the establlshment. Conflicts of interest are everywhere. Lack of common courtesy is the norm. Arrogance among judges is epidemic. Everyone in the system jumps to conclusions. The facts are rarely what they seem at first. There are experts on every side of an argument. No one is as smart as they think they are. (4) Compared to committees, the U.S. legal system is a paragon of impartiality and rationality.
Aug. 15, 2013
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Double standards and a bit of chauvinism seem to be running through this thread. “We” are great experts who've won all the titles. We “know” what expert methods are … all over the world. What “they” say about their methods is self-serving. “We” understand these kinds of bidding decisions, the rest of “you” don't. “We” know we're supposed to bid our vulnerable games at imps with wild distribution. But “they” are just unknown foreigners. “We” wouldn't pass 3 hoping that it makes exactly nine tricks, and that Meckwell's team won't bid game. But for “them,” passing 3 is a logical alternative.

Was it really a “logical” alternative to stop in 3, with a 5026 hand, vulnerable at imps, against ANY team of world champions, let alone this one?

Or do we just think that passing 3 was a logical for a team of unknown foreigners?
Aug. 15, 2013
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“Professional players who might be essentially testifying on record against current/future/potential employers” … or teammates … or partners … or competitors … shouldn't be involved in the process at all. They have a conflict of interest that should disqualify them.

But they are involved. That's just one thing wrong with the current appeals process.

Aug. 15, 2013
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If the appeals panel would have bid 4 over a 3 bid without a break in tempo, then that's what the laws require the 5026 hand to bid.

The “logical alternative” suggested by a BIT is passing, not bidding. When there was a break in tempo 3 the 5026 hand would know it would catch a poorly-fitting 3-card raise invitation with wasted cards in s. The ethical thing to do would be to bid 4 knowing it was a favorite to go down. The unethical thing to do would be to pass.

Another post suggested that the 5026 hand had the unauthorized information that it could set up a fourth round winner in Hearts because Kxx behind dummy could be ruffed out.

If you're 5026 with a weak 5 card suit and only three trumps opposite, ruffing their suit three times to set up a fourth round winner is irrelevant. You can't pitch your 6-card side suit on one or two Heart winners. You need to be able to do is establish your side suit at the same time you draw trumps.

Nothing about the BIT suggests that.

Aug. 15, 2013
John Brady edited this comment Aug. 15, 2013
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“I believe 90% of experts would think of 3 as a strong invitation with a fit.”

Because West's 3 already promised a strong invitation with a fit, then what extra information did East receive from a break in tempo?

Actually, West had a poorer hand than his previous bidding promised because the auction suggested that the Queen of s was not working.

A better case can be made that the laws required East to bid 4 than to pass. As Geoff Hampson points out below, if East had any information from the break in tempo it was that West had wasted HCP in s, and passing 3 was the logical alternative that East was not allowed to take.

The Break in Tempo suggested that bidding will be LESS favorable to East-West than passing.
Aug. 9, 2013
John Brady edited this comment Aug. 9, 2013
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Is there really unauthorized information in this auction?

West has a minimum opening hand with only 3 card trump support.

Isn't that what East should expect from a hand that passed over 2, cue bid 3 over a simple balancing 2, and then only bid 3 over 3 doubled?

As Geoff Hampson points out, if there was unauthorized information from a break in tempo, it was that bidding on to 4 wasn't correct. I agree with Eric Goff: after the hesitation, 4 may have been the “ethical” call.
Aug. 9, 2013
John Brady edited this comment Aug. 9, 2013
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“At this level, bidding sooner, rather than later shows a weaker hand does it not?”

That depends on the partnership's agreements or on their lack of them.

“Since W is unlimited, and even with 3 card S support, there may be a slam in C (and NOT in S), E is duty bound IMO to get the C suit in the auction ASAP.”

Perhaps East-West didn't have good agreements about what happens next after the 3 cue bid. Some posters in this thread think it shows s, some think it's a cue bid for s. If their partnership didn't have firm agreements about what a direct 4 or 4 showed, one way for East to handle the situation is to pass and then bid 4 rather than make an ambiguous bid.
Aug. 9, 2013
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“The only reason to pass over the double is to give partner a choice of bidding game or not.”

I disagree.

