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All comments by Marshall Lewis
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An unsettlingly sizeable percentage of the time, we have good chances to make 3N regardless of what N would bid over 3S. Not saying that 3S was an error – it was just one of those “make sure we don't lose the post-mortem” bids that most people commonly put their trust in.

In order to select a call over 2S, one really needs to arrive at some assessment of what proportion of the EW field is likely to: (a) be utilizing that puerile Muiderberg gimcrack; and (b) open 2S as dealer on the E hand with just a 5-card suit. If one deems that dealer will be passing at a lot of tables, the auction elsewhere is a favorite to begin (P) - 1D - (P) - 2C - (P) - 2N, and NS will be reaching 3N without W being tipped to a spade lead.

As the auction actually unfolded on the first round at this table, NS will have a spade stopper quite a lot of the time since N will have a doubleton more than any other holding, and the suit could easily block even if partner does not have the likes of 2 minor honors (Q/J/T).

However we are not asked here to go back in time, but to decide what to do after making the feckless cue-bid. My answer is Pass, because I deem the following parlay to be quite unlikely: (1) We can make 5C; (2) Making it will yield us a good score. Way too much of the time we either will not make it, or cannot compete with most of those who found their way to 3N.
Sept. 20
Marshall Lewis edited this comment Sept. 20
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Sheinwold indeed belongs on the list. He had no peer when it comes to the one-page bridge-problem format, choosing excellent themes and explaining everything in a thorough yet astonishingly concise manner that made advanced technique accessible to a wide audience, and all the while with humor thrown in. His many paperback puzzle collections (published by Pocket Books) were hugely influential in helping myriads of people advance their skills as declarer.

That was far from his only important contribution to the bridge literature. His bidding textbook “Five Weeks To Winning Bridge” in its day was in my opinion the best work of its kind, and if memory serves was also one of the biggest-selling bridge books in history – nowadays largely forgotten, probably because it was (I think) rooted in a four-card Major framework. Or maybe it is because who nowadays wants to commit to a five-week reading project with (gasp) A BOOK.

He was also the author of a series of stories featuring recurring characters, chief amongst them Algy, which were both very amusing and technically challenging. These appeared in The Bridge World (and perhaps elsewhere).

His career as major editor of The Bridge World spanned 5 decades, and he also held the editorial reins of the ACBL monthly Bulletin. All the while for years he wrote perhaps the best syndicated daily newspaper bridge column in the USA.

He was a giant of the bridge literature, excelling in quality as well as producing a prolific oeuvre.
Sept. 6
Marshall Lewis edited this comment Sept. 6
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No-one expects the Spanish Inquisition. Our chief bridge writers are …
Sept. 6
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Why just one second?
Sept. 5
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Meanwhile, pass paints a pretty vivid and detailed picture.
Sept. 5
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You misunderstand my intent. If you think pass is best, by all means do so. I am objecting to the expectation that partner will re-open for us.
Sept. 5
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Fantastic fare. Manna from somewhere during the depleting dog days of serotinal September. Thanks Avon
Sept. 5
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My point was that a 4C opening bid on this hand becomes a more attractive proposition if playing the 4C/4H semantic distinction in accordance with my recommendation, as the lead will come up to partner's hand. Foes do get extra bidding options at the four-level, but are not all that likely to benefit from them significantly.
Sept. 5
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Patrick is doubtless about to tell you something about “Viva”
Sept. 4
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I don't like any call very much. My annotated inventory of the most plausible contenders, in descending “altitude”, is as follows:

4H = Just pushes them into 4S while likely leaving our side little idea of their chances to make. GONG

4C = Wrong club holding for a fit-showing jump because there is not enough concentration of strength, plus “Ace-&-space” is not an especially offensive holding (as opposed to its defensive value). If it is right to save (make?) because of a double-fit (both ways), there are other ways to achieve that result besides 4C (see below). GONG

3H = At least it does not endplay us (unlike 4H), and it gives the opponents room to stop at 3S and/or to have a cock-up (for example if opener Doubles thinking it is a game-try X, but his partner is on another wavelength). 3H would be more attractive if we were red because they might try for 200 rather than gamble on game, and of course partner would then rate to have a better hand so we would have a better shot to make 3HX. Revisiting the theme of how high they might bid, if this were IMPs they probably would be less likely to stop at 3S – but at MPs it is by no means far-fetched. 3H is thus the Best-In-Show so far, but hardly devoid of downside.

3C = This bid has some distinct advantages: (a) It gets Clubs into the discussion; (b) It will fetch a club lead, i.e. when partner doesn't have some other clear lead; © It doesn't squeal to the foe about our big heart fit – and when the opponents have Spades, it is often beneficial not to let an opponent with three cards in our fitted suit diagnose shortage in the opposite hand. This call is not risk-free, but it has enough going for that I voted for it in preference to the other options, which all feel to me at best insipid.

