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All comments by William Wickham
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All four of my children caddied more than one NABC, and my daughter worked more than a dozen of them. Jackie was a great influence on all of them, and I am sure that she will be missed by everyone who ever was fortunate enough to get to know her. In recent years she could refer to all of my kids by their names, even though she had not seen them in about ten years. She was an amazing person.
Oct. 17, 2016
William Wickham edited this comment Oct. 17, 2016
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This convention, often called Mathe, does nothing but help the strong club side, as so many more descriptive bids are opened up for use. Multi-Landy is excellent and potentially very disruptive because the strong Club side has no anchor suit to bid around.
July 6, 2016
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This is just a plug for the two guys that answered briefly. Both Jeff Goldsmith and Michael Shuster have played these methods in serious competitive situations, sometimes together, for well more than 20 years. If I were you, I would extract as much help from them as you are able to get.
July 6, 2016
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Natural and game forcing 2/1 responses in a natural system are no longer alertable (except inverted minor raises), although at times in the past they have been. A natural 2C bid over partner's opening strong and artificial 1C carries with it variable information about HCP count, like 8+, 9+, 10+, etc., etc., and the opponents are entitled to that message as well. If you have explicit information from your partner's bid, the opponents are entitled to that information.

It is quite beyond my comprehension that any expert feels that 1C (strong, artificial), 1X (any overall from 1D through 1NT), followed by a natural 2C bid would not be alertable. The 2C bid contains additional strength information that should always be available to the opponents. This is an issue that is beyond question.
May 5, 2016
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I have been (un)fortunate enough to hear fragments of what happened from all of the involved parties. The gentleman who wrote this post frequently plays with his wife, and as far as I can remember, they have always played a strong Club system. Their opponents in this instance have been relatively frequent competitors, and absent a visit to somewhere else, they should have been vaguely aware of the system played by their opponents.

One (strong, artificial) Club was opened and verbally alerted only. The LHO of the opener bid 1H which was a transfer to Spades in their methods. The RHO of the opener was unaware of the alert to 1C, and over the natural and limited sound of his RHO's 2C bid that was not alerted, made a preemptive raise to 3H. The 1C opener was delighted to double this for a huge penalty. Perhaps an alert of the 2C bid would have served to rescue the entire situation, but that necessary alert was not forthcoming. Many different treatments exist for a 2C bid in competition like this, and the full agreement must be disclosed, and was not. The actual hand speaks for itself. NO player would ever have bid 3H with the hand that did so operating under the impression that the 1C opener was natural and the 2C raise was limited. While we can argue that the more experienced opponents should have been paying better attention, the player that bid 3H was not aware of any alerts in an instance where TWO alerts should have been made. Note that the player that overcalled 1H to show Spades did not take any advantage of his partner's failure to alert the overcall.

Proper alerting procedures must be followed, especially when artificial bids are being used. True, the expert opponents should never have allowed themselves to get into this situation even without the alerts, but the fact remains that the appropriate alerts must always be made, and extra effort must be made to insure that both opponents are aware of the alerts. Knock on the table or use the blue alert card to insure that both opponents are fully aware of the situation.

As for the discussions of whether or not 2C needs to be alerted, the answer is definitely YES. In competition after a strong Club opener, 2C may be natural and game forcing, but still may contain as few as 8-9 HCP. In many instances, the 2C bid is natural and severely limited to something like 5-8 HCP. Opponents are not clairvoyant - they are entitled to all of the information available to their opponents.

So damage was done, as would be obvious to anyone seeing the “preemptive” raise to 3H. Shame on everyone involved other than the innocent initial overcaller. Expert players should be at least vaguely aware of their opponents methods. Players using a strong Club system must bend over backwards to make sure that their alerts are heard AND noticed, and that full disclosure is practiced at all times.

I am sad that so many uninformed opinions have been offered in this forum. I am pleased that Mr. Shuster felt it necessary to know a little bit more about the actual situation.
May 5, 2016
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Switching the meaning of two bids after the auction begins 2C-2D-2H-2S would help in this case. 3C should show a single suited hand in Hearts and 3H should Hearts and Clubs game forcing. This also gains because you can use 3D as a double negative here. I have heard this called the Lipsitz inversion. It also eliminates the need to use the jump to 3H over 2C-2D to request a Q-bid. After 2C-2D-2H-2S-3C, irregardless of what partner does next, opener's bid of anything other than Hearts, 3NT (offer to play), or 4S (Kickback) begins the request for a Q-bid with a Q-bid. This frees up the auction 2C-2D-3H to show primary Diamonds and 4 Hearts in a game forcing hand. (Same ideas for 2C-2D-3S). Responder never has to worry about missing a 4-4 fit in a Major after 2C-2D-3D.

