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Ron was talking about representing Italy in world championships… Italy won 10 consecutive Bowls and three consecutive Olympiads.
15 hours ago
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Extracts…

The New York Times, 3 August 1958:
On the first day, an American referee noticed that one of the Italian players held his cards high during some hands and low during others. There seemed to be a pattern, it was said —high for good hands, low for poor ones. After the day’s play it was ruled that the cards must be held below the surface of the table, Thereafter, (Stone’s attorney) Mr. Rogge said, Mr. Stone called the attention of tournament officials several times to the fact that at times members of the Italian team were not abiding by the new rule.

Ortiz-Patino:
I understood the tape well and was in little doubt of its authenticity… In places, my jaw literally dropped. The media would have loved it: smoke signals, pauses, commonplace words with coded meanings — all these came into the picture.

Alan Truscott:
Burgay … taped his telephone conversation … with Bianchi … it explained the illegal signals that had used with Forquet and that Belladonna had used with another partner, Renato Mondolfo … they involved the use of cigarettes and head positions. The cigarette could point up or down, left or right, to indicate an honor card or a suit.


Of course, we can wait for FIGB and/or the WBF to release the Burgay Tape.

And then there's the one known lengthy video of two Blue Team members in action…
17 hours ago
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Quite so… thanks for clarifying.
22 hours ago
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Michael: Perhaps you mean, 5, 4

Damo:

What board number is this hand?
♠ AQJ743 ♥ A ♦ AK10 ♣ Q87

1966/82

Avarelli's hand on board 21, 1966 is
♠JT73
♥8
♦764
♣T8754

you dispute this too?


I have never disputed this and and baffled as to how you can think otherwise.


They couldn't possibly have changed their system?

This statement make it clear that you have no idea how Roman Club works. The two-bids must be that way, given the other components of the system.

Roman Cub, Avarelli & Belladonna, 1969:
These opening bids indicate 2-suited hands with clubs (not less than four) and a major of at least five cards, always equal or longer in length than the clubs. The strength is fixed at 14-16 points (honor & distribution) with 5 to 6 losers.
e.g. A Q J x x – x x – x x – A K x x, open 2S
x – A J x x x – K x – A K x x x, open 2H

(my emphasis)

Note that “points” have distributional values added.

I have no idea what the heck you guys are talking about!

We agree on that point.

You have made no effort to understand what is being put to you. I will not be discussing Blue Team matters with you any further.

Bertrand Russell:
Where experts are agreed, the average man would do well not to suppose the opposite opinion is certain.
23 hours ago
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In fact, 2M is about 12-16. What you have read is not accurate.

From the book:

“Roman two-bids are interesting. All two-bids fill canapé-caused systemic gaps: Two of a minor shows any 4-4-4-1 or 5-4-4-0 while two of a major shows that major and secondary clubs. There is no range enquiry.

1958 Bermuda Bowl Final, board 25
♠ 9 6 4 ♥ K Q 8 4 3 ♦ 8 ♣ A 8 6 4

1966 Bermuda Bowl Final, board 21
♠ A 6 ♥ A K 10 9 6 3 ♦ K ♣ A Q 6 3

As dealer, Belladonna opened both hands with 2♥. Of the second hand, Kleinman wrote:

”At Table 1, Giorgio (Belladonna_’s 2 opening, showing 5+ hearts and 4+ clubs, is too risky because of the danger of missing game. Dare partner raise on as little as
9 7 3 7 4 2 A 8 6 4 K 5 4, for example?

Opposite Giorgio’s actual hand, this produces not only game but a fine 6 slam.

Opposite Mimmo D’Alelio’s 2 opening on Deal 94
( A 10 8 A Q 8 6 5 Q 9 8 3 2 ) such a raise figures to turn a plus into a minus."


We are looking at a two-bid that ranges from less than a normal opening bid to an Acol Two. Opposite one example hand for responder, if we make a move we could be too high in a partscore, opposite another we are missing a slam.



What is the problem with GB's 2 underbid by an ace and a trump? Partner had a jack.


Here is another example, also from 1966, where a huge underbid was fortunate to find partner with a useless jack:

AQJ743 A AK10 Q87
3 P P ?
Vul vs not.

Kleinman:
Most incredible of all, (Pabis-Ticci) bids only 3 in the passout seat. There are far weaker hands that qualify for 3. The real issue is whether Camillo should jump to 4 directly, or double with the intention of bidding 4 next.
Oct. 17
Avon Wilsmore edited this comment Oct. 17
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You may be right, but the funny thing is that, as shown in the article, Avarelli made an even worse play in handling the club suit in 1NT.

And your opinion of Avarelli's pass of 3X is what?

Ron Von der Porten:
But the world of the Blue Team did change, as Walter never played for the Team again, being replaced by Benito Bianchi in 1973. Guess the noose was getting tighter and that idiotic actions like that pass, especially against a hopeless team, doomed the good judge to Purgatory.
Oct. 17
Avon Wilsmore edited this comment Oct. 17
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What was the meaning of GB's 2?

“Whatever the system was” is not going to help you understand the deal.
Oct. 17
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Nicolas:

Two 3-3 fit hands are in the book.

I think the concept of “exceeding tolerance” goes quite some way to explaining their existence.

Deb:

From the book:

While there is no currently-available video of the Blue Team in action, there are free alternatives for the reader who wishes to research Blue Team actions outside those shown in
this book.

