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All comments by Sabrina Miles
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I guess this is a matter of partnership agreement.

In some of my partnerships, N bid was not balancing, but forced. (That's not to say that N could not have 5 and 10-11 HCP). Accordingly, my 2 bid would signify a minimum opening hand and 3 pieces; 3 would be preemptive LOTT with still a minimum opening hand. 2 shows p a better hand, promises support and seeks to find out if p is at the top of his range for his pass.
Sept. 21, 2015
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I'd give the two little old ladies from the Thursday brunch duplicate the same disciplinary penalty as those who represent their country for the same cheating offense, if only for the deterrent purpose such a penalty might send to others. To me, such a penalty to the 2 old ladies would say to the greater audience: we will never accept this type of cheating. Indeed, I think the deterrent factor would be significantly higher when applied to the 2 ladies, as opposed to world class players, as many more folks will see and can relate to how the discipline is actually meted out.
Sept. 21, 2015
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I think there are gradations of cheating. There is a big difference, imho, between peeking at an opponents cards (or taking advantage of an opponent who does not know how to properly breast his cards) and prearranging with partner signals regarding the card holdings. Because there are these differences I think the punishment for cheating should reflect these differences. OTOH, I think the disciplinary penalty should be the same for the same cheating offense. (BTW, it has been my experience that even giving their p the exact count on their hand at a club game would not benefit the majority of club patrons)
Sept. 21, 2015
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I don't like the notion of amnesty (without some significant disciplinary penalty) one bit! I think there is very little upside to such an offer. I seriously doubt that any cheating pair would “confess” without them first seeing that sufficient proof existed to find them guilty of misconduct in any event. .

Perhaps an agreement to take away the penalty of permanent expulsion before a disciplinary hearing convenes might influence some to confess before proceeding with the hearing, thereby saving the time and expense of a hearing and potential appeals. From a pragmatic perspective, that's all I really think that might be beneficial in this respect. And I do think that taking permanent expulsion off the table is a significant benefit.
Sept. 21, 2015
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My p would see 2 as drury, and since I don't have the appropriate hand to bid drury that bid is not an option. My are longer than my 's so a 2 bid now would distort my distribution. I know if I bid 1NT my p is going to bid 2 – and I am back in the soup again.

But, I would not face this problem, because for this hand I would have opened 1 in first seat.
Sept. 21, 2015
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If that 9 was a or a , I'd open 1. But I'm not going to preempt p in first seat vulnerable with this mess.
Sept. 21, 2015
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I think that p bid the 4 to tell me that he held more than a minimum hand and has support. I would anticipate that p's hand is 15-18 HCP unbalanced. When p bids his 4, my hand (from p's perspective) is unlimited. Anything I bid above 4 signals to P that I am slam seeking, rather than cooperating with him in his slam search.

Could we miss a slam? Sure. It is never easy to bid a 28-30 HCP slam. But misrepresenting my actual holding costs more in the long run than missing a top board. Indeed, when P trusts that I have accurately represented my hand he is more likely to look for key cards on a close call – like those examples that you gave. OTOH, when I encourage p without the goods, of course I anticipate that he will sign off without looking further (i.e., he will not go to slam on my 5 bid).

Thus, I see the choices as bid accurately my hand at 4 or guess that my P has all the magic keycards we need for slam and go straight to 6. It is useless to bid 5 since P will know that I would encourage without the hand that warrants such encouragement. We are, after all, creatures of habit.
Sept. 20, 2015
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What exactly was the disciplinary consequence on the prior occasion when they admitted unethical behavior? And what was the unethical behavior? Obviously they were not barred from playing together in competitive bridge. Hmmmm….I wonder if their previous transgression had been made public. Surely this new piece of information should militate against a lesser disciplinary consequence, albeit that they again admitted unethical behavior.