East has several problems to consider. For example, There are several ways to get to 4. East has to consider what other ways to get to 4 might suggest to partner. If they don't have a firm agreement about what a direct 4 or a new suit bid like 4 mean, East might choose to bid pass then 4 over 3 because that way East can keep control of the auction.

Another problem: If you pass over 3 doubled, West bids 3 and North bids 4, will you be willing to pass that and invite partner to double? Suppose South does the unexpected and bids 4 and West doubles. Are you willing to pass? If you'd be willing to defend 4 doubled, you can't get there if you bid 4 directly.



Aug. 9, 2013
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One problem I have with director and committee rulings in these situations is that,\ decisions are frequently made without regard to the methods of the players involved.

Of course, that's wrong. In a normal setting, if you give a group of players a bidding problem and ask them what the right bid is, they'll all ask: “What are our methods?” or “What would such and such mean?” In fact, Law 16 provides that the players' methods must be considered.

But on this thread, and in practice, we see the attitude that any statement the players make about their own methods is considered “self-serving.”
Aug. 9, 2013
John Brady edited this comment Aug. 9, 2013
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I don't find East's comments to be self-serving.

East is vulnerable at imps against not with a 56. Partner is known to have an invitational hand with at least 3-card support and opening bid count. The opponents have about 18 or 19 HCP, and a 9 or 10 card fit in your void. The opponents have bid and raised your void suit strongly, so your partner probably has little or no wasted strength in that suit. A bidding panel would conclude that the chances either of making a vulnerable game, or bumping the opponents up to 4H or 5H doubled, dictate bidding the hand the way East did.

There was a long thread on Bridgewinners about letting Monaco play in the Spingold. Many of the posters complained loudly about unequal treatment for stars. I didn't agree with that specific incident, but one area where I do agree is director's rulings and appeals committees.

If a star pair, like Meckstroth-Rodwell for example, had bid 4S with the East hand, I suspect directors and appeals committees would have found that bidding game was clearcut.
Aug. 9, 2013
John Brady edited this comment Aug. 9, 2013
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I think a partnership would have to play a lot of sessions before it gained an advantage, if any, from Gitelmoss 2.

One purported advantage of using a strong 2 with “natural” one-level bid systems is that they require fewer artificial sequences. For that reason, you have fewer artificial sequences to remember in constructive auctions. You also have fewer sequences that require a new set of artificial responses to untangle if opponents interfere. Since you usually bid what you have, in theory you got most of your message across already.

But as the number of artificial sequences in a “natural” one bid/strong 2 system proliferate - and elaborate 2C structures are just one example - perhaps we should reconsider our decision not to start with a strong 1 framework to begin with.
Aug. 8, 2013
John Brady edited this comment Aug. 8, 2013
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Some of the comments on this thread have moved away from Asymmetric partnership bidding onto a different topic - describing tendencies to downgrade and upgrade in terms of HCP ranges.

I have the same concerns as Yuan. I play 15-17 NT, but I frequently upgrade 14 hands with a 5 card suit and good spots. So far it sounds like the range should be described as 14+-17.

But wait. I also downgrade 15 HCP hands with 4333 and mediocre spots far more frequently than most players. My hand evaluation at the table approximates KnR hand evaluation. 14+ to 17 seriously misleads the opponents about my tendencies and hand evaluation. They'll never expect a 14+ to 17 NT hand to have 15 balanced if it hasn't opened 1NT, and they'll expect a 14+ to 17 HCP NT to open 1NT with 14 far more frequently than I do.

What to do about that?

Perhaps the ACBL's current attitude about describing a NT range that might be upgraded can be traced to pairs who often upgrade but NEVER downgrade. I've noticed that pairs who like to play 14-16 NTs tend to upgrade so frequently, sometimes with no visible justification, that it amounts to a partnership understanding that the range is really 13 to a bad 16. Many of those partnerships upgrade 12 HCP NTs with a 6-card minor, further morphing the range into 12 with any 6-card suit to a bad 16.

What to do about that, indeed?

Aug. 8, 2013
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Keep things in perspective. What harm was done here?

Some of the suggestions in this thread seem like a solution in search of a problem.

If a team of little known players showed up at 7:30 and tried to enter, and were turned away, that would be bad behavior by the ACBL.

The solution to bad behavior isn't to treat everyone badly, it's to treat everyone well.

Aug. 5, 2013
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