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All comments by Shäné Blänchärd
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I am usually awestricken by the creativity that players like Justin, Joe, and Frederik exhibit on a regular basis. But I must say that besides Justin's 2-club overcall, I am really underwhelmed by these examples you have chosen. I can understand Nystrom's 1NT rebid, and while I appreciate that it worked this time, it seems that by failing to mention his 6-card solid SPADE suit he rates to jeopardize his side's partial more often than he picks off the opponents'. The way I see it, Nystrom's choice of rebid gains in two scenarios. The first is that his partner has the upper range of 0-7 and invites game. By suppressing the spade suit, you are likely to get to the only game that will have play, 3NT. On the other hand, when you have a spade fit, and your partner is at the bottom of his range, it is very likely that the opponents are cold for a game. These are important scenarios, but both sides are white and part scores are equally as important at this vulnerability. So it appears to me that rebidding 1NT is at best a coin flip.

Obviously Joe is well known for bids like this splinter, but I do not really see the upside. I did not get to see this hand, so I'm not sure what the state of the match may have been but it seems like splintering in your Kx, is more likely to land you in the wrong game more often than it will actually get your opponents off to the wrong lead. It seems even more egregious when I would look at Joe's hand and beg for a diamond lead, and I would certainly pray for a non-spade lead. By splintering in diamonds it seems like he is actually improving the opponent's chances of finding the right lead, when they were very likely to lead a diamond through presumed strength in the first place.
Nov. 10, 2011
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Lebron James, Michael Vick, Dwight Howard, Kevin Durant, and Peyton Manning get 1 year to train for a handball exhibition match with huge prize $ vs. the Swedish National handball team. Who wins?
Aug. 26, 2011
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I played these boards against the pair that came in second in the event, the Jills (Meyers and Levin-aka Mom). Holding Joel's hand on board 3, I did elect to raise to 2S rather than rebid 1NT. Let me first say that I played this round under duress as it was my last round of the event. I was not in contention, and my mom obviously was. Under these conditions it was really important for me to try to play as normal as possible because I did not want to screw my mother over and I also did not want to inappropriately help her. Until this video, I had thought that it was so normal to raise to 2S that I did not even think twice about it. That said, my partner bid 3NT next and played it there, down 1 on a heart lead. WD Jills :)
Aug. 19, 2011
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And alas, you all get see the beauty of playing flannery and 1M-2C artificial GF. Holding as many as 5 spades and 3H, with GF values I do not bid 1S, I do not bid jacoby 2NT. I bid 2C. If partner has 4 spades, I will find out with his second bid and if he has less than 4 spades I'm playing hearts. Gives little away to the opening leader, especially if we are on our way to 3NT. How would you like to lead against 1H-2C-2NT-3H-3NT when dummy can have any conceivable balanced shape with less than 6 spades and exactly 3 hearts?
Aug. 13, 2011
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Kitty- thanks for the info. Such an agreement should certainly be alertable, right?
Aug. 2, 2011
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Was the auction on board 59 the same at both tables? I find it hard to believe that one North did not double 2S, and was still able to get the spade J lead. From south's perspective(Fantoni), with a partner who could have doubled for a spade lead, holding AJ8xx of hearts and JTxxx of spades, a heart seems like a no-brainer to me. Seems a bit odd but can't argue with success.
Aug. 2, 2011
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I didn't even know about this hand or that it could have won us the match. Bad beat. If it weren't for you and Roger we would have withdrawn from that match after 3 QTR's stuck 200.
July 13, 2011
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For the record: soccer(“football”) players flop way harder than basketball players.
June 23, 2011
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I don't play multi; I hate playing against multi. But to disallow it is not in the spirit of bridge or competition. To ostracize those who play this convention, and to lock it out of our national events is simply unfair to those who travel great distances to compete in our events and to those of us who have aspirations to play in international competition. Thanks to the ACBL's multi policies, I have found myself wholly unprepared for this convention when having to play against it in international tournaments. While the rest of the world laughs off the use of the convention, we get frazzled to the point of headache. The solution is simple: stop sifting through the stupid acbl defenses, wasting everyone's time, and then calling the director on your opponents; learn a defense, just like you have with strong club, flannery, and 1NT openers, and quit whining. If any of you bridge thinkers spent half as much time or energy preparing a better defense than the shitty one the ACBL provides, this would not be an issue.
June 22, 2011
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You can have Hampson back, we're keeping Erin and Fred. :)
May 29, 2011
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I bet on Levin-Weinstein…. just sayin'
April 13, 2011
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I think the most frequent situation that arises is when the defense has lead dummy's singleton against a suit contract. I think it is pretty common among experts to have the agreement that when the opening lead is dummy's singleton, all signals are suit preference. In this instance, it is to your benefit as declarer to give the defense extra time to think about their signal so that the defender receiving it has no way to measure how emphatically the signal was made. By that I mean that if you call from dummy too fast, the defender is certainly within his or her rights to fumble around for a while and then play the card they want, indicating to their partner that they have merely a mild or even total lack of suit preference. However, if you call the card fast and the defender plays his card like lightning, the opening leader now knows that the suit preference card given is honest and meaningful, not played for lack of a better option. Ideally none of this should matter, but the reality is that not everyone out there is as ethical as they should be. In the long run simple measures such as taking a while at trick one and being mindful of your tempo will benefit you if only by making you feel assured that you were not the victim of unethical play.
March 28, 2011
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I think that hands like these, where tempo is of the utmost importance, separate the truly world class players from everyone else. More important than defensive tempo issues, is declarer's. As declarer in a contract like this, you must be mindful of not giving anything away with your tempo but at the same time not misleading the defense in an unethical way. On this particular hand, I think Townsend must have been really careful when the defense switched to a heart because it would be obvious to both defenders that he held a singleton heart if he did not take a reasonable amount of time before calling for the king. But at the same time, he has only one “legitimate” play in that suit and must walk the fine line between giving away his hand and acting unethically. The best way to accomplish this is to take an extra amount of time when the dummy comes down to plan for every scenario so that you are not caught with your pants down. This also gives the defense time to think about their signals so that neither defender can take advantage of his partner's tempo.

