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All comments by Nick Martino
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The nature of bridge bidding logic is that bids might have an either/or meaning, but one ought to assume a default meaning that provides the most flexibility. In this case, there is a principle of bidding logic known as “game before slam” that applies when strain, level or both are in doubt.

Sequence A, where we are committed to game and have a known 9-card major suit fit, is the only one that is a clear slam try though it could be, by agreement, artificial and asking for or showing shortness (somewhere) as opposed to spade values.

The rest are, for the time being, game tries. B is an ambiguous counter game try. C and D are showing something in hearts but not necessarily a control for slam. Subsequent bidding (e.g., bidding over 3NT) might reveal C and D to have shown slam interest in the agreed minor.

Similarly, on B, if opener rejects a signoff and bids again, 3C was a slam try instead of a game try. This is basic bidding logic.
Oct. 8, 2016
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I'm still trying to figure out why it took 24 years after his death to put Valeri Kharlamov in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Aside from his sheer brilliance, one might think, after the way Bobby Clarke assaulted him in ‘72 and again in ’76, they owed him. To their credit, they did put Anatoli Tarasov in promptly in 1974, as well they should have. The Soviets might have lost in most dramatic fashion in 1972, but any astute observer who watched that series realized they had seen the results of revolutionary coaching and training methods that would forever change the way hockey was played.

Seriously, I think the OP has a valid point, but anything that is subject to a vote is also prone to biases of all kinds, including provincialism.
Oct. 8, 2016
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This, IMO, is less about bridge than it is about human nature and trust.

“Trust takes years to build, seconds to break and forever to repair.”

We could argue what's “just bridge”, what should or shouldn't be regulated and what should be disclosed on the convention card, but items 6 and 7 are troubling to me. We've seen that due, at least in part, to the negligence of the WBF and NBOs, most major tournaments have been corrupted for over a decade. Is it surprising, then, when a formal protest is met with silence followed by a last-minute dismissive and angry response that the players who filed the protest reacted as they did? Surely, the TD's could have been more sensitive to the concerns expressed by the Spanish team.
Sept. 21, 2016
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I was referring to fines levied against an NBO, not the cheaters, not that I am opposed to the latter (just skeptical as whether it can be done). I am not even opposed in theory to criminal prosecution of cheaters. Arguably, they're committing fraud or some other crime that could be prosecuted. I've made the same argument wrt illegal doping in sports. IMO, suspensions, ostracism and other measures don't provide sufficient deterrents.

On MK's point about where the $$$ goes, I get it. I doubt there is anyone more attuned to criminality, corruption and mismanagement by agents of so-called authority than I am. Maybe any levies thus collected should be designated to a pool compensating players whose participation in WBF events was compromised by the cheaters.

I'd respond to MK's comment about securities fraud, but I've come to realize that the less I say on this forum about oversight, regulation and punishment, or complete lack thereof, of criminality in the hallowed halls of power, the better. One cannot go there without confronting false paradigms shared by the majority about governments and the people who control them.
Aug. 25, 2016
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I haven't read the comments, so excuse me if these comments echo some already made:

1. It strikes me as hypocritical for the WBF to sanction an NBO for failing to do something they failed to do themselves – i.e., protect the integrity of the tournaments they sanction.

2. If the cheaters are good enough (players or cheaters) to qualify for a national team, they're likely doing as much or more cheating in foreign countries and in events not sanctioned by their NBO.

3. First things first. If the WBF really wants to create an enforcement policy with teeth, it needs to establish a minimum standard for monitoring play and a protocol for dealing with reports of suspicious play. Any NBO that has demonstrably failed to meet the standard or follow the protocol can then reasonably be punished.

4. I'd prefer fines to suspensions. Suspensions directly punish players who are innocent and moreover, were already denied equal opportunity to represent their countries because of the failure of NBO's and international governing bodies to catch the cheaters.
Aug. 25, 2016
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Perhaps not good, but that doesn't make the adage true. It's a matter of time and money. If he's got enough money, he can get learned counsel to do enough work to know most of the relevant history and facts. If he doesn't, and the case is complex, probably not. Even in the best of circumstances, a litigant knows more details than he could ever convey and he won't always know which ones are relevant until he hears testimony against him. Very few criminal defendants can afford good representation. There are many fine, conscientious public defenders, but they are among the most overworked and understaffed attorneys around and they're up against deeper pockets in virtually every case. Affordable counsel for most people are similarly limited in resources.

In a broader sense, it's about transfer of knowledge in a finite amount of time. If it was easy, we'd all hold doctorates in a myriad of subjects. No matter how good a teacher someone might be, he's lucky if he can impart a small fraction of what he knows to his students in the time he has to do it. If he had to pay the student (well) for the time it takes to read every book he's read….

BTW, I am speaking from personal experience, taking some exception to the adage and not alluding to this case. As others have written, we could only speculate what the reasons might be. I don't think F-S are fools, though they might well be foolish, stubborn or even delusional in their approach to the charges against them.
June 16, 2016
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It is hardly impossible that an intelligent, agile-minded, articulate person who knows more about his own case than he could ever get an attorney(s) to absorb and understand within the constraints of the fees he can afford could represent himself better than counsel. He needs to be motivated enough to educate himself on points of law (fraught with pitfalls, but not limited by financial resources) whereas the attorneys need to be paid for their time. Prisons are full of people who had “under-motivated” attorneys, some of whom might have been better off (in theory) representing themselves. The parenthetical caveat reflects a certain cynicism about judges, who might take it as an affront to their profession when someone eschews his right to counsel. The “fool for a client” adage becomes self-fulfilling when or if a court is biased against an individual representing himself, which isn't to suggest that it isn't often true in the absence of any such bias.