Both 2N and 3N could lead to quite interesting adventures, depending on their meanings and other attendant circumstances, but such escapades lie outside the scope of this brief survey.
Sept. 3
Marshall Lewis edited this comment Sept. 3
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Protect the heart queen.
A pair of spade doubletons is not enough to dissuade from the straightforward 3D
Sept. 3
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(1) Do you think +600 will be a good score? Do you think that ten tricks are unlikely at NT? If the answer to both questions is “Clearly not”, then bidding on has little to lose and possibly much to gain.
(2) There is a difference between incompetence (=“bidding cards badly”) and an attempt at practicality (avoiding misunderstanding, downplaying slam as a target because of the form of scoring, etc.)
(3) Partner's bidding is not “screaming STOP”. He is saying that he thinks his hand does not warrant either an emphasis on diamonds (versus NT), or encouragement in regard to slam, based on what our hand has done to this point, and what our hand has done to this point is show a GF with a diamond fit and uncertainty whether 3N is the best contract. We have considerably more than what we would need to fit that description. His 3N is simply a vote for that contract in that context – but we have a lot better hand than our auction has so far shown, and we ought to want to let him know that in case he wishes to change his mind. After all, some of the time partner is borderline, and will have a strong tendency to resolve such issues in favor of conservatism, especially at MPs and especially where 3N is involved.
(4) Perhaps the fundamental point here is that bidding at the four level is almost cost-free. That cycles us back to (1) above.
Sept. 2
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Actually, the original version of the above included the following continuation, which I eventually expunged in accordance with my New Year's Resolution to keep my posts short to please certain fellow BBO citizens:

“Some might say that my sample hand is too good for diamonds, and too slam-friendly, just to bid 3N over 3D. Don't disagree with that in principle, BUT:
(a) Partners sometimes get funny ideas about what a certain bid means – for example, he might worry that 3H could suggest a hand that is NOT very proud of the heart stoppage that 2N announced.
(b) Partners sometimes get funny ideas about the funny ideas that THEIR PARTNERS might get about what a certain bid means.
© Partner might have thought: ‘If the bidding were to continue 3D-3H-3N, I would pass anyroad. So why not keep it simple rather than open a can of worms?’
(d) Partner might have thought: ‘Really the hand is worth 3H but it is MPs and we will probably do just fine if we make a large number of tricks in that strain. So rather than get involved in some potentially murky slam-ward dialogue, methinks I will take the cash and let the credit go.’

I am not approving of the preceding lines of thought, but they are the sorts of things that pass through players' minds, and often gain ascendancy there, particularly at MPs when 3N is involved.”

Anyway, doubtless I could have constructed a better example.

As for the soul of wit … Oh, well – there's always next year.
Sept. 2
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I see no reason NOT to bid RKCB, since we can stop in 4N and if we do belong in that strain we are going to have to make at least 10 tricks anyway. Meanwhile if partner happens to have a good hand, e.g. x Kxx AQxxx AT8x, I like our chances for twelve in diamonds.
Sept. 1
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and you reckon +600 will be a good result?
Sept. 1
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Top trump could very easily be best – or absolutely necessary.
Aug. 26
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and be careful to avoid Paul Reubens
Aug. 19
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Speaking as a non-TD in any jurisdiction, and thus no doubt somewhat impertinently when addressing an actual Director, respectfully but strenuously I would disagree with your first sentence. Perhaps the wording of the Law is lamentable, but its meaning in English seems to me to be crystal-clear: as written, it outlaws INTENTIONAL deception, rather than actions which merely have the EFFECT of putting an opponent on the wrong scent. In other words, as the statute is literally expressed, it is NOT enough for an action to be any-old-how “misleading” for the Law to kick in – rather, the player has to have MEANT to mislead the opponent through the tempo variance (or whatever other accompaniment is alleged to have garden-pathed the hapless victim).
Aug. 19
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Which tournament is that, Sabine ?
Aug. 19
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While 73D2 clearly outlaws something that should clearly be outlawed, it nevertheless is terribly flawed – or perhaps a better word is “limited” – by its intrinsic dependence on INTENT. In other words, in order to apply this Law judiciously in a given instance, it would be necessary to demonstrate an Intent To Deceive – and as we all know, that is exceedingly difficult to do.


Effective proscriptive Laws, generally speaking, describe forms of behavior that COULD READILY LEND THEMSELVES TO nefarious practice by those with a penchant for skullduggery – it is because of the amenability of such maneuvers to unscrupulous abuse that the BEHAVIORS themselves are prohibited. That is the best way for laws to be framed, because it puts adjudicating authorities in a position to deal with a situation on the basis of overt factors, and frees them from the near-impossible requirement of establishing as “fact” some subjective constructs as “Intent” which belong to the covert realm of psychology. Thus in most cases of legal/constabulary intervention, the situation can be sorted without the slightest hint of a faint whisper of a vaporous scintilla of accusation alleging Sharp Practice, simply by establishing that some proscribed action has been committed.

In contrast, 73E2 does – quite appropriately – make reference to the factor of amenability of a given behavior to exploitation for nefarious purposes as a basis for an adjusted score, without requiring the establishment of actual nefarious intent. So that should be enough to get the job done when all the pertinent conditions are satisfied.

Sadly this is not always true. Most infuriatingly, huddles on defense when the person has absolutely nothing to think about are routinely protected by adjudicators, who all too frequently will only offer redress if they and their consultees agree that the defender simply HAD to have been acting with Intent To Deceive.
Aug. 19
Marshall Lewis edited this comment Aug. 19
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