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All comments by Barry Rogoff
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So what's your point, Michael?
12 hours ago
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Of course some counts are inferential. That's for more advanced students.

World class players not counting? I don't believe that.

What you say about women playing by instinct sounds quite sexist. I'd delete that if I were you.
19 hours ago
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Avon, you wrote, “Italy came 6th in the 1960 Olympiad…The team was, Avarelli-Belladonna, Forquet-Chiaradia, Bianchi-Manca. The hands are worth studying, to see if the cause of this failure is discernible. Is it the case that Bianchi-Manca were not ”helping their partner“?”

No one will ever know the answer to that. That Bianchi-Manca didn't perform as well as the others is certainly a plausible theory.

If I remember correctly, Benito Bianchi and Giuseppe Messina played Livorno (Leghorn Diamond) on teams with Blue Team members in various Italian qualifying events for world championships but never played together on the Blue Team.

It seems that Manca's name was actually Giancarlo, unless there was another player of that name. He played in many Italian championships but only one world championship:

http://www.federbridge.it/albo/find.asp?nomeC=MNL171

He co-authored one of the earliest books on Roman, of which there are still a few copies in libraries. It's probably written in Italian and was never translated into any other language.

Belladonna, Giorgio and Giorgio Manca (1955), Il sistema Manca: Fiori romano , OCLC 468328163.

https://www.worldcat.org/title/sistema-manca-fiori-romano/oclc/468328163

https://www.worldcat.org/title/sistema-manca-fiori-romano/oclc/468328163/editions?editionsView=true&referer=br
22 hours ago
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Things like that happen way too often to call the director at the local club. He has enough to do dealing with bids out of turn, revokes, etc.
March 22
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Neapolitan Club and Roman Club were both played by the Blue Team and included canape but were very different systems. Neapolitan was based on the Vanderbilt club, which is believed to be the first strong club system ever played. Neapolitan was introduced to the Blue Team by Prof. Eugenio Chiaradia, one of the original members. It evolved into Blue Team Club years later when Garozzo and Forquet played it and published “The Italian Blue Team Bridge Book.”

I don't know anything about the origin of Roman Club. It would be interesting to research if there's anyone still alive who remembers. Perhaps Avon knows more about it.
March 22
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Sometimes they already have the green card halfway out of the box before you finish sorting your hand.
March 21
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I've always had to laugh when little old ladies open 1 with any balanced hand less than 16, and expect their partners to respond with pretty much anything. They have no idea how similar that is to Roman.
March 21
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In my experience, one of the most difficult concepts to teach novice to intermediate players is to count tricks at notrump, regardless of whether you're declaring or defending. I've heard countless players (no pun intended) claim a notrump contact stating how they intend to get rid of their losers. I try to explain that they're thinking about notrump contracts as if they were suit contracts.

If you're declarer at notrump and you can count enough cashable winners in the combined hands, you can claim. You don't even have to think about throwing away losers. Any card that isn't a winner is a discard. (It is, of course, important to look for squeeze threats when you don't have all the rest.) The exception is when you can't take all your winners because of transportation problems.

Even if you can obviously cash all your winners it's best to untangle them before you claim. Unfortunately not all players are capable of seeing how to get through the tangle. Your opponents may be trying to figure out how you're going to throw away your losers.

Another difficult lesson is to count the number of tricks each side has. This can be very important on defense. If you can count that declarer has a certain number of tricks and is capable of cashing them, your defensive strategy changes to limiting those winners, i.e., eliminating overtricks, rather than taking risks in a futile attempt to beat the contract.

I try to teach students to count everything on every hand: points, suits, and tricks. Eventually your brain develops automatic counting machinery, allowing you more time to use logic similar to that described in the OP to analyze the hand.
March 21
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It should be on TV. There's so much garbage for overgrown children on TV these days that intelligent people would turn to it just to see what it's about.
March 19
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You shouldn't be thinking about that! It's UI for you. The sequence tells you that he's 4-5, 5-5 or possibly even more distributional and doesn't see where nine tricks are going to come from with a heart lead.
March 18
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Anticipating what's about to happen and being ready for it is indeed something that should be taught but isn't. I suppose there isn't enough time to cover things like that in a few lessons and I've never seen it mentioned it a book.

So is holding your cards under the table. That lets you keep several cards separated and ready to play in tempo. I will never understand why so many players, partners included, hold their hands where opponents can easily see them. I constantly tell people to hold their cards back - up to a point. Some players are simply incapable.
March 17
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People still use the tired old 1m-X-1M psyche. It's not effective against experienced players in this type of auction but it still works against anyone who plays that 1m-X-1M-X is responsive.
March 16
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Double then 2 makes sense as natural and psyche-exposing but a bit dangerous if you haven't discussed it.
March 16
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An interesting point. There are two cue bids available here in addition to a jump raise and they should all mean something specific but I doubt many people have discussed it.
March 16
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It means we're not defending two of a red suit. If they want to get back in the auction, they're going to do it on the three level. If partner had any game interest opposite a passed hand he would cue bid.
March 16
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John, I'm talking about taking an excessive amount of time. If you want to play out a hand at a reasonable pace hoping for a defensive error that's fine. It happens. So is playing out a hand if you want to untangle your tricks or you think claiming will result in the opponents thinking you're trying to swindle them.

I didn't say “study their reactions.” That's a distortion. I said “watch” meaning the opposite of ignore.
March 15
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Express purpose? I'm not passively observing? Is everyone required to close their eyes and empty their minds while they're thinking about who has the queen?

This is nonsense. You're jumping to conclusions and making self-righteous judgments. I find that tiresome.

I've played this game for 50 years and I've never lied about anything. If you think observing the opponents' mannerisms is unethical, ask the ACBL or any top-level player or any TD you choose.
March 15
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Trying to decide which way to take a critical finesse is exactly what you're doing. Passively observing the opponents' mannerisms is perfectly legal. You do so at your own risk. Staring at one opponent intently, however, or trying to see where they detach a card is illegal (I think).

Taking a minute and observing doesn't mean there are no other bridge factors to think about. You could be thinking about the bidding, counting the points you've seen, and visualizing the hand. You could be thinking about what to have for dinner. No one other than you, knows what's going on in your mind. That's why these things are impossible to prove or penalize.
March 15
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There are declarers who go into the tank for any number of reasons, some of which are completely unethical but impossible to prove and penalize.

There are declarers who sit and take forever to play out a hand so absurdly simple my dog could claim the rest. If there are six tricks remaining and declarer has eight easy to cash winners, what do you think is going on? These people know perfectly well that they can claim. They want the defenders to waste mental effort and patience trying to figure out how this declarer could possibly find a way to lose another trick. It may pay off on the next hand.

Similarly, there are declarers who sit and take forever to play out a hand with absolutely no chance of making. These people aren't incapable of seeing the inevitable result and they're not looking for an obscure end position. They're hoping a defender revokes or falls asleep and pulls a wrong card. It's called the “Sominex coup.”

In comparison to those types, to suggest that taking a minute to decide which way to take a critical finesse is unethical is beyond ridiculous.
March 15
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