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All comments by David Yates
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I always get hands like: A9x / xx / Kxx / KJ10xx and I have no good options. If you flipped the minors, it would be an easy 1C -1D. 2S is not exactly be a puppet back to 2NT, more like a rnage check. Opener would rebid 2NT with a min and 3C+ with an accept. 3C+ caters to partner needing to play 3NT (think: xx / Axx / QJx / AQ10xx).

BTW, another consideration is crafting sequences is whether your 2C response - since it would be GF, could contain a 4CM. Since you still need to look. (Mine wouldn’t)
Sept. 16, 2013
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The limit of Michael Kopera's apparently substantial bridge knowledge apparently lies somewhere between the Sharple's Bros. and the Tahoe 2D bid - whatever the heck that is.
Sept. 16, 2013
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Protecting Newer Players:

You cannot protect them from themselves. The game does not get better with silly restrictions any more than baby-proofing improves your living room for adults. It is fine to have a kiddy pool. But make mine deep enough to swim in. Don’t take away my diving board because you want to play nanny to someone else.

This is how you protect new & less experienced players: you educate them. From yesterday at the club:

Last round, and I cannot wait to leave. But we have two terribly slow newbies eventually getting to our table. The kind who spend 5 minutes explaining it is not their fault they are late and you have to finally thank them and ask them to pick up their hand.

My partner opens 3D all white. My RHO-Newb doubles. I bid 4D on balanced junk with K-D. LHO-Newb goes into the tank for about 45 seconds before passing. It goes back to the doubler, who now finds a 4H call on: A8765 / AK653 / – / xxx. And, no - since they are newbs, I am never calling the TD. It goes around to my pard, who now bids 5D. P-P-5H holding: KQJ / J92 / A93 / KJ92. This is cold, but declarer starts the J-H from dummy and my pard discards. They get tapped out and go -3. (Which is another reason why TD calls against newbs are pointless).

After the hand, they were flustered because they did not know what to do. I never bothered even mentioning the massive tank. There are not even to that point yet. LHO-Newb was saying she wanted to do something, but she had no bid over 4D. I told her she just has not learned it yet. I said: “you will find that often, when you want to bid but don’t know what to bid, the answer is ‘double’." She at first thought she was doubling her partner(!) I told them that they should talk to the management of the club. They have classes. Afterwards, they did just that and were happy to see that they could learn more about this game.

“There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.” - Socrates
Sept. 16, 2013
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Wow, “the Proz”. Henry, none of this stuff could be used in ACBL play without fighting to get approval - what they did approve. Gene is dead and his bidding idea is dead too. Because it still illegal. (But I like it).

And one STILL cannot play relay systems in ACBL-land. Developing theoretical stuff has very little value unless one can actually test in in real play.

Just because the ACBL decided to be like the US Govt during Prohibition and ban stuff people wanted, does not mean that others did not keep running stills and try to cook up some stuff on their own. That we have anything besides Stayman is a testament to people's ingenuity, not the ACBL's own dis-ingeniousness and constant attempts to “close The Patent Office”.

BTW, a very nice presentation on Walsh.

When Richard Walsh first started developing these ideas in the ‘60s, the ACBL (after they f-i-n-a-l-l-y gave convention approval) required that players ‘alert’.

This was part of the first wave of annoying and pointless alerts - the other main one being alerting ‘negative doubles’. All the auctions starting with 1C would require alerts for “Walsh pairs”. And many players adopted the idea - it is quite useful.

Eventually, the ACBL took ‘Walsh’ off the alert list. What is ironic to me is that nowadays, most of the newer players are not taught “Walsh” and many have no idea what it is. But now they do not have the alerts! So where exactly is all the harm? Either we have transvestites being perpetrated against novices nowadays, or the ACBL was just too hyper-conservative.

