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All comments by John Torrey
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We have to play West for at least two spades. So (with eight diamonds) he has a singleton (or void) in hearts or clubs, but led a non-suit- preference card for partner to ruff. If he did not have the king of spades he might have hoped partner had the ace of his short suit and signaled for it. (He would know partner has a key card from your auction.) But he didn't do that, so I'm finessing.
Jan. 19, 2013
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I didn't vote, but (as one who aspires to playing Keller but does not know its follow-up details) I'm wondering whether the convention prevents a guilty partner from accepting responsibility for an accident.
Jan. 16, 2013
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“We play wide-ranging preempts, with emphasis on the situation.” This issue probably deserves a topic of its own, but I can't imagine a director requiring a player to preempt (or overcall) against opponents whose methods are geared towards penalties.

In a world championship many years ago Bob Hamman psyched a 1 overcall against the Italians, whose system gave them no way to deal with it - a call that he would probably not have made in other circumstances. I don't think you can legislate against selecting bids and plays according to your opponents' abilities and methods.

The issue is thorny and I'd like to hear other takes.
Jan. 13, 2013
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The club where I run my games has a small office, where the dealing machine is. Boards in the office are there to be dealt. Boards in the playing area are ready to play.

My games use the same box of boards every time, unless I have two sections, which is rare. I duplicate these boards immediately after play. The box is not used by other directors. I use Dealmaster Pro to create the deal file for the next session, while the boards are being played in the current session.

The other boards in the club get a label wrapped around the box handle identifying the deal file for the boards inside, and a printout of all the boards inside the box. It's possible to mess this up but it's a decent framework. If you don't have an office to keep ready/not-ready boxes separate, you could just rip the label off boxes that are not ready. When we've had problems with this it has stemmed from re-using a label by writing over the previous identifier.

Jay and Darleen Bates have a deal-file designation system, where the file name is yymmnnA.pbn. yy is the year the file was made, mm the month, and nn the number of duplicated boards (usually 24 or 33, but sometimes 15 for lesson hands). The A is just a letter that increments to distinguish different sets. (That's the part that gets overwritten and is sometimes hard to read.)
Jan. 4, 2013
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FWIW: I held the hand and bid 3. Partner had 10xxx Kxx Kxx AKx; the play was uninteresting and led to down four, against a making heart partscore at the other table. Partner kindly remarked that if the cards had been more favorably placed he might have gone down two. He was more receptive to the 3 bid later.

I originally abstained in the voting, so as not to bias the outcome. On reflection I don't *like* the 3 call, but I like the other choices less. The problem with Pass is not that we're likely to miss a game: partner does not have a strong notrump (the hand where we might make game but his hands are tied) and will balance on hands where game is good. The problem is that we will have to catch up - responding 3 to a reopening double is just not enough, as Richard Brown says above. (Good-Bad 2NT might help here, but we were not playing that.) So stopping in 3 is not possible if we pass now, which for me makes passing a perverse choice.

I might add that in the actual game, the opening 1 did guarantee three in the suit, but not four. (You can't play five-card majors and guarantee four when you open clubs.) I don't understand the comments saying “For me 1 guarantees four, so…” That system has its own problems. This poll is about the problems you get when it doesn't guarantee four.
Dec. 17, 2012
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Southern Canada - the North Carolina part.
Nov. 24, 2012
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What Henry said. I don't really want to take control, but I value the ability to bid 5NT over the likely 5 response.
Nov. 21, 2012
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My program used the result-deck from one hand as the starting deck for the next one. If the ACBL does this and the same random number seed is used in every session, then knowing one deal would still not tell you about the next, because many many deck orders will produce the same deal, and you would not know where you are in the random-number sequence. In this case you could think of the hands produced in a session as being rooted in the initial physical shuffle. Of course, the same initial random number seed is not used. The process feels very sound to me.
Nov. 13, 2012
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I don't know the computer code of the ACBL deal-generating program, but I understand that each time it is run, the process starts with the human shuffling of an actual deck of cards. The resulting sequence is entered into the comutper, and this is the sequence that is the “random” process starts from. I think this is an excellent procedure. (It's true, though, that some ACBL deal-sets have escaped into play more than once, with bad results when some players recalled hands.)

