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All comments by John Torrey
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I lead the heart because I just know what partner will do if declarer leads towards t he jack, if I don't.
Dec. 16, 2015
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If “Minor suit Stayman” is not a request to bid a four-card minor, then it is misnamed. The 2 bid used here is no such request, because the responder could be weak with six clubs and one diamond.

So the convention name (which may be in common use in that region) is grossly misleading in itself. If I played that convention I would have to call it something else. Maybe “Blackwood” would be better.
Dec. 3, 2015
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I was directing at a sectional tournament when a player asked me if 3 negative after a natural 2NT opening was altertable. (“Some people play 2 negative after they open a strong 2. We play 3 negative after we open 2NT.”) I told them to alert.
Oct. 25, 2015
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The problem as stated is unclear: “He showed his hand and had told my partner to lead. Of course even looking at all the hands she could not see the promotion and did not make the correct play.” I would take this as meaning that declarer faced his cards and the defenders faced theirs, but others think declarer showed the leader his hand.
Oct. 22, 2015
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Yes, the club finesse would be proven, if it were needed. But in the end position, even the six of clubs is simply a winner. West's remaining clubs are the five and the two.
Oct. 10, 2015
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Yes, declarer did cash all the spades before leading the club. There are clear entry disadvantages to doing this, but from declarer's perspective it probably looked as if the club play would be crucial, and the spades might give some information - as it did, when East showed out. He was far from sure to make his contract at that point, much less an overtrick.
Oct. 8, 2015
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Similar approach works for IMP penalties in KO matches.
Oct. 5, 2015
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The result that it takes seven riffle shuffles to randomize a stacked deck is well known. But in the real world of duplicate bridge, most of the time we shuffle we are starting from a deck consisting of the four hands previously played with that deck, with the cards in each hand shuffled by the players who held them (as Law 7C requires), or at worst in the order they were played. If we dealt from that deck without additional shuffling, a player who had just previously played that hand would have a negligible chance to exploit his knowledge. Anyone else would have no more chance than he would with a completely random deck. In bridge terms the primary predictable effect would arise if one original hand had (say) many cards of one suit, or a very large number of honor cards. It would be impossible for all of them to be dealt to the same hand, because no destination hand would get more than four cards from the original hand.

I would conclude that in the normal bridge-shuffling situation, three shuffles are more than enough, and one shuffle could be expected to produce results indistinguishable from truly random.

The distinction between “unpredictable” and “random” is interesting. Deals from unshuffled decks consisting of played hands can be expected to pass the most rigorous statistical tests for randomness, but still have elements predictable by a very observant player who had played the original hands.


Sept. 27, 2015
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The Bridge Captain Double Dummy Solver (http://www.bridge-captain.com/downloadDD.html) allows you to click on one card at a time, and to back up and try alternate lines. Display of DD-best choices is optional and probably best left inactive for classes (though it can be a neat thing to activate briefly for fun).

The program lets you load a pbn (or other) file and advance through the lesson hands. You might want to rotate them (by editing the file - an easy process) to make South declarer. You can rotate them individually on the fly, but the process is a bit awkward and may require re-entering the contract.
Sept. 11, 2015
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East will win the second club on this line - there's no upside to ducking.
Sept. 10, 2015
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I've looked at the same kind of thing for 23 tables, which is otherwise an awkward number. With a relay/bye-stand base movement, two tables #1 and one table #12 have to share 4 boards. If the #1's each play the first and the #12 plays the second, the first #1 to finish gets the extra second board and gives its played board to table #12. It's probably better than the 2-board share in a single 12 table section with a relay/bye stand. You would want to arrange the tables carefully so that the sharing tables are not too far apart.
Aug. 31, 2015
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I've toyed with the idea of having two 8 1/2 table sections (3 boards per round) with the odd pairs meeting at table 9. To keep separate NS and EW fields you would have EW stationary in the second section. Needs only 2 sets of boards and should be smooth once set up.
Aug. 31, 2015
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There are several comments to the effect that the partnership “should” have agreements.

Clearly, partnership agreements would have avoided this result. Of course! But this kind of partnership is absolutely normal in the world of bridge that I see at my club. It's still bridge, and the ability to make bids that succeed amid this uncertainty is a real skill and is rewarded. (It's something like the skill of a good rubber bridge player.) As it is, and in the context of American-normal bidding, I think West was clearly at fault. If East had been a near-expert and West a near-novice, then I would give East most of the responsibility. And of course, East should say, “Sorry - I thought it was forcing,” in the actual situation. (My friend thought that East should bid 2 instead of 2, but there are enough comments about that to make me wonder.)

Let the one who has never started a session without discussing this auction cast the first stone.
July 25, 2015
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My poll a few years back asked how people started playing - a different question from learning the game. See http://bridgewinners.com/article/view/how-you-started-playing-bridge/

I found the low numbers for lessons and for late-starters depressing.
July 24, 2015
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I would not ask, but asking is not unsportsmanlike.
July 11, 2015
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My opinion only: A pre-ALert is required and the system is not GCC legal. I am not sufficiently current on mid-chart procedures to say whether it could be played in mid-chart events without advance clearance, but I would expect not.

Edit: Perhaps my first reading was not thorough enough. You have the right to not open minimum hands, and to have agreements about the kinds of minimum hands you will not open. It's an “interesting” in-between case, and I'll consider changing my vote. If there are conventional ways to identify a stronger-than-expected initial pass, these may be restricted and non-GCC.
July 8, 2015
John Torrey edited this comment July 8, 2015
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I held the North hand. I don't consider my auction a model for others to follow. South is a good player but old-fashioned in his bidding; our bidding agreements are not very advanced. I downgraded my void after his 3 rebid, and wanted to leave no doubt as to my spade length, so I simplified the auction. A direct 4 after the 1 rebid would have been ambiguous in our partnership.
June 23, 2015
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Michael's comment is astute, funny and perhaps mysterious to many. For context you can see the companion had as a bidding problem, at http://bridgewinners.com/article/view/bidding-problem-8384/

The companion problem was published with a scrambled auction, now corrected. The opening was 4 but that was not the last 4 bid.
June 21, 2015
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Maybe I'm having a huge blind spot but I don't see how to make it after a diamond from North. Isn't declarer an entry short?
May 20, 2015
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“At one table, the Jack was covered and a Heart led. N/S cashed out their clubs, S did not cash the ♠ ace when in with the ♣ 10 and North did not find the spade shift. + 400.”

So North played a heart after his last club winner?
May 20, 2015
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