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All comments by Mike Bell
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“Is it ever appropriate/wise to make a three-level opening preempt with a six-card suit?”

You misspelt ‘five’!
21 hours ago
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What if you (arguably) gain in the bidding or play from knowing your partner's screenmate tanked?
Jan. 14
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Delighted to say we've been invited to join the team.

Ben (Norton) will turn 23 not long before the event; he will be the youngest England open international since Steve Lodge in 1981.

Edit: I've now been told he may actually be the youngest ever - does anyone know differently?
Jan. 9
Mike Bell edited this comment Jan. 9
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And this despite a young (30ish) pair, probably the most successful pair in English bridge over the last 18 months, being unavailable for the trials.
Jan. 9
Mike Bell edited this comment Jan. 9
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I'd definitely stick to 15-17 unless you can make a strong 1NT rebid, and possibly even then
Jan. 8
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Well, they didn't enter in 2020 or 2018. In 2016, the teams were determined by straight selection, and they were selected for Euros but not the Olympiad.
Jan. 7
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One of them played in an earlier stage.
Jan. 7
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Well, there was more swapping around than that.

Of the twenty players that were selected for the trial last time, thirteen entered this time; ten in the same partnerships and three not. One of the pairs didn't qualify for the final, and one of the individuals qualified for the final but withdrew. So, ten players were in common with last time, and ten were not.

Those that played last time finished mainly in the middle of the pack this time around - perhaps not surprising given that this year's final included not only, as you say, a very strong pair in Robson+Gold, but also, mathematically, at least one pair who wouldn't have made the cut if the same format had been used as last time.
Jan. 7
Mike Bell edited this comment Jan. 7
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I suspect there has been some grade inflation at the top end in that time - are you able to compare the 2018 and 2020 grades of the players who played both editions?
Jan. 7
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Thanks Nigel, thanks Richard. I'm hoping Ben and I have done enough, it will be a nervous wait!

The approach the selection committee (of which I have since become a member) took for 2020 was to have pairs trials for fully funded events (i.e. Open Euros, Women's Euros) and teams-of-six trials for largely self-funded events (Seniors/Mixed Euros, all four categories at the Olympiad).

As you note, the lure of the Bermuda Bowl/Venice Cup seems to have been sufficient to get the vast majority of the big names to play unpaid.

Edit: hadn't seen Richard's comment when I clicked ‘send’.
Jan. 7
Mike Bell edited this comment Jan. 7
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Yes, if you want to put a raise somewhere then far better it's in 1:2 than in 1:2. It's less clear over 1.
Dec. 31, 2019
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I think it's a big gain to bid 1M:2, 2:4M so oppo don't know much about declarer's hand.
Dec. 31, 2019
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Thanks Han, I thought that might be how it all hung together. Yes, I'd be keen to take a look, thanks!
Dec. 31, 2019
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You mean try not to bid 45% games?!
Dec. 19, 2019
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I'm unsure whether to be pleased that 29yo me knew what he was talking about, or perturbed that 35yo me doesn't have anything new to say on the matter.
Dec. 12, 2019
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Fair enough, Ren, but you still haven't really gained anything (versus playing 1:1M as natural, 1:1, 1N as 4 and 1:1, 1N as 3).

It'll be better, on average, for responder to declare - less is known about their hand, and, if 4th seat overcalls, it's usually better for the overcaller to be on lead to your contract.
Dec. 12, 2019
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Yes, I did something like that for a while. You don't actually gain much though - playing 1:1, 1 as diamonds+hearts is a wash with playing 1:1, 1 as diamonds+spades. Getting to respond 1 with 5/5 majors is the biggest plus, and that's basically irrelevant given you may as well bid responder's flannery on those hands (and you *really* need that for the 54 hands in this structure).
Dec. 11, 2019
Mike Bell edited this comment Dec. 12, 2019
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IMO, it's best from a competitive point-of-view for the 1 opening to be unbalanced (including 45 below reversing strength) or a weak NT with five diamonds. These are all hands that are happy for partner to raise diamonds aggressively and may wish to direct a diamond lead (if you can't tolerate a diamond lead you can choose to open 1 instead).

It takes a lot of work to fit all of these handtypes in sensibly in uncontested auctions, though, unless you are happy for 1:1M, 2 to show 5/4 either way.
Dec. 11, 2019
Mike Bell edited this comment Dec. 12, 2019
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Specifically, the loss of the natural sequence 1:1, 1.

The point of transfers over 1 is to give you an extra step when responder shows a four-card major. Inverting the majors in response to 1 will make very little difference overall except in terms of which hand plays the contract.
Dec. 11, 2019
Mike Bell edited this comment Dec. 12, 2019
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Once it is ruled that it was correct 2 not be alerted, it's the only logical conclusion.

There are plenty of situations where, if partner bids without asking, you know what assumptions they have made; the onus is on you to find out what oppo's bids actually meant. You may not think to do so, but in that case you may be ruled against.

Two-suited bids are a common problem here. If the auction starts 1 (2), and responder bids 2 without asking, he may find that he's shown the wrong hand-type when the 2 bid actually showed spades and clubs.

Obviously, that's far more reasonable than the situation here - which extends from the initial problem with the regulations, namely that a 2 transfer isn't alertable. Of course, we would be in the same position in the EBU, as all meanings for 2 bids are alertable. I'm sure David will try to explain to me again why a bid for which all meanings are alertable is less problematic than a bid for which no meanings are alertable, but I didn't understand the last few times so I doubt I will this time either.
Dec. 10, 2019
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