Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Eric Hamilton
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This approach does have the interesting property that you show your distribution with 4153 but hide it with 4351. 3N is the most likely game after this start, so that may not be a big deal - but if once in a blue moon partner doesn't have clubs under control we will have had an altogether avoidable accident.
July 12, 2017
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You can use your 15-17 methods. It won't be optimal, but it won't be unplayable.

You will want an agreement for how to handle a double of your 1N opener, and how to compete after the opponents bid over it - you'll be seeing a lot of both.
July 12, 2017
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If we're going to blow past the entire two-level with one call, I'd expect a bit more definition than “natural maximum passed hand”.
July 12, 2017
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1S with 23 HCP and three(!!) losers looks absurd….

But 2S overstates the spades and loses the clubs, 2C risks bringing diamonds into the picture or even encouraging partner to persist with hearts, it doesn't have to go all-pass after 1S (and if it does 4S doesn't have to be cold) and if partner can scrape up a spade raise our problems are over. “If I can past this round….”.

Of course another key consideration is that it's matchpoints so no teammates to apologize to if I (and I do mean “I”, as partner is going to justifiably disclaim all responsibility) bring back a 230 against a 980.

(The club-game conditions suggests that we are not playing ELC).
July 11, 2017
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> if someone put *real* effort into it they could produce a world-beating computer partnership
The key question here is whether the basic Monte Carlo approach that GIB uses would be capable of top-flight play if allowed a few decimal orders of magnitude more CPU cycles every few years, or whether some new theoretical development will be required. It is interesting that the best bridge, chess and go programs each use different approaches, and it at least conceivable that either neural networks (as with alphaGo) or some not-yet-discovered technique will work better than Monte Carlo for bridge. However, it is unlikely that we are anywhere near the limits of the Monte Carlo approach; the BBO bots are intended to play adequate bridge quickly and inexpensively, not to demonstrate the limits of the technology.
July 10, 2017
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This does raise an interesting question: is there any hand that would open 2N in 4th seat and then pass the hand out after the 5C overcall? If not, passing seems like the standout answer here.

Another question: what hand would pass in first seat and then take that 5c call? Knowing south might be helpful, but if we're going to take his bidding at face value his hand is somehow flawed for a first-seat preempt. That swayed me towards the double.
July 9, 2017
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I voted for pass, but there are certainly opponents and partners against which I'd double.
July 4, 2017
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> With Shawn's hand, that urge is even stronger.
Oddly, I'm having the exact opposite reaction. Unlike the MSC hand, here we don't need much at all to make 6H good, and showing diamonds is the way to find out if partner has that stuff.

I'm a 3D bidder with this hand (but not the MSC hand - that KH and the right black void is worth a lot) because my cardiologist doesn't like what happens while I'm waiting for the next bid over 2D.
June 30, 2017
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“The bidding is …..I think we can all agree that the ♥J seems the most likely lead. Partner leads …. out of turn. You lead <a card that isn't the ♥J>”
Given the condition that “we can all agree” I cannot think of any way of filling in the ellipses (except a barred heart lead, not applicable here) that would justify any lead except the ♥J.
June 6, 2017
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> Should every explanation behind screens come with a disclaimer: “what I am telling you is accurate to the best of my knowledge and accurately describes my hand, but my partner may have different ideas about what my bid means”?

The bit about “accurately describes my hand” seems wrong. A proper explanation should be be a statement logically equivalent to “Our understandings are such that my partner will understand my call as showing ….” which says nothing about what explainer might actually hold. If such a statement cannot be made, then “We have no understanding, including defaults, about my call” is proper.
May 31, 2017
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Is this IMPs or pairs?

West's pass over 5D suggests that bidding on could be right but he's not sure. East's double says that he's not thrilled with the idea of bidding on if his partner is ambivalent.

At IMPs at these colors a singleton would be a powerful incentive to bid on, so I'll go for the 2-2 break and try the AD. At pairs a singleton on my left is more plausible, but x opposite KQx still seems like a smaller target than the sum of the 2-2 breaks and a stiff honor on my left. If I'm wrong…. Well, I've been down before.
May 18, 2017
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We don't punish or discipline (in sports or criminal law) on the basis of what's "in the mind of one ".

Inadvertent violations merit procedural penalties, both as a warning and to restore equity. These penalties may be severe for professionals who are supposed to know better and have little excuse for carelessness This appears to be the situation with Sharapova.

Recent bridge scandals have involved planned violation of the rules to obtain an unfair competitive advantage. This is a different and far more serious offense. Using the c-word in both situations serves only to lose an important distinction.
April 27, 2017
Eric Hamilton edited this comment April 27, 2017
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East's raise to 6H feels weird… It means that the hand can be played in 4H or 6H but never in 5H.
I can just barely imagine a hand that looked like two trump losers before west's raise (hence the initial 4H call) but looks odds-on for zero or one losers after west's competitive raise… but only just barely. If that's what's going on, then logically east's final pass shows first round spade control and uncertainty about whether there are zero or one trump losers.
But I don't believe that's what's going on. At these colors I'm more inclined to think that east is pretty sure that NS can make 5S, not sure about 6S, and is playing games. So although I abstained, my answer is something along he lines of “A theoretician from the island of perfect logicians and applying Holmes's principle that when you have eliminated the impossible whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth, will conclude that the pass shows interest in a grand - but I don't believe it!”

North's 6S call isn't just weird, it is positively bizarre. Without seeing at least one of the hands and hearing a bit about the table feel and the NS skill level, this auction is mysterious.
April 21, 2017
Eric Hamilton edited this comment April 21, 2017
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> North-South are not regular partners and had not discussed bids after 1NT overcalls.
So there's no particular reason to think that any infraction was committed by NS. (Although one does have to wonder what south was thinking….)

> East and West would not play 2H as a transfer after an opening 1NT and 2♦ overcall.
Then east provided misinformation by incorrectly announcing 2H as a transfer. West made things much worse by not correcting the incorrect announcement after the auction ended and before the opening lead.

This seems like a pretty clear case for adjusting the score to the result that would obtain on a spade lead.
April 18, 2017
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> If you have a bad result due to the preempt, your cost will probably be about 5 IMPs, but if the opponents have a bad result your gain will probably be around 10 IMPs. That is the deciding factor.

That deciding factor only applies at IMPs. What are the considerations at matchpoints?
March 21, 2017
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