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All comments by Michael Rosenberg
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Josh:

YOUR interpretation is not what counts. What matters is trying to get inside your partner's head - never an easy task!
I tried to describe the difference between what I guessed Steve's opinions would be about pass and 3N. As you can see from Steve's comment directly below, I did a pretty good job.
He was clear about pass. He was unclear about 3N.

You seem to have completely ignored Steve's comment - a little strange, since his is the only voice that ‘truly’ matters.

Nigel:

You are absolutely correct (and thanks for pointing that out)! I should have said that I would not bid 3N with EITHER hand; when I have a hand that covers BOTH possibilities (natural OR minors), 3N is fine.
While it may temporarily ‘torture’ partner, he will survive.

I think what you describe is a good reason why first time partnerships have done surprisingly well. In a new situation, players avoid torture bids, and only make them when all bases are covered.
Whereas, when the partnership becomes regular, they are more likely to think they ‘know’ their partner and go out on a limb.

Thanks again for your comment.
May 29, 2012
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I note that you amended your previous implication that the ‘no preference’ pass would discover when opener had a 6-card suit. Now you are saying he would bid 3S on a 5-carder if a ‘good suit’ (which I'm not sure how you define).

So, according to your preferred scenario, you will pass with (say) precisely 2-4-4-3, then partner will bid 3N with precisely) 5-1-3-4 (unless he has a “good suit'). This means that you will reach 4D on a 4-3 fit - when 3S might well have been better (and is less likely to get doubled).

I'm not saying there are is no plus side for the ‘no preference’ pass - indeed, I already said there were pluses. But I am taking issue with your statement ”One of the big advantages of playing pass is no preference is that you can still get to your 6-2 spade fit“.
I don't think there are enough pluses to say ”one of“. I don't agree that the advantages are ”big" (at least, not nearly as big as the advantage of making a penalty pass when you want to). I would describe them more as nuanced.

If I were playing pass penalty, I would probably bid 3S whenever I have a doubleton and no 5-card minor, reserving 3N for 9+-cards (or maybe 1-4-4-4 that won't defend).

If I were playing pass as ‘no preference’, I would bid 3S as opener, reserving 3N for 5-0-4-4.

In either case, if 3S gets doubled (which I think not likely), I would reconsider about 4m perhaps being a better spot.
May 29, 2012
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I wouldn't trust that agreement even playing with my clone
May 28, 2012
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Benoit:

Agreed that 3N is a torture bid however you mean it.

I totally disagree that pass is a torture bid - IF YOU HAVE A PENALTY PASS. Partner can either do the wining thing and pass, or can bid 3S and put you back on course for whatever bad result you were going to get had you not passed.

Pass as ‘no preference’ IS a torture bid - NOW partner can do the wrong thing (by passing).

You don't rate to be worse off by passing with a penalty pass. You might be a lot worse off passing with a no preference pass.

And you can see that our two experts, Gavin and Steve, were on the same wavelength.

Again, I am not discussing the optimal agreement - only what makes sense in the context presented by Gavin.
May 28, 2012
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Ok, thanks for all those clarifications. My own preferred style would be pass as penalty and 3N for minors.

So, to answer the questions from your initial post (assuming my preferred style):

“What action other then Pass can I take with xx - xxx - xxxx - xxxx?
what action other then 3NT can I take with x - xx - xxxxx - xxxxx?”

On the second hand I would obviously bid 3N. On the first, I would bid 3S.
May 27, 2012
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All this talk about HCP seems pretty silly to me. These bids don't show HCP - they are all about playing strength (and, in addition, could be tactical).

Aviv:

Wouldn't you or your “World Class vulnerable partner” double 3H with AKxxx, —, Axxx, Axxx? Otherwise, you might end up defending 3H making with good play for a grand slam. Isn't it even possible to construct a 14(gasp) count where double is perfectly reasonable?

Also, the idea that 3S over the redouble shows three seems pretty offbeat to me. If you wanted, you could have that as an agreement (in conjunction with pass being ‘no preference’), but I doubt there are many experts who would think, without discussion that 3S showed 3.
Remember, this entire discussion is supposed to be about Gavin's situation - not about what you might optimally agree in advance.
May 27, 2012
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Jason:

When you make your “no preference” pass, what does partner do with 5-1(4-3)?
May 27, 2012
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The original post said ‘Above all we agreed “We won’t make bids to torture partner”.'
I answered the poll, not based on what I thought was the optimal meaning for pass and 3N, but based on the above quoted statement.

There is no reasonable way to say that a ‘no-preference’ pass (without a specific agreement) is not torture. Partner, on seeing the pass (and given the above quoted statement) will reason “he wouldn't torture me by passing unless he was willing to play it here.”

One might think the same logic can be used for a natural 3N. Maybe it can. But the 3N bid is more one where partner might think “why is he doing this to me?” - and start considering the relative merits of minors versus natural.

