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All comments by Michael Rosenberg
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For me, the best reason to keep invitational bids may be to avoid the huge amount of work it would take to improve the system if I freed up those bids…
March 19, 2014
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I knew Kit espoused this double after an overcall - say (1)1-(3), where he plays 3 as an invite. But until reading this article, I had no idea how extensively he used this “Relay double”.
I don't know to whether this is more effective than “Standard”. But I can say that, in general, I'm not too sanguine about how responsive and negative double auctions. My instinctive reaction on reading the article was that the Relay Double would suffer the occasional disaster or large loss but would, in practice, make things easier on the majority of hands.

A few comments/questions:

1) On the auction 2(X)-(3) is direct 4? a slam try? Or is double then 4 a choice of games (say, with 4-card and a 5-card m)?

2) I note that Kit says, on the auction (2)X-(3), that 4-2-3-4 9-10 HCP is a model responsive double. I guess whether this double tends to promise or deny 4-card is something that each partnership must decide for itself, but I would have thought “Standard” is that you are assumed NOT to have 4-card oM for a responsive double. So I would have said 3-2-4-4 shape was the “model responsive double”. Am I in the minority?

3) On the 1(3) auction, some pairs play 4 as a strong heart raise. Some play 4 AND 4 as raises. Their theory is that one-suited minor hands will often need to double anyway, to keep 3N in the picture. So, for those pairs, double is presumed to deny heart support.

4) Kit, would you agree with the point somebody made (or at least implied) that the Relay double works best when the opponents' suit is hearts?
March 19, 2014
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My answers to your bullet points (btw, my belief is that numbered points are better for reference)

1)Yes - as long as the comments are making a particular point, and are not merely a general complaint.

2) Probably not. But, even if it were, “XYZ is a terrible bridge organization” is not acceptable to me - unless the reasons are clearly stated. Similarly, “they are even more corrupt than the government of such-and-such” is not acceptable to me - unless the rationale for the statement is provided (and that rationale is reasonable).

3)Not sure I understand this example. It seems to me that if Smith doesn't want to play bridge in a certain location, he should arrange his life accordingly. Perhaps saying in advance to the client “before we make any arrangements, you should know I will not play at the following locations…”
Once Smith and the client have agreed to play in an event (say, without knowing where it would be held), they each have an obligation; Smith, to play in that event, and attempt to do his best; the client to pay Smith the agreed upon fee.

4)Probably not. I doubt many who come to this site would be interested in that discussion. If someone objects to a particular advertisement, they could contact BW management and tell them so - or perhaps attempt to form a (private) petition and send it to BW management.
March 15, 2014
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I think the director was wrong. Had you gone to Committee, maybe they would have seen it differently - I certainly would have.
March 13, 2014
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Kit,

Yes, it might be DIFFICULT to get redress in the example you give. But it's still possible one MIGHT. A Director and/or Committee MIGHT rule in one's favor.
Yes, there are situations where I will fail, in practice, to get redress - and it might be unfair. But there is still a POSSIBILITY.
But, in the forcing bid case, getting redress is IMPOSSIBLE, for the reasons I stated. That makes this situation unique, and it should be treated as such.

Nikos,

I know of no law that says “you cannot force someone to bid”. I doubt it exists.
March 13, 2014
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Pretty smart of LHO to say that - ensuring that his partner won't duck A (playing you for KJ10, AKQ10xxxxxx, —, — and a misguess).
Of course, maybe LHO actually had A, but my point is that comments and reactions during the play by defenders is improper.
March 13, 2014
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Kit,

You say “The answer is that you can't get redress. Just like you can't get redress from a lot of other situations where an opponent makes an in tempo or out of tempo bid.”

I ask you to give me another type of situation with two scenarios - one with a BIT and one without - where getting redress is IMPOSSIBLE.

Unless you can give at least one, I believe the “passing forcing bids” problem needs to be treated as unique. And, yes, I have some possible solutions.
March 13, 2014
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The defense makes no sense. LHO shifted to a heart, which could have picked up his partner Qx. rather than cashing out his spades and letting partner play a D.
March 12, 2014
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To explain what I mean by the ‘inherent ethical problem“

There are 2 elements that can make a bid forcing. One is that the hand is unlimited. The other is that it MIGHT be artificial (such as a reverse or jump shift by opener, or 3rd suit bid by responder).

The point is that when the forcing bid is made in tempo, it is far more likely to be the classic hand-type. When it is out of tempo - something is up.

