Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Brian Bankler
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I misread this as “Penn and Teller win the Imp Pairs.” No offense to Mssrs. Bright and Zeller, but I was really excited by that.
March 26
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This is exactly what I was going to say. (Leaving off the second paragraph's tone).

If you'd asked during the auction LHO would say (in many more words) “undiscussed.” Unless you want to say that it was discussed (which is whole ‘nother kettle of worms), bad players made a bad bid against you and got away with it. Happens all the time in clubs. I’d just inform them that if they continue to have that agreement that it is alertable (if it is which seems unclear).

Half of playing in a club is like playing on a bad pool table and knowing which way the various parts tilt.
March 10
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This seems to me to be the same issue of “deliberate dumping” (DD) that the Bridge World often brings up. The rules of a tournament that mean you get a better result if you lose an intermediate match.

In this case you are dumping a single board to improve your overall results. DD is always a controversial discussion, and I expect no less from this.

The real difference is that in the DD, everyone can see the reason, but here you are ‘throwing’ a hand for a psychological reason. Also, you have no guarantee that your dump will help you. (Just a suspicion). I think those arguments make this less ethical than DD, no matter how you view DD.

As a practical matter: Kit's answer is correct. (This statement has probably been made quite often).
March 3
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I went with the majority in the poll, but there was some discussion as to what an expert field (instead of the club field) would do. I agree that this looks like a 4=6 hand.
Feb. 10
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Assuming you meant N bid the X with the hand shown, this is way too aggressive.

1) The hand is too weak.
2) There is no pre-emptive value. If you did this over 1H or 1D you'd at least take away some bidding space. Here you've added some.
3) There is no confusion added to the auction. The Opening bid has defined the hand narrowly. Again compare to 1H or 1D then 1NT (Raptor).
4) What few points there are are defensive.

In short, N is much more likely to give E-W a fielder's choice than win the auction or muck it up for them.
Jan. 12
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Playing *this weekend* I heard the following two auctions by opponents (we're silent).

1-1;2-2;5-6

(This was not a success).

And a very simple one I'd never heard, but at least make sense.

2 (Flannery) - 6
Jan. 9
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The Deep mind press release seems pretty specific that this algorithm mainly applies to full information, deterministic systems.
Dec. 7, 2018
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This article should be right up my wheelhouse (programmer with some knowledge but little practical experience with developing artificial opponents), but I gave up after several pages.

It seems to me that you are trying to use a constraint programming framework to figure out the hidden cards. I imagine that many programs do that, especially towards the endgame (presumably all bridge programs just switch to a double dummy program when all the hidden cards are known due to constraints).
Nov. 6, 2018
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One of my friends was the (alleged) security for a strictly friendly & not at all illegal high stakes private poker game. But they apparently weren't private enough. Their schedule became known, and it became known that there were often five figures available on each table.

So, one day a gang raided them.

He answered the knock, opened the door and allowed the nice men with guns inside to take all the money.

Ever since then (25 years ago) I've occasionally wondered why it doesn't happen that often at tournaments. Granted, the risk/reward is better in an illegal venue that people don't want police at, but a regional is still a decent score.

My thoughts are:
1) hotel is likely going to have a more credible security force (not in terms of stopping the robbery, but in terms of providing loads of video evidence to the police).

2) The risk/reward is lower than a private poker game, and across the threshold for an organized gang. (The DA will take major heat if any of the individual players got robbed).

3) The less thoughtful thieves who are willing to take that risk (and who do rob liquor stores, etc) simply aren't aware its an option.
Nov. 6, 2018
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It is not at all clear to me that this is (or should be) a FP situation. In many of my partnerships it would not be and East's final double would just be “I wasn't kidding.” (One reason it may not be a FP – East could have bid 3 instead of 4).

Given how much variety there is in competitive styles, the last thing I would assume about an auction for an unknown partnership is when a force was on, unless it would be obvious to the LOLs two tables over.

That being said – since the option wasn't given the original poster may have thought it obvious that the force was on and just not stated it, and in that case you are obviously correct.
Nov. 2, 2018
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You are missing the option: West should bid 5 when East doubles 4.
Nov. 1, 2018
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Skynet works in mysterious ways….
Aug. 24, 2018
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Blasting 3N may very well work, even if you should go down.

But, If you want science, then bid 2 Asking. What does partner respond?

2 – I'd likely bid 3 (forcing) and see if partner can bid 3N. If not, I'd likely bid 4 and play the Moysian game. Actually the Moysian may be better in any case, but I'd still ask.

2 – 3N, expecting it to make. (Spades could still rail if partner has 4 dead, to be sure).

2N/3 – Both of these deny a 4 card major, but you should have stopper asking/showing sequences after this. (2N typically shows two side suits stopped, 3 shows one). In either case you bid 3 showing (presumably) a stopper and see if partner shows spades. (Over 2N-3, then 3M shows that + diamonds and 3N shows “Other two suits”. After 3C-3D partner will bid 3M with the stopper and 4C with diamonds).

