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Parrish's article in Bridge World March 2013 is about pros, cons, and problems of the immediate 2H double negative. One problem: AFTER 2C-2H*, IS OPENER'S REBID OF 3 OF A SUIT FORCING OR NON-FORCING? Whichever method is chosen, agree how to bid the opposite hand. Another problem: HOW DOES RESPONDER SHOW A POSITIVE RESPONSE WITH LONG HEARTS? The article recommends:

(1) 2C-2H*; 3 of a suit = natural and game forcing!
(Your partnership could agree to play the opposite way. Discuss.)

(2) 2C-2H*; 2S* = PUPPET to 2NT so opener can make a non-forcing bid of 3 of a suit. Responder only bypasses 2S with extreme distribution. (Discuss whether to bid the suit naturally or by transferring into it2C-2H*; 2S*-2NT*; 3 of a suit = natural, non-forcing.)

(3) Alternatives for positive responses with Hearts: (a) Bid 2D* and leave opener maximum room to show his hand type; or (b) at the risk of wrong-siding a NT contract, you can agree to use an immediate 2NT response as a substitute for a natural 2 Heart positive; or © a superior alternative, per Parrish, is to play 2C-2S* = Hearts and 2C-2NT* = Spades. (Discuss with partner.)

Other Parrish recommendations:

(4) With a 2-suiter not good enough to force to game over the 2H* double negative, open one of a suit instead of a strong 2C.
(5) 2C-2H*; 4M = to play.
(6) 2C-2H*; 2NT, 3NT, and 4NT = NT hands with ranges progressively bigger than a 2NT opening.
(7) 2C-2D*; 3C-3D* = artificial and forcing, giving opener room to rebid 3 of a Major with 6(+)Cs and 4 of a Major.
(8) 2C-2D*; 3M = 4 card M and 6(+) Diamonds.

It's all playable, but I like 2D waiting and Kokish.
Aug. 31, 2015
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No opening 3NT convention comes up very often, no matter what you use 3NT for. So I don't think lack of frequency is a strong reason for criticizing Gambling 3NT. The real value of Gambling 3NT is the negative inferences you get about partner's hand when they don't open 3NT.

The same goes for many other conventions. Players often say “We started playing the ‘abc’ convention, but it never seemed to come up.” But conventions, or treatments, also have to be evaluated on the negative inferences your side gets when that convention, or treatment, isn't used.

Take Bergen raises, for example. You may go several sessions without a 1M-Bergen 3C bid. But every time your partnership bids 1M-2M, opener gets valuable information about how many trumps are in dummy. If Opener has a weak four card side suit opposite three trumps, that often will be an extra loser. Opener starts off on much firmer ground about how aggressive to be in constructive or competitive situations.

Maybe that information is or isn't enough to tip the balance in favor of a convention or treatment for you. Maybe the loss of another use for the bid is too much of a disadvantage for a particular convention or treatment. OK, but your evaluation has to consider not only the advantages and disadvantages of using the bid, but how frequent and how valuable to you the negative inferences will be to the rest of your auctions when a convention or treatment that you're playing doesn't come up.
Aug. 31, 2015
John Brady edited this comment Sept. 12, 2015
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In normal Bergen, 3C already shows a split range. It's either 6-7 or 8-9. Opener bids 3D to give Responder to bid game with a good 3C raise or sign off with a bad 3C raise.

Doesn't seem like any competitive advantage to split the range into a 6-7\10-11 instead of 6-7\8-9. Seems like the opponents will get to make lead directing doubles with about the same frequency with either method. It might even be more critical to deny opponents an additional opportunity to make a lead-directing double when responder has 10-11.
Aug. 31, 2015
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(1) KJ932 is a 5 card suit. AKQJ10 is a 6 card suit. 65432 is a 4 card suit. Use your judgement with suits in between.

(2) I'm surprised at Mike Lawrence. 100% means “always”. In bridge, “always” and “never” are naughty words. Grown-ups should avoid using bad language like that around young and impressionable minds … and around everyone else too.
April 7, 2015
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Corey: God didn't invent Flannery.

The Devil did.

April 7, 2015
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The Woolsey defense to 1NT should never have been Mid-Chart to begin with. The ACBL's justification for keeping it off the GCC has been that it's too hard for club players and the general membership to defend against.

It isn't now, and it never was.

For decades, all the senior citizens, beginners, and “B” and “C” flight players in the clubs I play in have used the “stolen bid” method after ANY double, and after any 2C or 2D interference to 1NT, whether natural or conventional.

