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All comments by John D'Errico
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There is a line to be drawn there, and I'm not going to say it is an easy one to draw. That is why we pay our directors the big bucks. (Oh, they don't get paid big bucks?)

Had you passed, and West took another call on a marginal hand that is still just a basic limit raise after a tank by East, then you would have had reason to call the director. It happens all the time. Then the judgment would lie in the hands of your able directors. So, had events gone totally differently, this would be a completely different question. How can you be surprised?

What did happen here is East made a judgement call. As I said, those long broken hearts are a clear recipe for disaster at a high level, unless partner has a big spade stack. But most of the time a cue bid in this sequence has 3-4 trumps, and you really don't want to be anywhere close to game if partner has a scattered 10 count with 3 trumps with this hand. That is the conclusion East came to, apparently after some thought. It is a conclusion I personally agree with.

You can't claim that East did anything in the least wrong here. Simply thinking before you make your bid is not illegal or unethical.

Likewise, you cannot claim that West did anything wrong here. West has 3 card trump support, a singleton and a doubleton in side suits, and serious length in the 4th suit. Calling it a limit raise in spades is not out of line. My personal assessment is that 2♡ is an overbid for West, but that is a judgment call too.

Might they have done something wrong had you not doubled? If West had a different hand? Anything is possible. But it seems you are getting upset at something that might have happened. West might have jumped on the table, playing the bagpipes while dancing a jig.
April 11, 2018
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Hi Don,

While I did not originally check K&R on the hand when I wrote my response, a quick check in my own K&R eval tool shows it to be around a 9 count, which makes complete sense. The A and K are in 3 card suits, with no honors below them. Separated honors, scattered around the hand. 4333 shape. UGH.

So if 1NT goes up to a 10 count, then 1NT is probably the best description of the hand. (One reason I asked what 1♢/1NT shows.)
April 11, 2018
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Personally, I think that while East does have a decent hand, it is not good in context of the auction.

North opened the bidding 1♡. East overcalled 1♠. Did you raise hearts? Nope. So South has short hearts. Possibly as few as zero hearts. That means East will need a lot of ruffs in dummy in a spade game. East might not even win a trick with the ace of hearts.

How many trump could East expect to see for a cue bid? 3 or 4. With 5 or more trumps, West might have either jumped to game, or at least has a chance to bid again, despite East just returning to 2♠.

East has a nice suit, but it lacks the ace of trumps. So it is entirely possible the defense might start out with a couple of quick trumps. Now how many heart ruffs will East get in dummy opposite what might be a 3 card raise?

We also don't know if you might have shown some body language here. Some people are pretty good at reading tells. If you looked hungry, East might have seen it.

Was the West hand really worth showing that hand as a limit raise+ in spades? It seems a little pushy, but not that far off. And, no, I would not bother to show the club suit. Make one noise, support partner, but then be willing to subside from the auction.

So East thought about how the play will go in a spade game for a few seconds. You are allowed to think. East retreated to 2♠, which tells the story that in the his/her opinion they were not interested in going further. 2♠ does not say that West could not bid again. Maybe that limit raise+ hand that West has announced is a real monster? Fine, but then West can take another bid.

At the end, you made a double, and defended poorly. You would not be complaining had you gotten a good score for setting the contract.
April 11, 2018
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Since the CoC were not matchpoints but IMP pairs, will your opinion change?
April 10, 2018
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While you told us much of what you are playing, you have not said what 1NT would show here. Thus 6-9? Since 2♢ is LR+, it must be forcing for at least one round. Would 2♢ be forcing at least to 2NT, or to 3♢?

It seems you have two equally descriptive choices, with a subtle distinction between them, thus 2♢ or 2NT.

2♢ would tell partner about the diamond fit, and I might guess is forcing at least to 3♢. It has the virtue that if partner does have a huge hand and a good suit, that 5♢ or 6♢ are still there to find. On the other hand, your diamonds are poor, so if this is forcing to 3♢ (as is not uncommon) then 2NT is out of play. And if partner may have a random balanced collection of crap, subject only to the requirement they have 4+ diamonds, then two 3343 hands with 11-12 points each may play poorly in a 9 trick contract.