If partner denies a stopper in spades I'll subside in 4C.

3 – This should be 4-6 decent hand. I'd bid 3 (assuming you show stoppers). if partner has a spade stopper you may be able to run many minor tricks. This could go down on hand 1 if partner has Kx x Axxx KQxxxx or some such and both aces are off. Oh well.

Higher responses depend on what you play.
Aug. 14, 2018
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Well, since the NT hand went past 4S, it's a good hand, and should have a heart stop (4S ostensibly denied one), good trumps, DK. Axx/Axx/Kxx/Qxxx (shape varies). Maybe AKx/Axx/Kxx/xxx and just making an ‘impossible’ bid to show 3 keys.
Aug. 14, 2018
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IMO this is a 2 opening (a good 10 to bad 15ish, depending on tastes). 1 then rebid 2 is possible (which shows 4-5 or better either way in the minors) but I prefer the mildly pre-emptive nature of 2.

Of course that leaves the issue of the followup. Assuming partner bids 2 asking, I see two possibilities
* 2N – Good hand, lots of stoppers. Of course partner will assume a balanced hand, so you'll have to mix a diamond in with your hearts.
* 3 – 4-6 and towards the stronger side.

That to me seems closest, so my plan is 2 and respond to 2 with 3.

If you play that 2 is capped at 14 it starts to get close and depends on how you evaluate the hand. But my general rule is to try to open the most descriptive bid whenever possible. (But if you want to argue 2 is a mis-description because all the points are outside clubs, that's fair).

Under no circumstances would I open 1, planning on rebidding 2. This overstates the clubs and the points.
Aug. 12, 2018
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We started with The WJ05 book by K. Jassem, stripped out the non-ACBL compliant stuff, and tweaked from there.
Aug. 7, 2018
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I think the SJS option isn't terribly necessary. They can be handled by XYZ (1-1M;1N then 3M is slammish with a good suit and 2 is just a general GF and you can cue bid after agreement to show slam interest). SJS happen fairly infrequently and if you assume that 1C is weak NT when you have a SJS you will be very well placed to make a slam try and have opener understand. The Weak Jump Shift isn't incredibly frequent, but it does let you get out in a misfit when opener has a minimum 18-19 and sometimes get to a slam when responder has nothing.

As for 2NT for minors….

Literally the very first hand we played (after starting Polish) was the 2N minor two suiter, but then it didn't show up again …. ever … for literally years …. maybe 60-80 sessions. But we suffered several auctions where it went 1-1M;2N-3N and then opener wondered if he should bid again with 21 or 22. And a few auctions where the opponents competed over 1. Then trying to show 21-21 balanced was rough…we're way behind the 2N openers.

Perhaps the Poles figured out things better, but we decided to keep 2N as a strong opening (and even 1D, sometimes) and not overburden 1C.
Aug. 6, 2018
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There's no one single way to play Polish (at least, not here in the U.S.). For my partnership of 5+ years with Polish..

1. We play 2N opening is 21-22. That means 1-1;2N is 18-20 (or rarely, 23+). We changed after several years of problems because the 2N range is too wide.
2. We recently decided to open 1 with most balanced hands and try to keep 1 unbalanced, but if the points are mainly in diamonds it's allowable.
3. We stretch the 1 opening to include 18-19 HCP hands that are ugly to bid. We play 1-1;3 (or 3) as an ACOL 2 bid…. not strictly forcing. (Similarly 1-1;2M) Hands that want to GF bid 2 in the second round (with 2 as a Herbert Negative and 2 as a positive bid). To do this it helps to know that after 1 responder bids a weak jump shift to 2M with 0-5 HCP and 6+M, so responder is not likely long in a major and weak.
Aug. 6, 2018
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Not everything that works is correct. Recognizing when you got away with one is a big part of improving. I try to explain that to any mentees I have …

As for a fit jump of 3S. Since 4C would be a splinter I assume that 3S would as well. Presumably playing fit jumps you'd bid 3S. (I personally like the idea of fit jumps in this situation, but its a minority position).
July 22, 2018
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For those of you interested in calculating this, google will solve this for you (as long as you can state the problem correctly). The number of bridge hands is 52 choose 13. For “one of each” you have 4 choose 1 (pick one of four aces, which is simply “four”) to the 13th power. So you type “4 ^ 13 / (52 choose 13)” into google and it will solve for you. Thankfully, my answer agrees with above links of 0.000105…. (about 0.01%) and about 9462 to one against.

If you wanted to say “What are the odds of getting all cards lower than a 10” (a yarborough) you would be choosing your hand from a deck of 32 cards, so it would be “(32 choose 13) / (52 choose 13)” …. plug that into google, and voila.

Every now and then I ask google for odds like that (for example, a nine card hand, etc) although stating distributions is a bit trickier than the above examples.
May 19, 2018
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