But you are correct that about “a tough assignment”. Not easy, this ACBL mission to make this world a safer place for the ignorant :)

Once at a meal tourney break hashing out results, someone at the table remarked that they didn’t understand my auction. Bob Heitzman said: “their 2NT in competition is ‘European Style’ it shows a 4-card raise in the major”. I had to correct him. I said: “that was invented here in America, right in the good old US of A, like about THIRTY years ago by moi! I just could not play it!”

We’d have a lot more stuff if the ACBL actually let people apply their thinking.
Sept. 16, 2013
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“What Barry says”.

The Rodwell mod is a big improvement. First, one does not want to use a low level response for a fairly infrequent hand pattern. The specific frequency for =4441 is ~.75% and the chances it is a NT shape even adjusting for not 1C opening (if std) is probably 20 times greater.

Secondly, it allows 2S to be used as a GI+. This is very important if 1D-2C is not GF. And if we are going to game, we can decide which hand might want to declare 3NT.

You did not mention whether 1D-2C was F1 or GF. (I do hate the later treatment). In std, I like to play 1D-2C; 2D could be =4441 min (because who cares?) and 3D is exactly that shape with at least GF values. This leaves 2NT open for the big NT (18-19) or semi-bal hands of equivalent strength (4252 / 2263 etc).

A 3NT rebid is best reserved for a med-range “tricks” hand with no club interest IMO. (KJ / Q10x / AKQxxxx / x) I want room to explore with bigger hands. If the opener rebids 2D and then shows a very good hand, he either has an open M suit or a singleton.
Sept. 16, 2013
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Oh, My mentioning Hamman was strictly in terms of his conventional preferences. That is one reason why it was the second post. (Back to the thread). Hamman does not whine.

Hamman is the toughest dude at the bridge table. Total warrior mentality. He is also the winningest player of all time. The man has more seeding points than most of the TEAMS entering the Spingold.

Next, neither your point, nor my point can be proven. We lost because we got beat. Even if the ACBL not been so draconian about bidding, I cannot prove we would have been able to bid better. And you cannot prove we would not have.

What is certain is that bidding theory in the US basically stagnated. Henry Bethe had some really interesting comments on how different systems were related and evolved. Notice how ideas that had been around here were picked up and expanded by other players in other countries. Meanwhile, the ACBL was happy to see diversity and evolution die.

Bidding development is a form of research and development. We spend lots of time and resources doing medical R&D. And we do this despite the fact that no one can know for certain that any benefit or cures will be found.

But we do know that not looking to improve is irrational.

A former head of the US Patent Office was said to have remarked (and no one can prove that he actually did) that: “everything that can be invented, has been invented”.

That remark more likely first made by the ACBL - just before they published all their restrictions on thought.

To support my (unprovable) premise, I offer Pietro Forquet, Who once remarked: “we could not have beaten four Howard Shenkens”. Howard is very much on record that the American bidding systems of that era were antiquated and inadequate.

Sept. 16, 2013
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I agree Mike. However, regarding 9 points for Prec 1D

GCC Allowed: (#1)

ONE CLUB OR ONE DIAMOND may be used as an all-purpose opening bid (artificial or natural) promising a minimum of 10 high-card points

GCC Disallowed: (#6)

Opening one bids which by partnership agreement could show fewer than 8 HCP. (Not applicable to a psych.)

The statement someone made about “opening 1D Prec on 9 HCP is illegal” is not technically correct. The bid has to PROMISE 10 under GCC. We also did not make an “illegal opening bid” when we opened 1NT on 14 points and our CC card said 15-17. As long as partner plays us for 15 and puts us in game with 10, this is called “bridge”. Sometimes, TDs do not know what that is.

Also, note that the 9 point holding would have nothing to do with whether the bid was standard or Precision because the “allowed” parameters make no distinction. The psych restrictions prohibit psyching artificial opening bids under disallowed and the Prec 1D call is 2+. ACBL definition for ‘natural’ is 3-cards for a minor.
Sept. 16, 2013
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I do not subscribe to Mr Bruno’s underlying premise that amateurs are somehow more pure than professionals.

