Join Bridge Winners
All comments by David Burn
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Muller's calculation and explanation can scarcely be improved upon as a combination of math and folksiness.

To see how far away you are from being a real mathematician, compare and contrast https://www2.stetson.edu/%7Eefriedma/papers/bridge/bridge.html">this, which is how they do it.

Pseudocode for the actual problem:

Answer = 0
For b from 1 to 35
Temp = (35 choose b) * (3^(b-1))
Answer = Answer + Temp
Next b
Answer = (Answer*4) + 1
Print Answer

Surely someone with access to Wolfram or whatever can produce the actual number. Where's Kurt when we need him?
9 hours ago
David Burn edited this comment 9 hours ago
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Oh, go on. I bet it’s at least 320.
10 hours ago
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No. We want a director call every time declarer thinks for ten seconds and the defence therefore gets it wrong.
21 hours ago
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I see - that 96% board was in some other event. Not that it matters - a spiral scan bidder is captain in any event.
Feb. 21
David Burn edited this comment Feb. 21
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You're quite sure there wasn't a fifth variant, where East at the other table led the seven which held the trick?
Feb. 21
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Maybe there's a reason partner appointed himself captain. This was a matchpoint event. Perhaps he knew he was missing a key card, but wanted to play 6NT facing K and 6 otherwise. (Even at IMPs, such a consideration could apply.) I'm not going to make up a hand, because you'd just accuse me of absurdity and cherry-picking.

Then, he might indeed take some time to work out whether he could afford 5 - might his partner be someone like RJF, who would cross him up by jumping to a grand at once? Or might his partner be someone like Kit Woolsey, who would cross him up by bidding a grand after a 5NT denial and a 6 sign-off?

As I say, people tend to rule far too often on the side of the UI users, because people who are polled don't have the time or the inclination to think about this kind of thing.

“5 is a try for a grand slam, and…”

No, it isn't. 5 is an enquiry made by the man in charge of the auction. 6 is a sign-off made by the man in charge of the auction. And you bid seven. You genius, you.
Feb. 21
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No, no. Partner is captain of the auction. You’re not supposed to leap to seven instead of following the spiral scan mechanism.

That is, until he transfers captaincy to you by signing off slowly, of course.
Feb. 21
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That is sometimes true. The other day someone had AQxxxxx facing Jxxx. The bidding had given him some reason to think about finessing, so he did a lot of thinking and then led towards the AQ and next hand played the king. He was wasting time there, no doubt - he could lead low, see the ten, and then think with no chance of misleading anyone.

But this case is not that case. From trick 0.25 declarer knew that it would go club, club, {maybe heart}, club, diamond. While all of that was going on, he had plenty of time.
Feb. 21
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If three of West’s clubs had been spades, he would have found a different opening bid. Still, Kevin has a point. Maybe 5 wasn’t as bad as some of the other contributions.
Feb. 21
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If his partner happened to have xxx Qx KQxx AKJx, perhaps he might later reflect after going down in five that his hand really wasn’t “far too strong” to play in four. But I am generally a pessimistic bidder.

What I am also pessimistic about is that far too many people in this kind of position actively look for reasons to do what the UI suggests, instead of reasons not to. UI is a Bad Thing, and this is not the way to get rid of it.
Feb. 21
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But he didn’t transfer and jump to four of his own major (as I might have done with his hand). He transferred to his major and then bid Blackwood. That doesn’t deny shortage.

Indeed, contrary to Kit I would consider it impossible for partner to have other than a singleton club. He doesn’t appear to have a spade control. How many more uncontrolled suits should he have to bid Blackwood?
Feb. 21
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When did he do that?
Feb. 20
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You deny K. Partner bids a swift 6 and says “Your lead” to his RHO. There is a 100% chance that if you had shown K he would have bid, or at any rate continued to investigate, seven. When you denied it, he doesn't want to be in seven whatever else you have.

You deny K. Partner bids 6 in tempo. There is whatever chance you think there is that your long clubs and K will be enough for seven anyway. Maybe 50%. Maybe 75%. I don't know and I don't care.

