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All comments by Joe Hertz
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Concur with Yuan here.

I play 1m-2m as Limit+ and 1m-3m as totally drop dead.

1-3 and 1-2 is a constructive raise of partner's minor. 5-9 or so. Usually it gets corrected to 3m but when partner started with a balanced 18-19, 3NT is usually golden.

In this case, 2NT might be the place to play. Partner should be well placed to decide.
Jan. 18, 2015
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In all fairness to Lopo, ACBLScore is written in Borland's Turbo Pascal. If there's a TP analog to Java's JUnit Unit Testing Framework, I've never heard of it.

ACBLScore evolved as it needed features, and I dont think it was first coded with the end goal being the thing it is today. This is why the ACBL Wanted to rewrite the thing.

And say whatever the ACBL wants to about the “Personal Webserver” concept being unworkable (another cough rant cough of mine), Rails has a truly wonderful testing framework. Properly written, you push a button, go have coffee or lunch, and come back to see what you broke.
Jan. 10, 2015
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I wouldn't go that far. Testing code is like proofreading text: It's awfully hard to do it right after you wrote it. Anything bad you thought might happen, you wrote it to handle. This conversely means that anything it cannot handle must be something you didn't think of actually happening.

Coming up stuff you hadn't thought to consider is one really hard piece of mental gymnastics, let me tell you.
Jan. 10, 2015
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I did know that A from AK isn't standard. That's why I said “A from Ax”. It's just a form of high/low from doubletons, which *is* standard. As to the AK question, the CC is officially agnostic as to what lead to make from that vs suits. I just didn't want to have someone think I went out of my way to mislead them, and wanted to be as nonchalant about it as I could, because I didn't want to act like I was going out of my way to steer them in any direction whatsoever.

It's like someone having a two way finesse. You can't play slow on purpose to make them think you have the card in question when you don't, but it's perfectly legitimate (and even encouraged) to play the card you do choose in as practiced and measured of a tempo as you can, just like any other card you might play, so as to give away no clue whatsoever in any direction.

For that reason, I did consider giving them the convention card, but I thought even that was sufficiently unusual as a response to that particular question that it might have drawn attention to something being up.
Jan. 6, 2015
Joe Hertz edited this comment Jan. 6, 2015
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Funny how people forget about the penalty double, but can't explain why the last 4 or 6 bids on the auction were passes.
Jan. 6, 2015
Joe Hertz edited this comment Jan. 6, 2015
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Because of my hearing loss, I will get scores wrong at first. So I try to avoid using the bridgemate, I generally sit south, but when I sit E/W, I always choose east. I find the majority of Norths will hand it to West because people are right-handed.

When I am north though, I put it in the center of the table if the opps were defending.
Jan. 5, 2015
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+1 for Kit here.

I always answer in complete sentences “Our agreement is that it is natural” to make sure opp knows he's only getting what the rules require. He needs to be on notice he might get fixed at any time.

Against two exceptionally good opps, in a suit contract, my partner lead an Ace. I'm holding the King. Declarer asks me what our leads are.

Seeing the loaded artillery shell headed straight for me, I simply said, “4th best, standard otherwise”.

Only when declarer followed up with “Ace from AK?” I said yes. I wasn't going to answer that question until I was asked it specifically. Yes, I could have said it before, but I didn't want to give the impression I was trying to mess with the opps on purpose.

Opp's partner thought I should have said, “Ace from AK or from a doubleton”. I've never heard anyone go out of their way to explicitly say “High-Low from doubletons”. I judged that if I actually had said that, then I'd be effectively telling him the position of the King.

My response was “that A from Ax was addressed by ‘standard’”. They're entitled to be told our agreements. That shouldn't be twisted into a method of making us tell you who has the King and/or the distribution of the suit lead, even if ironically, by asking that, he tells my partner I have the King.
Jan. 5, 2015
Joe Hertz edited this comment Jan. 5, 2015
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Yes, and that time I should have known since I was really happen to see the person in question too since he had been out of circulation for a while (it's what prompted me posting this).

Realistically though, everyone is right – the answer is for me to get better about it. If I can handle this better, lots of other things about bridge get easier too, so I shouldn't look at this as something to be avoided.
Jan. 5, 2015
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+1 to this sentiment. Reading the casebooks is the only real way, short of becoming a director, one has a chance to actually learn how the the laws governing the game work in practice.

Short of running afoul of them anyway.
Jan. 5, 2015
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That's essentially what I try to do about all distractions. Most actually are easier for me to block out because of the hearing problem.

In this case, I'm being asked to concentrate on something that isn't what my partner said, just when we're most likely to want to have a conversation.

Jan. 2, 2015
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To be precise – what causes it is any activity that distracts me from focusing on what I'm trying to focus on. Normally I deal with those by ignoring it. The problem here is that I cannot ignore it. Doing the tasks means I'm paying attention to it.

Now you say, “Really – How much distraction can sorting cards be?”. For most people it's none. For me prior to age 26, it was none.

Then my hearing went. Why does that matter when it comes to sorting cards?

A small piece of it is that if I want to talk about things while they are fresh in my mind, I need to look at the person I'm talking to in order to do that. So sorting cards I should do afterward, but then I need to make sure I don't run “over”. Thus it gives me a choice: Talk now or watch the clock.