They've also used 3C as Stayman after 2D or higher interference.

If one or two of the opponent's suits was unknown, but 3NT seemed the likely contract, they simply bid it and let the opponents work out what to lead.

They've managed pretty well with those methods whatever the opponent's bids meant.

Ironic that there's now quite a bit of support among experts for that kind of “stolen bid” approach.

Since experts have caught up to the general membership and no longer need protection, perhaps the ACBL finally will put it on the GCC ;-)
Jan. 8, 2015
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I agree with Lucio: why are you all thinking of physical books?

It's a digital world. There aren't many reasons to buy a paper copy of a book today. Digital is portable, searchable, and doesn't fall apart over time. A huge disadvantage of physical books is that if you've accumulated a lot of books, you have to have lots of space to store them. E-books take no physical space to store.

E-book publishers have no type-setting, binding, printing, or mailing costs, don't need brick-and-mortar stores for distribution, and don't need warehouse space for storage. The publisher just needs a web-site and e-mail, and software to prevent easy copying of the e-book by the purchaser. Once the book is in digital form, it can be sold indefinitely. No reprinting needed. Inventory lasts forever, or at least until the copyright expires. No further capital investment necessary.

So it seems like e-books should have made publishing, especially self-publishing, bridge books easier, cheaper and more profitable. It also seems that books no longer in print could be a continuing, and low cost, source of revenue to the publisher.

It's not happening so I guess the economics aren't that simple.

Jan. 8, 2015
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Good point Gary. In some ways, a chess game at one table presents fewer problems to broadcast than a bridge game at one table.

On the other hand, they're tracking 624 chess games simultaneously in the Olympiad with real time reporting of the moves … without transmission problems. They're doing something right.

In the recent World Rapid Chess Championship, the technology kept up with all the moves at a much faster pace than classical chess - about 25 minutes a side for the whole game.

In the recent World Blitz Chess Championship, the games had a time limit of 5 minutes for each player. The technology for reporting the moves kept up pretty well. Amazingly, so did the expert commentary.

The pace of card play in a big knockout final isn't as fast as blitz chess, and often slower than rapid chess.
Aug. 4, 2014
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That has been done with many Chess Tournaments. There usually is one official broadcast partner reporting the games in real time move by move with live commentary and live video. For World Championship events, there are different commentators doing commentary in multiple languages. However, other internet sites also report the games simultaneously, have multiple computer programs analyzing the game, and for important tournaments often have different experts doing their own commentary.

This month the Chess Olympiad is going on. There are 154 teams from all over the world. That's 624 games going on simultaneously. There is live video of some of the games on one site, but you can follow all 624 games move by move for free in real time on several sites.

http://www.chess.com/tv

Aug. 4, 2014
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If you just bid 2S, you show a fit with 2S, but you don't commit the partnership to Spades as a strain.

If you have the hand that wants to commit to Spades as the strain, you jump to 3S or 4S depending on whether you have a control in the other suits. Now bids at the 4-level are unambiguously slam tries.

Using 2S with both types of hands is what I think of as the Useless Space Principle. You save space but because 2S is ambiguous, it's not useful. Neither partner knows whether partner's bids on the next round will be inteneded to show shape, concentration of values in the bid suit, no values in the bid suit and a probe for NT, secondary fit in one of the partnership's suits, stoppers, extra strength, cue bidding for slam, or search for the best strain.

As David Yates says: The real problem isn't artificiality. "he real problem is that people cannot agree on natural meanings."

In this thread, and the grand slam hand from the last round of the Spingold, we see disagreement over whether 2S on the second round (1) promises 3 trumps or can be made on Hx (or HH), (2) shows 3 trumps, sets Spades, and the next bid is shape showing, (3) show 3 trumps, sets trumps and allows cue bidding to start early, (4) shows 3 trumps, and the next bid is a concentration of values, (5) shows either 3 trumps or Hx, but does not set Spades as the strain, and (6) if you can't bid 2S with Hx in partner's Major, whether you have to rebid 3m on 5332 or must bid something else.

The worst 2\1 auctions I see, with experts as much as anyone else, are when Responder supports Opener's suit on the second round with 2M, but the partnership hasn't agreed on any of these issues.
July 29, 2014
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Agree with Yuan on the first three hands.

3D on the fourth hand might be awkward if partner has no Heart card. So I'll also go with 2NT. However, if 3NT shows 15-17 in the partnership's methods, that's an alternative.