In the given situation, the auction would start 2C-2D-2H-2S-3C-3H, from which point success should easily be obtained.
April 24, 2016
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In a very similar vein of thought, I have heard that a player playing a 10-12 Notrump could be penalized for opening 1NT with AKTx xxx QT9x xx (10.65 K&R) and applauded for opening 1NT with Jxx Qxx Kxx Axxx (8.65 K&R). Even an experienced novice can see that the first hand here has more potential than the second. Once again, imbedding the use of HCP in our rules is not only artificial but also very misleading.

typo
April 10, 2016
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For the most part I do not object to the attitude of the ACBL regarding psyches, nor do I object to having some organizational controls about what constitutes a legitimate opening bid. Most experienced and/or expert players recognize that the standard Work 4321 point count evaluation method is not optimal, so why should anything using an inferior evaluation method be made part of any rules? Earlier in this thread it was stated that making an opening bid on AT987x QJT98x x - would be considered a psyche based upon this point count methodology. How utterly foolish! The K(aplen)- R(ubens) evaluation assigns this hand a value of 14.20; Many times I have seen a strong NT opened on hands with less trick taking potential. Sure this is an extreme case. Would you tell me that a baseball player who had 600 plate appearances, 200 bases on balls, 50 home runs, and on base percentage of .417 with a batting average of only .125 could not play in MLB because his batting average was too low? For me, the bottom line is that HCP need to be eliminated from the rules.
April 10, 2016
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Long ago 1N 2D 2H 5C would have set hearts as trump and shown a void. Since then we have learned to respond KC exclusion. I am not aware of any other use today, although their may have been some alternates in the past. I'm curious. What is the alternate meaning?
Feb. 9, 2016
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On the slam hand, our combination of archaic and modern methods combined with help from the opponents allowed the club slam to be reached easily. My partner overcalled the 1H opening with 2C. I bid 2H because I could not bid a forcing 2S, and my LHO doubled. Partner was able to redouble to show a heart control, so my 4D Kickback was quite obvious, and I raised partner's 5C response to 6C. After being quite helpful by doubling 2H, my LHO attempted to recover by inquiring about the meaning of 4D before his final pass, but his ethical partner lead the Heart J anyway.
Feb. 4, 2016
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I dislike the tone of this unnecessary comment. The only reason for this post must have been to include the “- cheat or” table element, thereby rendering the comment accusatory and the entire comment a total waste of the writer's time.
Dec. 9, 2015
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Barry, there is, in fact, a shred of implication. The four individuals who have chosen to vacate their titles undoubtedly plan to provide the necessary compelling evidence. The failure to present the necessary proof would result in a severe loss of credibility for each of them, and would severely compromise their future chance of success in the bridge world. Sure, the evidence has not yet been presented on bridge base, but why should it be?
Aug. 25, 2015
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To structure your system so as to allow exclusion KC after a three level preempt seems to be dealing with quite a rare case. More frequently, the partner of the opening preemptor will be able to bid a decent slam just knowing that a control of an open suit exists. It may no longer be standard, but a jump to the five level after a 3 Major preempt is best used to ask for a second round control of the suit bid. If you use 4C as a keycard ask, discuss how to land your 747 on the head of a pin in 5C (I can't recall the last time it was right to play exactly five of a Minor after a 3 Major preempt, and that might be less likely than holding a real legitimate exclusion keycard hand opposite a preempt, even opposite some modern day preempts).
May 26, 2015
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You may be correct that issues like this should not be addressed at the table by the players at all, but apparently they were, and some hostilities were created. It is the bounden duty of experienced players to help less experienced players learn; that helps our game to grow instead of contract.

Obviously, in this case, whether or not the correct ruling was made, the Director's job was not completed satisfactorily.

Where did the sudden new out-of-the-blue information about bidding a slam while missing 17 HCP come from? Apparently one player may have thought his partner showed more hand with a cue bid, or something similar. Certainly the non-offending side should have been alerted, and certainly that failure to alert MAY have caused or contributed to the bad result achieved. With the facts sporadically presented here, we cannot begin to accurately establish that.

What we DO know is that an alert was missed, and the offending side was not pleased with the ruling made by the director. Yes, indeed, beyond any shadow of a doubt, it is the responsibility of all more experienced players to help less experienced players learn about all aspects of the game. In a fashion that makes them ready and eager to play the game more frequently and more competitively. In a certain sense, the contemporary term might be to “pay forward”.
May 26, 2015
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Based on the information provided, the non-offending side was entitled to an alert, and an explanation if subsequently requested. Any earlier discussions of the situation simply act as potentially misleading noise, and are not the responsibility of any opponents. If fact, it is most probably best to intentionally ignore completely any systemic discussions by your opponents, which means that you are fully 100% dependent upon the correct use of the alert system.

