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All comments by Matthias Berghaus
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I used to play a homegrown Relay Precision, but we were fast. So my partner went 1NT (11-14), Stayman from me, 2 from her, 2 gameforcing relay from me, she shows 4 diamonds. Relay…… loooooooooong pause. What? there are only two possible responses, low doubleton and high doubleton, and she knows that in her sleep. Maybe.. no, her eyes are open. One minute later she shows 3442. One minute instead of half a second? What is going on? I ask for key cards, setting diamonds, quick response, one KC is missing, so 6. Oppos ask. Well, I only asked, she has shown 3442, 2KC for , no Queen of trumps, King of , no K. I didn`t ask further. Ah, and what has she really got *snigger*? I repeated my statement. Opening lead, dummy comes down, card for card as I had described. Making 6. What was… pause..? You know, she said, you asked for the doubleton, and I had two of them. That is not described in our notes. It took me some time to find the third spade behind some other card, and then it was easy again….
Oct. 24, 2015
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I am told that there used to be (maybe still is) something like a Bridge academy in Poland. So the students had to play all kind of systems. There came this tournament where all pairs had to play HUM systems. One pair agreed on a system and made the following “modification”: A bid of 3 meant: “Pard, I have not the slightest inkling what is going on here, you better bid the final contract as I will pass whatever you do.”

Our pair had a landslide victory…
Oct. 24, 2015
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About 25 years ago, German Open Pairs Championship. Some guys from next town have adopted 4-card weak twos, 0-10 HCP (even alerting Pass “denies 4card M”). We want no part of this harebrained scheme and say so. At the end of the first session we are presented with a story. 2 (4 cards, 2 HCP) goes for 1400. This is exactly average, as half the field scores 1370, the other half 1440. We did not hear the end of it all weekend long…
Oct. 24, 2015
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I remember doubling 6 of something holding two outside aces and opps having announced balanced hands. Problem was my partner (a good player) thought it was Lighner ( which was true, it should have been), so he lead a suit he normally would never have lead, costing a trick at once, a big tempo, losers going away….Contract made. We would have beat it at least twice with his normal lead on the bidding….
Oct. 24, 2015
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More than 20 years ago we played a round robin of 32-board matches to decide the team to represent the club in the district KO event. My partner and I teamed up with a mixed pair where he had a reputation (deservedly so) for creating big swings. Not always in the right direction, but who cares? Never a dull moment.
So we sat down against the favourites. What do you bid over a 12-14 1NT, your methods being 2 Landy, everything else natural, with 7xxxx, AKxxxxx, x, - ?

Our guy found the “obvious” 2, natural. Behind him sat a good player, but not the most imaginative one on Earth. Holding 18HCP with 3,5 stoppers in he went 3NT. X, said our man. Still 18 with 3,5 stoppers… XX. Seven rounds of later….
At our table oppo had shown the majors while we made a slam try in . He did not double an artificial call, but doubled 6, reasoning that not doubling s called for a lead, but the double of the final contract cancels that, so must be Lightner for a . Well reasoned, but his pard saw it differently and lead a . 1090 to the good guys. So we came to comparison with our score and were told: “I already won this board for us. Be so nice and win some other board, will you?”
Oct. 23, 2015
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Nearly 30 years ago there was a team game going on next town on Monday evenings, so we gathered 4 people in a car and off we went. One of the teams consisted of a married couple and their friends from Austria, which had come for a visit and all took the opportunity to play. My partner and I had to play against the Austrian couple, both in their 50s or thereabouts, and every single board it went something like this:
“Oh sorry, dearie, I misplayed that.”
“Doesn`t matter, sweetheart.”
“Darling, would you marry me again, even now when you know what a hopeless player I am?”
“Of course, love, surely I would marry you again” and several variations of the theme.
We never saw them again, but to this day both of us remember them, and sometimes act that way, which sometimes irritates opponents, as we are both male…. The first time we did so when my girlfriend was sitting next to me made some explanations necessary.
Oct. 23, 2015
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Some years ago I was asked to direct a Christmas tournament a couple of miles from where I live. During the game I am called to a table. “Director, I only got 12 cards, the others all have 13” I have been there before, so please count again, look under the table and so on. No card. “OK, I look for it,play the other board, please.” Mitchell movement, so it is easy to find the last table. No card. Next to last, no card. So I look what card is missing. Turns out to be the Ace of diamonds. Someone should have noticed… I get another set of cards and reconstruct the distribution with those cards. At the end of the tournament I ask all players to look for an ace of diamonds somewhere. No luck. To this day I have no idea what has happened ,AFAIK the card has never turned up anywhere…..
Oct. 23, 2015
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Somme years ago we went to some club or tournament or whatever. The guy on the back seats hands me a slip of paper. “Where would you like to play those hands?” This was what I saw:

