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All comments by John D'Errico
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If the KJ of spades are any value at all in 5♡, then they will take a trick on defense too. If they are not useful, then I have a balanced 8 count. A mantra that I learned some years ago is “Flat hands defend”.
Aug. 13
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I'm slightly confused.

Lets say you continue clubs, hoping for the ruff, not gained. Declarer gets to pitch 3 spades away then, but only 3 cards. He ruffs the spade 10 in hand, so you know not to bother saving any of those worthless AKQ of spades.

In fact, everybody at the table then knows the only suit that matters is diamonds. Will declarer find the double dummy play in diamonds to make 12 tricks? Probably not. Declarer will make 11 tricks.

But suppose you cash the spade, then continue with a spade, or a heart, or even a club? Declarer will make 11 tricks, because now he gets a diamond pitch on the clubs.

So unless declarer had great peripheral vision, he will make 11 tricks on any line of defense. In fact, I'd wonder if declarer was the one who had a wire if he found the double dummy play in diamonds.
Aug. 4
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As a morning contingent member, I do like my Bloody Mary in the am, sans alcohol, of course. I just call it tomato juice.
July 16
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I'd respectfully disagree (that there is something amiss.). There is no need for anything to be amiss. In fact, we should expect to see coincidences, at least occasionally. The human eye is very good at seeing patterns. Play enough bridge hands, and there will be pairs of hands that are indeed close. Think birthday paradox.

There are 52 choose 13 = 635013559600 = 6.3501e11 possible hands.

Pick one hand. How many hands are within 4 cards of that hand?

There are 13 cards in the chosen hand, I can choose any 4 of them. 13 choose 4 is 715. I can replace any of those 4 cards with any of the 39 remaining cards, so 82251*715 = 58809465 hands within 4 cards of the indicated hand. (Less, if you require the shape of the hand to stay identical.)

But how many pairs of hands are there? In a session of bridge (typically 27 boards in our games), there are 24*3 = 72 pairs of hands you would see within 4 boards. If you were willing to expand that to any pair of boards in the session, there are 351 such pairs of boards we might compare in a 27 board session.

635013559600/58809465/72 = 149.97

So I might expect to see a similar pair of hands that were within 4 cards of each other, in a set of 27 boards, that fall within any 4 board subsequence roughly once every 150 sessions of bridge.

There are a LOT of people out there, playing a LOT of sessions of bridge. This event is just not that amazing that you will see pairs of hands that are so similar.

It is not even a once in a lifetime event.
July 11
John D'Errico edited this comment July 11
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I don't think the event organizers can offer extra points to specific teams as an attractant.

However at least they might have offered free entries for any team that was willing to play up. The ACBL would probably have found a way to make that impossible too.

I was wondering why a handicapped KO was not an option, but it sounds like the rules also forbade that.
July 4
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Just a memory? 5-10 years from now, an increasing fraction of the league will be in memory care units. No memories will remain.
July 4
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When I wanted to teach my dog bridge, he tried to “ruff” everything. Worse, he kept getting into trouble, because there were just too many “paws”es. It was entirely too sad of a “tail” to tell.
July 3
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There is some logic to your comment, but I would rather get out low. Garbage Stayman has preemptive value of its own. So if we can get into 2 of a major, and they cannot find a way back into the bidding, then we win. If they do manage to balance into the auction with half the points in the deck to play at the 3 level, well, I will let them.

My goal in using garbage stayman there is to turn a possible down 2 or 3 in 1NT, into a 2 level contract that might actually make if we get lucky and find a fit. But if I need to risk putting us at the 3 level with roughly half the high card points, then I need to consider if I should better just pass 1NT.
June 27
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Seems clear to me. That is partner's fault, for not having the hand you needed for your bidding.
June 25
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It costs you too much.

- You lose incentive to use a garbage/creeping/crawling Stayman sequence, since opener might get you too high.

- It sometimes gives the defense a roadmap, by telling them too much about the shape of the usually hidden hand.
June 25
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Martin - It would seem that if you hold a 4334 shape, the proper call is not alert, but “Director!”
June 20
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John is a strange name at that. :)
June 6
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These are what I call the classic anxiety dreams. You know the one, where at the beginning of the dream, you are back in school on the first day of class, and the professor turns out to be a tough one. Then you jump to the end of the term, when you wake up, and suddenly realize that you never went to class, never did any homework, and the final exam just started and you don't even know where it is.

It turns out that many people have that dream in some form or another. I mentioned it to my 85 year old mother-in-law, and she said she had dreams like that too, but usually in a cooking context.

Yes, I've had them in various forms about bridge.
May 23
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Sorry, reading along, I see the comment, “A slightly slowish pass of 3♠”. Looking at the bidding, I see the bidding stop at 3♡. I see no 3♠ call in the bidding shown.

So, was the slowish pass actually over 2♠? Or was it a slowish pass over 3♡?

If you think the slowish pass was irrelevant to the play, then why mention it at all? But if it might be relevant, then we need to know when the slowish pass happened.
May 4
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It is legal to pass an unconditionally forcing bid.