Same goes for forcing pass situations - the in-tempo pass might not care a lot what you do (even pass). The slow pass demands you do SOMETHING.

It is obviously more ’flexible' to act over a forcing bid - thus catering to that ‘something’ - and of course, it is natural to do so (since it IS forcing)

Let's take two cases - same hand, same auction

In Case A, the forcing bid is made in tempo. Their partner passes.

In Case B, the forcing bid is made after marked hesitation. Their partner does not pass.

If I call the Director in Case A, opponents, directors and BBO readers will laugh at me saying ”there was no break in tempo“

If I call the Director in Case B. opponents, Director, Committee and BBO readers will laugh at me saying ”the bid was forcing"

WHERE IS MY REDRESS?

March 11, 2014
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Let's take one case (passing a forcing bid) and two pairs - pair A and B

Pair A has the agreement that it never passes a forcing bid. Pair B has the agreement “we always make the bid or play we think most likely to succeed.”

Let's say that passing a particular forcing bid can be estimated to have a 5% chance of improving the result. Does that mean it is percentage to do so? The answer is Yes for Pair B, but no for Pair A. Does that mean Pair B is better off? The answer is probably no.
Pair B is already cognizant of the possibility that partner may pass. Therefor on some hands they will prefer to leap to some contract to avoid this possibility - thus reducing their chances of achieving the best result. If that reduction results in ‘more’ than 5%, then pair A is theoretically better off.

All this says nothing about the real problem with passing forcing bids - the inherent ethical problem. I see no legitimate escape from this, so I have the agreement with myself that, at imps, I never pass forcing bids.

Of course, the above answer is particularly designed to deal with forcing bids. The general answer to the question polled is that of course you should violate your agreement if you think it rates to lead to a superior score.
March 10, 2014
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Assuming that the 2 bidder was NOT A PH (since that seems like a more relevant discussion):

I agree with Kit's first sentence. However, I'd argue with the definitive statement “you only need one Q-bid”.

Partly, it depends what Kit means by “need”. You don't “need” any cuebids - you could survive without one. But it's certainly nice to have at least one way to show a good raise.
However, I'd also say it could be beneficial to have different ways to express different types of raises here. To give a few possible examples:

1) 2 shows 3-card support and 2 shows 4-card support
2) 2 shows a good hand with a doubleton club, and 2 shows a good raise with 3(+)-card support
3) 2 shows a mild game try, and 2 shows a strong game try
4) 2 shows a game try with something in (or nothing in either). 2 shows a game try with something in spades.

I'm sure other, more imaginative, people can come up with more ideas. In addition to the fact that some might think it logical that 2 should also be a ‘raise’ here.

So, I would conclude that you definitely ‘want“ one cuebid. Whether you ”want“ 2 (or 3?) cuebids rather than having the ability to make a natural 2 is something that each partnership should decide for itself.

However, I strongly recommend that you don’t attempt a natural bid in the opponents' suit without prior agreement, unless it is VERY clear. That's how accidents occur.

Kit probably has this agreement - ”if opponents have bid two suits and one cue can't be natural and the other can be, then the possibly natural one is natural“ - except I'm sure he could express it much more succinctly.

But my point is, without prior agreement, there is no ”Standard" here.

Btw, I'd note that, in Standard, the Support Double means that opener has 4(+)-card - making it less attractive to play 2 as natural on this auction (compared to one where 4-4-3-2 shape is possible).
Change the conditions so that 1 showed an unbalanced hand (which is becoming more and more popular) and now it's clear that I'd prefer to have two different types of cuebids, rather than a natural 2
March 9, 2014
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Not enough information for me to answer. I need to know two things in the pair game scenario: (actually, I need 3, but I'm assuming the way the question is posed that everyone in the field will routinely open 12HCP hands)

1) What pair are we playing AGAINST. The fact that we are the strongest pair in the field can be trumped, if our opponents are above averagely stronger than their counterparts.

2) Does our agreement that we open hands that evaluate to 12 come with a commonsense adjustment when playing against a weak pair?
March 8, 2014
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Maybe so, but I doubt that +100 would have produced an ATB article…
March 7, 2014
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I agree with Chris. Though I'd focus more on “With the J dropping, 2 made easily. ”
Looks like it would go down on most normal play sequences.