With the penalty pass - you have no reasonable choice but to pass and hope partner reads it that way.
With a 3N bid of either kind,, you ALWAYS have a choice - maybe not the optimal one, but a choice. So, if I were in Gavin's position and wanted to follow the ‘above-all’ philosophy, I WOULD NOT BID 3N ON ANY HAND.
May 27, 2012
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Kitty:

You say “Pass has to be to play in all these redouble situations else they take away your ability to make a penalty pass of the double.”

Pass can either be ‘to play’ or can be used to improve (sometimes greatly improve) your chances of finding your best fit.
Both methods have pluses and minuses, but to say it “has to be to play” is like saying “I'm right because I'm right”

The truth is that in some situations, penalty is superior while in others ‘nothing to say’ is preferable. I'm guessing that over (1S)X-(XX) that you don't pay pass to play - even though they have “taken away your ability to make a penalty pass.”

The important thing, as usual, is for the partnership to make an agreement that covers everything, so that there can be no misunderstanding. A current common expert agreement these days is “Pass is to play at 3C or higher or any time partner is over their suit.” (You also need to deal with passing 1N and 2N).

May 25, 2012
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I don't believe that 4S showing the majors is a possible agreement. I think that would be obviously pretty silly, and I'm surprised no one has commented on that yet.

Surely the bid made by Lauria was four CLUBS. That showing the majors would at least be an agreement that makes sense.

Also, you described Thomas's 1S overcall by saying “for whatever reason, overcalled one spade”. But I would think one spade is the sensible choice. To bid Michaels on 5-6 is fine. To bid it on 6-5 can create a big problem sorting out your best fit if opponents raise the level.
So if (1m)1S)-(3m)P,(P)3H SUGGESTS 6-5 - you would double with 6-4 (which admittedly works more smoothly over 1C).
But if (1m)2m-(3m)P, (P) you have no good way to go - partner will usually select hearts with equal length if you double.
May 25, 2012
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Here is what I consider to be one of many differences between us. When I make a clear mistake I acknowledge it, without compunction. Those who know me know this is true, and there has been evidence on this site; when you have made a clear mistake you, up to this point, have never clearly said you were wrong - even when it was plainly pointed out.

Even when your posts are partly or completely true, I think they are often irrelevant and mostly annoying (including those where there is no connection to me).

I stand behind what I say, and people know who I am. If I say something wrong or improper, it is on my record.

In my lifetime, I have had the pleasure of communicating with many excellent bridge theorists, but all were known to me in advance as players of merit.
Before posting on this site, I had never heard of a Victor Jusner. Nor does anyone else I know. There are no records of such a person existing on the Internet except on this website.
I am convinced that you are a well-known player posting under an assumed name, to somehow further your own agenda.

Until you are willing to both write under your true name, and apologize for deceiving readers here, I think you should not post on this site.
I believe that posting as you do is a cowardly act.
May 22, 2012
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Kit:

You say “I don't see why signaling isn't a bridge play.” Unfortunately, I have (obviously) not been articulate enough to cause you to see the difference between a signal, and a play that is trying to take a trick through force of the cards themselves.

It's possible to make a play that can increase how many tricks you make (sometimes totally irrespective of what partner does). And if you don't make that play, you are automatically doomed.

In the case of a signal, partner is not obliged to “follow your signal”. He will do his best, based on your signal, to find the optimal defense based on his best percentage guess. Sometimes, this will involve ‘wrongly’ overruling you, when you gave the “right” signal. Sometimes, he will be able to figure out a winning defense, even when you gave the “wrong” signal.

In the example you gave, if it occurred at trick one, you would and (in my opinion) should be allowed some time to select your signal. If it occurred AFTER trick one, my belief is that you should have planned for this earlier - and that you should be required to play in tempo now.

When you think about a signal, the thought often transmits as much information as the signal itself. This can easily create a really difficult situation - of the sort I'd like to avoid.



May 20, 2012
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Victor:

In answer to your first paragraph, I would say it would be totally unreasonable for declarer, seeing West show out on the third spade, to cash the fourth spade.
If someone even mentions the possibility that cashing the fourth spade is a reasonable play it means that either:

a) They are only interested in double-dummy analysis, or
b) They are having a mental blackout.

You later say “Reading Kit’s article….., I could spot more than a few inaccuracies that should definitely be addressed. For instance.”

Your saying that “these inaccuracies should definitely be addressed” is stating your opinion as a fact. I doubt if you would get much support from readers of this thread (or from anyone else).

As for your last paragraph, I read it. But I hope nobody else did. I felt the tenor of it was totally unhelpful in terms of single-dummy analysis.

Based on your post above, I have resolved to read only the first four words of your future posts. That seems to be where you are most accurate.

Of course, if you are willing to reveal your true name, and whether your analysis is generally made by using a double-dummy analyzer, I might change my resolution.
May 20, 2012
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Victor:

You say “More importantly, if West’s hand is: xx, A975, KJx, Kxxx, after heart to East’s king, heart queen and spade switch, declarer is not in bad shape. He finesses the spade ten and then proceeds to cash the A-K-Q of spades. West is coming under too much pressure and the contract can easily be made.”

