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Reese’s Pieces
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These are some supplemental Reese/Schapiro hands from Buenos Aires in 1965. Whatever else Reese was in life, he was also a phenomenal bridge player and writer.

The arguments that Reese puts forth for some of the table actions are more quarrelsome than compelling. Much of what he has to offer has little to no value in formal argumentation.

Here are some samples.

Italy 18

Reese
J65
65
J32
109865
Forquet
Q10
K107
9874
KJ74
Schapiro
A9872
92
KQ105
A3
Garozzo
K43
AQJ843
A6
Q2
W
N
E
S
1
X
P
2
2
P
2
P
P
2NT
P
P
P
D
18
2NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0

Reese:

Criticism: That East bid Two Hearts because he knew his partner held only two hearts and so would not give an inconvenient raise.

Answer: Italians were playing ‘Herbert’ responses to take-out doubles, so that North’s Two Clubs (as attested by his subsequent inactivity) showed fair values. Thus East Knew his partner must be very weak. It was likely that the vulnerable opponents had the values for game and also likely, on the surface, that their best suit would be hearts. So East may well try to keep them out of a heart contract. As to the alleged risk, if I, as West held a singleton spade and four or five hearts, I would certainly have been alive to the possibility that partner’s heart bid might not be genuine.

The hand actually contains a negative point for the defense. If the illicit knowledge is presumed, the West has a very obvious Two Hearts available on the way round. It is a setup situation for a psychic of that type. As to the alleged risk, if I, as West held a singleton spade and four or five hearts, I would certainly have been alive to the possibility that partner’s heart bid might not be genuine.

Starting with Reese’s last assertion “If... illicit...West has a very obvious Two Hearts”. This fallacy is known as a hypothesis contrary to fact. Simply because, given illicit information, West might have psyched, does not prove that West would have psyched.

That “we could have robbed the 1st National Bank” is not evidence that you did not rob the 2nd National Bank. In a parallel universe, Reese did psych. ParaUni Reese now claims that he did not need to psych because he knew that Boris could psych.

Though this universe Reese has the better case for pass. A 2 psych after a double is not likely to work. Advancer bids 2NT. Knowing how slowly Italian auctions develop after a double, it must be better to pass and let opener psych.

Next up is “alleged risk”. The risk is real regardless of whether Reese is “alive to the possibility”. Two spades doubled - when Boris runs from 2 - may be dead in the water with no place to go and no game for N/S to offset the loss. Just give West a weakish 1435 hand.

The most important issue is the one that Reese chooses to ignore. He observes correctly, that from East’s viewpoint “..their best suit would be hearts...”. However, their best game may well be notrump. In fact, it is the only game from East’s viewpoint if West holds four hearts to jack or queen.

Reese conveniently leaves out the risk decision that a 2 psych entails. A two diamond call will get partner off to the best lead against notrump. A psych may well let that game through. The psych is very risky on a couple of levels. But if East knows West holds just two hearts, we can presume a fit in spades or diamonds. And East is less concerned about defeating 3NT if he knows N/S have a nine-card heart fit.

Cheating, the premeditated form of UI, alters the risk vs reward parameters in decision making. This is what makes collusive cheating cases so difficult to prove without a code book. There is always going to be a story to justify the table action. And that story could be true.

Italy 25

Reese
AKJ102
Q972
76
43
Forquet
Q84
J104
KQ52
J65
Schapiro
976
A865
AJ9
A97
Garozzo
53
K3
10843
KQ1082
W
N
E
S
 
P
1
P
1
P
1N
P
2N
P
3
P
4
P
P
P
P
D
25
4 East
NS: 0 EW: 0

Reese:

Criticism: That East’s Three Hearts was unnatural and influenced by knowledge of four hearts in partner’s hand.

