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All comments by Randy Thompson
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If spades are trumps:
7…2 of top 3 spade honors
6…None of top 3
6Q
6A or K
6A or K and extra length

If hearts are trumps, the “extra length” response disappears.
If diamonds are trumps the distinction between single honors disappears
If clubs are trumps it's just 2 or not 2 of top 3.
13 hours ago
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Our rule is: “If the kibitzers know what suit is trumps, then it is GSF; otherwise, it is pick-a-slam.”
Jan. 26
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I prefer to play that a balancing 1N over 1m is 11-14, but over 1M it is 13-16. Not being able to balance with some 11-12 flat hands will now and then be a problem (make the A in this hand the 2), but I'd rather have that problem than this one.
Jan. 24
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In today's tournament setting, where bridge lawyers seek to be given gifts they couldn't earn from the director and silly rules, I think the answer is to just not psyche 1N. Open 1 like the rest of planet earth on the hand posed. Life is too short to spend any of it debating the number of angels dancing on the head of a stiff jack (or deuce).

Ironic that you can shade the range of your 1N opener but not shade from a stiff Q to a stiff J? Just asking.
Jan. 21
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After 1-1, 1!N-??
We play that 1N does not deny 4 spades, so
I prefer:
2……either weak w diamonds or the start of all invites other than 4-4 in majors
2……GF with interest in the major suit holdings of opener
2……to play
2……4-4 in majors, invite values
2N……. relay to 3 with weak or strong hand with clubs (but not 5-5 slam try)
3……5-5 or better in round suits, slam try
3……5-5 or better in red suits, slam try
3……GF, fixes trumps, slam try
3……5-6 in majors, slam try
Games and slams….to play

Relaying to 3 then bidding w a GF hand on denies 5 hearts.
memory aids:
invites go through 2 relay (with natural follow up)
5-5 slam tries bid the second suit at the 3 level
2N is weak or strong with clubs
2♦︎ auctions proceed naturally, with opener showing 4 spades ahead of 3♥︎, but responder had some major he wanted to play (4-4 spades or 5-3 hearts). Minor suit rebids by responder over 2N or the “wrong” 2M response to 2 show 4 and are GF.
Jan. 21
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Why to prove one's skills as a bridge lawyer, what else? This has become a BIG part of the game.
Jan. 20
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I assume that north passed? I like to play that new suits at the one or three levels is forcing, but at the two level is encouraging but not forcing.
Jan. 19
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In a rational world, you would be right. But, somewhere along the way some old curmudgeons who make these ACBL regulations must have been burned by the opponent opening 1N with a singleton and decided that to do so makes 1N not a “natural” bid. Absurd as that is, it's the rule. An exception is made for a stiff A/K/Q.

No concern at all by regulators about what distortions this would force on pairs who don't play simple standard methods. In particular, many 4-4-4-1 hands become nightmares for some pairs if they can't be treated as 4-4-4-2. We changed our methods in a big way to avoid this (rare) problem. At least it doesn't apply to NT rebids – even the rule making curmudgeons must do that with a stiff now and then. This rule has the impact of favoring some systems over others. If a big No trumper can rebid 1N with 12-15 and a stiff but a 12-14 1N pair cannot treat it as flat then this has a competitive impact. The weak NT pair can treat that shape with 15-17 as flat but the big NT pair cannot. Which one is restricted more often? The weak NT pair.
Jan. 19
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I abstained because only an intelligent, thoughtful player could make a play that was THIS bad. :) It seems to me that your error came when you led a low spade from hand instead of an honor. If you demand to be “abused” for your result, then let it be for that play, which leaves you no way to pick up any 4-1 without guessing that a jack or ten play by LHO was from a singleton instead of JT doubleton – or tripleton! That is the only 4-1 you can pick up (stiff honor on your right) and your initial play should add that chance to the 2/3 chance of a 3-2 split you were born with. Your play forever burns that extra chance and for what? This against-the-odds chance? You “sensed” he couldn't have a 4-card spade suit? Hmmm, maybe you should rely more on math and less on ESP. :)
Jan. 18
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Preempts are best when the opponents may have a good game or choice of games. What game are they likely to be able to make on this deal? If they wind up in hearts, trumps are splitting 5-0 or 4-0 and I have some top end defense of my own. If they wind up in clubs, we may get an early crossruff going. They won't wind up in 3N, as I'll bid 4 over that one (after opening 1) if they get there before I can show my diamonds. IMO, involving partner makes him/her happier. 1 makes that easy. 2 leaves it as a possibility. How is it that we know we belong in spades instead of diamonds or declaring instead of defending? I prefer 4 to 3, because that maximizes the pressure on the opponents and both 3 and 4 rate to bury the diamond suit.
Jan. 18
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On a given day, 1, 2, 4, or 3 (the order in which I rank them) could be best. Hard to imagine a day when pass is best with a hand that can take 1/2/3/4 levels of bidding away from the opponents and start off with identifying the suit which is our most likely best trump strain.
Jan. 18
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We use it as Compressed Bergen – 4-card raise with values for either a Mixed Raise or Limit Raise. Opener signs off in 3M if even a limit raise isn't enough; bids 4M if a mixed raise is enough; bids 3m (natural), if a limit raise is enough but a mixed raise is not. After asking, Opener can bid 4M or 3M to play or can cue bid.
Jan. 16
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You could have had a stiff club in some other layout. Bidding 6 would show that the cue was based on the club king, which might matter to a partner with AQx(x)(x).
Jan. 7
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I prefer to play 3m as limit and 2N as a relay to 3m with EITHER a weak (will pass 3m) OR a GF (will bid over 3m) hand. There is always 2m to deal with the hands you don't want to call weak or limit (usually only 4 card support and 6-9).
Jan. 7
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I like to employ the pass-or-raise convention.
4C would be Gerber if you insist on it meaning something.
Jan. 6
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As are the K and the AK might provide a pitch. The old adage that “8 card suits make bad dummies” doesn't seem to apply here. We might have 4 tricks for pard in spades if he has the A and can take 2 top hts, ht ruff and AK.
Jan. 5
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With a useful doubleton, pard might have passed 3.
Jan. 5
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I doubt if any bridge player would expect that a limit raise had 9-12 HCP – 9-11 or 10-12 support points is more like it. Once you get to 13 support points, making a bid short of game that partner can pass suggests that you may need some remedial lessons or your opening bids are light enough to be alertable.
Jan. 3
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IMO, the biggest value of ELC is to avoid overcalling in diamonds with 4 cards in the unbid major (after a 1M opener by the opponents). I don't use ELC for heart rebids after doubling a minor. Combine this with ASTRO cues over 1M (5+ clubs and 4 of the unbid major and opening values or better) and you don't miss very many major suit fits. I just overcall 1 with 4-5 in the majors, where partner can bid 1 (forcing, but not to game) with 4+ spades, so the need isn't as great as with diamonds and the other major, where ELC helps a lot. If you wait for extra values for ELC usage, what's the point – most of those hands are ones where you already could have doubled and bid a new suit.
Dec. 29, 2019
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Andy: “I thought the the pre-Soloway schedule was great. A solid diet of matchpoint and BAM events culminating in the Reisinger - what could be better?”

YIKES! That was a big reason why I have almost never attended Fall Nationals, but rarely miss playing about 1/2 of the other two each year. The other reason was that we spent Thanksgiving time with family or with close friends and their family. Now that my regular partner is not my wife, I play no fall nationals because my partner has grandfather and husband duties to perform over Thanksgiving. I played one weekend of the Denver Fall Nationals, but can't remember the one prior to that – probably a couple decades ago.
Dec. 21, 2019
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