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All comments by Josh Sher
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Best bid? I see two terrible bids that canceled out. The first was opening 2C on that powerful hand and not upgrading to 1C. Since, in my opinion, that north hand is impossible, south had no business bidding 7C without the CJ in addition, or a 4th club….

Am I allowed to be critical in an assess the credit post?
Jan. 6
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it has re-appeared! Whew, it took me a long time to type it :)
Dec. 12, 2018
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I posted a long comment here, and it somehow disappeared…..
Dec. 12, 2018
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Generally, the theoretical underpinning for punishment involves a number of considerations. I think most systems of punishment take all of the following into account (or at least most), even if different people, different settings, and different offenses might entail different weights to these objectives/values:
1. Just Desert – Someone is punished because that’s what they deserved
2. Deterrence – The goal of punishment is not backward looking and has nothing to do with the punished, but its instead to create incentives in the future to dissuade others from commenting a similar offense.
3. Removal – To protect others in the future from the person who committed the offense
4. Rehabilitation – To give the person the opportunity to improve themselves and earn the right to re-enter a community
5. Catharsis and Grace – I am pairing these two because these are about the victim or victims. One goal of punishment (and this is a bit controversial) is for the victims to derive pleasure/relief that the person was punished and punished appropriately and that the victim desires for punishment were given some weight (you can see this in these victim’s rights movements). But on the other end of the spectrum, the idea of forgiveness, even unearned forgiveness (Grace) , is again because its good for the victim’s and the community to be able to forgive. The value of Grace/Forgiveness is very strong in many religious traditions.

There are further consequentialist considerations in punishment, because you want to create incentives to get the offender to admit guilt and do whatever restitution is asked of him or her.

While Bridge is a game, it is also a self-regulating community, like any other self-regulating community. Lifetime Banishment from a community, is a possible punishment, but, personally I think it goes too far as a general rule. I do think you are correct to emphasize the trust aspect of this community. We do not want to have to compete in constant fear that we are being cheated. Someone who has cheated in the past has to earn back, over time, this trust. But, even if we give lifetime banishments to known cheaters, this does not eliminate the distrust issue. The fact of the matter is that there are incentives to cheat, and professionalism creates those incentives (professionalism does a lot of good things also, but let’s not forget the bad things). For us to enjoy the game, feeling that if we do our best, we have a chance to win, we need to feel that others are not cheating. Having better methods to detect cheating helps. Having punishments large enough to dissuade some people from cheating, helps. But having better incentives, so that people do not feel they benefit so much from cheating helps even more.

I think the correct analogy to a bridge ban, is not jail but rather is banishment from a community. Its telling someone they are no longer welcome in our town, or in our country, or in our club. In some circumstances, this is worse than jail. Imagine being unable to ever come home again, or do the activities that you love again, or interact with people who you love, but hurt, again. A community can have lifetime banishment as a penalty for certain actions. But it really is a serious penalty.

As a final comment, I think you made the wrong distinction. You emphasized collusive cheating. I think the key distinction is premeditated vs spontaneous cheating. All collusive cheating is pre-mediated. But premeditated includes breaking into a computer system and stealing the hand records ahead of time, without your partner’s knowledge. If you are thinking of the value 3 above (removal), a solo act is worse than a collusive act since you can repeat it alone. A collusive act can only be repeated in the future with the help of another. Banishing colluding pairs from playing with each other, does achieve at least part of the goal of 3. But there is no lessor punishment other than not being able to play at all that can do that for a solo act (ok, in both cases, you can allow them to play once again but with extra security layers in place, like continuous monitoring. ). With respect to the other 4 values, I see no difference between a solo pre-mediated act and a collusive act.
Dec. 12, 2018
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Well, I also bid 5H…. I thought 4H was just too whimpy when ak 6th of clubs and AX of hearts makes a decent slam
Nov. 24, 2018
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I really think that anything other than penalty is silly here.

A. The same hand bid 1H and 2H, so there is no guarantee they have a fit
B. If you had 4 Spades, just bid them. It’s at the 2 level, while a minor is at the 3 level
C. Do you have a better use for 2N here opposite a passed hand than pick a minor ?
D. All the best hands that the S could have contain heart length, otherwise S would have bid the first time…

Remember, a responsive X is after a bid and a raise……
Nov. 5, 2018
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Why does it matter if your opponent psyched. That does not change the strength of yours or your partner’s hands. Your partner has 5-8 with 4+ H, and you have a balanced 20 with a good fit. Suppose partner has QJ 5th of hearts and an ace (a max) , you still don’t have a slam. Just bid 4H.
Nov. 5, 2018
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Obviously that is slightly superior, but I play the exact same methods over x’s of all artificial bids in non Forcing auctions :all bids remain the same as without the x (including pass =to play) and XX asks for step 1 so I can sign off in my suit.

