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All comments by Dennis Cohen
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Oh, I took the slam, but retrospect made the “pass and lead a club” option tempting. Yes, I was almost certain she had the diamond ace (or a club void) due to my major suit holdings.
Dec. 19, 2012
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The point is that with a heart lead, there are only going to be two hearts left in dummy and the diamond ace did have to be cashed before running clubs because there is no other entry back. Thanks for being interested, though.
Aug. 26, 2012
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If it's a simple squeeze, then show the end position…I see it as A9 in the dummy and small heart and Q in hand after the last club is cashed.
Aug. 26, 2012
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I grew up in the game playing rubber bridge (both Chicago and Auction) for almost four years before trying duplicate. Many of the points made in this article resonate with me to some extent, but with the exception of events like the Cavendish, I don't see or remember the quality of play for money approaching the same level as what you encounter at major tournaments…in fact, I found the typical play in the penny and 2 cent games in 1970 to be significantly inferior to that (poor as it was) encountered at the clubs and Sectionals of the time…you could get pretty stiff competition in the 5-cent or dime games, though. And, in those days, one of the attractions of duplicate in Southern California and Nevada was that the social aspect was significant, unlike the rubber bridge club with the grumpy old men (and two or three women). Times change and rubber bridge is almost extinct, but so is the social component of tournament play.

As to other points mentioned:
1) cheating has been around in all competitive games and the only questions are how and how well the organizers police things and whether they also deal with sour grapes gripes or unfounded allegations. This hasn't worked too well in bridge, historically.
2) frivolous director calls can be dealt with, witness the number of appeals in major competitions where the committee rules the appeal frivolous and assesses a fine/penalty against the complainant…there are a lot fewer such complaints now than was the case 30 to 35 years ago. You just need committees that are willing to make the call.
3) bidding systems, particularly when played by players like Meckwell, are fully disclosed, especially as compared to the situation 40 years ago, before Alert systems were in place or as much information was on the card. Example, the random preempting performed by early Walsh (Western Roth-Stone) aficianados wasn't common nor was the nature disclosed on the convention card, resulting in a lot of misled opponents. Unfortunately, reverting to a “standard” card is not viable for a worldwide activity, because what is standard varies from country to country (or even region to region within a country)…arriving at a concensus system is impractical to impossible (if you don't want to drive away a lot of your base).
Aug. 25, 2012
Dennis Cohen edited this comment Aug. 25, 2012
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So, I might get to a failing 6 contract (e.g. Kxxxx AKxx Kxx x), but I feel that I'm going to be in slam on these cards, and might as well give us the best chance for bidding 7 instead of 6 when 13 tricks are available.
Aug. 25, 2012
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After this and a few similar hands in the past couple of years, I start to wonder how much of Mollo's work also came from “real life.” See you in Spokane next month, Dave.
May 15, 2012
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sorry, the extra card is the 2…3-6-3-1 distribution
April 20, 2012
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West had Jxxx QJxx KQxxx –
April 16, 2012
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Ah, Allan, we had a common venue. The two clubs at which I played were Paul's and The Edinburgh. Tuesday evenings at The Edinburgh and Wednesday (teams) and Thursday (pairs) at Paul's provided competition that really made you work, with attendees like Kantar, both Walshes, Mary Jane, Scleifer, Ed Davis-Jill Meyers, both Smolens, Ivaska, Hermine, Schuman and a horde of other top players made for a great crucible to toughen your game.

April 15, 2012
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I used to attend a lot of tournaments, then I took my hiatus of almost 20 years. Since my return, I consider cost and inconvenience the primary impediments to leaving home for a tournament. Room cost is just one factor. As others have alluded, parking cost/convenience are also a factor. If I'm staying at the host hotel, being able to get “in and out” for between-session meals is important, because other than venues like Las Vegas or Reno where the host hotels have a panoply of dining choices (in a variety of price ranges), I don't find the dining choices at the host hotels generally appealing…they're either too exxpensive or too “ordinary.” Additionally, even when I'm at a tournament, I'm working at least part-time and I need Internet access and paying extra for it is just another reason to select different lodging.

I don't “enjoy” travelling, so if I'm going out of town for a tournament, I want to be as comfortable as possible (like at home) without feeling like I'm being “ripped off.” There are a lot of other options when it comes to spending my entertainment dollar.
Jan. 30, 2012
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Sorry, that should have been “…and five more rounds of trump…”
Jan. 26, 2012
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No cockatiel for the shoulder here, but a dog at my feet and occasionally a cat on my lap. This, however, is part of the “comforts of home.”

The discussion emphasis of “cheating” was, I suppose, to be expected; however, I had hoped that my assertion that it is easy/endemic in both venues might allow the discussion to evolve on what can be done to make face-to-face bridge recapture the involvement it had 40 years ago. When I started playing, bridge at the clubs in LA and Vegas were $1.50 a session, and section tops were rewarded with a “free play.” Sectionals were $2.50 a session and there were prizes for section tops and larger prizes for high overall placement (anybody else remember S&H Green Stamps and ACBLScrip?). We're now paying $8.00/session in Sectionals in the Spokane area (no other sectionals within 100 miles), drawing 20-25 tables per session, and with venue rental, director's fees, ACBL fees, flyers, and hospitality (and the snacks are plentiful and tasty), a quick glance at recent financials make me wonder how long it can be before the fees go up again.
July 13, 2011
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As I wrote above, cheating occurs frequently in face-to-face as well, particularly at the lower levels (clubs, sectionals, and regionals)…it's just a different type of cheating.

I witness players “scoping” boards they have yet to play, listening in on recaps at neighboring tables, taking advantage of opponents' private scorecards that are either carelessly left face-up or while the player is entering a contract or result. Additionally, there are players who peek (sometimes with a pronounced lean) at opponents' cards or just watch from where cards are drawn. Some of these infractions could be avoided with barometer movements, but that is an expense in time and money I don't envision being willingly adopted as a matter of course.

Further, there are players who pay close attention to their partner's expressions, hesitations, etc. as you say you do to your opponents' – while you're entitled to draw any conclusions you wish from your opponents' expressions and hesitations, you draw those at your own risk; however, drawing any inference from partner's tempo or expression is verboten…something that many players do, both intentionally and inadvertently. After all, after you've played with someone for a while, you become “used to” a behavioral pattern and you will draw subconscious (and some players, conscious) inferences from any deviation – the subconscious is human nature, but it still goes against the integrity of the game.

Another face-to-face cheat I've witnessed occurs in Swiss Teams when players make the boards and either place specific cards in their or partner's hand or checks out the bottom card of each hand before placing it in the board.

Cheating exists in both forms of the game and will exist for so long as there are participants more interested in the ranking than in the game's challenges.
July 13, 2011
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I really need to get a newer edition (mine is about 30 years old), but mine has the 6 in the combined holding.

At any rate, the discussion ensued after “Drewsky” stated that it was correct to lead the 10 first to possibly smother a stiff 9 offside, claiming that this play “broke even” with other distributions. I then stated that Drewsky's line was inferior even to cashing a high card, since either honor falling in front of the AK guaranteed 4 tricks and that leading the 10 first lost to those holdings. Then, the statement was made that leading the 8 or 7 first with the intention of floating it if not covered was the marginally superior line and that evoked a general concensus.
July 18, 2010
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