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All comments by Leonard Helfgott
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I think Alan meant that the invite window should be much narrower, i.e. pass in tempo more often with marginal hands, or simply bash, but if an invite has been made, accept aggressively since the invite has put you at more risk than passing would have. Readers should try Thomas Andrews website discussing accepting over partners 2NT opening, when Vuln. acceptance is 34% instead of the normal 37.5-40% and NV acceptance is 40% instead of the normal 45%.
Bridge World also analyzed this in 1994, with conclusion to “invite normally but accept aggressively”, (unless you can play like Kit Woolsey.) :)
March 22, 2016
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Those of us who have subscribed to Bridge World for many years recall how the old standard 1NT was ‘good 15 to bad 18’, then moved to 15-17 and now, to some (unofficially) is 14-plus to 17. Some of us still lean towards the older view, some are in the middle and some are in the ‘light’ camp. That's what makes horse races, but your partner should be aware of your proclivities.
March 22, 2016
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I think part of the problem is the ‘going with the field’ mentality. Perhaps moreso at matchpoints than at IMPs and perhaps moreso for us ‘normal’ players vs. the experts who aren't afraid to back their judgment and get egg on their faces occasionally. Of course this hand is not worth 15, but most of us have opened worse hands 1NT in the local club to ‘go with the field.’ The ‘fear’ is not opening 1NT, missing the game when partner has 10 hcp and all breaks well, and then explaining yourself to partner and/or teammates. How often have you heard a better player who goes with the field often say “I'll make it up in the cardplay.” Most players in the local club game will just count up their points, ignore long suits, texture, honor placement, etc. Of course, experts and Bridgewinner readers are better than that, but the mentality to ‘go with the field’ persists to some extent. In the last 10 years, I am the only player in my club to have even opened 1NT with 18HCP (horrors) and it was something like KQ KJx KQJx QJxx. Partner, a strong cardplayer and true gentleman actually ‘raised his eyebrows’ when he saw dummy, rare emotion for him, and scored a top for 3S +170 (defensive error) when the field was in 4S -100.
March 21, 2016
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Joe Grue told me personally that while he upgrades regularly (like other experts), he NEVER downgrades.
March 21, 2016
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A parallel problem might be how to handle robust 5=3=0=5 7 counts such as KQ10xx xxx — Q10xxx over 1NT (1NT-2H-2S-???) . At matchpoints you might pass, but at IMPs the game prospects (in 4 possible strains) seem significant.
March 14, 2016
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Good point, Steve. Well, since a Ten is a priori worth about 1/3 of a Jack, and a Ten with a Jack in an AJ10 holding is worth about 1/2 HCP, and most of us will open all but the very, very worst 18HCP hands with 1C instead of 1NT, the math says…
March 14, 2016
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One could argue that the combination “flaws” of 4333 and weak trumps would make this “non-maximum” if those evaluation components are important to your decision.
March 14, 2016
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Reminds me of first hand in sectional open pairs 3 years ago. Uncontested auction was 1D-1H-1S-3NT. Playing fourth best, On lead with xxx AKQ92 Kx xxx and assuming the declarer was loaded in clubs (he was) I led the heart deuce without delay. Declarer ducked the Jx in dummy and partner won with the 10. Partner is a strong cardplayer but couldn't work out what was going on and shifted! Minus 430 was ave- and of course +50 would have been an absolute top. Such is life.
March 14, 2016
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I'd bet a fair amount that Bridge World Standard would consider this an almost ideal 2S strong jumpshift
March 5, 2016
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I think there will be a fair number of cases where superaccepting with a minimal 4 trump hand will go minus and lead to a bad score. It may be hard for opponents, even with a fit of their own, to bid over NT or balance at the 3 level especially if they do not have a great deal of shape. It's fine to look at the whole hand afterwards and say, “but the opponents could have made 3D” when you put -100 on your card, another for them to actually get there. 1NT is sort of a preemptive bid, one reason we all love it, and if it goes 1NT-p-2H(tr) how many RHOs are going to get into the auction, especially red, with say a 2=2=5=4 9 count. I am not.