I don't know that I'm comfortable with 1S-2D; 2NT-3D; 4D and putting the Kx down in dummy. Perhaps 1S-2D; 2NT- and then 4NT over 3D or 3NT would be a better alternative.
July 29, 2014
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Georgiana's story reminds me of “R*A*T*S*” - Betty Kaplan's article in the April 74 BW about how to survive playing bridge with your husband. Edgar was only allowed to use four code words criticizing her bids or play. Reasonable-a misdemeanor. Attractive-a felony. Thoughtful-a heinous crime. Scintillating-a mistake so traumatic he was allowed a word he could hiss at her.

Four defensive hands follow showing how the code worked. On the first three, she made an escalating series of errors: “A REASONABLE return.” “A very ATTRACTIVE switch, dear.” “A THOUGHTFUL Jack of Hearts, my sweet.” On the fourth, Edgar led the Queen of Hearts against 3NT. She won the Ace. There was a 6 card running suit in dummy, an outside Ace, and the 10x of Spades. She shifted to the 9 of Spades from A93 to unblock. Edgar won the Jack from KJ84, and … shifted back to a Heart. The declarer made 10 tricks.

“There was electricity in the air; the storm was about to burst. ‘The 9 of spades,’ Edgar began. ‘You had to lead …’ And then he stopped short, for he realized that indeed I had to lead it - it was the only card in my hand that could defeat the contract. Into the sudden silence, I dropped the last word -

SSSSCINTILLATING.”
July 29, 2014
John Brady edited this comment July 29, 2014
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I agree with Michael and Lynn. If we only have an 8-card fit, it's more important to reserve 3NT for an offer to play, and treat bids below 3NT as looking for the best strain, including 3NT.
July 29, 2014
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I don't understand why 2S should commit the partnership to Spades. Sometimes it's right to play NT even if there is an 8-card Major suit fit. One of the advantages of 2\1 GF is that, having established a low-level game force, the partnership can explore strain.

If Responder wants to commit the partnership to Spades, bid 3S on the second round! Send an unambiguous message to partner. What more do you want?

July 29, 2014
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My first impression was that the old website was better. It looked great on a computer screen and, in my opinion, was easier and quicker to use than the new page. So why did the ACBL bother?

Then someone suggested looking at it on a cell phone. Wow! Huge difference. The old website was tough to use on a cell phone screen. The new website is a big improvement.
July 29, 2014
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I agree with Aviv that if the GCC allows a convention it will become familiar. It doesn't take long for people to get used to things they're exposed to.

Once upon a time, negative doubles were called “sputnik doubles.” Many, if not most, of the members didn't play them. Today we play, and enjoy, methods like that that were so strange then. We wouldn't play any of them today if the GCC had banned them as unfamiliar.

People tend to pick up methods of the stronger players in their area. That would happen with the Kaplan Inversion, transfer responses to 1C, Woolsey, and even Multi but only if people get a chance to play against them.

The GCC's “Protect the members from the unfamiliar” reasoning is circular, a self-fulfilling prophecy: Don't let people play certain conventions because they're unfamiliar, but those conventions are only unfamiliar because we don't let people play them … except at rare restricted events.
July 28, 2014
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I don't think Ron's argument about experience in other countries is a strawman. I think it proves the GCC is needlessly overprotective.

Conventions like Kaplan Inversion, transfer responses to 1C, Woolsey and Multi are common in other countries. Some are so common that they're part of the national bidding system. If senior citizens throughout the world can handle them, why not us?
July 28, 2014
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If it were up to a vote of the membership at my club, I'm not sure we would be allowed to play weak notrumps. I don't think a vote of the membership on conventions is a sensible way to go.
July 28, 2014
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John Portwood said: “A Multi cannot be used on its own without consideration of what to do with 2? and 2? openings - and it is inevitable that those who see merit in the Multi will almost certainly change these to 2-suited pre-emptive hands (and if not allowed by ACBL at the moment then they will start campaigning to be allowed to do so).”

That brings up another illogical thing about the GCC. The GCC allows an opening 2H or 2S bid to show a weak 2 bid in the suit with a 4-card minor, but not an opening 2H or 2S bid to show a weak 2-bid with a 5-card minor. What kind of sense does that make?
July 28, 2014
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Absolutely Aviv.

And I can't see how it makes any sense for the GCC to allow transfer responses to a strong club, but prohibit them to a non-forcing club? And why, in response to a non-forcing club, does the GCC allow a 1D artificial response showing nothing, or a 1D response denying a five-card Major, but the GCC doesn't allow a 1D response showing Hearts and a 1H response showing Spades? How does that make any sense at all?
July 28, 2014
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