2NT, assuming it is passable, is the best way to stop short in what may be a safe place in case partner can be a balanced 12 count or even 11 as is not uncommon these days. In that event, 1NT would be safer yet, but would significantly misdescribe your hand.

So I see this as a question with insufficient information to provide an answer. What are the lower limits of partner's hand to open 1♢? How far is 2♢ forcing? And finally, are you an optimist or a pessimist?
April 10, 2018
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“And, it might confuse the Fantasizers trying to pick Bye vs. Bye.”

Worse, I might get that one wrong too. How embarrassing would that be?
April 4, 2018
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1♣ is not as wide ranging as an 11-24 point 1♣, that promises nothing about the hand.

What is the probability that you will have say 16+, as opposed to 11-24, with at least 2 cards in some suit? You are overloading the 1♣ bid, which makes it too vulnerable to a preempt.

So you will indeed get much interference over 1♣, once people start to see that it works well against a bid that says literally nothing about the hand.

It was indeed sarcasm about 2♣. But 2♣ has better uses available for it, than a bid that arises once a year.
March 31, 2018
John D'Errico edited this comment March 31, 2018
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So both 1♣(11-24) and 1♢(11-21) are wide ranging, as short as 2 cards, are both essentially forcing. (1♢ is passable if responder is VERY weak.)

Then 2♣ is used to show that very common hand type, with 25+ HCP.

And 2NT is also strong.

Did I miss any other strong, forcing opening bids?

I think you are aiming too much at the big hands. Yes, slams are nice. But the bread and butter comes from bidding games at bridge. And hands with 12-13 opposite 12-13 points are much more common than hands with 24 points opposite 2.

For me, the system is a quick pass. Your opponents will quickly learn to bid aggressively, particularly against 1♣. A very wide ranging bid that may show essentially nothing useful in the suit is a lightning rod for aggressive bidding.
March 31, 2018
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So every time someone gets something right, they must be doing something “suspicious”?

Declarer has 8 tricks on top.

West led a low spade from a collection of crap, so they did not have a better choice of lead. If West did have a collection of 4 clubs to the king, they might have led one instead. (Unless of course, West is a bot.) That increases the odds slightly that Easy has the club king. And given the initial lead, you have time to play just a bit in clubs.

A low club off dummy tests the nerve of East, especially if you think they are at least a slight favorite to hold the king. If East pops the king, you have found a 9th trick, and can still play for more. If East plays low, in case they held the jack, then your 10 will force the king. Again, a 9th trick. So a low club from strength in dummy has much that can go right there.

Instead, leading a club to the queen is staking a lot on a finesse, especially if you think it is at least a slight favorite to lose. And a low club from dummy does not prevent you from taking a club hook later. It also helps you to pick up the suit in case clubs are 3-3.

So personally, I think the play of a low club from dummy was a reasonable shot.

When East does pop the king in second seat, you still have time for another play in the suit. After all, one possibility is the clubs may split 3-3. But what holding is East most likely to pop up with the king from? Someone who has a doubleton king might have something to fear. If East plays the 9, and you do have the jack and it wins, then you might even guess to drop their king on the next round. So it takes nerves to smoothly play low there. It is much easier for East to duck if they have length in clubs.

If they have a doubleton, what doubleton might East have? East certainly did not start with KJ doubleton. Ok, if East is Zia, holding the KJ tight, popping up with the king in second seat, to then win the jack later on a finesse would get you into the bulletin. But assume East is some random club player. If they play the king, they do not have the jack. So you know that West has the club jack. The one initial holding that can pay off nicely, in case you are hoping for some luck, is to find East with K9 tight.

So I see nothing that declarer did that was not just sound reasoning, with just a hint of prayer thrown in.
March 29, 2018
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Yep. Lets say you are playing in the club, and an opponent does something insane. Well, you might get a laugh about it with friends in the bar afterwards, but it will stop there. If a bot did the same thing, immediately someone will post the action on the BBO forums or BW, and everyone will be commenting on how bad the bots are, and bemoan that we cannot use some other bot on BBO.

