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All comments by Stephen Cooper
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Joel, your comment brings up a recent concern of my own; for years I have been telling opponents to stop showing me their cards. How many times should I do this before I look? Should I be the only idiot in the field that does not see this particular person's cards?
Sept. 25, 2015
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Perhaps it would incentivize cheaters to create a time-limited moratorium. Confess within the next month (say) and penalties will be on the lower scale; if you do not, and are later discovered, you are tossed forever (or for whatever other higher scale seems appropriate)
Sept. 23, 2015
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Thanks both of you; sounds a little complex for my non-computer mind, but I may try one or the other.
Sept. 23, 2015
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A few years ago, I acted as Counsel for a player found to have cheated at bridge (he was looking at score-cards in a matchpoint game when people wrote in their scores). He was playing Pro, which was somewhat new and rare for him. At my suggestion, as punishment, he got a 5-year ban from playing Pro, and only two years for playing at all. Perhaps these Pro cheaters need their incentives removed: Ban for LIFE from playing Pro, for LIFE from playing together, and a lesser period (ten years?) from playing socially in our club.

P.S. My guy was banned for life the second time he got caught after he was re-instated (trying something else)
Sept. 23, 2015
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Thanks, Oren. I shudder at your youthful use of the phrase, “The code itself is rather simple”. I'm a writer, not a code-monkey!
Sept. 23, 2015
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Here come ‘da judge. Here come ’da judge.
Sept. 22, 2015
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Thanks, Gary; I do have a question. How do I do a diagram that shows fewer cards as the play progresses? When I tried it, the software insisted it would not go on unless I provided each hand with 13 cards.
Sept. 22, 2015
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Does that make marriage a sport, too?
Sept. 22, 2015
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maybe they were using….“mirrors on the ceiling” to get their …“pink champagne on ice..”
Sept. 21, 2015
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Is it time yet for some dark humour in this huge pile of excrement that has been growing? Going back to Cheaters, Round One, the coughing doctors: My thought was that suspicion should have arisen immediately when they would go around and give out Cough drops to the participants and kibitzers at all the surrounding tables when they played..
Sept. 19, 2015
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Oh well. We'll always have Paris.
Sept. 19, 2015
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Without going further digitally, can we not adapt the tray slightly?

The opening lead can have a designated slot that has slightly raised ridges around it. This should prevent being able to amplify the meaning of the lead through position or angle. The lead is made (placed) before the screen is raised.

Until the design comes out, we could simply add a Rule: The opening lead shall be placed in the right-hand corner closest to the opening leader, with sides touching the edges of the tray, angled the same way as a winning trick would be when closed. A designated spot. Ridges would just help to keep it there, and identify the location. It could be painted a different color! It could have a card glued to the spot from a spare deck!

As to moving the tray, I am no engineer but what about either putting it on two parallel tracks ( a couple of cheap pieces of plastic) or something more along the lines of a Lazy Susan (disclaimer - I politically correctly apologize to everyone named Susan, their friends, families, agents and assigns for use of the derogatory term).

Either measure could keep editorializing out of the movement of the tray.
Sept. 18, 2015
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There was a Bridge World article (“Big Doubles”) suggesting playing something along those lines. The main difference - if you are a big club player, you can play system on! Use double = big club, 1 as your randomish opening etc…
Sept. 14, 2015
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Cue-bid is limit raise OR BETTER.

These are two very different hands. Whether the opponents continue their interference or not, confusion reigns. Say it starts 1 (2) 3 -(P) ? Are we compelled to use some form of Serious 3NT? Might that not be natural on this sequence? If Opener cue-bids, does he have a slam try, or is he cooperating with Responder's possible slam try, (since he is unlimited)? How should Responder continue - who has the slam try?

Let's say the opponent's raise it to 4. I don't suppose this is a forcing pass situation. Whose hand is it? Much worse, say it went 1 (1) 2 (4), with similar questions.

