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All comments by Jonathan Goldberg
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To attain native fluency in a language you must grow up with it; no amount of work will substitute for that. Likewise, with a musical instrument, twenty is far, far too late.
March 29, 2016
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Great writers, composers, and painters just keep getting better and better.
March 29, 2016
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I bid 5D because I really like diamonds. 4D, even if forcing (I think it is forcing) is a preference. The jump shows good trumps in context, which is what I have. This is as good a way to get to slam as is available.

Anyone who thinks this is Exclusion Blackwood needs to go back on their meds.
Sept. 21, 2014
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If you bid 2C Stayman how will you continue after a 2D reply?
March 14, 2014
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I made this overcall with some trepidation. I would never have considered it except against a Precision 1D opening. The nebulous 1D is a weak spot in Precision, and I believe in jamming it up to make up for the times I face their 1H and 1S openings, which are the system's strongest bids. Page Jeff Rubens here.

Even so, this vote makes me think twice.
March 13, 2014
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You are correct.
March 13, 2014
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Well, David, I see you're getting the blame for this (I was David's partner, holding the North cards). As for me, I agree with Woolsey's analysis and don't assign blame to anybody. Particularly at matchpoints, an occasional disaster like this is just a board. If they never make a contract you double…

Jeff: we in fact play the methods suggested in the article to which you link.
March 13, 2014
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The reason I don't lead a spade is that I'm afraid partner has his bid. Suppose his suit is A109xxx. Unless RHO is a nutcase there isn't room in the deck for partner to also have an outside entry. So, we need to set up tricks elsewhere, in either clubs or hearts. I picked hearts but clubs isn't impossible.
March 12, 2014
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But I do have a fit in spades. With a void and the short hand taking the force, if partner has strong spades a 4-3 fit could play very well. Double keeps this possibility alive.
Feb. 25, 2014
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Surely this is responsive. Right?
Feb. 25, 2014
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It's hard to get too excited about this. Leads against a grand slam rarely make much difference; the contract is going to make or not. Bird and Anthias' brief chapter on the subject backed to conventional wisdom here; anything could be right or wrong, there's no real way to tell the difference, and the percentages are within about 1% of each other. I'd avoid the heart, since it might give up a trick and won't gain even if partner has the queen. We're not trying to set up a trick, after all. Other than that, it's a wash.
Feb. 25, 2014
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I think these comments too easily dismiss the advantage of the simulation approach; namely, the enormously greater sample it offers compared to anyone's experience. One simulation is (roughly, using some simplifying assumptions) equivalent to 30 regional tournaments holding the same hand and hearing the same auction.

Given this fantastic sample disparity, I need to be convinced NOT to use their results. Even allowing for flaws, such as the overly great bias toward ace leads, which I think is a valid point, mpstly the Bird and Anthias results seem to me the new benchmark. For them not to be an improvement where on current beliefs they would need to be systematically wrong by a lot. So far, nothing anyone has said has made me think that they are wrong by much, even conceding individual cases.

My comment above mentions a few important areas in which I'm impressed by their conclusions. Even concerning leading aces there are some cases where the assumed double dummy continuation is not a significant factor. And while assuming that a player at the table will always find the best continuation is clearly too optimistic, sometimes that play can be found; the chance to do so is a plus, even if B&A's technique overweights it.

Also, the authors do explain their rational. They do not cover every possible objection, but what they say makes sense to me. And if, as Debbie says, there is a study indicating that the double dummy estimate of results is unbiased, that is a very strong factor in favor of the simulation method.
April 12, 2013
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It seems to me that a minimum hand, which has nothing to express beyond what was shown by the opening bid, should pass and give partner the option to defend, not unilaterally commit the partnership. By this logic a bid shows extra offense, which presumably would have accepted the game try.

It's a little off topic, but might someone explain the logic of using 3C as the limit raise? It's always seemed to me that the intermediate bid was needed more as a game try opposite a single raise than for anything else. But lots of people do it this way; so, what am I missing?
April 8, 2013
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I just finished reading both this and Winning Suit Contract Leads. If this stuff is right, a lot of what I thought I knew about opening leads is wrong. And as far as I'm concerned, these books are the best evidence available.

I do expect to need to re-read them, perhaps several times. It's often hard to extract principles that would allow reaching the correct conclusions without having to analyze 5000 deals in one's head at the table.

However, several things stand out:
1) Leads from honors are riskier, and leads from small doubletons better, than I thought.
2) Touching honors are better leads than I thought.
3) Leads from KJxx are a no-no.
4) Garozzo's rule (if I see a singleton I lead it) is practically the word of God; in fact, the authors call a singleton to lead “a gift from on high.” Although they do find a couple of exceptions.
5) I have been avoiding leading or under leading aces like the plague. Although
all their conclusions this area is perhaps the one most susceptible to bias from the double-dummy analysis method they use, this will have to be revised.

Et. cetera several times over. I'm most interested in what others think of all this. Also, although the authors don't consider the problem, does adopting these methods imply changes signaling? And if so what changes?
April 8, 2013
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Each to his/her own on this. I went to Las Vegas once. It was blazing hot, nothing was within walking distance of anything else, I find casinos depressing; all in all, an environment to endure, not to enjoy.
April 29, 2012
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There is no way that I can see to enlist partner's cooperation here. I must decide for the partnership here.
One point about 5C that hasn't been mentioned is that you might make it. Pass/pass is my second choice, but risks a double game swing. 5C has three ways to win: it makes, it's a good sacrifice (remember, you might be sacrificing at the five level against a slam), or the opponents go wrong. Never bidding a nine card suit is too deep a position for me, and none of the other club choices make sense. So, 5C for me.
Feb. 26, 2012
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This subject is a button for me. I'm not a youngster (I recently retired) but my masterpoint total does not reflect my skill level. As evidence for this I note that for a while I doubled my MPs and tripled my partners. Before I got chewed out and stopped I had a record of 13 and 4 in KO matches.

I know that what my game needs is competition with good players. So far, I haven't impressed the better players around here enough that they want to be my partners or teammates. But having to play down in fact, although not in MP total, is quite frustrating. I rack up a lot of wins but they don't mean anything or improve my game.
Feb. 26, 2012
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