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All comments by Joe Hertz
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Lol. I did something like that once. I remarked that my partner and teammate who was sitting out all played the same cards. On cue, this happens

1h-3h-

And I've got a good hand and am wondering if I should move towards slam. Then it hits me. “Excuse me. Almost the same card. Alert”. We played Bergen so I knew to stop in four. Without remarking on the observation aloud, I would haven't questioned the thought
July 9
Joe Hertz edited this comment July 9
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Total agree. Saturday my partner led a queen. Might have been the power lead vs nt but the king was in the dummy.

Declarer asks, “top of sequence?”. I hate that type of question. If an opp is looking to claim MI, they give you the option to try to see through the cards and be wrong. I said, no unusual agreements. Because if I said it was a top off a sequence, with my luck, it would be an inexplicable but also standard Queen from Qx. I have to tell him our agreements. I shouldn't have to tell him who has the jack. It was probably innocent but but didn't know the guy..

And three years ago at this same regional, I got told the story of one bidder in fourth seat, holding six spades, see the bidding of (1n) 2d (2h) and asked if it was a transfer. Inexperienced opener now thinks she screwed up and says yes. The people victimized didn't know that warranted a director call. I told them when I heard this that there are no Jedi mind tricks in bridge
July 9
Joe Hertz edited this comment July 9
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Open pairs are the truth and the way…for pairs. I've just never truly gotten Zen with match point strategy as a yard stick. 90 vs 100 vs 110 can be a wonderfully hard problem to have to solve, but it's not the one I want to use to measure any bridge player with, starting with myself
July 9
Joe Hertz edited this comment July 9
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I had a case in the nlm Room at an nabc where they combined the <50 and <300 games. A rank novice pair opened one nt and I had 19 with six clubs to the akq. Passed around to me, I doubled. opener bid 2d was raised to 3 and I doubled again with aqx of diamonds and played there. I won the club lead, and my second club is ruffed by the nt opener.

After I put my eyeballs back into my sockets I asked about their 1nt agreement. 15-17. What shape? Any shape. Even with a stiff or void? Yes. I ask opener if he agreed with that explanation of their agreement. He confirms it

I call for the director. I have clearly been damaged by an illegal agreement. but he won't give me an average plus as he doesn't believe that could have been discussed by the opps prior even as they told me they played that because they are novices. The director points out I can't make 4c, so he offers to Solomonically take away my double but won't let me defend as if i passed the 1nt bid instead.

Somehow in this, I wind up being regarded as the jerk who wants to take advantage of their inexperience for an infraction nobody believes they really made, resulting in them continuing to play their illegal agreement. I'm in the i/n room too and I don't want that favor being done for me. If you don't teach us the rules, we won't ever learn them. I said it then and I still say it now.
July 9
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Total agreement. I don't think pass is reasonable either, but I'm trying to understand what South was thinking. 3 isn't an invite, right? So he wanted the auction to end there… And if he got his wish, he still gets the 200 he just got so there would have been no damage.

N/S apparently wants West to bid once and only once. None and Twice are unacceptable because they only result in a score of +200. “Option: None” doesn't save him from his own initial blunder and and “Option: twice” is a problem because he failed to double.

I want to know why South failed to bid 4 the first time. Without evidence to the contrary, limping in with 3, then bidding 4 looks like someone who realized his own error and failed in his attempt to fix it.
July 8
Joe Hertz edited this comment July 8
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The whole adjustment question presumes that the BIT implies East was thinking about bidding, implying that west bidding would be more successful than passing.

And here said hesitation was soooo concerning to South that instead of taking action and bidding a lawful 4 hearts at favorable vulnerability immediately or later doubling the 5 rebid (thus obtaining a better result better than 4 making would have been) he decided to limp in with a non-invitational 3 bid which, if that had been passed out (like a 3 bidder would presumably be hoping for), then his side gets that same 200 they got anyway…but no… that's no longer enough? And… instead… he… how can I put this? HE. WANTS. AN. ADJUSTMENT?

Why? Because East hesitated and so we clearly have no other choice but to fire up “Old Sparky”

I hope the committee keeps the deposit and goes drinking with it.
July 8
Joe Hertz edited this comment July 8
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When a NLM, I was routinely that guy who pissed off people in low brackets. “You guys have so many more points than we do!?” (which wasn't really true. It just felt that way). I was like “You can't go any lower than the bottom bracket”.

In some ways I miss that that time of my bridge career because it was probably the only time in my life that I had opps that would routinely say stuff like, “Oh no, we're in trouble” when we showed up.

I still laugh about my first KO event ever, a compact in NYC 2004. I was there with Eddie Timanus, who was the blind guy who went on Jeopardy! and became famous for being a five time champion before Jennings or this Holzhauer guy.