This way I don’t need a different agreement over every sequence:
Xx is the puppet (here must show Diamonds)

Xx is how I get out in My minor, without the x I can’t get out in my minor

(1N)-2C (Capp, sometimes partners make me play that)-x
Xx I have m own suit.

It’s all purpose…not ideal in every auction (sucks over Capp 2D -x), and if playing that in a real partnership would play something better there, but it’s a quick and simple meta agreement.
April 13, 2018
Josh Sher edited this comment April 13, 2018
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I just copied that from one set of notes. I actually in most partnerships play something different over 2D-x:
Pass is to play
Xx is bid 2H and I will next bid my suit. With really great spades you can ignore me and bid 2S instead.
Otherwise, systems on.

Also, in 20 years, I still have never passed 2D without Diamonds…. so I really never played that “maybe a psych NV part’.. but many people do like to psych pass with a really bad hand and a fit for both majors, or with my own suit.
April 12, 2018
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Over 2D weak 2 in either major:
Version 1:

Pass Either D’s or Potential Psych NV
2H Pass or correct. Could have decent hand for spades, 2h then 3h over 2s is invitational with 6+ hearts
2S Ss (
2N Ogust, 3C to play, 3D INV Diamonds,
3h=INV hearts)
2S Pass or correct. Could be interested in H game, therefore respond
Ogust 2N/3C/3D/3H = b/b (maybe 5 cards NV) gs/bh, gh/bs, g/g
2s then 3s over ogust is invitational with 6+ spades
2N Modified Ogust (bad good nt)
3C bad with hearts
3D bad with spades
3H good with spades
3S good with hearts
4c after response to 2nt=RKC
3C To play
3D Game forcing with Hs
3H Pass or correct
3S GF with Spades
3N To play
4C Transfer to your suit
4D Bid your suit (4S/4N = RKC)
4H To play
4S To play
4N Straight Blackwood
2D - (2HS) - X Competitive, Pass if this is your suit, otherwise bid suit (or Ogust over 2S if your suit Hs)

2D - (2N/3a) – X Penalty

2D - (X)

P 5+ Ds, willing to play. Later X is penalty.
XX Good hand, bid your suit
2H Pass or correct
2N Bid 3C “I have a suit of my own”
3CD Lead directing with raise to 3 of either major

Version 2:
The same as above except:
2D-3C=GF with either minor
3D asks minor (LH)
3M Very strong Suit, playable opposite a stiff (KQJxxx, KQT9xx, or so)

2D-2H-2S-3C to play
2D-2H-2S-3D = INV
2D-2S(Heart fit OR to play in clubs or INV in Diamonds)-responses are, 2N min with H, 3C max with H
So the idea is if you might want to get out in 3C you respond 2M in your longer major.
April 12, 2018
Josh Sher edited this comment April 12, 2018
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It definitely depends on the exact bidding system. TOSR is different from MOSCITO for 8nstqnce. Also, I am assuming we are always talk8ng about imps, where it’s not just frequency that matters. At match points, the best use for the extra bid is clearly not the ability to overcall in the opponents suit.
April 10, 2018
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Without doing any analysis, I would have assumed that the right play in clubs is low toward the JT, and if that loses to the Q then low to the 8 later….

I will think about this later.
April 10, 2018
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A. If my parter was strong I would rather open 1D
B. If my partner was weak I would rather open 1H ( it takes away a call from the opponents, and in fact it takes away a strain, and i can end the auction at 1H, this is particularly true when I am red where I may be in trouble even undoubted )
C. Your hand is a legal 1H opening in the ACBL’s new rules, it is not a legal 1D opening if the meaning is that it shows hearts. Make it 1 point stronger and it become legal
D. What I said, and maybe the multiple threads have thrown you off, is that in most non game going auctions by the second round of the auction the Sequences mean the same thing AND the last bid IS the same thing. Thus the actions available are the same at that point. So by the second round of the auction very few sequences require special defenses (unlike multi)
E. The problematic auction is when responder passes the xfer opening. Now in my methods, that shows 5 cards in the bid suit so it’s not that difficult for the opponents, although still unusual. For richard this pass is a fert, where neither opponent has promised any length in that strain (in my mind,crazy red, but sane although purely destructive white). The auction that involves this pass definitely requires adequate defenses.

April 10, 2018
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I don’t understand this. We are talking about sequences that mean the same thing, which are all the sequences other than pass by responder. Yes, the strong hands by responder are different, there you get to bid the relay at the 1 level instead of using a much higher up bid….