Feb. 16, 2016
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I think the newer style of SJS (Soloway) is quite valuable and has worked very well when used properly. Many are still stuck on the idea that a strong jumpshift should be 19-20+ but if you have a hand that good, just forced to slam slowly. Rather, the modern SJS is designed for the biggest problem hand, the hand with say “good 16 to fair 19” dummy points that wishes to immediately strongly suggest slam but not force to slam. It allows partner to get out in game with his typical 11-12 count, and consider or explore slam with good 13s and up. You don't have to keep pushing and pushing fearing you have missed a slam. For that reason it is NEVER made on a 2-suiter that doesn't include partner's suit, always either: 1) a 1-suiter, always 6+, 2)a strong balanced hand (around 18) with a strong 5 card suit, 3)a 2-suiter with a fit. This comes up a lot with one partner and we always manafge to either get to a slam no one else does or stay out of a slam everyone else has pushed too hard to. And by a passed hand it always promises a fit. As far as WSJ, I understand that they are popular, but again subject to poor judgment and abuse, and I absolutely refuse to play them. I'm stubborn that way. And for those of you who subscribe to Bridge World and may compete in Master Solvers Quiz, that is STANDARD treatment in Bridge World.
Feb. 16, 2016
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I believe ‘standard’ including Bridge World Standard, is 2C-2D-2M-3C as cheaper minor 2nd negative after which only a rebid of openers major can be passed
Feb. 15, 2016
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yes but it is hard to know a priori whether the stiff meshes well with the NT hand, like Axx or Jxx or xxx, or badly, perhaps a key feature. My experience is that it doesn't pat to super accept, regardless of trump length, with 14-15.5 dummy points and it does pay to super accept regardless of trump length with 18 dummy points. Partnerships should decide what to do with 16-17 dummy points. I generally don't super accept unless. I have a 16 count with ruffing value and 4 trumps, or a 17 Hcp monster. Has worked for me for several decades.
Feb. 14, 2016
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I think it's a matter of hand evaluation and how fine to tune it. That is, there are very maximal hands with 3 card holdings that should super accept, and perhaps the better 2/3rds of hands with 4 trumps should accept–in two different ways. The bottom 1/3 of hands with 4 card support probably should follow Goren and NOT super accept. This follows from my view that the 4th trump, I.e., the difference between an 8 card fit and a 9 card fit, is worth ‘about’ 1 1/2 hcp
Feb. 14, 2016
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While there may be more declarer advantage in NT, I believe suit play requires more skill than NT, the trump factor adds several dimensions of complexity which favor the strong player. I also strongly believe that difficulty is PROPORTIONAL to the number of potential losers, so 7NT is generally the easiest contract and 1C is perhaps the hardest. More complexity, more chaos, more entropy.
Feb. 14, 2016
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Nice lead, nice defense. Isn't there an old rubric about keeping the trump ace for control and leading low. Once you release the trump ace (unless you are absolutely certain it is correct) you have relinquished master control. And especially with Axx, not just Ax, the low lead seems to stand out. What do others think?
Feb. 7, 2016
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In this type of situation at the local club game, matchpoints, I've argued unsuccessfully for the double, finding that 90% of field, including some reasonable players will bid 2C to show the suit.
Feb. 5, 2016
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Sounds like an excellent strategy—Pass or Bash when you are not looking for alternative strains, but accept the invite by default if you hunt for alternative strains (when you are 4-4 majors or transfer to a 5CM, etal) and fail to find them. I think I'd still pass (in tempo) with a spotless non-descript 4=4=3=2 8 count.
Jan. 25, 2016
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disagree. Almost any 16 or super-15 should accept. Look at it this way. If you knew in advance that partnership held say 24 1/4 hcp (16.0+good 8) you might prefer to play in 1NT to 3NT, but once invited with a 2NT call, you need to accept as you are already in a negative position and accepting minimizes the negative.
Jan. 25, 2016
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I don't think it is correct at all to wait for a good 16 to accept, rather accept with almost all 16's and some super-15's that “look like” 16's. You are already in a minus position at 2NT, so even if accepting was less than 50% it might have as good as or better an expectation as passing 2NT. There is a direct analog in Blackjack. You hold 16 and dealer shows a 9. The expectation for standing is distinctly negative. The expectation for hitting is also negative, but not as much, so hitting is correct. I know little about backgammon, but I'm sure Mr. Woolsey, one of the best backgammon players in the world, can think of several analogs in that game. And there is an adage by an expert west coast bride players which goes something like “if your 14 HCP was good enough to upgrade, it's good enough to accept.” Perhaps a stretch but you get the message–“accept aggressively.”
Jan. 25, 2016
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