If this is in the ACBL, you can file this with the recorder. If they are seen to be passing forcing bids, then action can be taken. But the only thing to do is to start a record.
May 3
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Would you convict someone who happened to be standing outside the bank too?

It makes sense that someone cannot benefit from those ill-gotten gains. But unless you can show that someone else who was NOT a member of that pair was complicit in the act, then they are just bystanders.

You cannot keep spreading out the blame for those who are cheating to the entire bridge community.

The fact is, NOT everyone in the world knew that a specific pair was cheating. But it seems that you want to assume that everyone did, and just ignored it. Perhaps there were some people who did know.

By your arguments, the others who SHOULD then be suspended was every top pro who apparently knew that pair X-Y were cheating, yet they did not report it. It would seem they are far more at fault for allowing the transgression to continue, than to suspend someone who just happens to be in the vicinity of the cheaters.
April 24
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Randy said:

“I also think if you are on a team and cheat as a pair than whole team suffers a suspension. Pair who cheated forever rest of team 1 year including the sponser.”

You are kidding, right? It may indeed be true that some people knew something was afoot. But to spread the stain on others who could easily have been innocent, just because they got invited onto the same team? Sorry, but that is wildly over the top.

If I found out that someone on a team with me was doing something wrong, I would be the first to give up my ill-gotten gains, and to recognize that I do not deserve anything that resulted from that team while that pair was on it. But to then tell me that I'm suspended just because I got invited onto the wrong team? To assume that I must have known they were cheating?

By your logic, we should also suspend all people who took part in the entire event, because they surely knew the one pair was cheating, and everyone should have been willing to exit the event, rather than play against those they knew to be cheaters. Since they did not do so, they are also clearly “tainted”.
April 23
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delete
April 12
John D'Errico edited this comment April 12
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The poll is seriously flawed, as others have stated. In fact, it is not true that the ONLY reason I pay my dues is for the bulletin. But if I do want the bulletin in paper form, that is the option I must choose, implying it to be true. So I abstained.

There are MANY people who will want that paper copy. Don't forget that a large population in the ACBL is composed of older people who don't have an iphone or a tablet, or even a computer, nor do they want to be forced to get one if they actually like to read the bulletin, even if they just want bathroom reading material without needing to carry a tablet with them. If you choose to just abandon the paper bulletin, then you just abandon that set of people.

Looking at my recent bulletins, I see that a large fraction of the space in it is targeted at new and improving players, helping them to learn bridge, to improve their game. Do I want to just abandon any of those people? NO. The ACBL needs to keep their members, not find ways to abandon those who are not fully embedded in the digital world.

So, yes, I'll admit I prefer a paper bulletin, as I have found I never read the online bulletins my district sends out. As well I never even looked at the new online bridge mag. No interest there. Had there been a poll option that offered the option to make the bulletin voluntary, with a corresponding REDUCTION in my membership fees, I might have chosen that. Just letting the bulletin go fully digital is just giving a gift to the ACBL, an effective increase in our membership fees since this reduces the value they provide. Paying the ACBL the same $ for less services would seem like a signal, telling them to continue with their current course of poor financial management.

Edit: I would also point out that the entire cost of the bulletin would be covered had the ACBL managed to not incur costs like firing (for no discernable intelligent reason) the CEO they had just hired. Or consider the money they blew on a variety of other poor choices. Or, what if they decided to not pay for BOD junkets. Tools like Webex, GoToMeeting, etc., work very well.
April 5
John D'Errico edited this comment April 5
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There I am, standing on the starting blocks next to Usain Bolt. 100 meters away is the finish line. The gun goes off, and 0.1 second later, I am at the finish line as my competition gives up in disgust, because I am wearing Acme Rocket Boots (obtained via air mail from the Acme Coyote division.)

Of course that is not acceptable, and I doubt that most people would agree to it (with a few notable and mostly well known exceptions who shall remain only as initials.) However, simple track shoes are acceptable, as long as they are limited to not directly improving my performance. Those track shoes do help my performance, in the sense they might prevent blisters from forming, they probably protect the bones and tendons of my feet and legs from harm, etc. But they are acceptable. Got it.

So now I am at the bridge table. I'm wearing eye glassses of course, as my vision would prevent me from seeing the cards otherwise. A hearing aid might be present too. Totally legal in both cases, unless the glasses were a special x-ray version to see through my opponents cards, or my hearing aid is a bionic man version, allowing me to hear the beating of my opponent's heart, and to so know when they have a good hand. Got it again.

I can use equipment to restore physical flaws to “normal” levels, but not to exceed them. The same applies to drugs. I can take an aspirin for a headache, or to relieve a sore shoulder. Both of those maladies might reduce my ability to concentrate at the table. Caffeine seems on the edge to me (though I hate even the smell of coffee myself.) I can accept that some need it to wake up in the morning, though I do not.

But to the extent that any drug allows me to perform at a level I could not otherwise perform at, it goes in the dust bin with the Acme Rocket Boots. This, even if it is allowed by the regulating authorities. We all need to draw the line somewhere, and I am willing to tolerate that some would draw the line in slightly different places.
April 4
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