The offending side was purportedly comprised of four “nobodies”, while the more experienced victims might suspect that asking about a notrump call or a double must be a safe way to go, there is no reason to suspect that any overcall is not intended as natural in the absence of an alert. The facts presented are not adequate enough to determine the extent of the injury, which may very well be irrelevant in this case.

The more experienced players should try to avoid hostility and bad feelings while attempting to explain the proper use of the alert system; the director should also attempt to make the reasoning behind the alert system be fully understood by the “nobodies”. My assessment from far away is that a greater effort should have been made to help the offending side understand why the alert was 100% necessary, and to totally avoid any acrimony or bad feelings based on the situation.
May 25, 2015
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I hope a big upgrade (about 1) for an Ace, about .5 for the trump King, and about .25 for a side King OR the trump Queen would fit in well (I know darn well you upgraded a few hands in your time). I would be uncomfortable NOT making a constructive raise of Hearts with xx Kxxx xxx Axxx. Some of my partner's consider that a limit raise.
Feb. 26, 2014
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Using high card as the sole method of evaluating an unbalanced hand is misguided. I am certain that virtually everyone who believes that are an expert player would agree with that statement. Kaplan-Rubens values this 6-4 hand at 13.70 “points”. By contrast, a hand comprised of QJX Jxx KJxx Ajx - an obvious automatic “SOUND” opening bid is valued by K & R as only 10.30 “points”. I personally would encourage my partners to open both hands, but I'm much less thrilled with the second hand. Any player with a weak 2 Diamond bid available would certainly not make that opening bid, as the hand has many flaws for such an action. Some time along the way we need to return to reality and quit using HCP as some sort of basis for legislation and rules. As one of the earliest, and thus logically most flawed, methods of evaluation, the 4-3-2-1 point count has stood the test of time only because of simplicity. Asking anyone to alert a normal opening bid with almost 14 value, and remain silent when opening a balanced almost 11 count, in my mind anyway, borders on absurdity. Perhaps next the “I would have bid 1S” boy will need to step right in with J9xxx Qxx Qxx xx, and should you ever preempt against him, his overcall might be even worse over a 2D bid. I mean, after all, nobody steals from him. In my mind, much of was and has been said here is just plain silly.
Jan. 5, 2014
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I received my first kibitzing lesson at an early age. For several years during the late fifties, my parents ran a sanctioned ACBL game in our home once a week. For my seventh
birthday I was allowed to stay up late and watch. Due to some careful pre-game coaching, I was able to keep my mouth shut for quite a while. Finally I lost my patience when my Dad was dealt all four aces. I observed “Gee, Dad, you have a lot of aces”. Not only was I removed from the table, but I was also banned from appearing at the game FOREVER!

Let's fast forward about fifteen years. I had just arrived home from college to announce “Gee, Dad, guess what? I know how to play bridge”. Days later, I arrived to play a local sectional with my Dad, who had my mother in tow to kibitz (she thought this might have been safe, since how could she possibly be blamed). At the first table we played, the opponents screamed “no kibitzers”.

As my mother moved meekly to leave the table, my Dad bellowed “Director”. This was my first introduction to the late great
Jerry Macklin. This gentleman arrived at the table, sized up the situation rapidly without anyone saying anything, and proclaimed pointedly “It is the policy of the ACBL to encourage kibitzers. Would you please reconsider and let this lady watch?” This was the first, but certainly not the last, time I saw Jerry in action, and he always seemed to know just how to handle almost anything.
Dec. 15, 2013
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The issue is not whether an individual can speak English well. The issue is that a commentator must have at least an almost expert knowledge of bridge, as well as some knowledge of the players, their systems, and the developments of new ideas and approaches in bridge. I would speculate that the few Chinese candidates for such a position are probably playing for China. The problem is exactly in reverse when
Chinese people would like to have the same presentation in “their BRIDGE language”. To be successful for all you will need commentators from several different places.And remember that as it stands now, English is, for better or worse, the universal language of bridge.
Sept. 30, 2013
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Thanks guys - I now know what Ingberman is, and I'll have to think about it. I don't like the idea of bidding NT in front of the strong jump shift hand, so maybe only the 4th suit should say (unless you hear further) that I have my unusual worse than poor response.
Sept. 23, 2013
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