I also think it's pretty silly to pose a problem where you suggest assigning blame to a player, but make it impossible to assign any blame under the conditions given. Especially if the problem-poser actually WAS North.
March 7, 2014
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I am not understanding this. Why can't declarer afford one round of trump when East is 4-4-3-2? After he ducks, I play a club to the king. Then I ruff my last spade and play a second club. Dummy still has a trump and I have one more trump than East. I don't see how he beats me.

So the only ‘guess’ I see is whether to play a second trump right away - in case East is 4-3-3-3, and surely east would have shifted to a club and beaten me out of hand with that.
March 3, 2014
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While it's ‘nice’ to have the ‘agreement’ that double is flexible, there are some practical considerations. You might have, for example, AKx, Axxxxx, Axx, A. Does anybody think 4 (or 3N) is a better action than double?
So the question for me is whether AQJxxx is a strong enough suit to jump to 4, rather than leaving NT and diamond contracts as a possibility (assuming I think I'm too strong to overcall 3).
So for me double then 3 comes with no guarantees except:

1) Too good (or wrong) for direct 3
2) Not enough to insist on game
3) Some contract other than hearts is possible.

I'm just doing my best, and hope partner does the same. I don't see why I need to be a slave to ‘double is flexible’ - and be compelled to underbid with 3 or overbid/misbid with 4

I tend to look at ‘double is flexible’ more for a lower-level - where getting passed out is less likely. But over preempts, I tend to be more in ‘do your best’ mode.
March 1, 2014
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Hi Eric,

1) I notice that you and Jeff rarely discuss anything at the table. Was that true from the onset of your partnership? If not, was there some occurrence that made it so?

2) There are many beautiful squeezes and coups. Do you have a favorite type? If so, which is it?

By the way, I think your book has more card play situations that are both practical and interesting, than any book I have ever read.

Feb. 27, 2014
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Kit:

Your case is not applicable. A “3 out of 4” ace hand is always playing slam. Your partner was just lucky that the trump suit was not hearts…
But if the player does not have an “ace-lock” or “KC-lock”, I would not allow the correction after a hesitation. It's just too likely that the hesitation woke up the player, and that an immediate sign-off would have produced a robotic pass.
Since we're telling personal stories, here's one from me. My partner bid KC and I bid 5 with 1KC - forgetting that I was playing with the one partner who, at that time, did not play 1430.
I realized my error as soon as my bidding card hit the table.
Now my partner (“shocked”) thought a while before signing off in 5. On the auction, I realized that we probably belonged in slam. I also realized that if we made slam, it would likely be ruled back to 5 (it certainly would if I were on the Committee). So bidding slam was “no-win”. I was about to pass, and then it occurred to me that I was taking this action because of partner's BIT - had he signed off in tempo, I almost certainly would have bid slam.
At this point I called the Director, and talked privately to him. All he told me was I should not base my actions on partner's BIT.
So I bid 6. There was a bad trump break and we went down one. I guess that's justice?
Feb. 26, 2014
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Hmm…, two people who I think sensible and I usually agree with are arguing. I'd better butt in.

Maybe this a subsequent/consequent thing? The 1% slam that makes - that bad result came as a consequence of the slam being bid? But in the revoke case, the slam made subsequent to it being bid - but not as a consequence of it?
Feb. 25, 2014
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John A.

I am not “using” any Laws. I don't consider myself an expert on the Laws. I do consider myself an expert on what is “fair”.
I already said “if the Laws somehow forced me into ruling t(a)hat the offenders had to make 6H, I'd simply counterbalance that by giving them a 13 imp Procedural Penalty”.

Why is Hesitation Blackwood a special case? Other BITs tell you that partner ‘wants you to act’ - but they don't give you a ‘lock’.
Hesitation Blackwood violates the captaincy principle - the Blackwooder is in control, and your opinion is not sought. The H-Ber is saying, “I realize now I made a mistake bidding Blackwood, we are not missing too many aces/KCs, and I need your opinion.” (I'll do the H-Ber the favor of assuming thast Blackwood followed by hesitating wasn't the whole plan.)
I'll ignore the David Yates Aviv Zone. In my experience HB ALWAYS means either (a)we have enough KC or (b)I'm shocked by your response saying we don't have enough KC.
By the way, almost invariably in (b) the Blackwood responder has given an incorrect response (sometimes due to a 1430 mixup). In this case, the Blackwood responder should NOT be allowed to correct his error - since it is far too likely that it was the Hesitation that ‘woke him up’.
Feb. 25, 2014
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