These two sites:
http://www.sarantakos.com/bridge/vugraph.html
http://www.bridgetoernooi.com/index.php/home
provide bidding and play information for the following Blue Team Bermuda Bowls:
1957, 1959, 1962, 1967, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1979 and 1983


Nicholas:

You may accept the book as not being objective; that is your business. But:
- Do you now think the BT used illicit signals?
- What is your view about the Burgay Tape?
Oct. 17
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These are indeed exceptions… thank you for presenting them.

Nonetheless, the payout ratio is bordering on supernatural.

Anders Wirgren:

"I am convinced that the Blue Team players signalled their strength in a similar way, because their timing was always perfect: they overbid when partner had extra values, but underbid when he had nothing. Always.

It is impossible to have such accuracy, unless you know something you shouldn’t."
Oct. 16
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A direct 1 would show a semi-positive or better… about a good 8+.

I do not see any c***ing here

I never said there was any. Avarelli has just as much right to take a shot as anyone else. All I want to see is a normal payout profile - win some, lose some.

We saw in the article above:

A Q J 7 4 3 A A K 10 ! Q 8 7
3H P P ?

Pabis-Ticci bid 3S - partner had a jack. Where is the list of missed games and slams after such gross underbidding? It doesn't exist.


K J 6 5 3 A 9 5 K 7 2 Q 9
P 3C ?

Belladonna, vul vs not, doubled. Where is the list of penalties after competing with chaff opposite a passed partner? It doesn't exist.
Oct. 16
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Commendable.

Bertrand Russell:
“If the matter is one that can be settled by observation, make the observation yourself.”

On those grounds, you may safely ignore Eric Kokish:
“…you will be in no doubt that the author’s conclusions are accurate.”
Oct. 16
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You are seriously maintaining that Forquet rebids 3 with:

xxxxx AKx Ax Qxx ?

As they say in America, I am like wow.

You write, “I have no idea. But it is beginning to occur to me that neither do you.”

Maybe, but Bart Bramley has a different view:
This is the most thorough deal-by-deal examination ever done.
Oct. 16
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The hand is from 1963, board 9 of the final.

BG and PF were playing Neapolitan (4CM canape).

They seldom raised 1M openings with three trumps.

Maybe Garozzo expected Forquet to correct to 3♠ with five.

Maybe. But where are the silly fits that follow when Garozzo is 1-3-6-3? They don't exist.
Oct. 16
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Any play works when there is bare king onside.

Cashing the ace picks up bare king offside.

Low to the queen picks up bare two and bare jack offside.
Oct. 16
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We saw another example in “The Blue Team Rule”.

Garozzo
A 6 5 10 6 4 k q 3 2 9 4 3

1S p 1NT 3C
P P ?

After responding 1NT, Garozzo followed up with 3.

Did Forquet have a 5-3-2-3?

I'll give you a clue: Where are the 4-2 fits? They don't exist.

I have more examples in a chapter called, unsurprisingly, “Finding Four-Four Fits.”
Oct. 16
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That is not the point.

Where are the 4-2 fits?

They don't exist.

To say, “if you don't play negative doubles” is more than a little ingenuous.

Another example:

1959 Bermuda Bowl Final. N-S vul
Avarelli
Q 9 7 5 4 K 9 2 J 10 9 3 2

1 dbl pass 2
pass 3 ?

Avarelli is in 3rd seat. Belladonna's 1 showed 12-16 bal.

At the table, Avarelli wandered into the auction with 3 and was doubled.

Here are two hands from the same match where Belladonna opened 1:

Board 79
A x A x x x J 10 x x A x x

Board 89
A 10 x x A x x Q x x K x x

One of them was the hand where Avarelli bid a four-card suit at the three-level.

Which hand do you suppose GB had?

I'll give you a clue: Where are the 4-2 fits? They don't exist.
Oct. 16
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Rubbishing hands and systems is not the thesis of my book.

A lack of regard for the lesser players (and their methods, of which nothing remains, unlike 1958 Roth-Stone) came after studying every Blue Team WC deal.

The book's analysis of the BT in action (as others have pointed out) is two-fold:

- Sets of similar hands where a BT player chose Option A
- Sets the same similar hands where a BT player chose option B

In every case, partner's hand was a suitable match.

As Anders Wirgen said, “It is impossible to have such accuracy, unless you know something you shouldn’t.”

Some of these BT choices are outright lunacy. See my “Blue Team Rule” article for examples.

Where are the hands where such bizarre actions, from the winners of 10 consecutive Bowls, went for a number?

They don't exist.
Oct. 16
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From the book:

On these two hands from 1962, Avarelli had to decide how to
proceed when his side’s 1 (12-16 bal) opening was overcalled with 1.

Here Avarelli was responder and chose to bid 2, a 4-4 fit.
9 8 4 A Q 6 2 9 6 5 A 4 3

Here Avarelli was the 1 opener and Belladonna responded 2 after the overcall.
K J 5 4 K 7 K Q 7 3 10 6 3

Avarelli chose to pass and Belladonna had five good hearts. How did Avarelli know this was not a 4-2 fit?



In 1969 the Blue Team still did not use Negative Doubles, when they were much “the norm”.

As the hands above (and others in the book) show, they didn't need them.
Oct. 16
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So, once again, wasn't Mr. Guthrie's point quite different from the impression that your carefully selected excerpt was meant to convey, Mr. Wilsmore?

In fact, the quote of Nigel's that I supplied is taken from my book. I quote nothing else and emailed Nigel a couple of years ago, seeking his permission to use it.

You maintain that I am guilty of “highly selective quoting that distorts the original meaning”, while Nigel clearly has no such view.

Puzzling.
Oct. 16
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