Wrt F-S, it might be a case of the money running out, fundamental disagreements as to how to approach the case or something else as Mr. Hargreaves has suggested. We don't know and will never know, since one side cannot tell us and the other can't be trusted to disclose the truth. Based on the evidence against them that has been widely discussed and distributed here and elsewhere, it strikes me that they should have saved most of their bullets (i.e, attorney fees) for a civil court where they have a better chance of winning.
June 14, 2016
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I agree that penalty doubles of NT bids, weak or strong, should be stronger than 14. I prefer Brozell type doubles – ie, a good hand with a good lead and expectation of beating it without help from partner.

In any case, the question is what to play after a penalty oriented double of 1NT. I like to play a Hamilton variation if I choose to bid over a 3rd hand pass, but if third hand bids, I revert to “standard”, which to me is penalty doubles in direct and forcing passes through 2H.
March 30, 2016
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Least of evils facing a double of a weak NT which should show 14+. What are you going to do instead? 2S directly would promise a 5-card suit while suggesting a weak hand. 3D directly is an option but it might be more typically 6 diamonds and less values. Cue bidding 3H would imply this sort of shape but promise even more. We are only forced to 2S. Partner can pass 2S by them or me after doubling 1NT for business.

The method is fairly standard (if there is such a thing), which isn't to say playing it as takeout isn't playable. There have been similar discussions on other threads. Double as takeout works well when one of the two players has shortness and double as penalty works better when neither player is short in their suit.
March 30, 2016
Nick Martino edited this comment March 30, 2016
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I play double as penalties, pass as forcing over 2H. We can drop them in 2S undoubled but we have to bid over this. Pass, then pull seems right.
March 29, 2016
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How about one more option?

“If it was signed, I would know that the signatories were incredibly naive or just didn't give a …. about working there and other forms of harassment that might follow.”
March 26, 2016
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I see. As you can tell, I agree with North. When there is no impossible 2S or Bart variant available, 3D is invitational. 5D is a long way away to be making courtesy raises. 3H over a 2H rebid is courtesy raise. As for whether 3H guarantees 5341, I don't know, but it is likely to be read as a good 5341 (15-18) as opposed to this hand where removing 3D seems clear in large part because it might fail when 3NT makes. I rate 3N best, then 3H, then 3S. The fact that pass could be right, even opposite a legit 3D call, doesn't make it a good bid, IMO.
March 24, 2016
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Why should this have caused a heated debate? Surely, 1S is reasonable. 2D is reasonable. Now, I think passing is bad. 3D is not significantly more likely to make than 3NT or game in a major. Whether one should reveal the heart fragment with this 5332 is questionable, but bidding seems clear.
March 24, 2016
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Yes on human evolution vs mankind, but that's mostly a matter of knowledge, certainly not intelligence nor wisdom. When you consider the primitive tools that the Greeks had to work with, their insights in math, science and philosophy reflected extraordinary observation skills, intelligence and wisdom.

Plato's Allegory of the Cave is more relevant today than it was in his own time despite the fact that we live in an information age. The reason is that we actually live in the Disinformation Age, where great deceivers are carefully cultivating false paradigms about almost everything that they are doing, what they actually are (ie, criminals of the highest order almost beyond the imagination) and where they are steering the world.

These criminals have managed to “convince” most of lies that are the equivalent of “the Earth is flat”. I put convince in quotes, because in reality, most people see through the lies but are experiencing cognitive dissonance and denial. They know something that is so troubling and so inconsistent with their world-view paradigm that they pretend not to know. This head-in-the-sand approach is going to come back to haunt them. The future they are leaving to their children is one that will be a nightmare beyond anything George Orwell envisioned.
March 23, 2016
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Nuno, You must see a different group of humans than I. If anything, I see de-evolution everywhere. Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and several other Greeks were more intelligent and possessed far more wisdom than 99% the people in the world in 2016. That really shouldn't be a shock. Man has been around more or less in the present genetic form for 200,000 years. Why would one expect significant evolution in a mere 3000 years?
March 23, 2016
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This is true, but rarely do those in charge do anything but cast all of them as the latter. It's SOP to attack, demonize, marginalize, silence and disempower whistle blowers. Mass murdering terrorists have successfully managed for over a decade, with the help of the criminally indifferent, to cast anyone who has a shred of conscience and courage as trouble makers and crackpots.
March 18, 2016
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I don't get that at all. If partner has a 9-11 and 51(43) he has to pass or I have to hit it only to find he actually has responded on a 5 count?

Just how does he show values here when he doesn't know where the hand belongs if double doesn't include some hands with shortness?

Post a bidding problem giving him…

KJxxx x KQx JTxx

…and see what happens.

March 18, 2016
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I am only surprised that some conscientious people had the courage to state the obvious. Generally, as the song goes..

“Silence like a cancer grows”

The sociopaths who run business and government make it unsafe for anyone to speak out, and they get plenty of support from the sheep when they target whistleblowers.

The most telling and the least surprising comment was the one about how management deals with requests – i.e, they just ignore them altogether. I call this the “Norman Bates stare at the fly syndrome”. This has become the norm in government when anyone dares call them out, and not just about corruption or policy.
March 17, 2016
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Yes, but two tricks doesn't beat 5C. It's going to look very silly defending 4DX facing…

Qx xx x KQT9xxxx

Is partner expected to pull a double after I showed diamond cards twice in this auction? Does anyone think partner's expected diamond length is more that two? I'd guess about 1.5.
March 15, 2016
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If East had to ask, “What went wrong?”, after this, he might do well to take up another game. As others have indicated, it's a matter of scale, and no matter how much we might disapprove of 2C, it doesn't register a blip compared with the double.
March 10, 2016
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