I see that this is true double-dummy, but I don't see how it's relevant single dummy. When declarer sees LHO show out (pitching a heart) on the third spade, I think he will not cash the fourth spade, but will immediately play on clubs.
May 19, 2012
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Thank you, David, for covering so much ground so clearly.
I think your point that Directors rulings rate to be MORE suspect than they are at present, if there were no further appeals process, is really important - and, as far as I know, has never been addressed by those wishing to make Directors the Supreme Court.
May 18, 2012
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I find Ron Gerard's comments about UI troubling. Look at the following quotes (the first from the Committee write-up, the rest from Ron Gerard):

“The director ruled and the committee affirmed that there was no unauthorized information,”

“This might have been a consideration had the Committee found that there was UI.”

“The only consideration was whether UI existed”

“Whether and how that principle would have applied had UI been found to exist”

Maybe it's just semantics, but I think it might be very unclear to some readers of this thread what UI is.
West's hesitation over the heart queen created UI for East. There definitely WAS UI. The question that the Committee needed to answer was “does this UI suggest a defense that playing the heart three in tempo would not?”
The UI definitely existed - but the Committee, rightly or wrongly, decided it was irrelevant.
May 18, 2012
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I have two general points to make about situations such as this:

1) I think it would be helpful if the BridgeBase program automatically made a record of the time it takes from one call to the next, and from one card played to the next. This would assist in resolving a factual dispute about time.
Even better would be cameras at the table, which would help in this and other areas. But I guess this might be too expensive for now.

2) Regarding the UI, I wrote more than 20 years ago that I thought it would be an improvement if we made thinking while following suit verboten - unless you are thinking about a BRIDGE (not a signaling) method of winning a trick or tricks for your side.
At the moment, there are two basic times when players think with no “bridge” problem on that trick. The first is signaling. The problem with thinking about a signal is not only that it might wake partner up to the fact that ‘this is a signal.’ It also might alert partner to that you are not clear about what to signal for. This often creates an ‘impossible to judge’ UI situation. It just doesn't feel right to me.
The other time players stop to think mid-trick is when they say “I'm just thinking about the whole hand.” This is often because they fear being caught hesitating on a subsequent trick, and wish to prepare their defense. I'd prefer if this was not allowed. If they want, they can play to the trick, then leave their card face up.

I believe there should be only four situations where a player breaks tempo during the play of the hand.

A) Before playing to Trick one. Trick one is a special situation. More than 20 years ago, I wrote about a possible method for how trick one should be handled.

B) Whenever you are on lead

C) Whenever you are discarding

D) Whenever you are trying to find a way to take more tricks by virtue of a bridge play. (Signaling is not a bridge play.)

There could still be UI associated with ‘legitimate’ hesitations. But at least we can remove those associated with signaling.

Of course, I also wrote more than 20 years ago something like “Don't worry - nobody's going to go for any of this”.

May 17, 2012
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I feel bad. After Steve Bloom went out of his way to support me on the illegal plays/dropped card thread, I am not returning the favor.

I'll start by going off on a tangent. The practice of sending (or even suggesting sending) partner away from the table is one that I usually dislike. Most of the time, it just wakes partner up to what his partner thinks is the true state of affairs.
The ONLY time I find this to be a good idea is when partner says, “I know it might be some convention, but I don't know what it is.” Now there is no Unauthorized Information (UI) that gets automatically attached by sending him away.

I do sympathize with Steve's position. It would be nice if this could be avoided, and we could see what declarer does with the correct info.
And, if I felt that correcting would in no way help partner and might help declarer, I would (as is my wont) take the law into my own hands and make the correction. But I'd need to be certain partner could not benefit - and this is very rare in these cases.

I guess my position is that I'd rather deal with problems stemming from Misinformation (MI) than those arising from UI. I think the disposition of MI cases is far clearer. And much as I don't like winning the way Steve abhors, I like dealing with UI even less.

There is one good thing that comes out of severely punishing the MI. A message is sent that it can be very expensive (in a bridge scoring sense) to not know your agreements. That is a message we should want to reinforce, since misunderstandings disrupt the game.

Of course, all these problems will go away when the technology that we use allows us to hear explanations from each opponent about both opponent's actions. I'm guessing that will occur in 10-20 years.
May 15, 2012
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Low heart lead?
May 14, 2012
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I wanted to correct something I said before to Victor:

“I had noticed before my first post that 5? was cold double-dummy (and in fact you would fall into making it single-dummy)”.

As for double dummy, this is true. But, single dummy, either I was having a blackout then, or I'm having one now. Declarer ruffs the second heart and (not being psychic) plays a diamond to the ace. Even after ?AK, ?AK, ? ruff, ? ruff, I don't see a way to 11 tricks.
May 13, 2012
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