Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Ron Zucker
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Ian, notwithstanding the argument, simply saying, “Fair points, I got this one wrong” is the most honest I've heard a bridge player. I simply want to give you kudos for saying that.
July 15
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I want to second Greg Lawler's comment. I'm a solid intermediate who loves to play up, whether that's the Vanderbilts or a top flight at a regional, yet I don't show up for regionals anymore. And Oren is right. My opponents have always been very kind about explaining what they did and why, even when I've won and they probably pissed off. Yet I don't go to many regionals anymore.

The reasons are myriad. Locations that are from from the downtown area where I live, necessitating either a hotel room or a rough commute. Start times that I find too early to be palatable. Too often in the past, not being allowed to play up in a KO because it would make an inconvenient number of entries. The death of open pairs.

I've decided to vote with my feet. I haven't enjoyed most bridge tournaments in a long time. If that means I don't get to play the game I love as often and that my poor skills deteriorate as a result, I still have more fun doing other things. And that says a lot, as I love the game.
July 7
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FWIW, I don't object to 1. If partner bids 1 over 1, life is easy. I'm willing to bid 1NT. But if partner bids 1, life could get ugly when I have a doubleton in the other major. I don't think I'd choose it every time, but I think 1 is actually a thoughtful decision that might work out poorly.
May 2
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Unfortunately, it's been a while since I've been able to be at an NABC. I'm definitely a “toughest competition” person. I like being beaten by the best, and try to be respectful as I try to learn to play better. Once they identified me as this type of player, more than one has been kind enough to make suggestions about what I ought to study to continue to improve. I'm well past the age where I think I'm going to have any chance any time soon of winning the Vanderbilts, especially with my friends who I play with, but I've pulled off some significant upsets and had a great time doing it. At first I was dissuaded from doing this, as I was realistically giving one lucky team a bye into the second round more often than not, but I've been encouraged every time I've done it and treated with a great deal of respect by my opponents, especially when I've made it through the first day. I encourage it to anyone who will listen.

All I ask is that they not schedule the mixed pairs as the only event that starts on day 2 of the title cup events. I'm traveling to play against the best. I will continue playing in the biggest events with the goal of winning an NABC+ event. I have two top 15 finishes, but no top 10's, in pair events. I don't kid myself that it's likely I'll ever win one, but it's still a goal. When I travel to these events, it's all I'm after. Anything that gives me a better shot at that is good. Anything that leaves me playing a Regional event fails to understand why I travel to play.

I will note that my experience is that NABC's are rarely held when the destination is at its best for tourism. However, even if it was, I think it unlikely I'd notice. I'm there for the bridge against the best in the world. Nothing else matters to me. But I also think I'm not “normal,” so catering to my interests is orthagonal to throwing a successful event.
May 1
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I didn't bid 1NT over 1 for a reason. I'm backing that judgment now.
Feb. 4
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I'd bid 3 at IMPs, but it's MPs. I'll pass.
Feb. 4
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I think 3NT has to be a hand sort of like this. I have nothing in hearts. If you do, I might have enough running tricks to make. I don't invite and then accept the invite, so it has to be clear that partner can run to 4 safely if unhappy in 3NT.

I do disagree with the 3 call, but wouldn't be upset if partner tabled this hand after it.
Feb. 4
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My problem with letting partner choose the suit via 4 or 5NT is that I don't want the lead coming through Kx of clubs. If I'm CERTAIN that 4 is leaping michaels, maybe, since it lets us get to 6 from the right side of the table, but what a I bidding over 4?
July 9, 2018
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I vote NF 5+, but what I claim to have in an auction where I might be faced with a tough bid and what I actually have are (not OFTEN, I don't think, but clearly more than some I know) sometimes not the same things. I, too, would bid it with AKxx Tx xxx KJxx. If that's the biggest lie I tell at the table, I'm doing fine.
Nov. 29, 2017
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Threshold question. Is this in a precision context, where partner is expecting drek for an opener? Because I'm a lot happier if this isn't a big time minimum, but merely a normal minimum.

I usually like 2 on this sort of hand, using my general rule that, when faced with a difficult bid, make the cheapest non-misdescriptive bid. However, in this case, I bid 3 because I can't handle a 3 bid from partner over my 2, which s/he would do holding a 2-2-4-5 13 count. I'd have to rebid 3 (if I was going to bid NT with this hand, the time to do it would have been the first rebid), and partner STILL won't know what I have, and will choose 4 in the moysian lacking a spade card. I think 3 gives me more of a chance to survive later streets, as his/her 3 grope can be answered with a 3 grope and s/he will have some idea about what my hand looks like, as well as where our safety suit is.

On this hand type, I've been know to lie about my heart length. This suit can easily play opposite a doubleton. If partner doesn't raise a 2 bid, then clubs were for real and we have some safety there. If partner bids hearts, I have a minimum and can bid easily. I think it's very close, and can't honestly say I'd never choose 2H, despite the promising 6 agreement.

