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All comments by Adam Meyerson
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Here's what we decided to use:

1-1 = ART, forcing one round, no fit, less than a solid invite
… 1NT = 3-4
… others natural
1-1-1NT = opener shows 3-4
… pass = possible, normally a weak 3145 hand
… 2 = shows 4+, asking bid (now 2 = 3+5, 2=3+6, 2=4 min, else extras)
… 2 = 5+, 4+, 0-1 and 0-3 (sort of a scramble, not very strong)
… 2 = 2 and less than 4, like 8-11 hcp since we pass with less and this shape
… 2 = NF 4+ with a bad hand
… 2N = marginal invite, denies four spades or two hearts
1-1NT = ART either GF or (solid invite with 5+)
1-2 = ART solid invite with 0-4 and 0-2, or min GF with 3
… 2 = catch-all, not 4, if max then not extreme shape
… 2 = min 4-5
… 2 = extras 4-5
… 2NT = extras 6+
… 3m = extras at least 5/5

1-1NT = NF notrump, no fit, less than a solid invite
1-2 = ART either GF or (solid invite with 5+)
1-2 = ART solid invite with 0-4 and 0-2, or min GF with 3
… 2 = catch-all, not 4, if max then not extreme shape
… 2 = min 5-4
… 2NT = extras 5-4+
… 3m = extras at least 5/5

There are obviously some differences between what you're aiming for, notably that we wanted two invitational ranges (one that's worth game only opposite 14-15, and another that's worth game opposite 12+, since we open a lot of hands in the 9-11 range). We also chose to put one of the stronger invites in with the GF hands (5+ other major) and to use 2 as the GF over 1 to retain space for a scrambling response.
Nov. 26, 2018
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The projected loss is something like 600k though. Table fees are probably around $80 (depending on the event of course). So that means we're projecting Hawaii to fall about 7,500 tables short of break-even. No one in their right mind would have, at any point, expected 15,000 tables for the Hawaii nationals! Even a relatively high attendance of 10k tables would not have come close.

So the loss obviously has more to do with planning (or lack thereof) than the number of players who showed up. Basically, the ACBL agreed to this guarantee with the hotel without making sure that the hotel pricing would be at least somewhat reasonable relative to other nearby hotels. Then the players who attended the tournament chose not to stay at the host hotel because the pricing wasn't competitive, and the ACBL had to pay a penalty for failing to meet the hotel guarantee. Assuming that most of them wouldn't stay in the host hotel either, an extra 1000-2000 tables would not have solved the problem.
Nov. 25, 2018
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People obsess too much over table count. There’s no reason a tournament with 7000 tables (or even fewer) can’t be successful. Hawaii is an expensive and far away location for most, but there’s some subset of the playing population who love it. The key questions are:

1. Did we plan for the appropriate attendance and scale things like playing space, directors, hotel commitments appropriately? Seems like the answer was no this time.
2. Will the players who skipped Hawaii because of cost or other concerns attend other tournaments instead (seems most likely) or cut down their bridge playing for the year (worse for the league)?
3. Are there people who go to a “destination NABC” like Hawaii who wouldn’t normally go, and again are these people playing more bridge because of this or just substituting for other tournaments?

While Las Vegas seems to get the most tables, it’s at least possible that holding all nationals in Vegas would actually reduce total attendance (not to mention the issues with staffing and hotels).
Nov. 24, 2018
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Not sure it’s a good idea, but the simplest way to price discrimination might be charging more for people with more masterpoints. Most of the really big totals belong to full time pros or anyway people with a lot of disposable income to spend on bridge. And this would automatically give lower prices to younger players or people who have not so many local games. For international players you could add some surcharge or just charge based on points “assigned” for seeding.

It seems weird to penalize your best customers though.
Nov. 23, 2018
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In ACBL, the weak-only multi 2 and the multi 2 with additional strong options are treated identically. Both are only permitted in Open+ events with 6+ board rounds. This is not a significant change from the way ACBL treated these openings before. As far as I know, only EBU treats the weak-only multi 2 differently from the one with strong options.

What's interesting (and a bit odd) is the reason multi is disallowed on the Open and Open+ chart: “Disallowed 7: An artificial opening Preempt below 3NT; except, 2NT may be used to show two known suits.” This allows an alternate version of “multi 2” which always promises at least average strength.

In fact almost any opening at the two-level or above which always promises average strength is permitted by the Open chart (in 3rd/4th such openings can be made with near average strength too). These openings also will not require a suggested defense.
Nov. 19, 2018
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You’re too worried about negative repercussions from asking. Might opponents take some inference? Yes, but the easiest solution is to (sometimes) randomly ask without a reason and let them fix themselves. You’ll never get in trouble for asking. Might it help opponents sort out a misunderstanding? Yes but only very weak pairs are likely to have a misunderstanding in an auction simple enough to make the ACBL card, and do you really want/need to beat such pairs this way?