What matters is a person’s state of mind. Certainly, money can be a corrupting influence. But it does not have to corrupt. And more importantly, it is not the only corrupting influence. If you look at the seven deadly sins list, besides avaritia (greed) we have acedia, ira, invidia and superbia that could effect either pros or ams.

In a competitive venture, the ideal mindset is described by “the Samurai Prayer”: Today is a good day to die. This is not a death wish. It simply attests that the true warrior is unconcerned about the outcome of the battle that he fights. Only that he fights - and by that action lives life - to the fullest.

Congratulations to Mr Bruno on having been able to represent our country. But I detect a bit of invidia (envy) regarding professionals. Perhaps a bit of ira (wrath). In any event, a warrior should not care against whom he must fight. If you think the pros are the enemy, you will fail. You are not there to overcome pros. You are there to overcome yourself. And the better your ‘adversary’, the better your chance to do just that.

It is a little naive to believe “anyone” achieves the goal with just hard work. That is the most important ingredient. But it is not the only ingredient. One must find worthy adversaries and proper training conditions.. If one does not have the resources to go to hire teachers and coaches and go to tournaments then one pursues one’s dream at too slow a pace.

I know that if I hit the powerball, I will become bridge’s newest sponsor. Money is only a tool. Tools help make things possible.
Sept. 15, 2013
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Anyway . . . (now that I got that out of my system)

Thanks for the history details Henry,

None of the Blue Team’s system could be played in ACBL-land when I started. While Ace’s Scientific got coverage b/c of the book, I believe other ‘Aces’ pairs played “Orange Club” & “Black Club” Systema. Hamman - who may be the only player in history thus far that should be ranked ahead of the three ‘Blue’ players you named - has always been a bit of a mad scientist in the system department.

So, to get away from “whispering campaigns” and back on track with this thread, the point I wanted to make is that if you cannot outplay your opponents, you will need to outbid them.

We never got back into top contention in the international arena armed with SAYC.
Sept. 15, 2013
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Yes, I am quite aware of these aspersions. I was there for whiny Al Roth, rambling at his HOF induction like some cranky, half-brained, crazy old coot. Up at the podium, droning on endlessly and almost incoherently, complaining about ‘the cheating Italians’.

There is absolutely nothing worse than casting unsubstantiated aspersions. I hate this decades old, loud whispering campaign by a bunch of whiny losers.

Garozzo absolutely buried the American players (& everyone else) in the Pamp Par Contest in 1990. By a Secretariat Belmont-like winning margin. He is now, what, 86 years old? Just finished 2nd in the last European Championships. (Unlike our championships, they actually play all of theirs behinds screens. They go out and buy plywood).

Read Shenken’s autobiography. The Italian Blue team once gave their gold medals to the Americans in recognition for how well they thought the US played. Howard wrote that the Blue Team said they felt they were outplayed and were only lucky to win. Cheaters don’t do things like that. That was one of the greatest acts of sportsmanship in history. Does it get any play in American columns? No. Because the Americans had to try to justify being LOSERS!!

Yes, we caught red-footed, two guys (Facchini-Zucchelli), who were NEVER part of the Blue Team run, playing footsie in Guarujá. We were so clever! Unfortunately, nothing could be conclusively proven. Something might well have been going on, but Alfred Sheinwold who was the Chief Code & Cipher Expert for the OSS could not find anything specifically damning. And here is the funny part, we just should have just left it alone. From the ACBL website: “ it was only after they (F-Z) had been benched at the request of Benito Garozzo and Giorgio Belladonna that Italy staged an ‘impossible’ rally to retain the world title.”

In hindsight, perhaps the USA should have insisted F-Z be in the lineup. :)

In any event, if an American player made these accusations against an American pair, that they feel free to level nilly-willy at Garozzo, Belladonna, Forquet & Co, they’d be dragged before a C&E Committee and reprimanded at a very minimum.

