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All comments by Stu Goodgold
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Why are you making a poll of this question? That's like taking a poll to determine the cube root of 237. Assuming you are playing under ACBL rules, yes it is alertable if it is not a natural bid (showing a suit of 3 or more cards). Moreover, if it is at the 4 level or higher, it is a delayed alert. But why take my word for it, check it out with the ACBL authorities.
Sept. 14, 2012
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Does it really matter how and when this convention got its start?

Why do you want to confuse the opponents when they ask a question?Most people would expect a Sandwich NT, by an unpassed hand after (1x) P (1y), to mean I have the other 2 suits, usually with less than doubling values and more distributional than a takeout dbl.

2N is not alertable if unusual for the other 2 suits. 1N Sandwich (by an unpassed hand) is alertable when showing 2 suits.
So during the bidding the opps should not need to ask unless there was an alert. But if they ask before the bidding begins, your response is just confusing. A simple “No” would suffice.
Sept. 12, 2012
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This auction seems to call for the very common lead of a trump. Given West didn't lead a diamond, that would imply he is void (as he turns out to be). That would mean he has length in the majors and clubs for with 2 or fewer clubs, he might show his 11+ cards in the majors even given the vunerability. This makes the club finesse more than 50%.
Sept. 5, 2012
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The 1H bid was not a psych but a mistake, according to your description. So it is legal. Convincing the TD may prove problematic though.
Aug. 30, 2012
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It is quite rare to see diamond LMs playing ‘stolen bid’ agreements. And since they are playing Lebensohl, it would be reasonable for responder to bid 2N as a means to getting to 3C. We have established they had no specific agreement on 2S; even so, I would expect the expert opinion here would be stopper showing. West should have stated ‘undiscussed’ or ‘no agreement for this sequence’ and then added something along the lines: ‘but in general, when you have shown 2 suits, we agree to show stoppers’.
Aug. 29, 2012
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2S is not alertable in the ACBL (but we are not told where this was played). That is because it is an “implied” cue bid, ie. a bid in a suit the opponents have shown they hold. Cue bids are considered to be self-alerting. In your 1D-2D (Michaels) example, 2H showing limit+ in clubs is not alertable, just like 2D is not alertable.

As for 2S, we are not told what the EW actual agreement is. Was the agreement stopper showing in spades, or a xfer to clubs? Yes, West meant it as a xfer, but that may not be their agreement, and it wouldn't be the first time someone misbid.

In either case, it is up to NS to ask about 2S, alerted or not. They are only entitled to the EW actual agreement.
Aug. 29, 2012
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Kyle was always greeting everyone with a smile and never dismissed the lesser players he faced. He will be greatly missed. My condolences to Gillian, who was always around to kibbitz and provide support.

My experience with Kyle and Rose was at all levels, from nationals to club games. The most memorable was a special club game honoring Kyle and the rest of Rose's team for winning the Bermuda Bowl. It was a strong field to say the least. I showed up just in case a last minute partner was needed. It happened that there was a half table and I was pressed into service. But it would be quite a few minutes before my partner would arrive, so Gillian bravely filled in for two rounds. Gillian rarely played any bridge, but she hung in there and we survived those 4 boards. In the end, Rose and Kyle were second N/S; Gillian, my substitute partner and I came in first. Surely that was the only time Kyle was outdone at the table by Gillian.
Aug. 26, 2012
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It's legality depends on where you play. The ACBL GCC states:
A no trump opening or overcall is natural if, by agreement, it is balanced (generally, no singleton or void and no more than two doubletons).

Under the GCC you cannot have an agreement, explicit or implicit, to regularly open the hands you described with 1N. But occasional usage is allowed - note the word ‘generally’.

Most good players would open your 1st hand 1N, and that is permitted under GCC, since it is not a common occurrence. I doubt the other two hands would qualify. There are 2 unstopped majors in the 2nd, and an easy 2H rebid in the 3rd, so why would you confuse your partner with an offshape 1N (unless you had an illegal agreement).

However, if you are playing Mid-chart you are allowed to open 1N on all these hands by agreement.
Aug. 19, 2012
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Many have the agreement that the lead of an A against NT asks for an unblock of an honor (or give count if no honor). Obviously, that could be a problem leading A from AKx. Do you recommend dropping this agreement?

Secondly, most of your discussion is for IMP scoring. How much does this change for matchpts?
Aug. 16, 2012
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Since you are playing Jacoby transfers, I'll assume 2S is MSS.
If opener shows a 4+ minor, then use RKCB (or straight Blackwood would also work here). 7D or 7C is biddable if opener has the right Ks. If no big minor fit and/or short a minor K, then 6N.
Aug. 14, 2012
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This new format certainly appears to be popular; it has generated an explosion of new bidding polls. Not sure that is good though.
Aug. 13, 2012
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There is no reason to expect you are making 5S or 5D on this hand. Pass and take your expected plus score.
Aug. 13, 2012
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The opps surely have a heart fit, and West has a big hand (assuming West is a competent player). It is unlikely we have game. 2C doesn't do much to interfer with them getting to 2H, but 2S certain does.

As for 2N, it should be a natural game try. Certain rational, but not recommended with just HKx.
Aug. 11, 2012
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This one is close. A lot depends on the strength of the field.
A weaker field would mostly pass. Not so obvious with a stronger field, where players might be angling for a swing.
Aug. 10, 2012
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As others have pointed out, staring is against Law 74C5, which is one of the propriety laws. That said, sometimes you have to look briefly at an opponent to find out if their mind is in the game or they are unaware it's their turn to bid or play.
Aug. 1, 2012
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This is a great article and one that is more useful than many whole textbooks. However, staring and studying your opponents
is not in accordance with the laws of bridge.

There is Law 74C5: “looking intently at any other player during the auction and play ….” which is categorized as a violation of procedure.

Years ago a declarer on my left went into the tank for over a minute. I had already played but didn't want to give any tells, so I stared at a point a few tables behind her. She called the TD, saying I was staring at her and it was disturbing. The TD settled everyone down and play continued …. eventually.
That is the only instance of a call on 74C5 I have ever encountered.
Aug. 1, 2012
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Like most others I agree 3N at IMPs. At matchpts, I would normally bid 3N with most partners. If your partner is not extreme and bids with the field, then the field will most likely be in 3N. If so, you can't afford to stop in 2N.
July 31, 2012
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While chess may be a perfect information game, unlike bridge, it is much more complex than bridge in that there are an enormous number of possible moves in a game compared to bridge. Theoretically one could determine the result of every single chess position but so far no one, and no computer, has.
So there are variables that are not anticipated in chess.
In fact that is the essence of chess.

In chess tournaments it is permissible to put time pressure on your opponent in the hope he makes a mistake, even when the game is a theoretical and practical draw. Should bridge be any different?

I agree with Jeff Lehman's comments.

July 31, 2012
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I do agree that “I'm taking it as….” is not a good response, but one that less experienced player use frequently. When they do so, I just let it go and expect it to be an embarassment avoiding way of saying “I'm not certain but I think our agreement is……”

What does bug me is that somewhat more experienced players overuse the “no agreement” phrase, even when they have a fairly good idea what their partner's bid means. They should be saying “we have not discussed this particular sequence, but in similar situations partner has meant ….”

Of course, “No agreement; this is the first time we've played in 2 years” is definitely acceptable as an answer.
July 29, 2012
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Partner expects to beat this on general strength or with a big trump holding. If the latter what you lead won't matter too much. But for the former, lead trump if you can (not a voting option though).
July 24, 2012
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