Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Stephen Cooper
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One agreement I suggest with a partner who is not my regular: To avoid discussion mid-game, if a misunderstanding occurs, until such time as we might get a chance to discuss it, my partner's version becomes the default agreement.

Otherwise, it is sure to come up again (probably the next hand) and I will do it his way and he will do it my way!
Feb. 7, 2015
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Perhaps this South was always going to bid 2 over 1, but I really don't like Pass by East to start. Admittedly, 1 and 3 have flaws, but Pass does not even hint at anything. I kinda like 2, perhaps systemically coupled with a multi 2 to show a really weak weak-two, where 2 is a constructive weak-two often with extra shape ( a 7-bagger, a 6-5, etc.).
Jan. 30, 2015
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East giving partner a lot of leeway on your auction. I guess he knows partner likes to overcall aggressively, and then bid a new suit equally so.
Jan. 29, 2015
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Passes? If he can pass, South should pass. I don't like weak openings based on a minor.
Jan. 29, 2015
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If North is declarer, the K is protected on the opening lead. We start with 3, 7, and 1 = 11 tricks.

Really, it is only makable when you know where all the cards are.


Obviously, a club or diamond lead gives it to you. On a trump lead, Win K+Q, come to A, run hearts (baring the K), then cash dummy's spades. In the 3-card ending, dummy has AQ left along with K, and East is snookered: If he has stiff diamond, drop it, and if he has stiff club, throw him in with it.

A spade lead messes up the entries for that, but how about this: Run three spades pitching a diamond. Play ace and ruff a diamond, dropping his king. Cross on a heart (leaving two trumps out), and lead a good diamond. If he pitches, you throw a club. If he ruffs, over-ruff with the ace, cross over to the board in hearts, and play your good diamond.

It helps to have the hand records.

Jan. 16, 2015
Stephen Cooper edited this comment Jan. 16, 2015
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No, that is not implied. It says West can then choose to play the 4/3 spade game, but he might choose to exit at 4 or 5 or 3NT.
Jan. 11, 2015
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That sounds like a plan.My line takes no risk of a bad spade break. I was trying to suggest a line that required “no special skill”, such as ruffing your own winners :)
Dec. 12, 2014
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Of course, I was assuming a bid out of turn, which was accepted.

I could use a proof-reader :)
Dec. 4, 2014
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You can see what happened here: North's hand was so huge, he had a monster with just twelve cards and did not miss a thirteenth. Meanwhile, poor East was demoralized by his pitiful collection. When RHO opened 2, he lost interest.

I am teaching beginners, and I have found it useful to tell them to count their cards twice. The first time is before they look at them, and the second time is after they see the fronts of the cards. When you are not used to holding thirteen cards in a comfortable way that allows you to see them all at once, you sometimes hide a card (or two!).

It's also a good idea to get people to think in patterns: 5332, 5422, etc., so that North should know that 5223 is not a bridge hand, and East should question 4235.
Nov. 24, 2014
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Good point about what partner might think. Without picking (again) on the wording of the question, there is a heckuva difference between, “What do you think is the best way to play this, if you and partner have time to discuss”, as opposed to, “What do you think a stranger would think, un-discussed?”. At the table, even though I might think 2 might be best played as natural, I would expect a stranger to bid over it 100% of the time. (Nor would I pass if he bid it)
Nov. 2, 2014
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If a seven-card trump suit is a “Moysian”, and a six-card combo is a “Sub-Moysian”, then I think you have perpetrated a “Micro-Moysian”.
Oct. 24, 2014
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A couple of bidding thoughts: First, one might bid analagously to when they opened 2 and we overcalled 2NT. Whether or not that is your scheme, you might also overcome the huddle issue by playing that the 3 response (being the impossible transfer) is simply natural and invitational. This can apply as well if they opened 2. Same idea to deal with heart bids.
Oct. 1, 2014
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The hand is a very weak opening. The range of strength for the 3H call is far too wide. If you would bid that with 10 HCP, (and the Jack of Diamonds is negligible value, so it is more like 9 HCP), what would you bid with 12 HCP? How about 15 HCP? What about 18 HCP? Jumping to 4H is not a great answer with some of the hands with maximum HCP, because you are bypassing 3NT, which might be the only spot; a jump rebid of 4H (over 3C interference) probably should be more like a six-five.

As you pointed out, you are not in the pass-out seat; partner, who has something like 5-12 for a forcing no-trump, can still bid.

Also, keep in mind what you would bid with 5S and only 4H, and some extra values (16 or 17??). The same 3H? How is partner supposed to know?

My old mentor, Eric Kokish, was somewhat of a proponent of passing borderline 2-suited hands, with the idea of describing them later with one bid. Ignoring how it might work out on this deal, say you pass, and later get a chance to make a Michael's cue-bid. Partner will know you are just below an opening, and will know your 5/5 shape in one bid. It also means that when you do open and later show a 5/5, partner can count on you for sound HCP values, and not be worried that you are basing your bid mostly on
your shape.
July 4, 2014
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I accept 1. 1NT is slightly odd, but I suppose if you play a single raise is constructive, then I can live with it. 3 is strange. Was that weak? Strong? Intermediate? Maybe “walking” the hand as I mentioned in my original commentary? I would be very afraid that everyone would pass, and I would miss game (not to mention slam!). However, this tactic worked well when partner made a voluntary raise to 4.

Next came one candidate for worst bid: 3. Although the 5/5 pattern is okay, the hand is a very bare minimum opening and should be passed. I understand that you might have to stretch a bit since they jumped to 3, but this is simply an overbid. I can't say what would happen, but maybe everyone would have passed 3!!!

After that, everyone kept bidding one more until the final double. At IMPs the double is probably a big error. Sometimes you have to take out insurance by bidding 7 against the risk that they are making. At matchpoints, this whole acution has been one big poker game, so take your best guess; maybe you can make an overtrick in a partscore and get the board back in one hand.

Obviously, in the result, double was the worst call. I would be highly suspicious of an opponent who appeared ready to play in 3, 5, 6, or 7, letting the opposition choose the level!!!!
July 4, 2014
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Did you realize that if you go by the ACBL Convention Card, that Vulnerability is not even a game concept? There is not a single spot on the card that directly allows for variation in accordance with vulnerability.

(There are some spots where you might fill it in yourself, but nothing pre-printed.

e.g., There are two blanks for no-trump ranges; that could be according to vulnerability, or it could be by position. Maybe some of each?)
July 3, 2014
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..and the opening lead was…?
June 19, 2014
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Thank for your insight, Gavin. I am actually working on an article about position and vulnerability.
June 7, 2014
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Hi Patricia and thanks for your comment.

One of the interesting things about the game of bridge is how it is constantly evolving. Traditionally, preempts showed good suits. These days, not so much.Certainly, there are various styles and each approach will have its wins and losses. Moreover, you have to find a style that you are comfortable with and remain true to yourself.

Having said that, one of the things that I have been learning (and yes, even after playing for 46 years I am still learning) is that it is a game of percentages. Certainly, if you maintain a certain standard for suit quality when preempting you will be safer when partner leads an unsupported picture card in that suit. However, one must look at all those hands where you don't preempt: Have you made things just a little too easy for the opposition?

This is the balance that you must weigh in deciding your approach. Personally, I am trying to be a little looser these days, although I still respect the vulnerability.
June 5, 2014
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Nobody knows the trouble I've seen…. I think Opener should pass in this unusual scenario, and Responder should double
May 30, 2014
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