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All comments by Rainer Herrmann
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I agree the carding agreements looks complicated and complication is often the reason why agreements do not stick in the heat of the battle.

I also do not understand what is difficult about the opening lead.
Of course any lead can be successful or a disaster, but on this bidding anything other than a low spade looks eccentric to me.
The argument that East might have balanced with both majors is valid but compromised by the colors on this deal.
20 hours ago
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Responder is usually unlimited after 2D, ranging from weak to any strength.

Overall the hands where responder wants to play in a different trump suit than opener's major like the scenario here are uncommon.
It simplifies the bidding if responder makes his intentions immediately clear.
If responder wants to suggest or insist on a different trump suit it makes sense to use an artificial response like 3

Since the 2NT response has to cover a wide range of strength, it helps if this response is not also used for searching for a different trump suit as well. Responder still needs to find out about opener's major and how high to go (3NT remains an option of course).

The most common responses I play over 2NT are simple:

3 a maximum weak two (responder usually relays with 3, over which opener confirm his major by bidding the other major).

3/3 are transfers and deny a maximum.

However, if responder now bids a new suit he is making a slam try, not suggesting playing in a different strain.
Such hands are far more common hand for responder to hold than wanting to play in a different strain.
June 19
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I play the following, which is quite common in Poland:

2 – 3 artificial: I have a game force with a long suit.

Opener bids 3 with spades and 3 with hearts, over which responder can show his suit below game in all cases.

2-4 asks opener to bid one below of his suit (transfer to declare by responder)
2-4 asks opener to bid his suit to declare by opener

2–4 as pass or correct is not silly when responder has a good fit in either major and corresponding shortages in the minors.

If you want to reach the game level quickly, you do not always want to bid 4 / 4 and give opponents a chance to join the party with a double.
This is particularly true red against white
June 17
Rainer Herrmann edited this comment June 17
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That cameras can establish facts is not in doubt.

Whether this justifies surveillance of a social game most play for pleasure is for anyone to judge.

I have nothing to hide, but I do not want to live in a world where big brother is watching you all the time.

In China you can see what a wonderful world cameras and big data is leading us into.
June 5
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“I don't know whether the ACBL wants to prevent psyching, but I can understand that they don't want inexperienced players turned away from the game because they get a bad result from what they might regard as an ‘unhelpful’ attitude.”

This is just the plain wrong attitude.

Why is psyching during the play of the cards considered an art (for example winning a trick with a higher card than needed), but frowned upon during the bidding?

The problem is fielding, not psyching.

Psyching is part of the game, whether weak players like that or not.
You could just as well argue that psyching at poker should be forbidden.
If weak players consider that “unhelpful” it is they, who have the wrong attitude to the game, not the ones, who psyche.
They should go back to the kindergarten.

One thing you need to learn in this game just as in life is to take your zeroes with grace.
May 28
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Though I agree with your general sentiment this is a difficult subject.

“The psyching pair may gain when they fool around, but they lose when they fool each other”

True, but even if they fool each other is this not still fielding, even though unsuccessful some of the time?

What you say about psyching is also true for light opening bids (at least to some extent), yet many pairs have concluded the gains from light opening bids outweigh the losses.
May 28
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“Even playing light opening bids, West's hand just isn't worth a 1♥ opening. You have to draw the line somewhere. ”

I find it odd that any ordinary balanced 11 count is worth an opening bid. But when you hold 6-4 in the majors and a void you draw the line. True, no aces is a minus, but you could hardly ask for better intermediates.

Is it really better to pass initially but then bid alone to the 4 level opposite a third hand 1 opening?

I am not claiming that opening the West hand is mandatory, but I am pretty sure that the long term benefits of opening a hand like the one West had is much higher than say a hand like the one East held
May 19
Rainer Herrmann edited this comment May 19
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Once upon a time doubles were penalty unless you had a specific agreement to the contrary.
Nowadays a low-level double is not penalty, unless you have a specific agreement that it is and you have to define what low-level means.

For example taking your second example, I would not double for penalties, unless I had a prior agreement for it. Some would construe that DBL as showing 4-4 in the majors with a willingness to compete.

In fact when playing with robots on BBO I learned the hard way that you can almost never double for penalties, no matter what the level is and how the bidding has gone. The more bids have been made already, the more likely the robot will construe your DBL as takeout.
May 16
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The hand is from a robot tournament, where your score is compared to others


——————————— QT74 KT765 T87 Q


J83 8 QJ65 AJT74 —————————– K9652 942 A2 K53

———————————- A AQJ3 K943 9862


I was South and not surprised going down in 4H, when the robots found the only defense to beat it for sure. Ace of diamonds, diamond continuation and West going in with the ace of clubs and continuing diamonds.
What surprised me was that I was the only one in 4 Hearts.
Nobody had chosen to jump raise.
So I thought I test my judgement on Bridgewinner.

Obviously North has a minimum accpetance.
If you exchange the heart 9 for the Heart 6 between East and North, game in hearts becomes unbeatable.
I doubt anyone would move over the single raise with that change.
May 8
Rainer Herrmann edited this comment May 8
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Exchange North clubs and hearts and I doubt you would want to be in game at matchpoints.
Nowhere had the opponents indicated that they had a 9 card fit in hearts and opponents bidding made it likely from South perspective that North was weak in HCP and I at least want my partners at all white to bid spades on almost any excuse when I make a takeout double of another suit.