America is supposed to be about ‘justice’. So equal protection is what? Just BS? Because if you are barred from making these claims about an American, but are free to do so against foreign players - well, that just makes us hypocrites. And when these LOSERS DON’T EVEN HAVE THE BALLS to name names, but would rather hide in the shadows and call them “The Italians” so that they can tar an ENTIRE COUNTRY then that is, in my view shameful.

And it is antithetical to the American ideal of justice and innocent until proven guilty. All this BS whispers crap is anti-American. Pure and simple.

But hey, feel free to beat your chest and proudly proclaim that we are INNOCENT & PURE! Well, maybe just our bridge players. (The ones we haven’t barred as cheats or just let back in after we caught them). Maybe our cyclists used EPO to win a few Tour de Frances. We sure complained about those Soviet-block athletes. But our track & field guys & gals never used drugs. JJK was as pure as. . .sorry bad example. And our baseball players never use PEDS. Bond’s head was that big from his ego, not HGH. They never corked bats or scuffed balls. Our football players never used steroids. And this article in the paper TODAY about basketball players shaving points for cocaine - well, that cannot be. We are Americans.

We are pure. Just ask us. We have standards. We just don’t think it applies to anyone else.

Truth, justice & the American way. Truth is what we claim it to be. Justice is how I should be treated and not you. And the American way is all too often hypocrisy.

You know who is a class act? Ernie Banks. Great ball player. Always played hard. Never won a championship.

And he never whined like a little girl.
Sept. 15, 2013
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do you realize that divided by the 167,840 members, that represents OVER 2.38 cents per member?

Well, I always toss in my two cents and a little extra. But don't go spending that all in one place!
Sept. 15, 2013
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Re: Pro / Am & signs.

Using the podium for statements unrelated to the purpose of the event is completely boneheaded. But it has nothing to do with whether the statement is valid or specious. The underlying fact is the time and place is inappropriate. (** see end note) It would be like me posting my views on Syria on

However, there is no inherent linkage between that sort of behavior and whether someone is a ‘pro’ or an ‘amateur’. Case in point: Tommy Smith & John Carlos were amateurs. And so was Peter Norman who was wearing an OPHR badge at the Olympics in ‘68.

In fact, I would judge that it would be more likely a professional would act, well professionally. And an amateur would be more likely to act, well, amateurish. Simply because the professional is financially dependent on sponsors and the amateur does not care about the money. It costs pros to make political statements. It does not cost an amateur.

Does anyone think M.J. would done something like make a black power salute during the “Dream Team” medal ceremony? His shoes would have cancelled in a second. Due to low demand, too. Actually, M.J. just used the American Flag to cover the Rebox logo. Other than being an American (and Nike) Icon, no one has any idea if MJ even votes. Because if you make your living from the sponsorship of others, smart people keep their political views to themselves.

So ‘Bonehead moves' has nothing to do with pro/am status.

*** end note - because this part of Shanghai is relevant to two other bw threads (Visa/Immigryatin!)

If a country like Indonesia wanted to take the view that: “we do not like her politics” in denying a visa to a member of the USA Women’s Venice Cup team, it becomes difficult to decry this as “unfair because the game should be above politics”, when in fact, it was our very own Venice Cup team that used this very same event to make a political comment.
Sept. 15, 2013
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Just some 6cm. Your point about 15s is good. With stiff K they often play worse and are worthy of a ‘downgrade’. 15 is almost 44% of the hands.
Sept. 15, 2013
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I stand corrected Henry, apparently the ACBL just hated the fact that my grandma played Vanderbilt Club.

Note that really silly restrictions that totally choked off development of bidding theory in the US corresponded with years and years of futility in international play. I know the players made other excuses for not winning because I have heard them all. And you know what? History is worse when it is written by the losers. Before losing to the Italians, we lost to England in ‘55, France in ‘56, then Italy forever until we lost to Taiwan in ‘69.

