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All comments by Brian Callaghan
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The play -

North won the opening spade lead with a rather revealing queen (the ace would have left me in more doubt about the location of the rounded suit honours). North led back a straightforward singleton heart and South did not cover my 9. I now had the entries to ruff two spades and not have to worry about the club position, although the clubs were OK for me on any sensible line. Contract made.

If North had started by winning the spade ace and returned a double-dummy trump, I might have gone down.
April 22, 2017
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In the event, my partner did double 2, North passed, and I had to choose my action on the East holding.

I think the discussion on the difference between an agreement and bridge logic was interesting. As far as I knew, we had no agreement. This is how I reasoned -

South action hadn't looked, at the time, as if 1 were unintentional—there wasn't any mechanical problem with the way he put his bid on the table. (Seeing South's hand afterwards, it's obvious South intended to support spades, but it seems to me that he lost concentration and did so with a 1 bid instead of a 2 bid.) So I thought that partner would have had the option to double 1 had she wished. If partner had a relatively poor double and our side was in trouble (imagine I had the dreaded 4=3=3=3 shape and North redoubled), then we would potentially be playing a doubled contract a level lower. So I thought partner would have a full value double (even if in retrospect some of this information might have been unauthorized) and had no hesitation in cueing 3. We wound our way to a precarious 5.

At the break, I rather unkindly suggested that partner had forgotten to double 1. She wasn't amused, and didn't share my opinion that doubling 1 was the obvious action with her holding.
April 22, 2017
Brian Callaghan edited this comment April 22, 2017
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If my partner had been up to speed on law 9, she might have refused to take any action over 1-corrected-to-2, telling North, “The tournament director should be called.”

North might then reply, “Why don't you call him then?”

To which she could say, “Your side caused the problem. Why don't you call him?”

I appreciate that it would have been a really good idea to call a director, but this was not a regular duplicate evening, and the club manager, who would normally have given a ruling, was not expected in the club until later in the evening. We were somewhat in the position of what the EBU (we were playing in England) calls a match played privately. We could have telephoned someone for a ruling, or asked someone competent playing in another match for a ruling. Unfortunately the only people I would have regarded as really competent were our teammates. Or we could have left the board until the club manager arrived later, hopefully before we changed opponents at half time.
April 22, 2017
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Thanks, everyone, for your illuminating comments. This was the complete deal

……….. (North) AKQ82 2 J76 J984

(West) 7 AJT4 KT43 QT63 … (East) T54 K96 AQ85 A75

……….. (South) J963 Q8753 92 K2

I was East. My partner was West
April 22, 2017
Brian Callaghan edited this comment April 22, 2017
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Ah, yes - Law 9. Hadn't thought of that. It says the director should be summoned, but not by whom (so still no obligation on our side in particular to call the director). And it says that, after attention is drawn to an irregularity, no player shall take any action until the director has explained the players' rights. Looks like our side was in breach of this (as well as the other side).
April 21, 2017
Brian Callaghan edited this comment April 21, 2017
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My phrase starting “on the assumption” in the article was shorthand for “if we had called the director, I did not think he would have ruled that South's 1 was unintended”. The bid was placed on the table with (a kind of comic) solemnity. We, East and West, did not in fact call the director. (I don't think we were obliged to.) My idea of what constitutes an unintended call is something like South plucking a bunch of bids from the box and 1 fluttering onto the table while he still has a grasp on other bids.
April 21, 2017
Brian Callaghan edited this comment April 21, 2017
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Well, I only know what I would do. The poll is an effort to find out what others would. To me the 1 response looked as if it were intended. (The current laws allow a change if the call was unintended and “without pause for thought”. I don't see that wording in the 2017 laws.) In any case, a double of 1 is authorized information for our side even if South is allowed to change his call to 2, so there is no particular need to double 2 as well.
April 21, 2017
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Yes. The “sorry” from South does suggest that his 1 was not intended as an opening bid.
April 21, 2017
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That's a possible director ruling. Maybe you should assume, for the purposes of answering, that South intended to bid 2, but that you were quick enough to get your call onto the table before any attempt at correction.
April 21, 2017
Brian Callaghan edited this comment April 21, 2017
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So much for booking a hotel near the (original) venue. The best laid plans…
April 13, 2017
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Agree with Julian. There is a link to a flyer on the EBL website — http://www.eurobridge.org/Data/Sites/1/media/documents/Montecatini%20Ad%20Open2017.pdf — which mentions the Congress Centre but not the Palavinci.