Answer: At rubber bridge East might pass 2NT, but at the present form of scoring it is necessary to press for close games. Missing a vulnerable game which is made at the other table costs 11 match points, whereas a part score swing (2NT made, as against a penalty of 100) is worth only 6 points. Once East decides to bid on, Three Hearts is clearly best. The general texture (Three Aces and a lack of intermediates) favors a suit contract and Three Hearts may well elicit a rebid of Three Spades. Players who respond One Spade to One Club usually have five and there will probably be weaknesses in one of the minors. It will be especially important to play in spades if partner has a suit that needs to be developed, like K J 10 x x.

There are two defensive arguments. One club is technically correct on the East hand, but it would occasion no comment if Schapiro were to open One Heart, as he might be tempted to do if he knew there were four hearts opposite. Much stronger, West has a difficult choice of calls over 1NT and would surely favor Two Hearts if he knew that his partner held four.

Notice how Reese tries to bait the reader with undue thinking about “if he knew there were four hearts opposite”. The assertion that Shapiro “could open 1” is another example of Argumentum Ad Speculum/Hypothesis Contrary to Fact. It is also wrong because Schapiro can hardly open One Heart on this pile of bilge if systemically (Italy 14) 98 AQ543 Q93 A98 and (USA 30 in 1955) k84 Q9543 863 AK are supposed to pass.

“.. would occasion no comment if” is yet another unfounded assertion. Schapiro does not want to open 1 knowing partner has four when he is holding a hand that may well need to get to 3NT. There is no reason to distort the truth of one’s hand merely to act upon what partner already knows! At any point, in any auction, legitimate or not, one is supposed to tell partner what they do not know thus far about your hand. Not what they already do.

Reese’s statement of “difficult choice of rebids” is true. They were no artificial checkback methods for R&S in 1965. However, 2 as potential rebid is hogwash. 2 is 100% non-forcing. No one “surely favors” a non-forcing rebid guaranteed so as not to get to game - especially when Reese just spent so much ink explaining why stretching for game is necessary.

The opening bid and rebid assertions are self-serving nonsense. The part about needing to get to thin games is fine. But Reese ignores addressing why partner is willing to get to 3NT with his three tricks for his opening bid, just in case partner’s less than opening bid might provide another six. And exactly what hands would not accept a game invitation? Did R&S invent forcing game-try checkback? Reese did write: “once partner decides to bid on”. So there must be some hand partner might pass. What would it be if this hand bids on? Reese ignores that issue. But I suspect it would be this hand opposite exactly three hearts in West.

Italy knew legitimately West was 4 hearts, longer spades and invitational values. R&S knew it illegitimately. But we have to bid vulnerable games, right?

Or do we?

(P.S.  Italy picked up a game swing because the North player led the K.  Reese argued and Foster foolish bought the argument of "no benefit".  Whether an a player with illicit information benefits is subject to other factors outside his control.)

Reese held: K2 KQJ6 K9864 Q2; P-P-? Vul against not.  Reese wrote:

Criticism: That the normal opening bid for West is a ‘prepared’ One Heart and that One Diamond was preferred because partner was known to hold only two hearts.

Answer: In first or second position, West must open One Heart, so that he can rebid Two Diamonds over a response of Two Clubs...(Explains reverse).. The situation is different when partner has passed originally. When he opens One diamond, West intends to rebid 1NT over a response of One Spade, and to pass a response of Two Clubs. There is no need to make the prepared opening. One Diamond is definitely a safer opening than One Heart on this Ace-less hand.A further point is that the presence of a doubleton heart in partner’s hand, if known, is no bar to opening One Heart. A bad result is more to be feared when partner has three hearts and may raise the suit in a competitive sequence.

Lets start with the last point. That of a possible bad result in a competitive sequence. If West is concerned about a competitive auction - suppose the opponents enter with spades - is responder better placed to compete in the opened the suit that you know he cannot support, or if you opened the suit that he might be able to support? Remember, no negative doubles in those days to find fits.