You deny K. Partner bids a slow and reluctant 6. There is a 100% chance you have enough for seven.

In the first case, the only legal (and ethical) option open to you is to bid seven. If you make it, sometimes there are other rewards than virtue for being virtuous.

In the third case, the only legal (and ethical) option open to you is to pass. If you don't make seven, see above.

In the second case, you can do what you like. Whether it worked well for you or badly, your reputation for virtue remains unblemished (or at any rate no more blemished than before).

I'm not trying to pinpoint a dividing line between moderately and highly unlikely. I'm just being careful not to take any advantage of UI. In particular, I will not take advantage of the absurd rule that says: if I do what the UI suggested; and enough people dashing out of the playing area to catch the last train home say they'd have done it anyway; then I get to keep my ill-gotten result.
Feb. 20
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Quite so. For example, in Monopoly we could tolerantly let someone pass Go on the way to jail. Or in chess, we could tolerantly let someone move a bishop sideways.

Games work to the extent that their rules are clear, easy to enforce, and consistently enforced. Since the rules of bridge are none of those, it does not work. But the remedy is clarity and enforcement, not tolerance.
Feb. 20
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Applies in analogous situations - the player in Vilamoura who was supposed to play a slow king from AK was Stuart Tredinnick.
Feb. 20
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“You should play in tempo.”

“Shan't. Not going to. Not perfect. Only human.”

“You should play marbles.”

Sure, none of us always does the right thing. But it's not too much to expect that a world-class professional player is capable of thinking “I'll lead a diamond from dummy and play the queen (or the nine) if RHO plays low.”

Bridge is a great game, but there is a lot wrong with it. Much of what is wrong with it could be right if people would actually make an effort to do certain things better. Not perfectly, just better. Claiming with a proper statement. Disclosing your methods properly despite foolish regulations. Not breaking tempo in tempo-sensitive situations. Not thinking when you have, or should have, nothing to think about (because you've done some advance planning). That kind of thing.

But people don't. We've been making sloppy claims for years and relying on the TD to give us tricks we might not have taken. if the foolish regulations don't say we have to tell people what we play, we don't. We dither all the time and rely on the (amazingly awful) rules to get us out of trouble because none of our dithering “demonstrably” suggests anything. When we lead a card from dummy and second hand plays low, the shock of this totally unforeseen development means we need a time out to recover and replan the play.

And so on, and so forth. Keep bridge alive? We could start by not killing it.
Feb. 20
David Burn edited this comment Feb. 20
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Not sure my example was all that absurd - at least I'm not bidding Blackwood with two uncontrolled suits. Sure, a pair might have a better way to bid 5-6 in the majors, but it might not; if you don't like it, change it to Qxxx AKJxxxx A x where seven is still poor.

At any rate, this:

“Granted one can construct hands which partner might hold where pass is successful, when he can't hold these hands in light of the UI. But the existence of such hands doesn't make pass a LA. It simply makes pass a possible winning action.”

is to an extent self-contradictory. If partner might have hands where bidding seven will lose, then not bidding seven is logical unless those hands are highly unlikely. If the tempo of partner's 6 reduces the chance that he has such a hand from “moderate” to "low” then bidding seven is illegal.

I don't really care why we have polls. I care that we have them, because I think we should not have them. But as long as we do have them, they should not consist of three members of the appeals committee at least one of whom didn't want to be there in the first place. (Not that I have anything but sympathy for Csaba - I too have sat on too many committees instead of bar stools in my time.)
Feb. 20
David Burn edited this comment Feb. 20
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Indeed it was, as both Esko and I remarked, But it was an analogously absurd ruling.
Feb. 20
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Part of one's training to become a good solid player consists in not bidding Blackwood when there is a suit in which you lack second-round control. Maybe South thought that having two such suits was an exception to this principle.
Feb. 19
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Well, you might try thinking “if he plays X I will do Y, otherwise I will do Z”. Once your thinking has reached this highly advanced level of sophistication you might even imagine three possible lines.
Feb. 19
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