I wrote a dealer many years back; it didn't start with a physical shuffled deck but it did save the deck after each session, and started with that card-sequence in the next session (with a new random number seed based on the time of day). Also, each new deal started with the card-sequence generated by the previous deal. I thought this was a decent way to shake things up, but I could be wrong. The dealer is no longer in use.
Nov. 12, 2012
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I have a standing bet that in any 36-board printout of computer dealt hands I can find an improbable statistical oddity. (East has the queen of hearts half the time; South averages five cards in clubs; there are too many 4333 hands, etc.) The same is true of shuffled hands, but we don't worry about them, and we usually don't have hand records when we shuffle.

If you look for “statistically unlikely” things in computer dealt hands, you will find them. And you can drive yourself crazy with it. (Many years back someone said that my club's computer hands had improbably many sequences of three or more cards in the same suit. I “wasted” quite a bit of time computing the expected number, and determining that the club hands were not systematically deviant.)

Once the “they're not random” thing gets going, it's virtually impossible to correct. There's always something.
Nov. 9, 2012
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I want to bid a natural 2, and can't under the problem conditions. So I have to abstain.
Nov. 8, 2012
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You sure can't mull and then pass. Did they use the Stop card?
Nov. 8, 2012
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Thanks, Bill. Perhaps we should conclude that an invitational cue would hold four bad spades and a nice 5-card minor on the side…

I'd like to return to the brick-wall “forcing to suit agreement” mantra. I think we'd all agree that this must apply when the opening bid was a minor. When the advancer has both majors and an invitational hand, the cue bid is very valuable.

Can we agree that this does not apply when the opening bid was in spades? There's just no (normal) way to play a 2 cue bid as invitational.

The 2 cue is the in-between case. Bill's examples show that treating 2 as invitational is not insane, but the hands that can bid this must be well-chosen, and we must agree that we can pass a raise or preference to 4 or 4. This is not a bread-and-butter auction. As a cue-forcing person I'll bid 2 on Bill's example hand, and expect that the rest of the auction will be easy. The play in 2 on a 4-3 fit may be challenging, but at least I won't be at the four level. In exchange for this challenge I will have easy game and slam auctions when I do cue bid.


Oct. 27, 2012
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Could someone in the “invitational” camp suggest an appropriate invitational hand (four spades, 11 or so HCP…), and let us know how this hand would bid when the opener bids the least convenient of 2NT/3/3, instead of the convenient 2?
Oct. 26, 2012
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We have to assume that partner was prepared for a 3 or 3 (or 2NT) rebid, and would not have passed these. On these auctions it is virtually impossible to stop short of game - and these are less favorable for game than when we have a spade fit. On this reasoning 3 has to be forcing. (The counter to this reasoning is that when the doubler does not have four spades, she will have extra high-card values…but this is a second-order consideration.)
Oct. 24, 2012
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A committee might cancel your pull, but that does not mean that bidding would be unethical, particularly since/if you had already planned a pass and pull sequence.

If you anticipate the problem you can use it to resolve bid vs pass and pull decisions: bid now if you are worried that a committee might roll back a pull. I don't think that the hand you held is safe, and apparently you're not sure yourself. Henrik is right that your testimony would be self serving, but it could still be credible and have some influence.
Oct. 14, 2012
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DIC = Director In Charge
Oct. 11, 2012
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Not GF according to Bridgewinners:

“1. If responder has game forcing values and five-five in the majors, he can jump to 3H.
2. When responder holds five-four or five-five (with INVITATIONAL values) in the major suits, he can force one round of bidding when he bids 2D.
3. When responder is weak, holds five-five or five-four in the majors, he bids 2H.”

I'm old-fashioned enough to just bid 2 forcing and not worry about 2.

Seems like a lot of brain-strain for an situation that only applies when partner's minor is clubs.
Oct. 9, 2012
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I would bid 3 and be happy.
Oct. 5, 2012
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It's especially important not to play DONT over weak notrumps, when the chance of game your way is vastly increased. Along with that, you probably want overcalls of weak notrumps as constructive rather than nuisance bids.
Oct. 4, 2012
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