Strength in HCP itself is no reason to compete further because strength also works on defense.

South is balanced and has reason to devalue his heart holding for offensive purposes.
South could have chanced a matchpoint doubled when 3 came round to him.

There may be more to competitive bidding than the “law”,
but it is distribution and fit which argues for competing further, not HCP.
May 6
Rainer Herrmann edited this comment May 6
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This is it.
All the critic on South is besides the point.
May 5
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In the book “Building A Bidding System” Roy Hughes lists four requirements for slam in priority sequence:

Let me cite form the book (page 73)

1) enough potential winners
2) solidity of trumps (or key suits, in notrump)
3) first round control of at least three suits
4) control of every suit

or more succinctly tricks, trumps, aces, controls.

….

Slam can be made missing any of these ingredients, but the hardest to overcome is a lack of tricks.

West

AJT2
AJ4
A32
AK7

versus

East

KQ84
KQT
K74
J52

Bidding:

2NT 3
3 6

Trumps are solid, and one could not ask for more controls, but you are not likely to make this slam.

end of quote.

Slam should be investigated only once priority one is likely to be met.
It seems to me that you are stressing priority two at the expense of priority one or more succinctly you put the cart before the horse.

Priority one gets even more important the less HCP are held by the partnership. The trump suit alone will rarely itself provide sufficient tricks for slam. Fit in a side suit is almost always key for priority one.
May 4
Rainer Herrmann edited this comment May 4
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I do not find this strange at all.
What I find strange is how quickly many discard the option of playing the most popular game contract there is in Bridge.

At IMPs a major suit game has to play 2 tricks better than 3NT before showing a (significant) profit.

This can be the case when you have a 4-4 fit, but by no mean always.
In a third of all cases trumps will not break and then a 4-4 fit will rarely play that much better.
Also I have never suffered side suit ruffs by the defense when playing 3NT.

The conditions under which 3NT might make but game in a 4-4 major suit fit fail are not that hard to identify:

Weak potential trumps suit, quacky hand with unbid side suits well guarded are all good reasons to suggest 3NT as an alternative spot. This is by no means rare.

In that sense suggesting 3NT can also act as a natural slam inhibitor.
April 28
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I do not mind Jacoby, but when 2/1 is played as game forcing claiming that you need an immediate forcing raise as well looks to me like an overbid.
April 21
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Is it correct that you have two ways to sign-off with long diamonds over a major suit opening (one via 1NT), but no way to invite with long diamonds?
April 14
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… which would put this hand into the same category as 18-19 balanced?
April 14
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Sure, but also please read the comments, to which I repsonded.
I responded to Craigs hypothetical scenario should you be in first or second seat with this hand.
April 14
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What about the flaws of opening 1, whether playing IMPs or matchpoints?

What is your rebid over 1 or 1 ?
I neither like 2 nor 3.

What if responder bids 1NT?

Do you really want to invite competition with this hand?
April 14
Rainer Herrmann edited this comment April 14
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There is no question that if you do have a small slam in diamonds you will miss it if you open 1NT.
You will miss it if opener rebids 2 diamonds and you will get there if opener overbids with jump rebidding 3 diamonds.

But since the jump rebid is an overbid opener will also get to a lot of poor high diamond contracts, particularly at matchpoints.

If you reach 6 with xxxx AQxx Kxx Ax, tell us what is responder supposed to bid over 3?

What if responder holds xxx Axxx Kxx AKx instead?

I ran a simulation giving responder the king of diamonds and exactly 13 HCP and distributions where he would respond 1H.

There would be 12 tricks about 25% of the time, 11 tricks about 50% of the time, and 25% of the time less tricks in diamonds.
April 14
Rainer Herrmann edited this comment April 14
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Frankly I do not know why we have the same objections against sims time and again.

The situation is rather simple

Nobody claims double dummy play is the same as single dummy play.
Single dummy play has guesses, sometimes pure guesses sometimes educated guesses based on probability or psychology. Double dummy has none of them.

We know that. Why stress this time and again?

We also know that the result of double dummy play is close to the one you get from single dummy play over a sufficiently large sample and the variance seem small.
The differences seem to cancel out. That is what matters.

Of course this does not mean that it is difficult to construct deals where there would be a big difference in tricks taken. Only these deals are uncommon.

We also know that at 3NT declarer takes about 0.2 tricks more on average playing single dummy than double dummy.
For major suit game this difference is zero. So uncorrected sims do not favor 3NT, they favor the major suit game.

If you think it through David, you will find your arguments are refuted by these facts.

Sims are good choosing bidding options and making bidding decision in general.
For example should I discard the option playing game in notrump with balanced hands once an eight card fit in a major has been uncovered in the bidding?
Many do. Many use 3NT as an artificial slam try once a major has been raised.
The sims argue against it convincingly.
The point is not following sims blindly, but to know what your default action should be.
Then use your hand evaluation skills to override it if appropriate.
April 10
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