One of the things that I most respect about Steve Weinstein as a bridge player is that when you watch him declare a hand, no matter what the situation, he always looks as though he is playing a contract that has no hope and that he is trying to make it to save his life. He is obviously very aware of his image and tempo and I find it very hard to figure out whether he is going down 4 vul or making 3 overtricks. I wish that I had the discipline to monitor my tempo the way he does. Having known Steve since I was a child, it was not until I had to play against him at the bridge table that I found this really intimidating side of him.
March 28, 2011
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The ACBL Hall of Fame Award, in any category, shall be given to distinguished individuals who are held in high regard for their ethics, deportment and sportsmanship, while residing in the territory administered by the American Contract Bridge League.
The ACBL Hall of Fame Open Award shall be given annually to living individuals who have achieved prominence in the game of bridge and have an outstanding tournament record. They shall be elected by electors, as described in Section 5 of these operating procedures.
Jan. 26, 2011
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Jonathan,
The criteria for nomination states that "the hall of fame award shall be given distinguished individuals who are held in high regard for their ethics, deportment and sportsmanship…have achieved prominence in the game of bridge and have an outstanding tournament record." Nowhere in the nomination criteria are the voters asked to evaluate the nominee's contribution to their prominent tournament records. Please try to find me another bridge player with Rose's record who is not in the hall of fame and has been eligible. Want to bet whether Kyle gets in or not? His playing record is somehow very similar to Rose's… Applying the same standard that you are, which is contribution to championships, then how is Gail Greenberg not in the hall of fame while Jacqui Mitchell is? Every board that Jacqui played in those world championships she had Gail sitting right across from her. And how should Gavin, who is twenty-six years old, be able to determine my Grandmother's contribution to her titles that she won while Gavin was still in diapers? Should we include butlers in the acbl hall of fame package?
Jan. 24, 2011
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1. Rose Meltzer: Try telling a non-bridge playing friend or acquaintance that a three-time world champion and many time national champion is not even on the ballot for the hall of fame. The fact that Rose received less than 10% of the vote last year is not at all a reflection on her, but rather a pathetic and sad reflection on the state of the ACBL HOF voters. You all need a reality check. The HOF so obviously discriminates against women, hiding behind the argument that women's events should not be considered as impressive as open events. Well then wake the fuck up… Rose has won 3 OPEN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP; Rose just made her second consecutive Spingold final in which she lost on the third to last board. Nobody would dare to question Tommy Lasorda's or George Steinbrenner's induction to the baseball HOF. Rose's teams have been every bit as dominant as their's and she had to do the equivalent of playing 4.5 innings every game. I doubt Lasorda or Steinbrenner would be HOF locks if they had to roll their fat asses out there every game.

2. Gail Greenberg (Grandma): In addition to her invaluable contributions to the game as a teacher, club owner, pundit, volunteer and general do-gooder she has demonstrated prominence and has an outstanding tournament record. She dominated an entire era of women's bridge and has five world championships to show for it. The baseball hall of fame takes in to account the era and conditions in which a nominee competed, should the ACBL hall of fame not do the same? As the game of baseball evolves, so do the achievments required for induction. When Gail Greenberg was in the “prime” of her bridge playing career, there was no choice between open events and women's events. She competed in the best competition that she was allowed to compete in and achieved the highest levels of success over a long period of time. Her accomplishments, along with her remarkable track record for sportsmanship should make her a lock for the HOF by all standards.

Jan. 24, 2011
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