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All comments by Stephen Cooper
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Thanks! Your comment is much appreciated.
Dec. 11, 2015
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No info other than what's given. I thought I had decent defense chances, so I passed. Partner had a magic hand. Not only do they make 3NT, but we make 4S! His clubs were Jxxx - if he had the 10 they would go down. He had Qxxx of spades
Dec. 6, 2015
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I am not sure I follow your question; there was no further explanation required. If you transfer to hearts, say, over partner's 1NT, need you add, “He might have a second suit”? This 2NT bid simply showed diamonds, no suggestion of any second suit. Anyway, how does any of that impact the decision to be made by this hand?
Dec. 3, 2015
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Maybe they are cousins. But a western cue-bid is not a jump, and is never the first bid by the pair. http://www.bridgebum.com/western_cue_bid.php
Nov. 17, 2015
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The Bridge World January 2011
Volume 82 Number 4
Neutral Game-Tries by Stephen Cooper

Here is the draft approved article pre-publication

NEUTRAL GAME-TRIES
BY STEPHEN COOPER, TORONTO
I hate giving away information. In
fact, I’m not so sure that I should
be revealing this idea. But, no matter;
here I go.
Of course, what I really hate is revealing
details of declarer’s hand with
insufficient reason. Yet, after a single
raise of a major, any standard game-try
(whether long-suit, short-suit, helpsuit,
or some combination of these)
needlessly flashes opener’s hand to
the opponents. I recommend using the
cheapest step as an all-purpose (and the
only) game-try. Responder continues
by (a) signing off at three of the agreed
suit (with a hand calling for rejection
of any sort of game-try), (b) jumping
to four of the agreed suit or bidding a
natural three notrump (with a universal
acceptance), or, © with a hand that
would accept some game-tries but not
others, make the cheapest bid to announce
a suit (either the suit bid or,
by substitution, spades via one heart
— two hearts — two spades — two
notrump) in which he would accept a
long-suit game-try.
Compared to more-revealing approaches,
in (a) and (b) the opening
side is better off for having concealed
information; in ©, whether opener
next suggests three notrump, signs off
in three or four of the agreed major,
or offers a return game-try, the opening
side will never be worse off than
if it had used a more-specific type of
try (and will sometimes be ahead). The
downside is that the defenders may be
able to double one of responder’s tries,
an advantage that won’t extend beyond
the opening lead.
A side benefit of neutral game-tries
is that, except for a preemptive reraise
if used (I prefer to use that bid to try
to transfer to three notrump with 6-3-2-
2), all of opener’s other bids are gameforcing,
suggesting at least mild slam
aspirations (or perhaps leaving three
notrump as an option, or searching for
a superior fit in the other major, as the
partnership prefers). For example, a
jump in a new suit could show a void
with slam interest; a jump to three notrump
could offer a choice of games.
Whatever else it means, bidding two notrump
after one heart — two hearts — ?
is similar to bidding three of a minor
but related to spades.
Extensions
Are there any other applications of
this idea? There is no reason not to
use the same approach when there has
been a double or an overcall over the
opening bid and advancer passes over
a single raise. (After an overcall, opener’s
cue-bid might be adjusted to, say,
a stopper-asking try for three trump.)
And something similar can sensibly
be used after opener raises a one-of-amajor
response to two; here, the details
depend strongly on the constraints on
that raise.
Nov. 17, 2015
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Hey, I just came across it by accident. And he happened to mention cheating. It is rare in my experience to see such mentions.
Nov. 7, 2015
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1 is a practical response and will often work out well. However, it is normal to bid a game-going hand by bidding the longer suit first. The bidding may take all kinds of unknown twists and turns, which may include enemy interference, and you might pay a cost for bidding the shorter suit first. The difficulty may come up when clubs should be trump, perhaps when Opener has something like 6 and 3 or 4 (when he might rebid 2). Presumably, the plan would be to say 3NT after 1-1-2, and the clubs are lost.
Nov. 6, 2015
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from UNIVERSAL BRIDGE magazine, Stein Aker, NOR, editor, 1995, Issue No 1, Free Trial, US edition.

An article by Adam Zmudzinski, titled “Signalling interpretation”. Paragraph two in the article is quoted below,

“As you can see, the number of signalling techniques are not impressive; particularly since the cruel bridge rules do not allow the use of simpler methods such as fluttering your eyelashes or twitching your ears…”

Presumably, he was being funny.

Perhaps this was a foreshadowing? In humour, there might be truth. Has anybody checked the videos for eye or ear movement?
Nov. 6, 2015
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You remind of a similar incident. When I was 13 (!) my father taught me and a few friends to play. We went down to the Montreal sectional tournament and played in the Novice game. My father got the director, the late Gus Duschene, to give us back-to-back North South tables, as we had not yet covered scoring - my Dad kibitzed and scored for both tables. At the end of the day, my partner and I had a 173/156, good for a section third, but my friends had a 187. Knowing my pair was stronger, I checked the recap sheet. Their scores were all 0,1, 1.5, 1, 0, etc. They actually scored 87, not 187!!! But Gus had never seen a score like that before, and instinctively added an extra 100 to their total. Naturally, when cross-checking the sheet, he did not go to three columns.

