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All comments by Michael Rosenberg
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Erkki: Yes, if declarer sees the cards, the hand is an easy make. He reasonably chose to play for 3-3 clubs and to make 3 in each black suit, 2 hearts and one diamond.
Sept. 27
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Richard F: Normally the thought would be that partner, who bid 3 (presumably no stopper) and then passed 4, would have a stiff spade. With favorable opponents having 10 spades, East could hope that A was what West needed. Give West (say) x, xx, Kxx, AKQxxxx and 5 normally makes with 4 down at most 2.

I'm sure West and East, with the knowledge of all 4 hands, now each wish they had doubled. But we don't play bridge double-dummy, and bidding is not an exact science.
Sept. 27
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People like it. It's fake news, but it's an attraction and adds interest for some. If they were no longer published, then quite a few would complain.
Sept. 27
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Daniel Z: I completely agree. I don't the match was close to being decided by that hand. Though it's true things went badly for USA 1 in the 5th segment.

I didn't feel the match was ‘over’ until this hand from the final segment (Board 19 from the last set):

https://www.bridgebase.com/tools/handviewer.html?bbo=y&linurl=https://www.bridgebase.com/tools/vugraph_linfetch.php?id=65922

On this hand, Steve Weinstein made an aggressive 3 bid - angling for 3N. Bobby Levin made what I consider a brilliant 4 bid - I think the vast majority would have rebid their 7-card suit, but he showed a deeper understanding of the auction. He then followed that with 4N TO. (Perhaps Steve should have doubled 4, but it was certainly understandable not to do so).

Then Steve made a play that looked strange on the surface - a first round club finesse. But I think, on analysis, that was also brilliant. South's bidding - 3 AND 4 seemed almost certain to hold a singleton. If in clubs, declarer can't make. So it rates to be in hearts - making it very likely that South has 3-card . I doubt I would have figured out to do that - and I was guilty at the time of looking at all 4 hands and assuming 5 would automatically be made.

As it happened, Narkiewicz had bid in offbeat fashion - and had very little offense or defense. Not sure what was in his mind - maybe a semi-psych at the vulnerability. Whatever it was, it worked like a charm - and he found one of the few opponents in the world who would have gone wrong. (Helgemo springs to my mind as another.)
Sept. 27
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Marty H: In your initial comment on this sub-thread, you stated:

“At the other table, Levin-Weinstein understandably did not wade into their opponents' GF auction at the 2-level with that South hand.”

That comment was based on an aberrant thought you were having. And you continued by using the aberrant thought as a data point that either Levin or Weinstein was not as aggressive as Kalita.

You made a false statement about one of the world's top pairs. As far as I know, despite writing many more words in the sub-thread, you still have not stated that you were in error when you made the quoted statement above.

If my pointing any of that out was/is “nitpicking”, then I'm guilty as charged.
Sept. 27
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I don't think they're meaningful either - but I DON'T doubt the wisdom of publishing them…
Sept. 27
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Marty H: “We'll never know whether Weinstein would have overcalled 2H in similar circumstances, because the auction didn't give him the chance. I wasn't criticizing Weinstein, merely commending Kalita.”

Yes, we don't know. What we DO know is that Weinstein overcalled VULNERABLE on the hand I gave - whereas his Polish counterpart passed. So I would say there is clear evidence on one hand that the American player was more aggressive, while the evidence on the OP hand that the Polish player was more aggressive is, at best, fuzzy.

“I expressly noted that my point about the top Italian and Polish pairs was based on personal experience playing against them (and watching them on Vugraph), not on this one hand.”

Exactly. You singled out those countries despite the fact that you have (presumably) had much more experience against American experts. Thus the obvious inference is that you believe American experts are, to their detriment, not aggressive enough.
Now, if you were French…

My own experience is quite different. I think there are aggressive players from each country and conservative players from each country. I would say one of the most aggressive pairs in the world is Brad Moss-Joe Grue. There are Polish and Italian players I regard as conservative - but I won't name them.

However, it's quite possible you are correct and that Polish/Italian ARE more aggressive on average. It would take research to find out - and might be difficult to judge.

One of the many things I learned from Zia is the importance of always thinking about how to get partner off to the right lead.
That's the principle that Kalita followed in the OP hand, and Weinstein (but not Nowosadzki) followed on the hand I gave.

My objection was that you appeared to be ‘using’ the OP hand as evidence that Americans are less aggressive. It might be true, but the OP hand is not evidence - and it's not been my experience.