Qx
Axxxxx
x
xxxx

AK108
x
Axxxx
AKx

Hmm. No fit. Probably a contract after a weak two. After a lead a lot of good things have to happen to make game, well nigh impossible. “Two ?” “Guess again…” “One ?” “Well, no. What about 4?” “What??” “How have the cards to be distributed to make 4?” I took some time to think. Obviously a trump lead would scuttle 4 instantly, so… “You are not going to tell me that spades are 7-0?” “Oh yes, of course, otherwise no story, eh?” Turned out that the N hand got opened 2S (weak two), S splintered in hearts, but N wisely did not go on to slam. West doubled, somewhat unwisely, as it turned out. Heart lead, two rounds of diamonds, ruffing, Club to the ace, diamond ruffed with the queen, club king cashed, club exit and poor W had to ruff and lead up to AK108 for the first time….. Surprisingly W did not give up the game on the spot.
Oct. 23, 2015
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Couple of years ago, directing at the club. I am called by four ladies, beginners since 30 years before, and unlikely to alter this status. I look at the bidding:

1 P 1 P
1 P 2NT P
P P P P

Err, yes, what is the problem? Turns out that the pass by responder was slow, and opener now contemplated going on to 3NT…..
Oct. 22, 2015
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A couple of years ago Pony Nehmert attended an EBL congress on Malta. She took some photos, and wrote an article for the magazine. At the end of the article (which was published in the April edition…) she related how the Maltese NBO had gotten a two year “experimental license” to open the bidding with double. Very handy for three-suiters… She discussed what redouble now should show, and told the fascinated readers that the Maltese had applied for a license to open with redouble, too, but that the EBL had not decided on this, yet.

When, two years later, I met some Maltese at an EBL TD course I told them the story, which they liked very much. We even played a couple of hands with these “rules”…
Oct. 22, 2015
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So we have to hand out a lifetime ban for Google? Funny that you should mention it, I already did…
Oct. 19, 2015
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I don`t think that`s what he wants to say, or what he said, even. He said that a complete account of what they did is a _prerequisite_ for a reduced sentence. He did _not_ say that it automatically leads to a reduced sentence. Probably a mathematician :-)
Oct. 19, 2015
Matthias Berghaus edited this comment Oct. 19, 2015
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What silence? I do not know about Israel, but I do not believe that the decision not to compete in Chennai could have been made without consulting the remaining players. Geir said something here, and the German players withdrew before the federation did (which is, of course, to be expected, as the governing body of a federation has to contact all members).

This was loud enough for me.

None of these teammates did anything questionably, IMO. And neither did the Polish players, I think. It must have been an shock for them, but did they do anything wrong? Lots of people had to work hard to collect evidence against BZ. It was not easy to do. And their teammates, who - by definition - have not played against them much, if at all, should have seen what lots of observers where barely able to do? Tough task….

There are diverse opinions whether Poland should have competed in Chennai. But should the _players_ have taken a decision? Was it their task to take a decision? The converse of responsibility is authority. Did they have the authority to take a decision? I do not know. I have no idea what went on between PBU and the team. Whatever happens, this will always put an asterisk behind their performance if they are allowed to keep the title.This is going to be punishment enough for something they did not cause to happen. I feel for those players. I feel for those, too, who might be world champions today if Poland had not taken part in this BB. Whatever the final decision is going to be, some players are going to feel bad because others did something. There are only victims here IMO….
Oct. 18, 2015
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Something like 25 years ago my partner put down a 28-count as dummy in 6NT, me having shown something like 4-6. Sad to say, he has given up on doing this…..
Oct. 18, 2015
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So your partner rescued you from 5D-3 into 5S, which would have been down only one at most, and you absolutely had to go to the well once more?

Just kidding…. :-)
Oct. 18, 2015
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Reminds me of something that happened in Menton, more than 10 years ago at an European Open Championship. A French pair and an Italian pair spoke only their respective mother tongues and no English (or so it seemed). That stopped being a problem when a TD, who spoke both languages, told them: You (pointing at the Italians) work here in France. And you (pointing at the French) understand Italian well enough. You live here, and I could hit a border guard with a stone from this window (slight overbid, but they understood what he meant). You can either talk to each other here, or talk to yourself outside, your choice.
No problem with those pairs for the rest of the tournament…
Oct. 18, 2015
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That`s what I meant :-)
Oct. 17, 2015
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We should not explain Boris`defence here, there might be minors reading….
Oct. 17, 2015
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Without wanting to detract from the arguments above, which I feel to be valid, I think that hearts is “interesting” because spades usually get a mention from somebody. Teh count on the spades usually is quite clear early. Add to that the “negative double” argument, and it seems quite clear to me to signal for heart length as the most useful thing to do….
Oct. 17, 2015
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Which does not mean that they told him what they did. Could be, true, but it is not necessarily so.
Oct. 14, 2015
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