Think of bad hearing as like a computer having a bad network card. It will ask for re-transmissions a lot, and you will see CPU utilization go up as a result. When you've got CPU to spare, the user won't notice it. I do. Most people with good ears don't realize how much data they hear and discard. I don't know if what I'm kinda able to hear even *can* be discarded so this process steals brain cycles. I'm not sure I can adequately do it justice to people who don't experience it. As an experiment, one day, play a session with 100db rated earplugs and see how “mentally tough” one needs to be to do it. Then add a non bridge related 15 second task after each hand, but one that involves the cards you just played, and see if you think it might impact you.

Jan. 2, 2015
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Oh I've got that in spades hearts and the minors. Try to throw me off my game and I can easily ignore you. Hearing loss is wonderful for that. It also keeps UI away too.

It's not small things. It's the particular type of small thing. See other comments as to what i'm referring to here.
Jan. 2, 2015
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Yeah, I can see that. It doesn't bother me as much as sorting the next player's cards for him, but it's the same sort of issue. Really though, they should get the director or a caddy to play the dummy's cards.
Jan. 1, 2015
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I've seen E/W need to sort cards for the people behind them too.
Jan. 1, 2015
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It's not that I'm afraid it might be impacting my scores. It's that I know it is because I've tracked it. If I was expected to do it all the time, I wouldn't mind it. It's something I could autopilot through. Doing that might actually be the solution for me.

My issue is that with the hearing loss I have (I'm probably looking at a cochlear implant within a year), if I need to have any sort of discussion with partner, I need to leave the area so he can speak loudly enough for me. I do this quite frequently. Heck, if I had the blind partner at my table, I'd really hate it because we always have issues keeping up with the play and not because we're slow. We just don't have a warp drive. Our maximum speed is simply lower than anyone else's simply because reading braille is a slower process than visually. Throw us a slow pair and we're going to have a problem.

So as you can see, I really do sympathize with people who need accommodations. I need some myself, and I'm a bit of a specialist at providing them for others. It's just providing this one is a bit of a problem for me.

All I say is that if it doesn't bother people as much as it does me, can I have one of them do it instead of me? Put blind people at my table and I'm fine where most people go nuts when the dummy is close to the declarer so he can read the braille cards.
Jan. 1, 2015
Joe Hertz edited this comment Jan. 1, 2015
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Oh I dont doubt it's easier for other people than it is me. It really does impact my scores when I do it. If it didn't, I wouldn't mind at all. If I did it all the time, I wouldn't mind at all.

Heck, when I had a blind partner, all the things he needed me to do I did without thinking about it. I'm just a creature of habit, and it impacts me. If it didn't, I wouldn't care. But it does.

So far, when I've swapped seats with partner so he could do it, nobody has looked at me funny.
Jan. 1, 2015
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But if you don't use the same UI (or at least offer one that's easy to those who know the old one), you wind up with a learning curve for the users who are going to have to adjust, and the demographic we're talking about is the most likely to have a rough adjustment period.

The basic premise of, “Here's the old code. Now rewrite it” to me more than implied they wanted the old UI preserved, just made prettier. What other conclusion can you reach when the original programmer thinks that giving you the code makes it “obvious” as to how the program works?
Dec. 31, 2014
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I once was defending a grand slam when the declarer asked me about our defensive signals.

Thank goodness my partner couldn't stifle the laugh.

I had this vision of being accused of giving declarer MI when I told him what the agreements were on our card were when I knew that all bets were off, or of giving partner UI by saying something like, “You're kidding, right?”.
Dec. 27, 2014
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I'd submit the agreement to not signal at all, means you actually have an agreement to typically play the lowest card you can afford to pitch.

If they want to claim, “No, we want to discard any card we want. It confuses the declarer”, I'd say no on the basis that wouldn't be “non-destructive” treatment. You can do it when you think it's appropriate, but you can't have that agreement to do it.

And once they understand the significance of that little distinction, I'd explain to them what a unit recorder's job is and how player memos work. The choice is theirs :-)
Dec. 26, 2014
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One of my first duplicate bridge partners was Eddie Timanus, the blind man who became a 5 time Jeopardy champion. I happen to have a very severe hearing loss (Our CC has a general approach of “Bid No Evil”). If you google “Timanus, Hertz, bridge”, you'll find a NABC daily bulletin about him.

What I did (and I have a good amount of practice in modifying all sorts of board games for the blind) was buy 36 decks of Les Cartes cards from Baron Barclay and 36 of their elcheapo duplicate boards. High quality cards and low quality plastic boards are the truth and the way here as the wear and tear on the cards is an issue.

We also use an electronic bid box. It has a low rez LCD screen and runs off of a 9v battery. Baron Barclay doesn't sell these anymore, which is shame because this helped immensely. You need these to accomodate those who can't hear well, and there's a lot of us in the bridge community. The particular box Eddie used needed no modifications whatsoever for his use.

We had a serious problem when most of the clubs in our game went to machine duplication. At the time, none of the machines could accomodate the braille cards. Home-made braille cards are created with a slate and stylus, so there are indentations on the corners where the dots go, and many machines cannot read the cards through them.

It's my intent that once our unit's charitable foundation is up and running to donate these cards to it, with the understanding they will always have them duplicated and ready to go if someone wants to play at one of our clubs and would need their use. I'd like to see all units do this.

Dec. 23, 2014
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