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All comments by W "Tom" Reynolds
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In the 60s Big Lew would open 1H on 4, get raised on 3 and saw your arse off in 2S with his 4 spades.
April 8
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I think there about 5 pairs that play the system. The two systems most evolved are ours and Sam Dinkin's.

However, what Sam and Mike play has a much different philosophy and the system structure reflects that.

Our system, Mavarako, uses a relatively standard 14-15HCP 1NT while their system, Infernal Machine, uses a potentially unbalanced 12-14NT. What the weak NT does is add another uncertainty with 12-14HCP.

In slam bidding, Infernal Machine uses denial q bids which has the characteristics of getting to 50-50- slams and risky signoffs at 5 but does find more slams particularly grands. Mavarako uses Mulberry (trump set or sign off via 4D) and KC plus Turbo D-I slam bidding principles and is risk averse in slam bidding. It won't get to slam with 31-32HCP without a fit (usually on a finesse +) and misses many grands that Infernal Machine finds including the bad ones.

What is common about the systems is the 8-11HCP 1H/1S openings and 1D forcing although the responses are somewhat different.

Tom
April 8
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In the variation that Lance Kerr and I play, the theoretical advantage is simply we open most 8-11HCP hands with a descriptive call, the logic being that the descriptive call provides responder with information that a pass does not. This allows preemptive opportunities and constructive opportunities not available in other systems while negating the constructive processes of the opponents by opening in front of them

The theoretical disadvantage is also clear. Removing two bids from the repertoire of bids used to describe hands in the normal opening bid range and above requires a degree of complexity and artificially that makes the system complicated and artificial.

If this approach is the breakthrough in bidding we think it is we must not allow the opponents not knowing what our bids mean skew the results. The opponents must know exactly what our bids mean and still the system must outperform other systems or it is simply an interesting curiosity destined to be thrown on the scrap heap of homegrown systems.

The system should not flummox anyone. What the bids mean is quite clear. It is what to do about it that challenges the opponents. Think of the system with 1C and 1D flipped flopped, defending 1D as you would a Precision 1C and 1C as you would a Precision 1D. Treat the 1H/1S openers as you would standard 4 card major openings. Finally, understand that 1C has a very narrow HCP range but a wide variation in shape but understand that screwing up your own bidding in the hopes of screwing up ours is unlikely to work as we would have abandoned the 1C opening if it did.

Tom
April 7
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We successfully ran an experiment videoing me playing in a match. The camera was over my left shoulder and viewed the screen. It had pan and tilt capabilities and the remote viewers could manipulate the camera and view the room. It also had sound capabilities but they weren't turned on for this test. The video is continuous and is recorded.

Will this catch 100% of cheaters. No way, nothing will. However it will stop casual cheating.
April 7
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Depends on your goals. I liked those boards to give my inexperienced pairs practice.
April 7
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new bracket up and link updated in the article above
April 6
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EVERYBODY HOLD
The bracket is being rearranged. We took Eric's suggestion and simply expand the bracket to 64 teams, then award byes. Per Jim the people who registered first get the byes.

A new bracket will be up soon.

Tom
April 6
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Eric-
That's what the software does. We are working on another process that is webpage based but it won't be ready for May, if then. If not I may very well do as you suggested. We did run a shuffle and, as you can see, I need to win two matches to get to the first round. (I'll need to speak to Jonathan about that)

That doesn't mean that teams with an opponent shouldn't start as soon as they like.

Now u see the reason I ended the Tax day at 32 teams.

We are also unhappy with the double elimination losers bracket.
April 6
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Try it now
April 6
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As I have said they get an explanation on-line or behind screens whether they ask or not.

You areguing that your pass is standard so it should not be alertable. My argument is there is no such thing as standard after 1D (15+)-p-1S(0-5)-X.
April 5
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We play a pass to be: nothing to bid, assume balanced, minimum. You play: Spades. The opponents are entitled to know the difference.

Being a Grand Life Master is little help against the system. All that experience of 10s of thousands of hands gained in winning all those masterpoints goes out the window against the system.

Lance and I do a 30 hand 23drill (23+HCP combined) almost every day for 150-200 hands per week. You and Michael do a 22drill for about the same every week. Never in 50 lifetimes can a player get that kind of experience playing against a system like ours.

I alert because I think it is right and I think I don't need any additional edge for Lance and I to smash a couple of GLMs in a long K.O. match.

Tom
April 5
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Entries close at midnight tonight (pacific) for the April tournament. The next tournament will open April 25 or so and close May 5.

Actually, until I get up Monday morning I won't close entries.

Tom
April 5
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I would alert and explain our understandings because they are not something that the opponents could reasonably guess.
April 5
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I would ALERT and if asked would say just that. In self alert I would send a message to opponents with the full explanation.

I am responsible for transmission not receiving.

Tom
April 5
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Correct, every call is IMHO alertable.
April 5
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Obviously we have a different “alert” style. Yes, we essentially alert every call that has a known meaning to us until we get above the alert level. (Even that causes trouble since opponents assume 4NT is BW)

I agree that “alert weariness” may very well lead to “signal Loss” but that's what we do.

Tom
April 5
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I can. Yes everything is alterable including our opening pass. Anything else is unfair and counter productive to the development and playing of unusual methods. In addition we provide suggested defenses even if not asked. Unless told otherwise we describe every understanding if the opponents ask. THAT is FAIR.

The system should NOT take advantage of us knowing more about what bids mean than the opponents. That is NOT fair.

The system DOES take advantage of the fact that we are more experienced making decisions in the system environment and that is completely fair.

The system DOES take advantage of the fact that is harder for the opponents to constructively bid after an opposing opening bid and that is completely fair.

The system DOES take advantage of the fact that the 1H/1S limited opening bids are more descriptive of the hand than a pass and allow better competitive and preemptive decisions and that is completely fair.

Finally, we do not play the system in a non-expert game except once a year to qualify for the NAP. While playing the system in a non-expert game is not unfair it does detract from the enjoyment of our opponents. We see non-expert bridge as geriatrics getting out of the house to play a dying card game against fellow geriatric friends.

Tom
April 5
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Absolutely correct. We play a derivative of Sam's system and a pass simply means “nothing to say, assume a minimum” The opponents are entitled to know the difference.

Any other approach, regardless of what the ACBL says, is unfair and what leads to the barring of unusual systems.

Tom
April 5
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My view is that the opponents are entitled to all understandings that we have. (That is currently 93 typed pages.) With self alerts and notes to OPPONENTS (only) I can do that.
April 5
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I personally self alert all bids and advise the opponents of the meaning of all partner's bids because we play an unusual system.

In the above case I would ask what the X meant?
April 4
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