Btw, I think Lauria has historically been more aggressive than Versace. Versace has one famous 2 overcall, but most of the really ‘nutty’ stuff I remember as being Lauria.
If I remember correctly, Bobby Wolff had a bit of the ‘Lauria style’ in him.
Sept. 27
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Not sure what your saying with “I raise, even playing reverse Flannery”. The relevance of Reverse Flannery is that, not playing it, if you bid 2 on 1-4-4-4 then partner might pass or bid 2 and you might miss a 4-4 or 5-4 heart fit.
If partner bids 2 over 2 he has a game force - at that point Reverse Flannery is not really relevant.
Sept. 27
Michael Rosenberg edited this comment Sept. 27
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Marty H: “In my experience, several of the top Italians and top Poles are more aggressive about overcalling with very weak hands than most top U.S. pairs.

After observing how many good results they seem to get from those light actions, I've started trending in that direction for my own overcalls (I don't mean to suggest that this South hand was ”very weak,“ but it was much weaker than most would like to have for a 2-level overcall, especially in this type of auction).”

As has been pointed out elsethread, it's unfair to use this hand to make an argument that the Polish player (Kalita) was more aggressive than his American counterpart (Weinstein) - because at the other table the 2 response made the 2 intervention impossible.

A true data point of comparison requires the same - or at least similar - conditions.
On Board 18 of set 4 in the same match, Weinstein, at unfavorable, held AQJ106, 76, 5, 107543 and saw the bidding go (1)P-(2) to him. This ‘timid’ American bid 2.
In the other room, on the same auction, the ‘light-acting’ Polish player, Nowosadzki, ventured a pass. Had it been Kalita, maybe he would have bid. I don't know.

Now if you want to show hands that support your argument fine - maybe your premise is correct.

But facts matter.

Btw, Lauria doesn't count. My experience of Lauria (which may be false) is that his overcalls show some hand with length in that suit. I've seen him overcall a 6-card suit, vulnerable, on a hand with almost no values. He seems to be ‘forever young’.
Sept. 27
Michael Rosenberg edited this comment Sept. 27
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“I'm playing this way for long time, and it works without problem.”

I guess that's because, in Monaco, you can call for a redeal with 0-4-5-4 distribution?

Also, I see it as problematic that after 1-1, 2-2, 2N that responder might want to bid 3 with 3-card support, but opener cannot show whether he has 5-card over this. Yes, it's ok with 2-2-5-4 - opener always bids 3, but opener's 3 and 3N bids need to be a function of his heart holding - not his length.
And even if responder has 4-card support, knowing whether opener has 4 or 5-card can be huge.

Bottom line - 1-1, 2 on 1-4-4-4 does not ‘work’. Though, playing Reverse Flannery it is possibly the best solution on a 16 HCP hand with a non-top spade.
Sept. 26
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Right. With any opening range, 1m-1, 1N-2, 2-2N, 3om can be (and sounds like, even without agreement) 1-4-4-4.
Sept. 26
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Absolutely. From my elsethread comment: “if my is a high honor (K is ‘happy’, A or Q acceptable) I open 1N.”
Sept. 26
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Erik: I think of 2/1 auctiona as different. The fourth suit is not FSFG - you were already in a game force. I was talking on;ly about A (one-level opening)-B(one-level response), C (non-jump)-D (fourth suit).

I must say I don't have it clear what 1-2, 3-3, 4 is. I suppose 5-0-4-4 is a reasonable agreement.
Sept. 26
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As I commented elsethread, value of 16 is the ‘impossible’ hand. Also 15 in a light opening style.
Sept. 26
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Andy B: I actually do that. But it doesn't mean I'd want to bid 3 on EVERY 5-5 GF. Bad suits or 5-5-3 might want to go ‘slower’.
Sept. 26
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Marty H: Even if Qx in partner's hand was as much as 30% of all Qx's (and I don't believe it is), the fact that you failed to factor that lowering in makes it appear to me that you are bringing your inherent bias, that leading low is reasonable, into your calculations and arguments. I doubt if you would have made even a small such omission if it bolstered your arguments.

I now looked at the rest of that comment I didn't read (though not every word). I found:

1) “(if an opponent has Qx) LOW is still 1 trick better if partner also has a doubleton.

Not necessarily. You may have to cash 3 there and two elsewhere - while opponents have 9 tricks.


2) ”(When dummy has Qxx) leading high never gains“.

”Never“ is false. For two reasons. First, there is the hand where you cash 3+ tricks in another suit. Second, on the low lead partner could conceivably have a guess when he has xxx and gains the lead. If you lead K then low, no guess.

3) ”(When declarer has Qxx) Low almost never costs the contract (only if declarer has exactly 8 runners in the other 3 suits).“

”Only“ is not true. There are hands where the low lead gives declarer his 8th trick, and allows them to lead the suit back and, later, your partner gets squeezed.

