Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Mate Mestric
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A (fairly) simple and effective way is to use 4m as optional KC for the the 2 most likely strains (in this case &). Use 4 for the major, and 4 for the minor for space conservation purposes.

Once you bid 4m as QRKCB, responder bids the first step to deny slam interest or bids 2nd step+ as a KC response.

As for the follow-ups you can simply use the first step by the QRKCB bidder to inquire further, always following the same order: KC->trump Q if not known->specific kings(longest suits first)->specific queens. Skip a bid for each positive, and don't bother with the singleton.

So in the given example, opener bids 4 as optional kc in spades, and responder's bids would mean:

4= no slam interest
4= slam interest, 1/4
4= slam interest, 0/3
4NT= slam interest, 2-q
5= slam interest, 2+q, no k
5= slam interest, 2+q, k, no k

After the 5 response, opener can bid 7.
21 hours ago
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Top players would never/would always do this and that IN FACE of the 7N bid. Can't make this stuff up…
Dec. 3, 2018
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With the majority of articles lately focusing on rulings or cheating this one was a breath of fresh air. Loved the stories, loved the humor. Thanks
Nov. 27, 2017
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Your comment would have been rude had this been one of his worst rulings. It was not.
Nov. 6, 2017
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Opener had the j so it had some play, but obviously if you worked out openers entire hand, you'd pass (even if someone told you opener had the j).

There is enough “evidence” to work it out, but even if given as a problem it's fairly easy to miss it. To both find the 7 bid, and be able to visualize partner's entire hand at the table (where no one came up to you and said: here's your chance to shine) is IMO quite impressive.
Aug. 26, 2017
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True, but given the range of hands partner may have for the 6 bid (6th spade, k or 5134), I'd say that accepting the grand slam invite is the percentage action. If he has the worst possible hand (5125 no k), then you just hope for the break.

Besides, they always lead trump ;)
Aug. 26, 2017
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If you are reading this David, I've a question for you. Your hand was kqxxx x axx akxx, but on the auction it could have as easily been kqxxx x ax akxxx. Would you still have found a pass over 7 had it been kqxxx x ax akxxx :) ?

The 4-2 fit grand would be a percentage contract, while the spade superfit and the club fit would not. Not an everyday thing.

In any case well done!
Aug. 26, 2017
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Not quite, they would have been +2140 and +100, for a +2240 total, 2240 is the last number you gain “only” 19 imps for. Since they won 17, and this way would have won 19, the bermuda bowl would have ended in a tie, and the tiebreaker would have gone to USA2 for beating France in the round robin. Would have been quite possibly the only (major) tournament to be decided on whether the 20imp gain starts on 2240 or 2250.

Not sure if I'd like to have bid 7 only to lose the tiebreaker.
Aug. 26, 2017
Mate Mestric edited this comment Aug. 26, 2017
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It would seem that in bridge the only thing that happens more often than getting lucky if you are fond of bidding is people who aren't so fond telling you just how lucky you got.
June 13, 2017
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When it's right to bid on a 6-5 AAK monster, the story doesn't get past the bar that evening. When it's wrong, people remember it 90 years later. Sounds about right.
March 30, 2017
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I'd merrily do it without the queen of clubs, or if the diamond king was the jack. It would take a glass of wine or good mood to do it on less (thankfully one of the two is often present).

As for the other two questions, I was by no means proposing that hand as the poster child for the 5 bid, I merely asked the question what you would do with it. As I am sure you have occasionally been told, the two have been known to differ.

As for what I would do with that hand, I'd say that preempts work and I have a guess on my hands, either bidding 4 or more could easily be right. So my plan for the hand is to guess right.
March 1, 2017
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And I thought all there was to the problem was written to the right of the diagram, but here you go bringing science into the picture. Serves me right for having opened the “How would you bid the hands playing with yourself” can of worms.
March 1, 2017
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Having played a couple of deals with you both as a partner and teammate, I will not ask you what you feel your partner would do in this particular spot with say xx KQJ10xxx Qx KJ, but rather what you would do?

I imagine I could be convinced that you would bid 4, if only you were a completely different person ;)

As you are so fond of saying, it is quite possible partner has already done the right thing in bidding 5, where his counterpart might chicken out, and punishing him for his bravado might easily result in a 26imp+ mistake.

5 on the other hand does convey the message of trying for grand, and leaves partner with three more bids to show his enthusiasm for the newfound spade ace, all of which I shall gladly accept.
March 1, 2017
Mate Mestric edited this comment March 1, 2017
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My teammate opened 2 on this deal, and having won 11imps, we finished 11th in this event. Is it too late to call the director on him so that the experts can move up to 11th?

I'm just trying to do the right thing.
Jan. 5, 2017
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The crux of this discussion seems to be whether or not young people would be more or less attracted to the game if there were less regulations. Since most of you who are arguing that regulations are fairly unimportant in this aspect are too old to remember the way young people think, let me remind you.

When I was first introduced to the game, the introduction was along the lines of:“Follow suit, bid whatever you want, you can agree on anything with partner, and just tell the opponents what you agreed on.” That was beautiful I thought, since I could obviously think of better agreements than any person alive, I would be king of the world very soon. (That is the youth part you have forgotten). Had I been introduced to the game with the words:“Learn this book of rules, and when you are done reading that, there is nothing else to learn about bidding, as the rest of the methods are banned.”, I would tell you and your silly game to f**k off. (That youth thing again.)

