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All comments by Sabrina Miles
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If that 9 was a or a , I'd open 1. But I'm not going to preempt p in first seat vulnerable with this mess.
Sept. 21, 2015
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I think that p bid the 4 to tell me that he held more than a minimum hand and has support. I would anticipate that p's hand is 15-18 HCP unbalanced. When p bids his 4, my hand (from p's perspective) is unlimited. Anything I bid above 4 signals to P that I am slam seeking, rather than cooperating with him in his slam search.

Could we miss a slam? Sure. It is never easy to bid a 28-30 HCP slam. But misrepresenting my actual holding costs more in the long run than missing a top board. Indeed, when P trusts that I have accurately represented my hand he is more likely to look for key cards on a close call – like those examples that you gave. OTOH, when I encourage p without the goods, of course I anticipate that he will sign off without looking further (i.e., he will not go to slam on my 5 bid).

Thus, I see the choices as bid accurately my hand at 4 or guess that my P has all the magic keycards we need for slam and go straight to 6. It is useless to bid 5 since P will know that I would encourage without the hand that warrants such encouragement. We are, after all, creatures of habit.
Sept. 20, 2015
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What exactly was the disciplinary consequence on the prior occasion when they admitted unethical behavior? And what was the unethical behavior? Obviously they were not barred from playing together in competitive bridge. Hmmmm….I wonder if their previous transgression had been made public. Surely this new piece of information should militate against a lesser disciplinary consequence, albeit that they again admitted unethical behavior.

The only thing worse than readmitting cheaters to the game is to continually readmit the same cheaters to the same game. Obviously wrist slapping does not deter obnoxious behavior.
Sept. 20, 2015
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Thank you for your superb contribution. It is much easier to follow – and clearly indicative of the unethical behavior.
Sept. 20, 2015
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Okay, I see our disconnect here. I don't see the 4 bid as a sign-off. It is a cooperative bid describing the hand I actually hold. I don't misrepresent my hand based on what partner may hold. If p holds either of the 2 hand you suggest, I think he will seek further information rather than just sign off.
Sept. 20, 2015
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I read the 4 bid as support for , not necessarily slam seeking. P did not opening the bidding 2. In any event, all that this hand has is great , which in a vacuum is insufficient for slam. If p's hand is really seeking slam he has another call over yours. There is no need to misrepresent the hand now. The 2 calls more than adequately describe this hand.
Sept. 20, 2015
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Given N's choice of a lead rather than his known long 's it seems to signify that the was a singleton upon which he hoped to get a ruff. If he hopes to get a ruff, then at worse the opps trump split is no worse than 3-1. (@ 25%). Thus, it makes sense that you would play for the drop rather than the finesse. If N held all 4 trump (5%), you are going down anyway since you will lose a , a and 2.
Sept. 20, 2015
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@Max,

LOL…and I thought I'd heard all the lawyer jokes. Be advised, some in the US are proud to call themselves lawyers too.
Sept. 19, 2015
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A lifetime ban for an admitted cheater – who colluded with his partner to cheat – is not outrageous; it is a stiff penalty, but not an outrageous one. I would not advocate that one, who has admitted his guilt before the damning evidence has been brought to the forefront, be forever expelled from the game. I believe there is room for rehabilitation when confession precedes a finding of guilt.

I do, however, think that the comparison to murder is appropriate here. Murder is the most heinous crime (I think) in life – there is no means to make amends. In parellel, collusive cheating is the most heinous crime in competitive bridge. There really is no way to make appropriate amends; collusive cheating destroys the very fabric of the game. So be sorry for the pair that admitted their guilt, have compassion for the pair, but to make light of their transgression by suggesting that the ultimate penalty is too severe is the really outrageous act!
Sept. 19, 2015
Sabrina Miles edited this comment Sept. 19, 2015
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I am not sure whether to applaud the courageousness it took to come forward or whether to despise the cowardice that perhaps inevitable discovery rather than integrity spurred the admission. In either event, a 2 year removal from the game seems a rather lenient penalty to me. (Although I agree that the pair should be forever barred from playing together in competitive bridge).

I can think of no greater assault upon the integrity of bridge than intentional cheating. Should an admitted cheater receive a lesser punishment than expulsion from competitive bridge? I think so. But the appropriate suspension must be such to appropriately punish the perpetrators and simultaneously discourage others from engaging in the same behavior. While I will have no say in the ultimate disciplinary penalty, I will say that I hope those who do have such say determine that a 2 year suspension is not sufficient.
Sept. 19, 2015
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I don't understand the query? Yes,it is a 3 loser hand,but 1 is much more descriptive than 2 opening here. The chances of1 being passed out at this vulnerability is almost nil so I am confident that I will get a rebid. Again, what is the real query here?
Sept. 18, 2015
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I trust my partner. I believe that p's x means something; he has at least 4 and some values. Thus, I see my bid as co-operative. I trust that if p has the A and some values that he will bid 6….and if he does not, he will pass out my 5 bid or bid a descriptive bid.. Together, we will arrive at the correct contract.