We figured we'd have no problems at the partnership desk. Yeah, we only had 20 pts apiece, but if you were gonna take a chance on novices, wouldn't you pick Eddie? He was a celebrity. And got that celebrity status for being provably smart. There was an article about us (mostly him) in the November 2002 bulletin. Surely we had a chance to defy the default perceptions, right? Did it work?

Heck no.

“Oh I want to play in the top bracket”. “Oh, I need to ask my partner”. We were getting pissed off at the snobbery. We finally found two guys who had 500 and 1000 points respectively who thankfully didn't care about points and so we got to play in bracket N minus 1 which was actually up for us. This was where we would begin to realize that for the first time that playing “up” was actually a better experience. Yeah it wasn't a high bracket at all, but it wasn't rank novice bridge either. Our opponents for once didn't need every little thing explained to them and weren't as glacial as the people we typically faced in our regular club's 199er game.

So yeah, we were mad and motivated. We wanted to decapitate some life masters. Ideally same the people who poo-pooed us. We made it to the finals of that bracket. So after every round, would would win and pointedly told the opps “We only have 20 points!” and of course they were like, “But you're good!”.

We lost in the last round because of a board that made 6 but our teammates were in 6 while the opps at our table stopped in 3N. They told us that one of their people just made LifeMaster because of the first overall gold points, so we shouldn't think nothing good came of the experience – and so we cheerfully replied, “Oh we don't feel bad at all! We only have 20 pts. This was our first gold”. “Really?! But you guys are good!”

Little did I know what a theme I'd be in for or the next mumble years.

So to a degree I agree with pissed off folks in bracket-n to a point about the issue. I would have loved to play in a higher bracket and not play against them either…but I didn't know the people who played in those higher brackets to team with them, and when I finally did get to do that, I typically pulled them down a bracket (when there was more than one of the people like me, it was more than one bracket). It still happens today.

Will I win in bracket one? Heck no. But there's no option to ask to be rated as if I had a certain number more points than I do. It's either bracket one, or live where I am now.

I ain't happy about playing against palookas. The palookas aren't happy about having to play against me.
July 8
Joe Hertz edited this comment July 9
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The cause and effect may be backwards here. There are good B and C flight players. They just play up and you never knew they were B or C. When I was on the GNT-C squad for my district, the most frequent comment we got from people when they read about it was, “How can none of you be lifemasters!?!?!”. And not all of the teams were all that at the national level. In the round of 16 (8vs9), we had the other team use their seeding rights in the first quarter after hearing the explanation of what the “Walsh Style” part on our card's “general approach” box meant.

But I'll be honest, every now and then I'll get curious, and so I'll offer myself up as a guaranteed partner or something in bracketed B event (and I'm only now closing in on 1000 pts so it winds up being a low bracket even for B), or offer ourselves up to fix a half pair problem in the B pairs game with my usual partner…you know just to see what it's like there.

And invariably I want to run screaming back to the relative sanity of A/X games.

Ex: I'm playing at the Reston Virginia Regional right now.

Twice this week I've seen Aces underlead in suit contracts. Once it worked against us because we didn't think they'd do that.

But in bracket 4 of 5 of a KO (3 people with less than 1K that play A/X by choice, and one because she's in that point category), my partner got suckered declaring 3NT with the only heart stopper being the Kxx in the dummy.

He ducked and the Jack was lead. Oh well, he's likely dead…but not the way you think he is.

Then he ducked again hoping the ace pops out, but nope…

At trick three, THEN the Ace was lead. And then two more hearts. I've done stuff like that but never off the opening lead. And I certainly didn't expect to see it happen for the first time in bracket 4. For plowing through an otherwise impenetrable wall, I'm calling that the “Hey, Kool Aid!” maneuver.

THAT team was actually good. We all exchanged contact information.
July 6
Joe Hertz edited this comment July 6
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Free plays to hang out in bracket 1? Sign me up!
July 4
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Agreed.

One year I found myself fearing what flight C opponents were going to do in the District level in the NAOP. Specifically that they would NOT be opening 1N with a 5 card major and a balanced 15-17. It wasn't a winning strategy of theirs, but it was matchpoints and a likely way I could see us getting fixed if we couldn't reach the 5-3 4M contract they'd find too.

Since we were already playing “clubs or size”, where 1N-2 shows either a balanced invite without a major OR a club transfer, I came up with this little extension to it.

1N - 2
3 -3

3 == The normal “I want to go to 3NT if you have the balanced invite” bid. P passes this if he has a drop dead club transfer.

3 == The wrinkle that says, “I do have the balanced invite, but just to make sure, you don't happen to have a 5 card major do you? Bid it if you have one. Otherwise, 3NT”.

We dubbed the sequence when the Major game contract is found as the “Manhattan Transfer”.