I've booked myself into the Hotel San Marco in Viale Rosselli, which looks as if it is close to the Congress Centre.
April 4, 2017
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The seventh edition says:

BREAK. The distribution of outstanding cards in a suit in a manner favorable to declarer. This may imply that a suit was divided evenly or nearly so, or that an adversely held honor was positioned so that it did not develop into a winning trick. The term “break” is also used to indicate the actual distribution of cards outstanding in the suit; or with the adjective “bad” to indicate unfavorable distribution from the declarer’s standpoint. In most contexts, “split” may be used as a synonym for “break,” both as a noun and a verb: “The suit split (or broke) badly (or well).” “There was a bad split (or break) in spades.”
Jan. 5, 2017
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And there I was waiting for the headline, “Race to the SWIFT on this occasion”. It doesn't really make sense with MOSSO substituted. I look forward to the hands.
Oct. 19, 2016
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No doubt the bidding space is equally valuable whatever the bid means. What I was getting at is that transfers and forcing Stayman are diametrically opposed approaches. One upside to forcing Stayman, as far as I can see, is that it permits a forcing pass when the opponents come in. On the other hand it means the opponents know they are trying to pre-empt and might come in on hands they otherwise would not. I'm still in the shapist camp as opposed to the strengthist (Note to non-anglophones: I don't think these are real English words.)
Oct. 17, 2016
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Let's hope his teammates in the trials prove to be adequate.
Oct. 17, 2016
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From a transfer/relay perspective, Stayman variants look argumentative.

Using transfers:
1NT (a relay - tell me what suits you have) - 2 (I have hearts) - 2 (another relay - tell me more)

Using forcing Stayman:
1NT (a relay) - 2 (I don't want to tell you what suits I have - I would rather use valuable bidding space with my own relay to say I want to play in game)
Oct. 17, 2016
Brian Callaghan edited this comment Oct. 17, 2016
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I was a subscriber to Bridge Today in its printed incarnation, so I would have read the series, but I have to admit my memory of it is pretty hazy now.
Oct. 17, 2016
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I answered “a poor convention but not the worst”. You could have put the same poll about non-forcing Stayman and I would have answered the same. When my more flexible partners agree to play my methods, I avoid Stayman entirely and use the Tell Principle for all responses to a 1NT opening. Whether or not it is worth using 2 as something other than Stayman in absolute terms, the opponents' reactions provide me with plenty of entertainment.
Oct. 16, 2016
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I play the good 5 of a minor meaning with Chris, my wife. I think neither of us has ever opened it. Where we live, in Acol-land, the 4NT specific aces opening is the default meaning as far as I am aware. The benefit is that since we do not use the specific ace meaning, we are unable, as so many others do, to misuse it either.
July 28, 2016
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“An ignored upside of opening 1nt (and particularly opening it a lot) is that responder gets control of the auction without having to disclose their shape much if at all.”

I have a bidding-philosophy disagreement with the above. The way I view it, an ignored upside of opening a natural 1NT, whatever the strength, is that it does not show a suit.

So the ideal auction to 3NT is simply 1NT-3NT. It makes the defenders' job hard. If the partnership is to play in something other than 3NT, then one of the partners has to show a suit. To preserve the advantage of opener not having shown a suit, it should be responder who shows any suit first, so that if the final contract becomes 3NT, opener has not leaked unnecessary information to the defenders.

My preference is methods that have just responder doing suit-showing in the early auction so that opener can make an informed choice of where to play. Transfers work very well in this respect; traditional Stayman does not. Puppet Stayman works a lot better. But Puppet Stayman and similar methods mean that responder can't offer a choice between the majors at the 2-level, so the stronger the 1NT opening the more attractive Puppet Stayman methods become.

(Traditional Stayman is the prototype of relay methods in which responder tries to find out as much as possible about the 1NT opener's shape. I'm not keen on these and prefer methods in which the initial relay is effectively the 1NT opening and it is responder who progressively reveals more shape.)
July 28, 2016
Brian Callaghan edited this comment July 28, 2016
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