Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Marshall Lewis
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
It is not a question of pardon. I just don't know how you got from the words I said to the words that you said
Sept. 23, 2016
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I will welcome constructive input from Eugene or anyone else. In the meantime while waiting for such assistance, you seem to have offered something of the general form %$#@(*(&&%%RUOP)
Sept. 22, 2016
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
David W – Sorry to be unresponsive but I freely confess my inability to do so because for better or worse we just don't speak the same bridge language. I can say without any intent to be judgmental that I simply don't understand anything you are saying. Willing to take the blame for my obtuseness
Sept. 22, 2016
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Amy 00 In certain partnerships with conservative styles double of 1N would be plausible or even stand out (pushing it there). In an aggressive partnership it is on the hungry side because if the style is to be effective something has to be sacrificed and the obvious thing is that you have to let some potential penalties go, generally small beer in the big-picture exchange market at IMPs. The suggestion that the opening lead should be anything but a diamond simply suggest the need for intensive counseling sessions
Sept. 22, 2016
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
David – I am not sure what you man. Could you elaborate? seldom disagree with you but always keep an open mind about that prospect :):) just need clarification
Sept. 22, 2016
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
As regards your first paragraph just above – pretty much correct, except that I disagree VERY RADICALLY with their evaluation, and am astonished that those actions could have aroused sufficient suspicion to do further research. It is not like the sort of pattern of blatantly counter-normative and remarkably successful actions which have in the case of many pairs no longer permitted to play together rightfully raised grave suspicions on the part of observers and of course opponents. I am frankly astonished that THE ACTIONS OF THE PARTNER OF THE OPENING BIDDER in these deals could have inspired the extensive research project as reported in the published statement that launched this thread.

If instead it was the mere FACT of an opening bid below a stipulated legal threshold that gave rise to the research and the complaint, that is a separate issue – certainly I am not sweeping it aside as unimportant or less important. Far from it !! I just haven't gotten around to that yet, and I do thank you for recognizing (as some other people who have responded to me clearly have not) the difference between talking about the former versus the latter.

In large part my choice of where to start in addressing the various aspects of this complicated case was made not even by me but by the Spanish captain. He is the one who chose how to begin in presenting the team's comprehensive statement, and since I began reading it in chronological fashion as is most people's routine practice, I naturally started responding to things in the order I encountered them.

It is one thing to say: “My opponents are flouting a law that prohibits opening bids below a certain threshold of strength.” That in and of itself would automatically warrant looking into. It is another matter to go beyond that and say "and the partner of the player who makes such openings is choosing suspicious actions that reflect an awareness of just how weak an opening can be. They are indeed both serious allegations, but they are absolutely NOT the SAME allegation. And my remarks have been almost exclusively focused entirely on the LATTER not the former.
Sept. 22, 2016
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
(1) Possibly, and possibly you have not read my comments all that carefully. I took great pains at the outset to make it as clear as possible that my remarks were addressed to EXACTLY ONE facet of this case – the fact that by their own admission the Spanish found the actions of the opener's PARTNER to be “quite surprising”. You are of course free to discuss in your own thread whatever other aspects of the case you feel it important to focus on. But it is hardly responsive to a person who is talking about topic X to make objections that could only be pertinent to a discussion of Topics Y or Z.

(2) I may be having a bad day, but I cannot even begin to imagine how what I said above could strengthen the case of the Spanish players.

(3) At no point did I come remotely close to suggesting, deliberately or inadvertently, that the actions of the US pair reflect a pattern of taking into “account” the possibility that an opening may be markedly weaker than the threshold specified by the organizers. Let's say that the relevant threshold is 8HCP – there is absolutely nothing in the actions of the opener's partner that would be out of line or suspect in the context of a pair whose lower limit for a tactical opening is 8 HCP.
Sept. 22, 2016
Marshall Lewis edited this comment Sept. 22, 2016
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Louis, what you have said might be an accurate summary of SOME of the facets of this case. But it is wholly irrelevant to the actual target of my remarks, which it seems I did not sufficiently make clear: once again, I was directing my comments to the reaction of Spanish players who found the actions of the PARTNER of the player who had opened light to be “quite surprising”. The failure to X the opposing 1NT overcall and the choice of the opening leader to launch the attack with his own suit instead of partner's should not raise any eyebrows at all, whether the minimum threshold for a tactical opening bid is calibrated at 8HCP or any lower figure.
Sept. 22, 2016
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Here is one more thing I find “quite surprising”, which in this instance is a euphemism for “ABSOLUETLY ASTONISHING”. The very lengthy posting above seemingly purports to be a COMPREHENSIVE statement regarding this affair, and yet as far as I can see there is NO indication of HOW LARGE THE RELEVANT DATABASE IS. Yes of course the researchers claim that the pair in question open in third seat NV a full 100% of the time, and that over 400 deals were examined. But at no point do they state (unless I have overlooked something in my multiple readings) HOW MANY RELEVANT DEALS constitute the pertinent database. The early portions of the statement cite THREE such deals, but for all we know those are the ONLY deals in which the subjects of the study were in third chair NV following two passes.

