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All comments by Ian Grant
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There's another way of looking at active ethics; its insurance. Insurance against yourself being ‘tempted’, insurance against your opps getting ‘uptight’ and insurance against TDs making ‘odd’ decisions.
There's mileage in being regarded as an ethical player so that when you do occasionally screw up (and we all do) its not looked upon as “he's at it again”.

For me active ethics starts with a well completed CC; I even take one when its not required (most club nights in the UK). Its my first line of defense when anyone queries our methods.
For years we had a note which said “If we make a penalty double of our opps 1NT we don't let them play in any undoubled contract”. This followed a bad ruling where my partner asked for an explanation of our opps alerted wriggle bid and then passed because she was going to bid one of the suits they were showing. I then doubled the resulting contract and this was wound back to give us an awful score.

There is one area of bidding that I believe is laden with UI possibilities; the opps defense to our weak 1NT opening. So its the first (and sometimes only) thing I find out about our opps methods. That way I can actively avoid a situation that has ethical problems written all over it.
e.g. My partner opens 1NT and my rho bids 2H (may be alerted, may not be!). I ask and am told this shows H+S and I then pass. My lho now bids 2NT which is the final contract. What happens if my partner now leads a spade? I can avoid this by discovering that my opps are playing ppAstro before play starts.
Oct. 21, 2015
Ian Grant edited this comment Oct. 21, 2015
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I have just had a quick look through Paul Mendelson's ‘Control the Bidding’ where he describes this approach (2D waiting, 2H double-negative, other suit bid shows a good 5 card suit) and of course the sequence above isn't considered!

There's obviously 2 options here, yes or no!
If yes then I think 3S should be a slam try and showing a stronger hand than a 4S rebid.
If no then how does opener force if too strong for a 4S rebid?

NF looks great on the odd occasion where you have a complete misfit (say you have a spade void); but I doubt it will be correct often enough.
Oct. 21, 2015
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I don't try to second guess the question setter either; if my normal methods don't work then I either shrug or modify them. (Told you I was a world class shrugger).
Oct. 21, 2015
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Here's a real life example (sadly I was too excited at winning the event to pick up the hand records).

Last round of a multiple team event and we are playing the leaders and favourites for the event, a team of four international players. We manage a 2 imp swing on the first board, and then the crucial hand.

I open 1S, lho bids 2NT (minors), partner bids 3S and rho bids 4D. rho is happy because he has some defence to a spade contract. The auction at the other table is so far identical.

I now bid 4H (natural) and this is passed around to rho who now tanks, eventually says ‘stonking bid’ and puts 5D on the table.

At the other table the bid is 4S because 4H would be a cue bid.

4S makes 9 tricks (4H would make 10) and 5Dx goes for 1400.
Oct. 21, 2015
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I would have bid 4D and not 4C, but definitely bidding 5S now.
Oct. 21, 2015
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I don't think the different cultures approach applies to Bridge (least I hope not). For example in some cultures it is customary to ‘reward’ government officials for doing their job (on the basis that they won't if you don't).

Active ethics is I think something we should aspire to, but mainly in the way we approach the game and issues such as tempo rather than giving ‘over-enthusiastic’ responses to queries.
Oct. 21, 2015
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I think its just a song, a pleasing combination of words and music; it doesn't have to make sense.

I can highly recommend Jennifer Warne's album Famous Blue Raincoat which includes this and some other Cohen songs, sung far better then Leonard can manage.
Oct. 21, 2015
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Talk about the devil being in the detail….

I was more interested in the player's reaction to the story.
Oct. 21, 2015
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Hi Yuan,
against better opponents methods matter however.
They sure do; which is why I play some fairly unusual stuff!

Let's say I'm sat the same way as Kieran Dyke and Michael Byrne for example (recent winners of the Great Northern Swiss Pairs in the UK). Their judgement is probably better than mine, their declarer play is probably better than mine and their defence….
So if I'm playing similar methods who is going to get the better score?

If I play quite different methods then I've got a chance if the cards suit my methods more than they suit theirs. Note that this is a zero risk strategy in a good quality field because I would otherwise be expecting to do badly.

When we play well we often get into the prize money in EBU (and WBU) events so it does work.

MPs or IMPs matters too; you can take bigger risks in MPs events because a bottom is just a bottom.
Oct. 21, 2015
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Several years ago we played a swiss pairs match (7 boards) against a guy who regularly topped the EBU Masterpoint charts each year (sadly, he is no longer with us). We made every contract we bid and held them or took them off in every contract they bid. Every hand was a part score and we were pleased with our performance against a tough pair.

We lost 20-0.

Our opponent was kind enough to tell us why; we hadn't competed enough in the auction. Our bidding strategy changed that day! Now, we rarely let our opps play in anything less than 2S. The sandwich NT is a big part of this strategy, especially if one of our suits is spades.
.eg. p-(1D)-p-(1H)-1NT-(x)-2S….

All the 1NT promises is 4-4 in the other two suits and less than opening values; I'll bid it on as few as 5 points in the right circumstances. Partner will usually raise to the level of the fit. I'll let the opps pick the bones out of it.
Oct. 21, 2015
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Looks like you have too many gadgets to choose from! :-¿
From your options the natural 3D looks like a solid start.
Oct. 21, 2015
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The trouble with playing 1NT as strong in this position is that you only get a suitable hand once every blue moon. That may be fine for imps but at MPs its a wasted opportunity.
Oct. 21, 2015
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Perhaps we should be suspicious of any pair whose results playing together are in another league to those when they play with others. Particularly if they are playing something unusual or which experts think is ‘unplayable’.

(That's me in the dock then!)
Oct. 20, 2015
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We've done that once but we had to give it back.
Oct. 20, 2015
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In the UK we can submit suggestions for House of Commons debates via a government website.

After 10,000 signatures, petitions get a response from the government.

After 100,000 signatures, petitions are considered for debate in Parliament.

Various methods are used to publicise petitions.
Oct. 20, 2015
Ian Grant edited this comment Oct. 20, 2015
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3H level of fit; hoping to silence the opps.
I can't imagine that pass will buy you the contract.
Oct. 20, 2015
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My agreement is that 1NT only promises a stop in suits bid on my right so that doesn't help here.
If 1C can be short then X looks like the only option.
If 1C is natural then I hope I'm playing inverted raises in a competitive auction.
Oct. 20, 2015
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“so pick one you and your partner like and can have fun with. ”
Best advice ever.
Oct. 20, 2015
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My answer was low from Qxxx but second from Jxxx; and then I saw the ‘Robinson’ approach about leading to an empty dummy and thought “I like that”.
Oct. 20, 2015
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I'm definitely passing 3D on the first board, how many times am I going to bid this mediocre hand? Partner still has a bid…
Oct. 20, 2015
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