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All comments by Matt Blakeley
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Tough run for the New Zealand Open team… after two days they were in 22nd place, the minor matter of 50 VP off 8th spot, and seemingly with only pride to play for. 16 matches later, 13 of them victories including 15-5 over Italy in match 22, they had somehow crept/marched into 8th place with one round to go.

Unfortunately their last match was against a top side, the Netherlands, while the teams in 9th and 10th, Israel and Italy, had easier final games, playing the teams in 21st and 20th.

NZ managed a narrow win over Netherlands in the last match, and Egypt did us a favour by upsetting Israel. But Italy won 18-2 to reclaim the 8th spot. Meanwhile England succeeded in not getting blitzed vs USA2 which was another possible qualifying scenario.

Made for great viewing, but not to be this time. Locals will transfer their hopes to the Rugby World Cup instead…
Sept. 22
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Apologies, don't know how that second round of bidding ended up in the diagram. Question is (hopefully obviously) what to do when your opening bid of 1 is overcalled 4 and it comes back to you. If you choose pass, I'd be interested to know how much better your want the hand to be to take some action…
Sept. 13
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Yep, my question too. I get reversing into 2 after 1-1M, but what are you doing if partner replies 1?
Aug. 14
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I learned trick taking games aged about 4 or 5 on holiday with my parents and older brother, graduating through various forms of whist and others, before learning bridge.

Those holidays were in houses without television. On rainy days and a lot of evenings, card games, Scrabble or Monopoly were the choices.

I now go on holiday with my own kids and they have screens everywhere to keep them entertained. We do play card and board games but much less.


Having stopped playing once I left home, my curiosity about the game was piqued again mainly through reading daily bridge columns. That led me to head along to a club (and being pleasantly surprised to find that there were lots of 30-ish folk in the lessons - I wonder to this day if I would have persevered had the only people in lessons been 60+ in age) where the challenges and subtleties of the game hooked me, presumably for life.

That experience leads me to believe that simply put, bridge needs to be visible to have a hope of surviving in anything like the form it is today. Nowadays that obviously needs to include online visibility.
July 13
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I am sadder about the demise of “had”. As in :

“If I had done x we would have done y.”

Americans seem to say :

“If I would have done x we would have done y. ”

or

“If I did x we would have done y”.
March 8
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How about 3NT?
Jan. 6
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I can't believe I'm arguing with Kit Woolsey, but I'm bewildered by the statement :

“Yes, it most certainly is. West found out how many keycards his partner had, and bid a grand. That shows all the keycards.”

Surely jumping to 7 over partner's response to a key-card auction actually says “I believe we have 13+ winners and no losers with this suit as trumps”.

It doesn't say anything about having all the key-cards. If Bobby Levin had bid 7NT, then I think we'd be confident he had all the key-cards accounted for.
Dec. 3, 2018
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But Jim, after partner hesitated, implying an ace, which you think isn't diamonds, are you now ethically constrained to indeed lead a diamond to avoid seeming to take advantage of the hesitation?
Dec. 3, 2018
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Interesting use of the jump-shift to the minor. Do you have a way to splinter after the transfer?
Nov. 19, 2018
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One of my more animated post session discussions came about after partner failed to ruff dummy's winner with the last trump at trick 12 in fourth seat, because she “knew” that we would lose trick 13 if she was on lead. She was wrong about that and it took a while to convince her that it really couldn't cost to win trick 12 and take her chances on trick 13….
Nov. 15, 2018
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How about SIX diamond tricks.

2 was the winner on this hand.

When the double came in, West decided to sit with KJxxxx of diamonds and Axx of clubs. Opener had AQx of diamonds, A and K for their 13 points, and partner had nowhere to go with a 4333 2-count. But partner's JTxx of spades and JTx of clubs fit rather nicely with South's hand.

Results were 1NTX making an overtrick vs 10 tricks in either major..
Oct. 29, 2018
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Curious about the USA's 1-3-4 auction on board 13. Was 3 game-forcing?

I thought back in those days they were conservative bidders but both Norths opened a 5332 11-count, King-doubleton too, vulnerable in first seat.
Oct. 27, 2018
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What is XX of a “one suit” X? As was mentioned above, is it not possible the doubler has AKQxxxx of diamonds, and 1NT redoubled is about to be down one when we have a cold game in three denominations?
Oct. 5, 2018
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Am I wrong in assuming declarer can't possibly have AKxx of clubs?

Could partner have doubled 1NT at null vulnerability with a singleton club and less than an opening hand?

It might help to know if Liam's partnership thinks Kxx-KQxx-xxx-Kxx is an opening hand or not…
Oct. 5, 2018
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Daniel, having been regularly shafted by opponents who play this style of “take out” double, I would say that most opponents (low level club players) usually sort out things not by “great judgement and detailed agreements” but by fairly blatant use of UI from partner…
Sept. 30, 2018
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And you have a good story in the bar when partner has six to the Jack…
Sept. 9, 2018
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It seems unlikely many other pairs will be in 3NT so I think I have to play partner for either Queen-fifth or Jack-sixth. KS next, 9S after that.

If partner has QTxx and declarer Jack-fourth, a low spade gets us four tricks to save the overtrick but I don't think the overtrick will matter much.
Sept. 6, 2018
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As others have said, a nice read. As a non-US resident I enjoy the detail of what major events over there are like, so I enjoy this style of article.

Late night visits to diners while discussing hands seems very old-school.

You're obviously better than me at forgetting hands / errors - I can't imagine being able to sleep during the day during an event like this. It's hard enough shutting the brain down when midnight comes.
Aug. 15, 2018
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Where I play, West's bid again after pre-empting is 100% guaranteed to show a void in spades. So I don't think 5S is a great place to land. I'd double even at these colours (though it may be I'm being influenced by seeing South's hand. At the table maybe I'd expect better spade spots…).
July 19, 2018
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Is 2NT not needed to be natural given what folk open and raise on these days? If you double with the balanced 18HCP or so hands, do you have a Lebensohl or similar agreement that can cope?
July 19, 2018
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