The only thing worse than readmitting cheaters to the game is to continually readmit the same cheaters to the same game. Obviously wrist slapping does not deter obnoxious behavior.
Sept. 20, 2015
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Thank you for your superb contribution. It is much easier to follow – and clearly indicative of the unethical behavior.
Sept. 20, 2015
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Okay, I see our disconnect here. I don't see the 4 bid as a sign-off. It is a cooperative bid describing the hand I actually hold. I don't misrepresent my hand based on what partner may hold. If p holds either of the 2 hand you suggest, I think he will seek further information rather than just sign off.
Sept. 20, 2015
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I read the 4 bid as support for , not necessarily slam seeking. P did not opening the bidding 2. In any event, all that this hand has is great , which in a vacuum is insufficient for slam. If p's hand is really seeking slam he has another call over yours. There is no need to misrepresent the hand now. The 2 calls more than adequately describe this hand.
Sept. 20, 2015
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Given N's choice of a lead rather than his known long 's it seems to signify that the was a singleton upon which he hoped to get a ruff. If he hopes to get a ruff, then at worse the opps trump split is no worse than 3-1. (@ 25%). Thus, it makes sense that you would play for the drop rather than the finesse. If N held all 4 trump (5%), you are going down anyway since you will lose a , a and 2.
Sept. 20, 2015
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@Max,

LOL…and I thought I'd heard all the lawyer jokes. Be advised, some in the US are proud to call themselves lawyers too.
Sept. 19, 2015
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A lifetime ban for an admitted cheater – who colluded with his partner to cheat – is not outrageous; it is a stiff penalty, but not an outrageous one. I would not advocate that one, who has admitted his guilt before the damning evidence has been brought to the forefront, be forever expelled from the game. I believe there is room for rehabilitation when confession precedes a finding of guilt.

I do, however, think that the comparison to murder is appropriate here. Murder is the most heinous crime (I think) in life – there is no means to make amends. In parellel, collusive cheating is the most heinous crime in competitive bridge. There really is no way to make appropriate amends; collusive cheating destroys the very fabric of the game. So be sorry for the pair that admitted their guilt, have compassion for the pair, but to make light of their transgression by suggesting that the ultimate penalty is too severe is the really outrageous act!
Sept. 19, 2015
Sabrina Miles edited this comment Sept. 19, 2015
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I am not sure whether to applaud the courageousness it took to come forward or whether to despise the cowardice that perhaps inevitable discovery rather than integrity spurred the admission. In either event, a 2 year removal from the game seems a rather lenient penalty to me. (Although I agree that the pair should be forever barred from playing together in competitive bridge).

I can think of no greater assault upon the integrity of bridge than intentional cheating. Should an admitted cheater receive a lesser punishment than expulsion from competitive bridge? I think so. But the appropriate suspension must be such to appropriately punish the perpetrators and simultaneously discourage others from engaging in the same behavior. While I will have no say in the ultimate disciplinary penalty, I will say that I hope those who do have such say determine that a 2 year suspension is not sufficient.
Sept. 19, 2015
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I don't understand the query? Yes,it is a 3 loser hand,but 1 is much more descriptive than 2 opening here. The chances of1 being passed out at this vulnerability is almost nil so I am confident that I will get a rebid. Again, what is the real query here?
Sept. 18, 2015
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I trust my partner. I believe that p's x means something; he has at least 4 and some values. Thus, I see my bid as co-operative. I trust that if p has the A and some values that he will bid 6….and if he does not, he will pass out my 5 bid or bid a descriptive bid.. Together, we will arrive at the correct contract.

Should I bid 6 alone, based on my holding? I don't think so. I think a team is stronger than an individual.. P's double has promised me 10+ HCP… but nothing specific. I am going to give him the chance to further describe his hand before I take a unilateral decision.

btw, if I thought the hand was worthy of opening 2, I would have opened it as such.
Sept. 18, 2015
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I think the folks that want to “hold their cards” will still be holding them when the world class players transition to playing on tablets. I agree that change may be difficult for the majority of folks. Playing on tablets will be made much more acceptable for the masses once the elite players have made the transition. One must remember that this same argument was made regarding bidding boxes instead of calling the appropriate bid. If my grandparents were still alive, they would still insist that rock and roll was ruining America. Nothing really changes, but we must embrace the change, if we want to move forward.
Sept. 18, 2015
Sabrina Miles edited this comment Sept. 18, 2015
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Methinks thou dost protest too much.

Enough said.
Sept. 18, 2015
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Interesting problem. I like the 2NT bid because it immediately tells P my HCP range and allows partner to ask me if I have 3 or 4 (nmf). But I would not bid 2NT here because I prefer to give P an accurate distributional view. Here, a 3 bid gives p that information and also conveys that I have 15+ HCP. Two pieces of information is better than one.

BTW, in my partnerships a 1 bid would indicate that I held at least 4 – which I don't. Misrepresenting distribution is the last of all evils that I would voluntarily allow.
Sept. 18, 2015
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