As noted above, it amazes me that the first two deals cited would raise even a single stray hair on an eyebrow at this level. As for the 1S opening on the third exhibit shown, that action does strike me as a call with a low upside/downside ratio even for a very aggressive pair, but opinion as well as practice will never be identical across the adventurous cohort of obstructive competitors.

My main point here is that at least as far as the evidence reported in this statement is concerned, there seems to be only ONE SINGLE DEAL that contains anything that looks at all out of the ordinary for an aggressive pair at World Championship level. If there are in fact further exhibits, why weren't they shown – or at least alluded to in a way that permits accessing – in such an extensive document that presents itself as a comprehensive statement?

Once again, I am not (yet) commenting on the substantive legal issues which are raised by this case. I am however (among other things) saying that I do not find it terribly surprising if the tournament officials failed to respond to the Spanish complaints with all the seriousness the latter felt the situation demanded.

In the embarrassing event that I have stupidly overlooked something, I fervently hope it will be pointed out to me ASAP so that I can remove or modify this posting.
Sept. 22, 2016
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
It has occurred to me that my dismissive remarks about the quality of the evidence adduced at the very outset of the Spanish statement might conceivably be challenged, so in the interests of avoiding delay I will attempt to head any such attack off at the pass by explaining why I think that it is somewhere between “quite surprising” and downright laughable that world-class players would find the actions of E on the first board cited to be “quite surprising” – and doubly so as both his bidding and his lead were called into question by the joint posters. Well, the gloves were already off, but now the sleeves will be rolled up too.

(1) What exactly would E even consider doing besides Pass? The only plausible alternative is Double, and it is not so very attractive because there are a host of ways in which it can work out disappointingly. First, the opening was in third seat and furthermore NV, so it would be suspect even for a pair considerably less aggressive than this duo are. Secondly, opponents are NV too so the quantitative upside of a prospective penalty is automatically less grandiose than if they were vulnerable. Thirdly, the opponents are likely to run to a better contract when 1N is doomed. Fourthly – quite an opposite scenario – the opponents may not have finished bidding constructively yet, given that partner's bid is intrinsically suspect. LHO might be about to invite game or even bid it, and if he happens to have a penalty redouble available that will be a simpler solution to his bidding problem. Fifthly, it is perfectly consistent with an even medium-aggressive style that one is frequently hesitant to double the enemy in cases that are not overwhelmingly clear because that is just part of the cost of doing the kind of business that a guerrilla style pursues.

(2) As for the opening lead, this is not rocket science. Opponents have bid to a game without being pressured into that action, so it is excruciatingly obvious that partner has a sub-minimum opener. Even apart from that painfully evident fact, it is routine to be doubtful about long-term defensive prospects in partner's opened suit when there is an overcall in NT and that gets raised to game. MEANWHILE, the opening leader has a reasonable five-card suit AND two entries. Personally I think that if this were given to a panel of top-class players as an opening-lead “problem” the vote would be a landslide for a diamond. But it is not necessary to go that far in order to make my real point, which has to do with the reported consensus of “surprise” at the diamond lead on the part of the Spanish players. Personally if I were a member of that squad, I would be BEGGING my captain not to embarrass us by publicly stating that we were surprised by this opening lead.
Sept. 22, 2016
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I am not going to comment just yet on the entire affair as documented in the Spanish statement above. I will however express my ASTONISHMENT at the reaction which the poster attributes to the Spanish players as a result of the few boards cited at the outset of their published manifesto. Nor am I going to pull any punches or make any attempt to sugar-coat or to soft-pedal my views. In a nutshell, it is inconceivable to me that ANY experienced international pair could find the USA actions on the first board “quite surprising” (direct quotation), and the same goes for the second deal – they seem entirely within the normal range of expectation for top-class partnerships who practice an aggressive style. Rather, such an alleged “shock” is just the sort of naïve and provincial reaction that is quite typical of club-level players whose bridge experience is almost entirely restricted to local events conducted in an environment that is relatively homogeneous and fixated at the classical stages of beginning or intermediate bridge education. How THESE examples could possibly have aroused any suspicions in bona fide internationals is beyond me. Please realize that I am certainly NOT saying that the Spanish team members are yokels from the hinterlands who somehow accidentally wandered in to a World Championship. Far from it – and that is what gives the reported genesis of this cause celebre such an eerie and surreal tonality.