I do play this method because I can bid my hands better when my side has the majority of the points. I play this way despite being at a Disadvantage relative to those who opened 1M naturally when it’s the opps hand, since the opps get an extra bid, and really, when I open 1H on 4 small hearts, and you have 5 hearts and a unbalanced 19 count , you have to pass and hope in vein that you will be able to x something later, while over my 1D xfer opener you can happily overcall 1H if you desire, without giving up the possibility of bidding 2H to show michaels or whatever you play in the normal 1H-2H auction.

Quite frankly, I find thIs funny, since people who know me know that I am a sound and conservative bidder who believes in constructive auctions. When other bridge players psych there 5 counts in 3rd seat opposite a passed hand in a limited bidding system, I believe that opening bid ranges should be stronger in that situation to cater to bidding part scores and games that you can actually make. In my TOSR system, for instance, 1C in 1/2 is 15+ while in 3/4 is 17+, and other opening bids are also 2 points stronger opposite a passed hand. Did you know that after pass-pass it’s more likely to get a 17+ hand than it is for a random hand in first chair to have a 15+ hand? But this is all a different topic. I have my ideas about constructive bidding, and so far the bridge lawyers have made it difficult for me to play my constructive methods, while giving the precision players a free pass to use descructive tactics. I just want the rules to be fair enough that I have a chance to demonstrate that I am right and they are wrong. Richard, wants the same thing, but what he thinks is right is differentl than what I think. But we both want, within some reason, some freedom to experiment.
April 9, 2018
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David, the discussion is about the new ACBL convention restrictions. In these restrictions, these artificial openers such as transfer opening bids need to contain 10 HCP or a Bergen 19 count (HCP plus length of two longest suits). So I will assume you mean 10-14. And NV, a lot of the top precision players in the US open many balanced 10 counts with the artificial (now called quasi natural) bid of 1D. so again this is not unique to Richards methods. Richard just wants to have fun with his methods, he doesn’t actually compete in serious bridge events. I, on the other hand, have played TOSR in the Spingold, and in this system we only open balanced 10 counts with a 5 card major, and even there it’s not mandatory.

In these new convention charts, certain methods are allowed in regionally and nationally rated events, where you play at least 6 boards at a time against your opponents. We are not talk8ng about games against little old ladies. We are talking about games against strong players, where there is time to pre-alert and explain the methods and suggested defenses before starting to play. Xfer openings are much easier to deal with than multi 2D and even the little old ladies in countries where multi is regularly played have no trouble with that….
April 9, 2018
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In the US, a non forcing response would be alertable…. Richard’s point, and my point elsewhere is two sequences which mean the same thing, and involve the same most recent bid, should be treated the same and not just by bridge players but by the rules. We all understand that in a beginners game, the beginner might not chunk sequences by their meanings, but instead memorize what to do over specific sequences. But for the rest of us, who can actually process bridge information (take that GIB!, humans can do something that you can’t!) this really is not a difficulty.

Again, as Richard pointed out, there are some issues are are unique to the convention (like a xfer opening or a multi 2D), these issues definitely include the first round of the auction and may or may not include later rounds depending on if the auction becomes analogous to a permitted sequence over a natural opening bid. In the case of opening 1D or 1H to show H or S respectively, with the exception of a few sequences, we basically end up by the second round of the auction back on familiar terroritory. In the case of my 1S opening, which shows both minors, more follow ups are needed since at least by the second round of the auction is not equivalent to anything standard.
April 9, 2018
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Actually the complexity of published defenses is a pet peeve of mine.

Imagine the auction:
2D(Multi)-x(13-15 balance OR 19+ any)-2N (asks strength and suit)-P
3C(hearts and a min)-?

Well you are sitting there with good clubs, but do not know if the next x is clubs or a takeout of hearts, so you have to read through 4 pages of the notes, find out that its say takeout of hearts when you have club, and pass (I don't remember what in fact it is in the ACBL published defense). Basically you have a choice of making the auction last 15 minutes as both opponents read the document carefully every time, or give out unauthorized information when you selectively read the document. Even if you passed in tempo knowing the published defense, Later, in the play, partner who does not know the defense, may need to know if you have really good clubs, and has to stop, read through the defense to work out if you could have xed 3C naturally showing good clubs. Yuck!

Defenses which are based on a few principles allow both defenders to act in real time, and make deductions about partner's actions and inactions in real time….