I would rather use 2NT in competition as specifically a limit raise, and the cue as a game force.
Aug. 27, 2015
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Geoff's inferential at-the-table approach reminds me of a situation in the infancy of OKB before BBO. While I was playing, a Lurker “whispered” to me that RHO had played the deals before (perhaps under a different account name?), and that I might not want to play against this pair. I asked whether LHO had, too, and was told they thought he was straight up. I thanked the Lurker, and played on. I now knew that RHO was playing as if he could see all the cards, but I had two advantages: His partner was not doing so and did not know RHO was doing so, and RHO did not know that I knew. A different sort of challenge! Lots of interesting inferences….

Anyway, no money, no masterpoints, just Lehmans were at stake….
Aug. 26, 2015
Stephen Cooper edited this comment Aug. 26, 2015
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Really a side point, (and maybe it has been raised by someone else) but does the sponsor have a cause of action to get his money back from this pair (if the allegations are proved or admitted)??
Aug. 25, 2015
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Sorry for delay - just back from Portugal.

On this type of sequence, when we know we do not have a 4/4 major-suit fit, Responder can't always just fall back on 3NT. This is particularly true if she has a short suit (singleton or void). It does not mean that 3 must be a slam try, at least not simply on the basis of the combined high-card-points, but the combined holdings in Responder's short suit is one crucial piece of the puzzle.

Say Opener has the KQJ or KQ10 in hearts (using the short suit in today's hand). Then, 3NT should be fine. There are two stoppers, and there is probably not enough in the other suits to make slam worthwhile.

But what if Opener has something meager, like the xxx today? Even if there is a stopper, one might not be enough if a trick must be given up early to set up the long suit (where your tricks will come from at 3NT). However, this also means the hands might fit very well together for slam.

Thus the kind of auction we want to have over 3 is to bid good stoppers to see if 3NT is okay. If opener is well-heeled everywhere, she might just bid 3NT over 3. If she has any concerns, she bids as naturally as possible, but bidding concentrations of strength rather than focusing on suit length, which is the usual approach in other sequences.

Sometimes, we might “back into” a 4/3 fit in a major, or opener might even have a 5-card major and a 5/3 fit can be found.

On this deal, Opener will bid 3 and Responder says 3. Opener realizes that hearts are a problem.

I will not take the auction to conclusion, as I only want to focus on the ideas here. (But she will NOT bid 3NT! 4 is probably best, and then Responder might cue-bid 4.)
Aug. 17, 2015
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4 was a bold call in a difficult position.

4 would be a more flexible call by you. Sure, you would like to have longer spades. But think of it this way - if partner hates spades, and has good enough diamonds to play with just two little cards in support from you, she can bid them again. Also, it is matchpoints. Spades pays more and you only need ten tricks. If partner has singleton queen or ten that may be good enough.
Aug. 10, 2015
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Yes, the South hand is a fine opening bid. Even using old-fashioned Goren evaluation, you can add 3 points for the void. You have a great club suit and an easy rebid over anything partner responds. If they win the bidding you would like a club lead. You have 2 defensive tricks.

One possible auction is 1-2, as long as you play that inverted and forcing for one round. If you play standard raises, you should probably agree that something is a forcing raise - perhaps a jump-shift in the other minor? With none of that available, you might fudge with a 1 response. The danger of the value bid of 3NT is shown here - no heart stopper and no room to investigate. Should South pull after 1-3NT? It's a guess.

After a slower auction, there are many possibilities, but nobody has a heart stopper, so at least 3NT should be avoided. Tell me your system for more details!

If the auction starts 1NT-2, if Responder later bids 3 of a minor, it should be game-forcing, regardless of opener's rebid. It is not necessarily a slam try, but shows 5+ in the minor, a 4-card major, and some concern about 3NT. Opener can bid a stopper, or raise, or bid 3NT with everything well-stopped.
Aug. 10, 2015
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I hate saving against a game that is really random as to whether it will be making. If partner had the club ten it would have been down. He only had Jxxx. He also had Qxxx of spades! just the right garbage, along with two little diamonds and 3 little hearts.

If I bid 4, Opener, who tried 1NT with AKQTx, might bid 4. That makes, too, on careful play.
July 16, 2015
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