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All comments by Will Roper
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See above regarding the bidding :)

No-one was capable of lying in the diamond suit.
March 31, 2017
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Nope. N/S despite playing few methods have a large number of boards logged and both knew that 4 would be natural there.
March 31, 2017
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Hi, Thanks for being in the well. Several questions if you don’t mind answering:

a) As noted above you guys are well known for your aggressive game bidding. Over the years which hand type/situation in this area would you say has won you the most?

b) In recent times you have been playing with the likes of Zia and Thomas Bessis. Any fun stories or noticeable differences within these new partnerships?

c) If you play High from xxx in partners suit does this apply in a delayed raise auction? We had one the other night:
1-(1)-Dbl-(P)
2-(2)-P-(2)
P-(P)-3-(P)
P-(3)-AP

Thanks again
March 29, 2017
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Sorry I don't know where they went.

3 = 6; GF usually a CoG hand
March 26, 2017
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I play double of a NF bid as T/O and it rarely lets me down. Being able to penalty double 2 feels like a very minimal advantage as LHO often can bid spades and now you are in the same, if not worse off in the auction since partner cannot guess your minor holdings.

I have played Ekren in 2 partnerships and it came on 200 boards (small sample size I know). Playing mainly MPs we averaged over 60% playing it. I did an analysis on these hands and found that:
- It works very well when you can pre-empt with a fit
- If the opponents had defended it sensibly then we would have scored less than 40%.

There were numerous occasions where opponents could have taken 300/500 on a misfit nothing boards but didn't have firm agreements so didn't risk doubles and made other awful bids (3 on 4 card suits, 2N with balanced 13 counts).

It also seemed theoretically poor to me since it would allow the opponents to avoid poor 4M's for much stronger 3N contacts. Also when we preempt we are trying to take away their space such that they cannot evaluate properly. Typical situation is something like

(2)-3-(P)-?

Now with certain hands and doubleton heart we often have a game decision to make as to which of 3N/4M to try for. This is less of a problem for the minors due to the two trick difference. By opening a preempt which shows the majors we eliminate this large plus of preempting.

On this basis I quite happily dropped it and haven't looked back. I did quite enjoy at one point playing 3=Minors; weak and 3=Majors; weak. Whilst it messed up the rest of the system, these 5-5 bids worked not only as they were NF but also since they took away a lot more of the opponents bidding space:

(3*)-?:
xxx
Kxx
Ax
AKJTx

Over 2 this is an automatic 3 for me. But what now over 3? T/O, 3N, 4 are all hit and hope bids. Ftr I would double.
March 23, 2017
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Another win for the wide ranging methods then.

Opening 4432 11 counts at the 2 level vulnerable makes me feel sick anyway
March 21, 2017
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Not having a clue what is going on helps :)

I was actually wondering why they hadn't bid 3 but hey :)
March 21, 2017
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I agree with what people above have say and would add that I am a tad confused as to why West has bid 2 on the 2nd hand.
March 21, 2017
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Why do I have to advance the T….

Also do these opps have history. That is not fooling you. That is strike 1 for me….
March 20, 2017
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And some of us are just bonkers :)
March 20, 2017
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I probably have conveyed this badly. I was trying to say that buying the contract at the 2level could be important if we own approx half the pack and they don't pre-empt like this at the other table.

If they compete over this 2 level bid then either it will get back to me and I will have an option to compete further or they will have bid game which I like defending.

As I said, I am borderline between 2 and 3. Perhaps 2 is the best compromise.
March 20, 2017
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These situations are borderline. In my mind it all depends on whether you agreement is specific or that it is just a general situation you are both aware of:

a) If the former then I don't think an alert is needed.
b) If the 2 bid could be a runout with or phoney with + then I think it is alertable since it is a specific agreement.

Another one that pokes its head up from time to time is the psychic 3N after partner bids a minor. If we don't have a specific agreement about 3N then I wouldn't alert. However in certain partnerships this is:

“Either wishing to play 3N or willingness to compete to 5m”

I think this is therefore alertable since we have a specific understanding (even if it is reasonably common knowledge)

Note: If I am playing beginners then I tend to err on the side of caution. I.e I might alert general positions where potentially phoney bids come up just so that they don't get suckered with a clear-cut hand. I think this is just basic common courtesy.

Note 2: This maybe obvious but worth stating. Certain positions come up regularly for certain partnerships. E.g in one partnership my partner will only psyche 3N over a 3m bid. Another partner seems to never have their 3M bid. Not debating the pros/cons of both but once I have knowledge of this then we have a specific agreement and therefore proceed as above.
March 20, 2017
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Thanks for the article. Very useful as I was tempted early on to cash the A as an auto play whilst considering the next move.

I think the pre-empt is automatic if you have the methods/understanding. Vulnerability/suit quality, the boss suit…what else do you want.

However, I am not sure what partner is attempting to do by bidding 3 if those are your agreements. Its very borderline although the Ax is nice. You have a lot of offence but also a lot of defence and rate to beat most games. Trying to buy the contract could be paramount and if they compete you are giving them more space to find said failing game instead of taking the money.
March 19, 2017
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Pass then Double of = Penalty orientated
Double = T/O of
2 = Majors (5-4 usually)

Others as per weak 2 defence.

I do play more complex things but this is the best simple defence in my view
March 18, 2017
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Said drunken gossip about partnerships is yet to be wrong though.
March 17, 2017
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I am afraid I cannot help there as bridge partnerships don't usually put adverts in the paper when they break up. All I have is a lot of drunken gossip.
March 17, 2017
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“Will, your first and third points are accepted and I have no way of knowing whether your second is true”

See section 6.1: http://www.ebu.co.uk/documents/minutes-and-reports/selection-committee/2016/08-november.pdf

For a large variety of reasons there seems to be a lot of change going on in English Open and Womens bridge. Excellent partnerships which have been at the top of the game for years are breaking up. This is good in that it allows other people a chance to make their mark. However, this doesn't mean that all their accomplishments should be discarded. They should be given every possible chance to prove themselves. If they fall short then so be it.
March 17, 2017
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I am in no way defending said pair and I have no real interest in the matter. However:

>Both of them have a decent track record at international level.

>Both of them were invited back in November to be part of the Venice Cup team. I know that there has been a lot of breaking/mixing up of the partnerships since and perhaps the selectors feel that they could use practice prior to this event.

>One of them is among our most distinguished female players who has been an integral part of the ladies team for coming up to 50years.
March 17, 2017
Will Roper edited this comment March 17, 2017
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It is a pretty cool hand although given the skill level of these guys and a minute or two counting, the hand becomes a lot clearer.
March 16, 2017
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Diamond - Schwartz
Nickell - Street
Rosenthal - Mahaffey
NRK - Schermer
March 15, 2017
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