I turned them in. Hey, I was thirteen.

Is this the biggest matchpoint scoring error in history (although not the most important one)?

P.S. They only got a section second with the extra 100 points!
Oct. 24, 2015
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Late 70's, Regional Swiss Teams in my birth-place, Montreal. Playing with my father against Ron Anderson and Kathy Wei. My father taught me to play when I was 12, and I was 17 or 18 at the time. We had a couple of decent results on some smallish deals, when Anderson, looking a little peeved and impatient, pulled his cards, gave them a quick glance, and started with 2, weak.

This caught me with 22 balanced, including Ax of spades. I doubled, and Dad bid 3 of a minor. We did not play any fancy conventions (such as Lebensol), so there was room for him to have a bit of something useful. I cue-bid 3 to test the waters, and perhaps get notrump played from his side with Qx. Kathy doubled, and this was passed back around to me. Well, the gratuitous double had given me one last chance to show my extreme strength below 3NT - I redoubled.

Now my Dad is a good card-player. His bidding is not super-scientific. He analyzed thusly: Ron Anderson is a well-known tactician. His psyches had been written up in the Bulletin and Bridge World magazines. Moreover, Dad had not missed the table action. Not only had I doubled, I then bid their suit and re-doubled! He reasoned that it was I who had the spades. He passed.

First the bad news. Although I played the hand well, stealing one trick, I went down 2200. We lost 21 IMPs on this deal.

The good news: This was back in the good-old-days of win-loss Swiss. We won imps on all the other hands, including a part-score swing on the last deal, to win 24-21.

And we got to keep the story.
Oct. 22, 2015
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I have been running a small non-ACBL duplicate game at a seniors residence for a bunch of years. I try to apply the Rules only if absolutely necessary. Otherwise, we try for what's fair in all the circumstances. Some participants don't see so well, others don't hear so well. Those things are taken into account. Recently, I came up with a new Rule that might well be incorporated into other games: Mabel revoked, and I was called to the table. I initiated a Lifetime Free Pass for revoking upon attaining the age of one hundred! Mable the Centenarian got to replace the card, and carry on.

You might think that she was getting a little forgetful. Au contraire! Two weeks later, she revoked again, but when it was pointed out by her match-point hungry opposition, she recited the new rule!
Oct. 21, 2015
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Hi Martha,

There are two topics here - the bidding, and the play.

When we look at all four hands, and if each side achieves its maximum potential, the “par” spot is 2S, doubled, down one, giving 100 to N/S. Since the deal “belongs” to N/S, it is important to at least get a plus score, even if it not the maximum such position.

You have not said how the defense went, but the opening lead of Q seems like a good bet. Second choice would K, with North signaling with the 10 to deny the J. The defense should end up setting up two diamonds, one heart, and three spades to beat it one trick. I am guessing the A was led prematurely. If so, not enough notice was given to the potential of the 10 winning a trick by a passive approach.

As to the bidding, your reasoning was sound. However, Bridge is a game that tends to reward aggression in the bidding. The approach won't work every hand, of course, but it will over the long haul. To that end, we sometimes have to choose imperfect calls. You have summarized well what the problems are with a takeout double and with a 1NT overcall. On the other hand, on this deal, 1NT would most likely get you to 2 (from your side, by way of a transfer). Meanwhile, it is hard for either opponent to come in over that, so you will be +110.

Should you bid it? It is a good overall description of your hand. Partner may be in a a good position to improve the contract, as in this case. You are not vulnerable, so going down need not be a disaster. You have a half of a stopper, so maybe partner can chip in with a half. They did not promise length (nor strength) in clubs, so it is questionable as to how firm a stopper you really need. Even if you lack a stopper, they may not lead it because they think you have one. Finally, even if you don't have a stopper, no-trump may still be a good contract for you with them taking four or possibly even five club tricks.
Oct. 18, 2015
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4
Oct. 17, 2015
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Historically, scoring has been the weakest part of Canada's game. Just another instance.
Oct. 10, 2015
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“…no team ever lost a match without violating at least one of these three principles.” Well, I suppose we could get the BW community to pitch in here. We can review and analyze every match ever played and test your theory for accuracy.
Oct. 6, 2015
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That's pronounced ZIG-CHINSKI
Oct. 1, 2015
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Currently the name is pronounced “mud” unless and until exonerated
Oct. 1, 2015
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If they have cue-bid your partner's suit at the two level, he will not be able to later bid his suit at the two level. Nor can you bid two of partner's suit since that's what they just did.
Sept. 30, 2015
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could be. along with his hypothetical club stop I need hypothetical heart stop - instead of the somewhat improbable spade fit!
Sept. 27, 2015
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Sometimes I say, “Are you asking me for my advice as to what to bid?”
Sept. 25, 2015
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