Admittedly, my partner is still peeved at one of our ops who decided to pass a 4NT Blackwood ask, because he did not like his 10 point hand. Everyone else in the club was in slam, going down, because of a bad trump split. She may never let that one go.

Club players do as many strange things as the bots, and more. People forget things. They miscount a suit. Bots do none of that. Yes, they have some quirks, and you can learn how to deal with them, just as you learn which club players will ALWAYS cover a jack when you lead it. The better you understand your opponents, the better will you be able to play bridge against them.
March 26, 2018
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I can just hear the bots screaming DIRECKTOR! They have an “undisclosed” agreement to use Brozel, when I assumed they were using Cappelletti.

What does a bot scream sound like anyway? 101110111100111010111011011011011111101?
March 25, 2018
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There are a lot of things to learn about BOTS. It does not take Zia to win, but if Zia did spend the time to learn to play against them, he would do well. It is not just the leads, but to learn things like which situations involve restricted choice. And there are many situations that might not seem like a classic RC play.

AJxxx

Kxxx

Suppose that is your trump suit? You are missing the QT32.

Cash the king, see the 32 appear. Now, lead towards dummy, the 10 appears? What are the odds that RHO has the queen?

2-1. This is a case of bot restricted choice.

Left bot, if it had both the queen and ten, assumes that you will always get the finesse right, because it assume double dummy play on both sides. So IF left bot has QT, it will play randomly from the two cards, because it sees that the cards are effectively equals. That means if it does play the ten, then right bot is a 2-1 favorite to have the queen.

Of course, this is not true when you play against human opps.
March 25, 2018
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I agree that it would be interesting. But it might also just reflect on the bot play skills of the opponents. And since most people don't have those skills, it would not be a truly fair test.
March 25, 2018
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Their names are Left Bot & Right Bot. And of course, that bane of my existence some days, Center Bot.
March 24, 2018
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They do not look into your hand. Nor do they see their partner's hand on defense or in the bidding. So limited information.
March 24, 2018
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As a frequent strong clubber, a card that expanded the space provided to minor suit openings and 2♣ & 2♢ would be helpful. Not that I could squeeze 40 pages of notes into it without microprinting though.

A tablet based convention card might be nifty. Store all your convention cards in electronic form, where they can be now quite expansive, thus a great way to store complete system notes too.

Of course, a tablet convention card would also be a serious problem in this day where people might use a tablet for the wrong purpose. And of course, a tablet would be forbidden to carry into a tournament anyway. But it would make a great convention card.
March 23, 2018
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Rajan - Self-alert works great for online or behind screens, because partner is not privy to your self-alert. But in face to face bridge, self-alerts would be a problem, because partner also receives the information.

As far as no alert being required for something as long as it is written on the convention card, that would force someone to study every card for people who arrive at the table. While a great thing if possible, it would make pair games like wading through molasses. Worse, suppose you read and memorized the card of pair A-B yesterday, but they changed something important on it overnight? So you would need to study every card, every time a pair arrives.

The idea of providing cards for general systems is interesting, like the standard yellow card. The problem for more advanced cards is I don't know of any two pairs who are willing to play the same version of precision. Even playing 2/1 with a variety of friends, all insist on subtly different variations when I play with them. So any card filled out in advance would be immediately scribbled all over. This may be something that works better online.
March 22, 2018
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I tried to “like” this twice. But that just unliked it. So I liked it eleven times. ;-)

As Jeff says, aiming at students also targets their parents. You may even find that you gain some parent members who start playing with their kids. You may bring some parents (who already know bridge but are not members) into the ACBL. There may also be some teachers who will find the game.

Aiming at students creates a population that may not be heavily involved for some part of their lives. But getting the seed in there helps, even if you only gain a few members. While a person who gets interested in bridge at 65 when they retire is good to have, they will often never progress beyond the novice games. A student who learns bridge has 50+ years of potential play time, and they will help to keep the open ranks alive.
March 19, 2018
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I second the motion.
March 17, 2018
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Ed is also my stock market guru, providing advice on which stocks to buy and sell. Along the way, guiding me into turning a large fortune into a very small one. ;-)
March 10, 2018
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