In any case the director is more likely to protect you from “opponents used UI to sort a misunderstanding” than “convention card was vague and I couldn’t bother to ask.”
Nov. 12, 2018
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I’m not trying to spring anything on people here. I mentioned this when the new charts were posted for comment, mentioned it again when they were approved, had a separate thread about comparing the two methods (intermediate multi and weak two vs. intermediate two and weak multi) and now I’m posting it again here, more than six months before the summer nationals where I plan to play it.

When the loophole has been pointed out this many times, maybe it’s not a loophole any more? They could easily require that opening bids at the two level or above must specify a suit (or be strong/very strong) for example, and chose to use the carefully defined term “preempt” instead (I guess to protect mini-Roman or something).
Nov. 12, 2018
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The interesting thing is that if we switch to:

2M = Natural weak
2 = “rule of 19” 9+ to 13 one major

Then we can play this method on the Open chart, without even a suggested defense! This is slightly worse than our current method but is probably what we’ll do in pairs events in the US.
Nov. 11, 2018
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We’re no longer in the US, although we plan to play in the summer NABC. Anyway we use:

2 = weak two in either major (4-9 HCP normally 6)
2M = Natural 9-13 with 6-card suit

The two-suited weak 2M bids are more commonly played here, but I haven’t been impressed with their results.
Nov. 10, 2018
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One thing to keep in mind is that our overcall often won't end the auction. This has a couple implications:

1. Responder will often want to double, either for takeout or penalty. Opinions are split as to which use of double is better (the modern trend being more towards takeout) but either way they will have serious problems when they hold the “other double” hand. Another tough hand type for responder is a less-than-gamegoing two-suiter. In all these cases, opponents will find things MUCH easier if you overcall with a bid that's basically forcing (i.e. a transfer bid, or 2 “one major”, or suction, etc) than if you make a natural and non-forcing overcall.

2. If responder has a suit of his own, partner in fourth seat needs to know whether to compete to the three-level. This is easiest if he knows which suit(s) overcaller holds. Of course it's impossible to show all combinations of suits unambiguously, but partner often has an easier time opposite an unknown two-suiter than an unknown one-suiter (because he can rule out responder's suit and just needs support for two of the unbids in order to guarantee a fit).
Nov. 5, 2018
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We play Meyerson against strong notrump. It's as follows:

2, 2, 2 = all natural, normally single suited
2 = both majors
2NT = both minors
3 = natural single-suited with a wide range
X = one major and one minor; at least 5-4 where either suit can be longer

We generally try to keep X to 10+ hcp so partner can convert it on occasion. The other calls can be pretty light with a good suit (i.e. like a weak two bid in strength). Continuations after the double:

If responder passes, 2 is “pass/correct for five-card suit”, 2 is “bid your major” and 2M is natural with a long suit. If responder makes an artificial call (stayman, transfer, whatever) then double shows support for the bid suit if the double includes it (4+ cards there).

Against a weak notrump by an unpassed hand we use X = 15+ points, 2NT minors, 2 = either both majors or a 4M with a longer minor. By passed hand we revert to our strong notrump defense.
Nov. 3, 2018
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The “right” agreement might be natural if opener shows 4 (or less) in the suit and two-suited if five, except in situations where a psych is likely when we’re back to natural. But this seems pretty complex (and subject to some weird corner cases) and I just play these as natural in my partnerships.
Oct. 20, 2018
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In 1952, Edgar Kaplan's article in the bridge world “New Science” was published. This article is often credited with drawing attention to the “old black magic” whereby bridge players (at all levels) would read partner's mannerisms, tempo, and tone of voice to determine the sort of hand he held for his bidding.

Implicit in the article was that this sort of behavior was commonplace at the time in the United States (where Mr. Kaplan played most of his bridge) as well as presumably elsewhere in the world. Despite Mr. Kaplan's article and crusade to abolish this sort of partner-reading, there were many experts who played this way their whole bridge careers and there was no reason to think the behavior just disappeared overnight. Earlier in this thread we have some posts describing “lessons” on reading partner from some top American experts of the time, suggesting that this sort of thing was still going strong and wasn't just “an Italian thing” by any means. Bidding boxes were not introduced at the World Championships until 1970… and of course bidding boxes eliminate only the “tone of voice” reading of partner and do nothing to help with tempo and mannerisms.