Should I bid 6 alone, based on my holding? I don't think so. I think a team is stronger than an individual.. P's double has promised me 10+ HCP… but nothing specific. I am going to give him the chance to further describe his hand before I take a unilateral decision.

btw, if I thought the hand was worthy of opening 2, I would have opened it as such.
Sept. 18, 2015
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I think the folks that want to “hold their cards” will still be holding them when the world class players transition to playing on tablets. I agree that change may be difficult for the majority of folks. Playing on tablets will be made much more acceptable for the masses once the elite players have made the transition. One must remember that this same argument was made regarding bidding boxes instead of calling the appropriate bid. If my grandparents were still alive, they would still insist that rock and roll was ruining America. Nothing really changes, but we must embrace the change, if we want to move forward.
Sept. 18, 2015
Sabrina Miles edited this comment Sept. 18, 2015
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Methinks thou dost protest too much.

Enough said.
Sept. 18, 2015
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Interesting problem. I like the 2NT bid because it immediately tells P my HCP range and allows partner to ask me if I have 3 or 4 (nmf). But I would not bid 2NT here because I prefer to give P an accurate distributional view. Here, a 3 bid gives p that information and also conveys that I have 15+ HCP. Two pieces of information is better than one.

BTW, in my partnerships a 1 bid would indicate that I held at least 4 – which I don't. Misrepresenting distribution is the last of all evils that I would voluntarily allow.
Sept. 18, 2015
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I think an open of 1 here and a rebid of 2 would remove any ambiguity about the subsequent 3 bid being forcing. Besides, I think opening and rebidding in this manner better describes this particular hand. At minimum, p will bid 3NT following the reverse. OTOH, p may reevaluate his hand and seek additional information about mine. It is not inconceivable that a minor slam might be on here.

Sure this particular bidding might not work if there were 6 and 5, but with equal length (and strength) and 16HCP plus a doubleton and a singleton, the opening of 1 makes the bidding much easier for all involved.
Sept. 18, 2015
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Where did the bidding go off the rails?

I am tempted to say that the bidding went off the rails with p’s 1NT bid. Why? Because there were other, more descriptive bids available, e.g., 2. Such a bid would have immediately put the bidding in a game force situation, conveyed to me his game going values and would have allowed the partnership to advance slowly and surely to an easily reachable slam.

But I won't say the bidding went off the rails at the 1NT bid, because although it is not the bid that I would have chosen, it is an acceptable bid; it is a forcing bid. It basically asks partner to describe her hand more. (Personally, I prefer a show and tell bidding model — not one in which one partner decides to hide his hand and simply seeks to solicit information).

In any event, from my perspective, the contract went off the rails with partner’s 3NT bid. The 3NT is not forcing. Generally when one player bids 3NT, he is saying his hand is more suitable for NT than for suit play. He has secondary values, a double stop in some worrisome suit, no fit but some power. I see the 3NT as a slam depressant for suit play. I distinguish this 3NT bid from an agreed upon suit and then a 3NT bid which, to me, says I have a hand strong enough to cooperate with a slam search if partner has extras but only willing to play game opposite a minimum. Again, this latter 3NT requires an agreed upon trump suit.

Further, I see the 3NT bid here as limiting partner’s hand. (Although some might reasonably think that the hand was limited by the 1NT bid). When partner limited his hand, I saw my role then as the captain of the auction. Thus, I pulled the non-forcing 3NT bid to 4 saying as captain I think this board plays better here.

Thereafter came the 4NT. Now, to me, it is internally inconsistent for a hand that wanted to stop at game — and there is no other reason to bid 3NT but to stop at game — to now seek to determine if slam is in the cards. I took into consideration not only what partner did bid, but also what he did not bid. A hand looking to search for slam does not sign off at 3NT without showing support for or making a forcing bid. To the contrary of some opinions expressed above, my pass of 4NT, I think said partner, I heard you, you only want to play in NT; I cede my captaincy to you.
Sept. 17, 2015
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All my cc say 20-21. With 22+ HCP, I open 2. I have never opened 2NT with 22. However, it has happened more than a few times that I have opened 2NT with 19 HCP because it was the most descriptive bid of my hand.
Sept. 15, 2015
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What exactly leads you to believe it is a slam try. And if it is a slam try, where is the slam try, in NT,in ? I believe my p, but when goes off the rails, I find it difficult to follow.
Sept. 15, 2015
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@Nick, I don't see 6 (or anything approaching that) here. Simply stated, S made a poor bid and the opponents (both bots) were wise to stay out of the way of a VERY poor bid. Now if there are any excuses to be made, I dare say it would not be on behalf of the human player (who seems to be very much over matched in this hand)
Sept. 10, 2015
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