None of these is that likely, but I've seen most of them. I point them out because you were the one who (unjustifiably) brought up the issue of ‘accuracy’ in comments.

* * * * * *

Thinking about it, perhaps the low lead is equivalent to deliberately playing a suit combination against the odds. With (say) AJxx facing Kxxx, playing to drop the Q with an 8-card fit
breaks even some of the time, and certainly CAN win a good percentage of the time. But it's anti-percentage. It makes sense if you want to create a swing.
So maybe my saying that I think leading low is ”'trying to lose'" is better expressed as ‘trying for a swing’.
Sept. 25
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Marty H: “Michael, the most accurate part of your last comment was, ”I'm no mathematician.“ :)”

Ok. Let's look at my comment.

“I started to read this.” 100% accurate - though only I can know..

“I got as far as your saying that if someone has Qx then it's 33% to be partner.” 100% accurate - though only I can know.

“I'm no mathematician but that seems ridiculous to me.” 100% accurate - it DOES seem ridiculous to me. Again, only I can know.

“Partner has about 2-7 HCP. Opponents have about 25-30.” 100% accurate.

“How can partner be 33% to hold a missing high card?” This is a question - it cannot be accurate or inaccurate.

“I already mentioned this issue elsethread.” 100% accurate.

“Btw, note that leading high can beat the contract in the unlikely (though not totally impossible) situation where partner has zero HCP.” 100% accurate.

“Leading low - not so much.” 100% accurate.

“And I suppose that is yet another argument for leading high.” A supposition that seems to me completely accurate.

“If the opponents have extra values (and some percentage of the time they will), leading low is even poorer.” That also seems to me completely accurate.

So your statement “the most accurate part of your last comment was, ”I'm no mathematician", seems t0 me close to 100% inaccurate. You're even further from the truth than you are in your ‘arguments’ for leading low from AKJxx.
Sept. 25
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Louis G: “Just curious, how do you handle 1=4=4=4 too strong to rebid 1NT?”

Thought somebody might ask that.

It's a difficult area. With enough strength (17+) I reverse into 2 (though, playing Reverse Flannery, 1 then 2 works a little better). With 15 I underbid and rebid 1N. I play a sound opening style and have found this surviveable.
With 16 HCP if my is a high honor (K is ‘happy’, A or Q acceptable) I open 1N. Otherwise, I have to choose between a miserable underbid of 1N or a horrible reverse. If playing Reverse Flannery I could consider 1 then 2 and pass 2. I do whichever of the above ‘feels’ most like my hand.

Basically, when I pick up 1-4-4-4 16HCP (or good 15 or bad 17) with no high spade I know I'm poorly placed.
Sept. 25
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Adam M: “I think the auctions actually time out better my way on the 4-4 fits; the issue after a natural 3 rebid is that responder never showed hearts, so 4m is presumably natural and there’s no cuebid available. ”

Some auctions may time out better. Others not. Over my 3 (promising 0-4-5-4) it's a good idea to play something artificial - either the 4/4 thing that has multiple names or 3 as artificial.
Your method of bidding 2N with a void has difficulties when responder does NOT bid 3. Say responder bids 3 and now opener bids 3N. There's a big difference between 1-3-5-4 hand unsuitable for spades, and an O-4-5-4 hand with varying degrees of suitability.

I think optimal is (as usual?) to play first step is artificial - here 2. But I've never wanted to do that ‘work’ - I like to keep things non-artificial. Here, I instead use 2 as natural, but sometimes solving various problems.
After 1-1, 2-2, 2 after responder (hopefully) bids 2N, opener bids:

3 = 3-0-5-5
3 = 3-0-6-4
3 = 2-2-5-4 with extras
3 = 3-1-5-4 with extras but not slam suitable
3N = 2-2-5-4 minimum

I could do more (say, by having 3 as multiple meanings) - but again that would get into more artificiality.
Sept. 25
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Martin L: Among the myriad of problems with follow-ups, I see the inability to have a simple sensible auction after opener bids 3 (both because opener has not defined shape AND because responder can no longer bid a forcing 3) as unworkable. 1-1, 2-2, 3 with 5-5 GF, 6-4 GF, 1-xxx-5-4 GF and xx-xx, 5-4 GF also doesn't ‘work’. Rrsponder can have a ‘flexible’ GF hand with 6-card AND a fit for opener's (either) minor. I don't think this ‘works’ at all.
If you want to do something that ‘works’ you need 1-1, 2-2, 2 as artificial (whether to play it as the GF or the non-GF I am not certain - as I said, I have never worked on this.)

And after 1-1, 2-2 I don't think anything ‘works’ unless 2 is GF (even then it's not easy.)
Sept. 25
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