Does it seem like some members of the Italian Blue Team were “reading partner” in the auction from these examples? Absolutely; the takeout doubles and responses thereto are extremely suspicious. Was this against the rules even at the time? Of course.

But many of their opponents were surely doing the same thing, both in Europe and in the United States (albeit less successfully). We need to be careful when looking backwards and trying to apply our modern standards to events from a half-century ago.
Sept. 29, 2018
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World class lines of play often depend on the auction. If 2 showed 5-5 majors the squeeze is a huge favorite. But a lot of declarers probably had an auction where East bid 1 and hearts breaking 4-3 were a serious possibility (causing squeeze to fail but cross ruff can succeed). If all you know is 3-5 spades and 6-1 clubs then hearts 3-4 is more likely than 2-5.

And of course “world class” players do make occasional mistakes too.
Sept. 27, 2018
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The double is a little risky sure, but even if there’s no psych we could have ace-king ace and two heart tricks quite easily, plus partner might have something since they are not in game. And if he psyched (which he’s already done many times this match) we could get a bonanza. Double seems reasonable.

Once we see the dummy, we know that if partner has nothing but diamonds and the opening is legit, we are not setting. So we’ve got to assume it was a psych and partner has some stuff. Of course the psych could be on a real heart suit and no values, but then partner will let us know which black suit he’s got help in, rather than encourage a fatal trump shift by showing his diamond cards (only)?
Sept. 18, 2018
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I don't see anything particularly strange about this hand. After 1-P-3 (limit)-P-P, who backs into the auction with a takeout double? You couldn't double at the one-level when responder might have nothing, but now that you're two levels higher and responder showed his values you can bid? It just seems crazy. Especially given that the 1 bid was in third seat by a known psycher, how can double be anything but penalty?

That explains the auction, what about the play? Partner has played the Q to the first trick. If he is desperate for a club switch he could surely have played a low spot card (or similarly a high spot card for spades, or however their spot card signals work if they're not standard suit preference). Partner's Q play seems to say “our tricks are in diamonds, let's try to cut down their ruffs.” If he has a hand like the example from the other thread with very long diamonds and a trump void and a stack of club honors, he would surely have done something different! The diamond queen seems to pretty much imply “I have help in the trump suit” making a trump switch straightforward. Given partner has signaled trump help (and opener sometimes psychs on three small) the T switch is quite reasonable. Of course it's possible that partner just has nothing and signaled diamond queen because all his points are in diamonds, but then we're not setting anyhow.
Sept. 18, 2018
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Everything is a transfer, with transfer to their suit being stayman:

(2)-2NT-(pass):
3 = stayman (transfer to their suit)
3 = hearts
3 = spades
3 = clubs

(2)-2NT-(pass):
3 = diamonds
3 = four card spades (stayman = transfer to their suit)
3 = spades
3 = clubs

(2) -2NT-(pass):
3 = diamonds
3 = hearts
3 = clubs (swapping with 3 for right-siding purposes)
3 = four card hearts
Sept. 17, 2018
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I've always played that when they bid two suits, double is two-suited takeout. This applies whether they bid 1m-P-1M-p-2m or 1-p-1-p-2. Note that a two-suited takeout could easily be 2245 or the like (it's not really “penalty of the first-bid suit”).

However, when they've only bid one suit (1m-P-1N-P-2m or 1M-P-1N-P-2M) it's logical that it's penalty, since we had the chance to double this suit for takeout before and being one-level higher without the opponents having shown a fit doesn't make it any more appealing.
Sept. 12, 2018
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I like IJS in a “standard” system and WJS in a strong club. The reasons for the difference:

1. In strong club you can play WJS like 0-9 but in standard this wide range is awkward.
2. In standard IJS help with slam auctions when opener has certain strong hands that open 1 in strong club.

This is also consistent with how I like to play 1M-3x jump shifts.

Reverse Flannery is not very useful if you allow 1nt rebid on singletons and raises on three (my preferred style anyway)).
Sept. 11, 2018
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One other thing I noticed is that I saw a LOT of hands with Hx in one major and good four card support for the other (and like 13-15 hcp). In the style I gave where 2D is a six-card major, it's pretty safe to bid three of the Hx suit (you have an eight-card fit and around half the high cards so it's unlikely to be a disaster). The big benefit here is that when partner has your LONG major you get to what's normally a pretty good 4M contract.

Of course if double is “bid your suit” you're also perfectly fine here. The interesting problem case is if your 2D opening is frequently a FIVE card suit, it seems like you have no call with this (probably still very common) hand type.

In any case, I used the BBO hand generator which I'm actually somewhat suspicious of, and I understand that people have different rules about what makes a 2D opening (and a 3D overcall). So YMMV.
Sept. 10, 2018
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