Those who bid voted for 2NT are probably the most honest bidders on the site. They know their agreements and will stick to them even on uncomfortable hands like this one. That makes them the most reliable on other hands. There's a lot to be said for that style. But, I mean, if I can't punish partner, and they'll penalize or ban me for punishing opponents, who can I punish? I won't punish me! That's PARTNER'S job!

I'm going to have to lie a bit on this hand. KTx looks like the least lie. KQJ9x looks like the second least lie. If partner decides 2H is the least lie, I won't object.
Nov. 9, 2017
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Well, except that my RHO had 6 spades, so kind of wanted to know. And was injured. I think I need to contact the director. If nothing else, we deserve a PP for the 3 call, I think.
Oct. 17, 2017
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I think you're talking about the 3 bid, as Steve Bloom posted below. If so, ignore my comment. I'm allowed to bid 2, as that's just bridge judgment within the system, but she's not allowed to pull it.

If that's not what you were talking about, please follow up. If it was, I get it now. Thank you.
Oct. 17, 2017
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That's something I didn't consider, and seems clear. 2 should be to play. It was almost certainly influenced by the explanation. I think it should have been rolled back to 2 by me in my 3-1 fit. And I should have called the director after the hand.

Thank you. I'm still trying to learn. As soon as I get good at this game, I'm quitting it, as I see no reason to climb Everest twice. Given the game's complexity, I don't expect to ever quit…
Oct. 17, 2017
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Thanks. I thought that true, but saying that we've discussed follow ups to DONT is so clearly self serving, even if true. After all, we've also discussed that we play DONT, and she's forgotten that, right?

Just asking, and I'm not doubting you, but how can there be a problem with my 2 bid? I don't know which major is longer playing DONT (yeah, I've come to not love DONT, but we play infrequently enough not to be worth changing the card), and am simply choosing spades because it puts the 1NT opener on lead, which has to be better than getting this balanced hand led through. So what could be the problem?
Oct. 17, 2017
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I'm with Steve Chen. This HAS to have diamonds in it. Partner couldn't make a negative double, so, if s/he has four spades, s/he has a TERRIBLE hand. I think it should say, “Look, I have a big hand with defense to diamonds. If they run to hearts and you have hearts but not enough for a 1NT bid on the last round, they're in a misfit. Double and lead trump. Or don't double if you don't have enough, but still, lead trump or very short clubs if you want to initiate a force/overruff game.”

Partner rates to be broke, but I am suggesting strength just short of ludicrous. I need to let partner in on the secret that I have half the deck and a hand unsuited to a 2NT opening. And I need to do it now, before it goes all pass.
Oct. 17, 2017
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Fair, and I apologize for putting words into your mouth.

I thought you were suggesting that either of those hands would rebid 3 for lack of a better option in your partnerships. You were merely suggesting that partner ought to know if both hands are possible. You didn't suggest that, in your partnerships, both are possible.

So, to be clear, I think hand B is possible in my partnerships, but hand A is not, so I think 3 promises 3 or 4 diamonds.
Oct. 14, 2017
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The best way to describe my understanding of 3 here is to follow Ron's first axiom. When no bid satisfies, make the cheapest non-misdescriptive bid.

Michael Rosenberg (who obviously knows better than I) thinks 3 is misdescriptive in his example A, because he thinks 3 shows a good club suit. I don't. I would like to have a better club suit. I would also like to weight about 50 pounds less than I do. I'll describe my length because 3 with that hand is the cheapest non-misdescriptive bid. Partner will be disappointed with my club suit, but also understands that this is an auction that got awfully high awfully quickly with little in the way of definition or suit agreement.

On the other hand, with Michael's hand B, my 4-4 in the minors would make 3 misdescriptive, and therefore the cheapest non-misdescriptive bid is 3.

So I agree with John and Kit. It will always deliver AT LEAST 3. It will never deliver 3 good ones, or I'd have bid 2NT. It will sometimes deliver a bad 4 card suit. Partner should be able to work out what to do next, even if s/he doesn't know my shape. On some hands, that's the best I can hope for.
Oct. 14, 2017
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OK, just to circle back to Peter, I doubled. I thought pass was plausible, but that my hand was too good. I thought 2 a bad bid. It takes no room, suggests a weak raise to 3, which I don't want, and misinforms partner. The only thing it has going for it is that a club lead looks good from my side. But if partner thinks another lead looks better, that's fine with me, too, so I don't think it needed. With xx in spades, I don't mind playing in a moysian in a red suit.

The results seem to suggest that the majority agree with me. But Mike Richey (my favorite regular partner) and I need to have a talk… :D
Oct. 12, 2017
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Thanks, all. Once it was suggested, it seems clear that 4 was my correct bid after 4. It's clearly last train, suggesting some interest in slam, thus some extra values, but not a likely perfecto that can take control. I think 5 created the problem.
June 30, 2017
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Leonard, that is the best suggestion I've seen thus far. 4 after 4 HAS to be last train. I chose spades, after all. It didn't occur to me at the table, but I like it.
June 30, 2017
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