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All comments by Scott Needham
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After studying the NLTC/LTC writeups, it seems to me that these methods get me to the same place as more standard hand evaluation/judgment methods.
April 2, 2018
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I note the current plurality vote in the OP. Some time ago, I did a casual (read “incompetent”) sim of Axxx x Axxx xxxx as against a balanced 11 HCP LR. I had always thought the first was a good LR, but layouts with the bal LRs scored more tricks significantly more often.

Maybe someone can run a competent sim?
April 1, 2018
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CG: I find this discussion very instructive on the main issues: What does a NSer3N try look like, and what does it need to look like in order to cooperate opposite a waffling partner? It highlights the most critical of bidding issues, hand evaluation in the context of whatever stuff one plays. As others have written, there is a wide range of opinion re: the creds of the OP holding. The rest is a matter of constructing hands for responder, trying to justify the 4 advance of NSer3N (no K, the gorilla in the room) in context of the 4 stop.

For any of this to be reasonable, I conclude that responder should have a big HCP holding with a questionable control. I note that AJx KJTx KQJx xx (not even that big) is good opposite something like KQxxx Qxx Ax Axx (which would probably get more folks up into the 6-8 range), but is responder justified in casting about for a similar holding? Is opener justified in moving over 4 with such a holding? That's the crux for me, and the main takeaway – I like to learn something when I beat my brains against a rock – is that I'd like to have a way to highlight Q opposite K, which is one issue provoked by the actual sequence.

I think CM's various posts of March 22 and thereabouts are descriptive of the main ‘structural’ issues. Yet these posts are made in a context in which he opines that (a) responder's hypothetical AJx Kx KQx QJ10xx is not strong enough to risk the 5 level and (b) the OP hand is a “5.” To which the Cherrypicker responds “Is opener's KQxxx Qxx xx AKx also just average? Would opener cue the K with this, risking the 5 level opposite a Neb2 responder who has GFed but apparently provided no valuable shape information?”

Presumably, slight changes to opener's mitt – KQxxx(x) x Axx(x) Axx – would move it up in the value matrix for many if not most of the “5/6” evaluators. But even one of these won't go in context of a responder lacking the K. Which, of course, is why so many pass 4.

I need a nap.
March 29, 2018
Scott Needham edited this comment March 29, 2018
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More ‘picking: AJx KJTx KQJx Qx (K&R 15.8)?
(Irrelevant, but we could be off 9 cards in at 3N from responder’s POV.)

EDIT: Cherrypick along: What's opener's best hand for NSer3N? KT9xx Kx(x) Ax(x) Ax(x)? Gill's hand, above, maybe with K thrown in–or is that a Ser cue?
March 27, 2018
Scott Needham edited this comment March 27, 2018
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Good point, unless you're one of those pairs that use the higher to show both (not for me). AJx QJxx KQJx QJ? I guess the crux is, one can cherrypick hands 'til next year, but the auction until 3N was remarkably uninformative; maybe we think responder with a (yes, quacky: K&R 14) 17 count should not be cuing?
March 27, 2018
Scott Needham edited this comment March 27, 2018
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CG: AJx QJxx KQxx Kx and variants (throw in the J and Q)? And maybe opener holds KTxxx xx Axx AQx, maybe Kxxxx Kx Axx Axx?
March 27, 2018
Scott Needham edited this comment March 27, 2018
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After burning more brain cells on this problem (nice job Phil, way too much time spent on this one),emphasizing its Neb2 and LTTC elements, isn't 5 over 4 a control ask (whether by standard or LTTC understandings)? so that 4 is uncertainty as to 5-level safety b/c of ? And maybe we all should be thinking about Q opposite K as well as the possible A. If so, wouldn't 4N show A, and 5 the Q or K?
March 24, 2018
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4 says nothing about . Partner's after you showing both a and a control by either keycarding or 5-level cues. I'd put herm on 16 or so, balanced, say: AJx Kx(xx) KQxx Kx(xx).
March 23, 2018
Scott Needham edited this comment March 23, 2018
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It's just a “my hand only has value here” kind of thing. The most common 2 opener, as we know, is strong and balanced.
March 22, 2018
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In my preferred version of Neb2C, this auction would proceed differently, and I'd know whether the support included real . The OP auction, as detailed by Phil, is relatively uninformative; the slam-try decision in general, depending as it does upon visualization of partner's possible/likely holdings, is negatively affected. A partnership in this context, it seems to me, must have rules of the sort advanced by Gibson, below. It's purely power oriented. EDIT: and by Gill. EDIT AGAIN: After 1s-2 (5+), it's a different problem, less quantitative.
March 22, 2018
Scott Needham edited this comment March 22, 2018
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Rationale for the splinter with any opener: We are in a GF, and the most descriptive call is usually the most helpful. Personally, I love finding low HCP slams and 3N (when the field goes down in 4M, or when 4N outscores 4M).
March 22, 2018
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“By not taking the relay to 2♠” and transferring instead.
March 22, 2018
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Does this auction show real ? Axx A(xx..) xx KQJxx isn't Serious, but….
March 22, 2018
Scott Needham edited this comment March 22, 2018
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Richard, have the charts been published?
March 18, 2018
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Had a guy claim with 6 tricks to go in a grand. Two trumps out. If given a chance to rule, I'd have ruled there was no way for the defenders to score either trump, making 7. They adjudicated themselves for down one, so I let it stand.
March 11, 2018
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Debbie, are match awards REALLY mps? :-) Even our C players (the non-Pollyannas) indulge in some self scorn after a Swiss where they win 3 of 7 and end up 35%.

And I meant “scratch” to mean scratch: given the way things are today, that's “place in your strat.” Congrats: You beat others ranked as you are ranked within this field. Kudos to those who recognize that scratching “A” is inherently more meaningful than scratching “C.”

I remember, in my first duplicates, trying to get that slip of paper out of the firm, hard grasp of players like Mary Jane Farrell and Eddie Kantar, they of the steely gaze. Yes, it was different.
March 6, 2018
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Doesn't all of this come down to a frequency analysis? Have I missed a good sim?
March 6, 2018
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When explaining ACBL duplicate play to my father-in-law (a very intelligent man who was/is an exceptionally capable CEO/Chairman type businessman), I had described the ‘chasing the mp’ system. He thought a moment, analyzing in his exceptional businessman way, and said “that's diabolical.”

The problem is that mps are not a precise indicator of much of anything. Rate of accumulation means something (maybe only that you play every single day in one of ACBL's sectional and regional rich districts), as does one's platinum-to-gold-to-silver-to-red-to-black ratio (maybe only that you don't play above the sectional level for one reason or another, including lack of financial resources). There are Gold LMs who have played regularly for 50 years, and there are sub-LMs who scratch every time they play, but play only rarely.

Chris Champion's “Power Rating” system attempts to take strength of field into account; when advertising for team mates at regionals (yechh), I like to specify that I'm searching for a pair who have won (and intend to win) a bracket more often than randomly. Perhaps the best metric is “am I competitive in the events in which I play” – with a nod to the quality of those events.

One solid fact: If you don't scratch, you don't win any mps.
March 6, 2018
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And then there is the outlier case of the popular pro who has over 15,000 and is not a LM.

EDIT: Fact check.
March 5, 2018
Scott Needham edited this comment March 5, 2018
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Wish I could play 1M-2 as invitational+ or “all seats Drury,” but in ACBL it is still at least Midchart.
March 5, 2018
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