Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Michael Rosenberg
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One thing I didn't see in this discussion was whether N-S were a regular partnership. If they were, then the question needs to be asked “has this ever happened before?” If it has, then that should have been part of the explanation - e.g., “Flannery, but he forgot last time.”

Of course if we kept proper records we would be able to look this stuff up. We don't.

If not a regular partnership, the only thing that might be relevant is if s had shown unwillingness to play Flannery; “ok, but I might forget it - i'm not used to it.” E-W are entitled to know that conversation took place. Of course, to find that out would take an honest N-S pair.

There has to be a reason why South forgot. It could just be lack of concentration. But if there was anyway North could suspect it, E-W are entitled to suspect it also.

North's failure to act seems irrelevant to me - since it would have been normal to act if he thought his partner might have a weak 2.

I don't see E-W actions as being egregiously bad, so that would not be a factor for me.
July 24, 2014
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1-1-8-4 is even less likely than one might think…
July 22, 2014
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DON'T bid this - unless you have already agreed it with your partner. The probability of partner being on the same wavelength is not high. It is NOT NECESSARY to make this bid.
July 20, 2014
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I never said I liked it. I said it was “reasonable”. And I put that word in quotation marks in an attempt to show that I meant the use of that word to signify a bid that one is “able to give a reason for” - one can make some kind of argument for it. And, as I said, the only call in the auction where I felt that was not true, was 2N.
July 18, 2014
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A winkle. In this case, a homicide winkle.
July 17, 2014
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Right. “Unless otherwise agreed” is a common phrase in my notes…
July 17, 2014
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Frances,

I like almost all of those. I'd be a little concerned about:

“2NT in competition is artificial”

1(1)-2N
1(2)-2N
1(1)-X(P), 2N
1(P)-1(1),2N

I'm not saying you can't play those as artificial. But I'm a little concerned that you actually play them, or some of them, as natural.
July 17, 2014
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2 is some invitational hand - unchanged, since there is no compelling reason to change. 2 I would not bid without discussion. If I discussed it, I'd make it natural NF (if 2 had puppeted to 2, I'd make it slightly different). If partner, without discussion, bid 2, I would bid something - but then pass 3.
July 16, 2014
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To me, 2N (as opposed to 3) is the only “impossible” bid. All the other bids are, in some sense, “reasonable”.
July 16, 2014
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I never heard the term “Development Squeeze”. I've always called that position “Squeeze without the Count”.
July 16, 2014
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I would say don't engage even if you DO know the person (unless spoken to). You may bother others at the table.
By the way, it's polite to ask, but I don't think it's essential. Experts expect to have kibitzers.
Also, you might try to unobtrusively take notes, since things may come up in your mind that you later may not remember. Also, if there is a hand record for the boards played, get the hand record and try to figure out why the expert (and possibly others) did what he or she did.
July 15, 2014
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1. Second hand low
2. Ruff their winners low
3. Remember if a finesse is onside now, it will also be onside later. Same goes for a 3-3 or 2-2 break.
July 15, 2014
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I would actually think 3 would be a favorite to fail - as I believe it would, single-dummy. And partner does not always have 7-card . And trumps won't always break evenly.
July 13, 2014
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I think Kit and Josh are both correct. 3 is “reasonable” in the sense that you have a spade more than you might have. But with all the other flaws, I would say it was a poor bid - especially if partner having 3-card is ‘possible’.

Regarding the 2 bid (instead of the ‘correct’ 1), I think South might have preferred to PASS 1 doubled. Even 1 may not be ‘safe’, and passing may help partner with lead, or get you to a club contract when he is (say) 4-5-1-3.

Final thought: passing might help you make the Q on defense….
July 12, 2014
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It would be truly weird if partner had the Q. He would have lost his mind with his 2 pitch. I'd trust him as far as that.

If you cash the A, you WILL know what to do next - IF the spot card partner plays is inconsistent with xx in your methods, AND you trust him. I agree that's a pretty big if…

The only advantage I can see of the Q over the A is if partner has J9 doubleton and declarer blunders by leading a high one off dummy after winning the king.
July 12, 2014
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If it was prior experience, he should have said so on the original explanation. More likely, the evidence (no quotes!) was a physical reaction by partner. And then looking to assign the sort of ruling you suggest is totally justified.
Do players ever have total disasters after one of these mixups? I don't know about lower levels of strength, but I know experts do - BUT ONLY BEHIND SCREENS. I find that very telling. Without screens, it always seems to get sorted out. With screens, it sometimes does not.
July 11, 2014
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Yes, and that World championship RR was won by Botvinnik (who also proposed the format) - amid rumors that Keres (who lost all 4 of his games to Botvinnik) was dumping.

The point is not whether he was actually dumping - the point is that the format itself has inherent flaws. Let's say Keres is considering a speculative sacrifice; in addition to analyzing the position, does he also need to speculate "will I be accused of dumping if this doesn't work?

By the way, I was always a Botvinnik fan (mostly because he came to Glasgow to give a simul when I was about 10)

July 10, 2014
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I think the disconnect here between F/NF is a failure to appreciate the following:

Yes, it's true that the 5 bid shows that us playing 6 is a possibility. But, especially when you have a spade void, it is easy to construct hands where you think 6 (or even 7) might make if partner has the ‘right’ hand - yet it might be that, if partner has the ‘wrong’ hand that they can make 5 (or 6!) and that we cannot even make FOUR hearts.
So that's why you bid 5. it gives partner the option to bid out or double (if he's sure) or pass when he's not sure.

Yes, there are some theoretical gains in playing pass forcing. But I don't remember seeing ONE hand where (when it's not clear who the hand belongs to) a pair gained BECAUSE they weer playing pass as forcing. What I DO remember is a string of 4(+)-imp losses because the pair was forced to double when they were outgunned. Also, a couple of losses because a pair bid out (since neither one could bear to double their making opponents) and went for a number.

So I think it's losing bridge to play “vulnerability-based forcing passes.” If it seems as if I am biased, my experience has created that bias.
July 10, 2014
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At least in the World Chess Championship, you can't lose in the final game because of something a player (or players) did at another ‘table’.
July 9, 2014
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Krzysztof,

Can you imagine bidding 3 after 1(1) then passing out 4? I can't. That's what I mean about not needing the agreement. Pass IS forcing - you just don't need an agreement to MAKE it forcing.

On the Red vs. Green thing I completely disagree. I think it's one of the biggest sources of 4(+) imp losses - and I don't see the counterbalancing gains. At least, that's been my experience; my opponents have given me a lot of gains (and my teammates have given me some losses) with the “red vs. green” thing. The corresponding gains have been rare (can't even recall one).
July 9, 2014
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