The table record will often say what you want it to say. Yes, it is possible that a legitimate player might choose a One Diamond opening.  (Though doubtful as opener cannot now conveniently show both suits.)  But none of this proves that the opener was not armed with the knowledge of partner’s heart length.  

I do find it curious that Reese claims the right sequence is to pass 2 from partner. R&S were reasonably sound openers. They also had no tendency to open light in 3rd. Are there no PH 2 responses that offer play for those close games that they should strain to achieve?

Perhaps they were not vulnerable - oh, they were.

Perhaps this was some other event.

Actually, this was two hands earlier; Italy 23. Yes, the hand is Ace-less. But partner must necessarily have a couple for Two Clubs. Yes, it isn’t a great game. But it will be better than most games Reese claims that Boris needs to find on #25.

Reese is simply analyzing the hand from whatever viewpoint supports the table decision. You know when we heard that before? When Boye was explaining why F-S claimed they did X on this hand and Y on the other similar one One is allowed to think hands how one believes is right. But when one changes their thought process from hand to hand to fit table action with the hand record, one has to wonder.

Italy 26

West on lead against 3NT (Natural bidding 1NT-2; 3-3; 3NT)

865432 K953 9 84

Reese led a low heart. Boris had four hearts

Italy 134

Schapiro to lead against 3NT

J54 K743 97542 2

Reese held two hearts and Boris led the 4

Reese: “The situation had now been reached at which we had to defend ourselves for making entirely normal leads.”

Therefore, does Reese now stipulates that the lead on #26 was not entirely normal?

Reese tries to weasel out, continuing with “None of the special circumstances attaching to Italy 26 existed here.” Though it might be easier to believe these unfounded assertions if Reese gave the hand and the bidding for #134.

BTW, the “special circumstances” in Italy 26 was “The best chance is to find partner with something like Q10xxx and a side trick or possibly AJ10xx.” It is not quite apparent why those layouts suddenly do not work for the defense on Italy 134.

Italy 117

Reese
K9
AJ1095
K87
AJ5
Forquet
Q86532
Q6
QJ42
K
Schapiro
A107
874
1053
10432
Garozzo
J4
K43
A96
Q9876
W
N
E
S
P
P
P
1
1
P
P
2
P
P
2
P
P
P
D
117
2 North
NS: 0 EW: 0

Criticism: That West reopened with Two Hearts in preference to double of 1NT because he knew that his partner held three hearts. (1 =4+, so the reopening double might be inconvenient for Boris to get to a known heart fit if he had to bid a 4cm.)

I will spare you the part were Reese waxes on about how 2 is correct and no problem. Reese finishes his “answer” with a pissy:

“As the bidding went, South was lucky to find partner with six spades.”

And here I thought South was lucky the defenders could not take their tricks. Three trumps, two aces and kind of hard to see how the K does not score. But E/W did fail to come to six tricks and Forquet scored up +110. As the play record is not given, I suppose that Reese really wasn’t looking for “Misdefend With Terrence” material. How amusing that Reese defends his decision that a 5-2M fit is obvious for him, but not for the opponents.

Even if he was referring to 4-card overcalls, then Reese still wrote the wrong number. In any event, F/G did not make many of those.

Quarreling vs Argumentation

The tone and context of Reese’s writings is similar to the claptrap one often hears in UI cases. The cases players often make for table actions are hypotheticals, not proof. Bridge players tend not to see this because we live for playing a game that is nothing but speculation. That is all we ever do in bridge.

What if the trumps go 4-0? What if the king is offside? When a player opens 1NT on 16 balanced, he is speculating that is the best treatment. Some other player opened 1m because he hypothesizes that a 12-14 1NT works better.

Most discussion on bridge hands is supported by informal argumentation. Informal argumentation does not address burden of proof issues. Informal arguments often contain little or no supportive evidence. These discussions might be useful in a bidding contest or a poll. But informal argumentation has nearly no value in a legal proceeding where proof is required.

If we knew how to prove bridge, we would have solved the game by now.

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