But we've only used the 3 bid once in the 9 years since then, which is exactly one time FEWER than the people who have used it AGAINST ME after I told them about it.

In fact, we call the 3 bid, “N.U.T.S.” for “Never Use This S&*%”.

The reason it should be used so sparingly is that if you ask and get the very likely 3NT response, you have just given away the store, announcing that partner has no 5 card major, and you have no 4 card major, and so the opening leader will be able to lead whichever major happens to be the best one for their side. You can't wheel out this bid unless you are totally fine with getting the major lead you've just begged for. It might as well be posted on a “kick me!” sign.
June 30
Joe Hertz edited this comment June 30
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Was the Director named Mercutio?
June 28
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I've played with people like this, but if their tendency to forget agreements may have me fielding their forgetfulness, I disclose that tendency in the explanation. Mind you, I've got a big problem with actually fielding it. It feels horribly disrespectful to partner. Closest I've come to this was when the transfer bid got doubled, I passed to let partner fix their mistake if there was one. I felt the double gave me another bite at the apple

And while I can understand the argument that it was the opp that gave away the story here, but if you had disclosed that plot point, the opp might have had his poker face ready to go and smoothly passed.

If you're prepared to field the forgetfulness, you disclose that it might be happening. If your explanation left you more prepared than the opponent to handle it, you didn't disclose everything you should have disclosed about your partner's bid.
June 27
Joe Hertz edited this comment June 27
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I suppose so, but that's kind of a damning indictment of one's faith in partner. We'll trust the opponents but not the person on our side?
June 25
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No more unit recorders???
June 22
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Admit it: You all follow Eugene just to get notified when someone is getting smacked down
June 21
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Erik–

Any objection if I fork it? (If nothing else, I'd like to put in a menu item to run the thing rather than make people learn how to run script code) O would you want to give me access to the repository to contribute? I'm JoeHz on github.
June 21
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The pro didn't know what the spade bid meant and felt they had no agreement about it. The pro did absolutely nothing wrong.

The client thought he was showing shortness per agreement and heard no alert. The client said and did nothing before the opening lead.

The CLIENT did something wrong.

I blame the wallet.
June 21
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Whether or not the (not red) “Systems On” box is checked does not mean the system itself ceases to have alertable bids.

My vague recollection is on 1NT overcalls you do not announce the 1NT range, and where your follow up bids conventional (even if systemic as if it was a 1NT opening) they are all now alertable. Even 2 Stayman. They are only announceable in the specific situation defined to be such.

As strange as this sounds, it's not. 1N - (2C) - X is stayman, but as the double asking for a major, it's now alertable too.

Hardly anyone actually does this, and it's rare that anyone's damaged by said failure, but here we are.
June 19
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Huh? Way to change the subject, Randy. Apparently I was writing it incorrectly for you to grok, and you never made it to the last 2 sentences so let me put it more simply so that one Randy Breuer understands how I meant it

1) I wasn't talking about anyone administering medications except me or maybe an EMT

2) :Deep Breath:

You're right, everything we do carries an element of risk.

And you're right, why should you assume someone else's risk if there is no benefit to you? Why should anyone?

The point is that your choices as to what YOU do ALSO carry an element of risk. You choose not to make your club as safe as it can be, willingly, in full awareness of the potential ramifications of what may happen to your players. That carries risk to YOU. If something bad happens and could have been prevented if you were willing to do something in advance, yet you affirmatively decided against doing it, you might be subjecting yourself to a financial penalty.

To put it another way, it's not your fault if your place catches on fire. Call 911. Hope the FD comes in time, right? But you agree that you cannot keep the fire exits blocked? Or is it your place and you get to decide what to put where, even if it's in front of a door, and other people can choose to come or not if they don't like that, so that's not your fault either?

I'm all for people who want to be all Ayn Randian as long as they recognize both ends of the equation.

Another example: Don't think you should be required to wear a seat belt or motorcycle helmet? Go for it.

I just think the people who want to assume said risk should have to disclose that (say with a special “no seatbelt/helmet license”). No extra charge for it, but now your life, health, business owner's, and automotive insurance companies will know so they can charge you appropriately and not have the rest of us subsidize your own actions.

Scrimp and save all you want. Take all the risk you want. You just gotta pay for it just like the rest of us.

$2000 now or a potential nasty judgement later. The choice is yours. Welcome to being a business owner.
June 19
Joe Hertz edited this comment June 20
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Oh, he knew he had it from before. Since it had disappeared he must have cashed it already and the King didn't drop, right?

Only half joking there – I'm a bit torn. Craig's thinking seems reasonable…but what bothers me is that if not for the comment that he was short a card, he would have blithely played the Queen or Seven, right?

Given what he said he “knew” when he claimed, losing to that King isn't actually irrational anymore.
June 17
Joe Hertz edited this comment June 17
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