So, personally, even if we can have an optimal written defense for everything, I do not think its optimal for the game….
April 9, 2018
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A number of you have mentioned issues in later rounds of the auctions faced by someone unfamiliar with a system, and the need for defenses to cover later rounds of the auctions. In something like multi, that is a real issue, since the opener's suit, in some auctions, is never shown and this creates issues that are not analogous to natural bidding. X-fer openings with known suits do not create such issues. The only real issue that is created is if
A. the defense used doesn't just use the extra bid (1 level bid of the opps suit) but changes the meanings of standard bids above the shown suit.
B. If responder passes the opening bid

In the case of B, the defense has to clearly explain all continuations there, since its not analogous to anything standard.

Let me give an example:
Suppose I have two strong club systems:
System A:
1M is 4+cards, with some 5 card suit in the hand (it might be M, or it might be a different suit)

System B:
1D is 4+ hearts, with some 5 card suit in the hand
1H is 4+ spades, with some 5 card suit in hand

In system B, with a good hand responder bids 1M to start relays, or has some kind of jump shift as a forcing raise of M. With a bad hand he can make a NF bid in any suit, or bid 1N to ask opener for his 5+ card suit.

In system A, with a bad hand responder does all the same things as in system B. With a good hand and no primary fit, you bid 1N which is not initially strong, but you play 1N then a new suit is a natural GF, and 1N then the cheapest Jump shift as a GFing raise of whatever partner just bid.

I am not claiming this is a particularly good system as written. I just want to point out that all the weak sequences are the same in the two systems (except for passing the opening bid), and we did not need suggested defenses for system A….
April 9, 2018
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Any bidding system has inferences… the fact the the opening bids are xfers really is pretty irrelevant except during the first round of the auction (except some actions might be taken for siding purposes). The point of the xfer openings is to cater to the relays ( it lets the relayer declare the majority of the hands,. And it gains valuable space so shapes can be resolved at lower levels). I can take the same structure (without the relays) and make it completely natural, with natural (but potentially canape) openings.
April 9, 2018
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The following is what I recommend vs my version of the TOSR system, which is pretty similar to Moscito except:
1. 1Red openings are never 4333 or 4432 in 1/2 seat. They show either 5+ in the major or an unbalanced hand (including 4522 and sometimes 4441)
2. Our pass of our transfer openings shows that suit, almost always at least 5 cards. We do not ever psych this pass.
3. Our priority in opening is 1S (anything with both minors and unbalanced gets opened that), then 1D, then 1H. So the 1H opening, for instance denies 4H. Thus we always open 1D with 4+H even if another suit is much longer and stronger. This really is done only to keep our relay structure simple.
4. We play both 2C and 2D as natural and intermediate, so the 1S opening is specifically both minors (but might have a 4 or 5 card major in it)

I have done many simulations over the 20 years I have played these methods. The following is what I believe is the best defense (at least without making it way too complicated)

Basic Principles:
A. If a game force has not been established, and the auction is live, x is a takeout of whatever suits have been shown (2 or 3 suited). (Rare case: If 3 suits have been shown , x is takeout of all the 5+ card suits shown.)
B. If a game force has been established, x of any artificial bid is natural
C. In the balancing seat, x is takeout of any 5 card suit shown
D. Overcalling in the 1 level in the suit opener showed, is natural and shows a hand that would have opened that suit. Continuations are as if you opened that suit.
E. Cuebidding a suit where an opponent has shown 5 or has shown a 4-3 fit is michaels.
F. 1N and higher actions over 1Red mean the same as over a natural opening bid

Later round actions are as if opener actually opened in the suit shown. There is no significance to the fact that the opening was a x-fer opening.

For instance, 1D(Hearts)-P-2H-? and so on, the fact that the opening was 1D showing hearts and not 1H showing hearts is basically irrelevant.

We play, for instance, that 1D-P-2D is a constructive (about 9-11) raise in hearts. Again the fact that the opening was 1D and not 1H is irrelevant, but in any case principles A and E above hold, so x is takeout of hearts, and 2H is michaels.

Note: in my analysis of these auctions years ago, playing x of 1D as takeout of hearts (and having some bid showing a good hand with 5+ hearts) is clearly right. Over the 1H opening, I still think its right to play this way, but playing x as showing hearts is almost as good. But I certainly recommend consistency…

Slightly less clear is how to play over 1S showing unbalanced with both minors. What I recommend is:
x takeout. like a takeout x of a could be short 1m bid.
1N natural(15-18)
x then 2NT 19-21 (this hand will often cue bid after xing looking for a 4-4 major suit fit, and then bid 2N if it doesn't find one)
x then a minor, q-bid, is typically your better minor if both can be shown at the same level (also 2m by advancer of a x is a qbid, showing better minor)
2N 22-23
2D weak or strong michaels(7-10 or 15+)
2C 5-4 in majors, opening hand OR 5-5 and about 11-14. Over 2C 2d Asks for the better major. (On over x's of 2C)

3m is like 1m-3m
April 8, 2018
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