Today I do play short club with transfers, symmetric relay, I open preempts and notrumps on filth, open light, and do just about everything light. Not because I think it is the only way to play the game, but because it is FUN.

And even today, when I've fallen for the game hook, line and sinker if you told me that I have to play some neanderthal system I would tell you to f**k off.
Jan. 1, 2017
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I don't really buy it. Sure the computer could have access to all the hand played by me in the last 10 years, but what good would it do to him on this hand? When was the last time you held an 8 card suit on that auction? Would you have bid it if you had it? How many times had I had to make a lead from a 1-5-1-6 hand against a grand? Is it the case that what the opponents have shown while getting to their grand is irrelevant to my lead? Do I really never make a different bid/lead based solely on the tempo of the opponents auction or simply my mood?

No two situations are the same, and in order to extrapolate applicable information from the set of hands that the computer has on me to the hand being played you have to make certain assumptions. You then have to weigh some hands as being more relevant than others, as the spot I was in is closer to the hand we are playing now. In the end to decide what would be the most likely action by me in the given spot, you will pretty much have to guess what I thought about when I had made the action that I did. That part I really doubt a computer will ever to better than a human.

As far as the neural net goes, good luck getting it to teach it self to bid. It will either play against a computer in which case you'll get it to bid efficiently against a computer or you had best find yourself a set of humans willing to play 10^12 hands(or whatever the number is) vs a neural net.
Feb. 7, 2016
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As a guy who voted “Never”, let me try and explain why I feel that way.

Barry Greenstein is world class poker player, and author of the excellent “Ace on the River” book. He also has a Phd in computer science. This is what he wrote on the subject of computers playing poker:

“It would be difficult to play against a computerized opponent with a good strategy. The computer wouldn't steam or have tells like a live opponent. If I were to program a computer to play poker, I would use statistical rankings of hands, pot-odds decisions and bluffing calculations based on principles of game theory. It is likely that a computer can be programmed using concepts of non-cooperative game theory to beat expert poker players, but it will be a long time before computers will be able to exploit weaker players as well as an expert can. Poker sense is hard to program.”

To show how this relates to bridge, let me give an example:

https://804423c9ce250db4ea472cea5d58217bb142a5de.googledrive.com/host/0B_3O_Tsmyzc6MjY1NmUyY2ItMTgyMi00NDZjLWFmZGMtODJkNjY1ZTVmMDEy/Press%20Releases/2011%20IBPA%20AWARDS.pdf

That is a link to 2011 IBPA Awards, where on pages 13-16, you can find a hand played by Geir Helgemo, that won him „The Rose Cliff Declarer Play of the Year“ award. While a computer would certainly spot the winning line easier than your average human declarer if it new the layout, the trick to this hand isn't to check whether a 1516 shape is more or less likely then 0526, the trick is getting the answers to these questions right:

How often would Forfot play the jack of clubs from jx?
Would Forfot bid on 8 diamonds headed by the qj? Would he do it if the suit was headed only by the j or the q?
How often would Skjetnes lead trumps if he had any?

Mind you, there is quite a difference to what SHOULD be done by Skjetnes and Forfot in the spot that they are in if they played „optimally“ to what these to players would actually do. If this was not the case we would all bid, declare and defend in the same manner, and bridge would be the most boring activity know to man.

And while a computer might get all the relevant shapes and the odds right down to a fraction of a percent, there is a reason why the chapter quoted above from Barry's book starts with: „There's no sense in being precise when you don't even know what you're talking about.“ John von Neumann

What it comes down to is:

Who do you think will be more likely to guess how Forfot and Skjetnes think, GIBoMaster2026 or Geir Helgemo?

Will the answer be different in 30 years rather than 10?


Feb. 7, 2016
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I agree with everything you said, and of course that would imply that his partner does not know the board, as bidding 4s over 3nt is in my opinion almost automatic.

My point was that it was simply amazing to me that a world class player chose to bid pass and subsequently 4d on the very hand where that would be the winning action.

Boards where pass and than 4d is the winning action, but acting immediately or passing throughout is wrong are truly small in number.

I guess we will just have to wait for boye.
Aug. 28, 2015
Mate Mestric edited this comment Aug. 28, 2015
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If you were to convict a player on the basis of a single deal the answer to your question Lynn is in my mind the most damning of all.

Had you acted over 3D, either by a double or a 3S bid (which are both aggressive, but hardly as insane as passing and bidding 4d later), do you think your partner would let you play 4S holding aqxxxx 10x x kqjx? Would there truly be room to find out that you have this unfitting minimum, or would you more often be going down on the 5 level after a keycard response of 1, or simply playing 5s-1 or even 6s-2 if 3rd chair bids 5d? All pd needs is kxxxx ax xxx axx, or for the TOX kxx akxx xxx axx (even if you switch ks to js, you would still make it on a spade finess vs preemptor's partner, a better than a tossup proposition even against the soundest of preemptors).

If somehow you did know the hand, the LAST thing you would want to do is act over 3d. The best thing you could to is pass hoping partner will bid 3s/4s, and if he doesn't, you can always come back to the rescue.
Aug. 27, 2015
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