The difference is that Europe needs to be more accommodating to methods because each country has its own governing authority and practices. The ACBL governing this game in “the land of the free and the home of the brave” likes to dictate to players, restrict freedom of thought and cater to the chickens.

None of that is, or has ever been, in the long term interest of the game.
Sept. 15, 2013
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The ACBL might have guidelines regarding whether it is natural or artificial.

I remember Bobby Baldwin once came to the poker table with some eye candy on his arm that would have prevented any guy from seeing Baldwin’s hand had he played his cards face up. I think the technical term is “winning pair”.
Sept. 15, 2013
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Using the following assumptions:
15-17 1NT
No 5CM (b/c I am picky about it, so I tossed out for ease)*
Traditional shapes (4432/4333/5m332), plus
6 card minor OK - if so=bad suit, no dble < Qx and no stiff
45 pattern OK but not 4S (ez rebid with spades)*
Stiff K (only) with 4x1 or 1345 if not 4S or 5M

In 17,416,184 deals, I had:
20,000 occurrences of stiff K in 875,629 1NT openings,
for a frequency of 0.02284

If you open 1NT occ with 5CM and some 42(52) hands (I do with some, but not a lot) the 1NT frequency is higher and the stiff K is therefore a bit lower. Maybe just 2.2% :)
Sept. 14, 2013
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Some valid points. If partner could have 54M for 1S (no Rev-F) responses, 1D could be a disaster. What happens on these hands is that any choice could be more hazardous or less depending on a pair’s methods. It is better that a player decide what risks to take because that is what the game is all about. Its not about having a regulating authority tell us how to think.
Sept. 14, 2013
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What a great story. And hopefully, mom was not in contention while you were out of it :)

People have to lighten up about these things. If a player makes a good play and they ‘get you’ that is part of the game. Here, we have some stick-in-the-muds making a TD call on the first hand. A hand that I am still trying to find a reason not to open 1NT.

I usually try to find something else with stiff Ks because my partner always transfers me into that suit. Last week, I opened an 18 count with stiff K-S / Qxx 1NT because I hated having to rev into diamonds on bad minor suit quality. LHO (X) as one-suited and partner transferred me into spades. LHO led the K-H and partner’s first tabled card was a stiff H. So I thought: “great, LHO has hearts”. I figured trumps might break and with K opposite Jxxxx I tried to draw trumps. RHO discarded on the second trump! So I went off extra for -400, but thankfully they could make game in hearts and I got field protection even at the club.

So yeah, it was a 1NT opening. Isn’t that obvious?
Sept. 14, 2013
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Poker is also about trying to separate a fool from his money. Nevertheless, there are ethical standards for poker. For example: No string bets. No marking cards. No player collusion. I should also point out that the traditional methods for enforcing these ethics are a bit more stringent in poker than in our game of bridge. Scoring adjustments can be back alley beatdowns preceding an adjustment of that player’s entire bankroll. Barrings - particularly in the old West - might often be permanent and physically irrevocable.

Ethical issues between the two games are not always comparable. Poker is you versus the table. Bridge is pair vs pair or team vs team. However, note that player collusion is a serious offense in poker. And since bridge is one partnership versus another partnership - any table action that is authorized information for one pair, is virtually guaranteed to become unauthorized for the other. Both games need to control player collusion and UI or the very nature of the game is corrupt.

This is why the appropriate player behavior in bridge is always towards neutral - players are expected to act as if no problem exists. In bridge, we need to keep a poker face!
Sept. 14, 2013
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Some score adjustments in team play fall under L86. Average IMP scores, substitute boards, nonbalancing adjustments in KOs and such. I simply meant to mention as a side point, that not every score adjustment in every bridge scenario is addressed by L12.

Looking at my post now, perhaps my sideline tangent was too nonspecific. It would have been better for me to write:

Law12 applies in this case. (In some other situations - such as team play - Law 86 might apply).
Sept. 14, 2013

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