Once again, this is not the sum total of my responses to the event as a whole, and I am not saying here that there was zero right on the Spanish side. I am trying to make a single comment about one single facet of their statement – that is all. As usual, my post is plenty long already so further observations will be reserved for future installments.
Sept. 22, 2016
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
“partner is tight” ? you mean drunk? or stingy?
July 26, 2016
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Oren has summed this up pretty well. In bridge as in life, if it seems too good to be true, it almost always is.
July 26, 2016
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
A partnership has to choose between mnemonic simplicity – the priority subserved by having uniform methods for all interventions at the same level over our NT opening bid – versus optimal efficacy, which in this context requires different menus depending on the nature of the opposing intervention. It should be obvious that the latter is the theoretically preferable architectural strategy, but many pairs just do not want to be bothered with what they view as burdensome complications.

How a set of menus should be organized is indeed a function of how much space is available together with key decisions as to which distinctions are most important to make. In the meantime, there is no good reason to relinquish the routine goal of positionality, one of the fundamental rationales underlying Transfers. Just give up on signoffs, and require hand-types that can bid over the intervention to be INV+, thereby bringing Opener into a dialogue. But for this to be worthwhile, we need to take account of crucial divergences among various types of interventions, because they leave different arrays of “balls in play” for the opening side, and one size definitely does not fit all.
July 20, 2016
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
The relative upside of the first objective, in comparison with the latter two, seems measly indeed, at least in the context of IMPs. Negative doubles and transfers are the way to go, as recommended by a poster early in the thread.
July 20, 2016
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
(1) It is an excellent thing that the bromide referred to above is called a “suggestion” rather than bearing the more frequent and more fatuous names of “Law” or “Rule”. But in order to take advantage of that very sensible nomenclature (and note that I am NOT saying that I regard the evaluation metric itself as worthwhile), one ought to treat it as just that – a mere suggestion. I myself do not use or even know the details of this mode of reckoning, so there is risk of naivete in what I am about to opine, but it does strike me via simple arithmetic that in a method where the threshold for opening is 22, a half-point insufficiency must surely be equivalent to a quarter-point deficit in the context of a more mainstream evaluation framework i.e. one where the threshold is roughly 11 HCP. If so then it seems decidedly exaggerated to disqualify the hand so dismissively and summarily from consideration for opening the bidding.

(2) The allusion to rebid problems seems very short-sighted to me. So suppose you pass and partner opens 1S – how do you plan to describe your hand now> Almost everyone plays Drury, and many play 2N as conventional even by a PH (though that is in any case a rustic & vulgar call even if natural) so in fact Pass can easily end up producing worse problems for the next round than opening. (Incidentally, if one has the sense to play 1-way Drury rather than the double-ply article, the rebid headache for a conservative passer is partly alleviated when the long suit is diamonds rather than clubs – but even if you switch the minors on this hand, would we really be delighted to respond 2D?)

(3) In fact, within a sensible framework which supports light openings with collateral safety nets, the dreaded outcome of “getting too high” materializes no more often than it does with conservative openers who primly pass but then feel they have to bid aggressively to catch up.

(4) IMHBAICO, an even better “rule of thumb for minimum defensive requirements” is the principle that “We don't open the bidding for the purpose of letting partner know the opponents are very unlikely to make a slam”. The main point of opening is to get an early start on discovering our own offensive potential. Ergo, defensive requirements ought to occupy a relatively low position – if any at all – on an ordered set of criterial factors which serve to determine if a given hand is worth opening.
July 20, 2016
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
channeling Rudyard, david, or some other balladeer ?
July 20, 2016
Marshall Lewis edited this comment July 20, 2016
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I am still stuck on “As usual, X is always Y” :):)
July 20, 2016
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
According to the conditions set by the poster, apparently 1H was not forcing (no complaint). So opener was prepared to play there, but when N showed a spade suit, thus yielding a fit, and values for game (though to me that agreement seems weird, it is whatever it is), suddenly it was impossible to stop below slam. We should always look for silver linings, and assuredly it will benefit N to know that his partner adheres to the perverse dogma of “one-level or slam, so be careful how many bids you make as responder”
July 20, 2016
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
(1) I must be missing something. Why would one play both 1S and 2S as GF ? Even if one likes the Walsh idea, there must be limits or one's bidding patterns become farcical.
(2) What has “2/1” got to do with it? The opening bid was 1C which automatically rules out a 2/1 auction, and in fact the two-level wasn't even reached until the third round of the auction.
(3) 6S = “I have limitless faith in your play, partner.”
(4) 7S = “I have limited faith in your bidding, partner.”
July 20, 2016
.

Bottom Home Top