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All comments by Kit Woolsey
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When I am declarer, I routinely ask the opponents about their leads and signals as the dummy is coming down. I do so even if I was just declarer the previous hand. I believe any declarer who fails to determine the carding methods of the opponents does so at his own risk.

Yes, we do tell the opponents about our carding methods at the beginning of a match. The opening leader will also try to tell declarer about the trick 1 suit-preference signal after the play has been made, although often declarer will have played from his hand before this can be done. Obviously we can't say anything before third hand has played, as there would be danger of having apparently given UI.

When Steve Robinson and I started playing upside-down count and attitude signals in the late 1970's, we were virtually the only American pair to be playing these. In addition to whatever technical advantages UDCA might have, there is no question that we had a great practical advantage due to the unfamiliarity of the method. The opposing declarer invariably failed to card optimally, even when they knew what we were playing. Today, with probably a majority of pairs playing UDCA, this wouldn't be an issue. It is totally a question of familiarity.
2 hours ago
!hs
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Partner can have anything he wants. I have limited and described my hand, and he is in charge of the auction. Obviously I will initially bid under the assumption that he has some hearts, but if I raise hearts and he goes elsewhere that is his business and it is not my job to take him back to hearts.
6 hours ago
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It is clear from partner's heart discard that declarer has a 4-card heart suit, since partner would never discard a heart from any 4-card holding. This makes declarer's shape 4-4-4-1. It is also clear that declarer's diamond holding is KJxx, since without the jack of diamonds declarer would not have discarded a diamond and given up on picking up Jxxx in partner's hand.

A heart return may look right, but I'm not so sure. Picture declarer with AQxx QJxx KJxx x. Declarer can develop a heart trick, but he doesn't know that and has chosen to instead go after spades. A heart return will put him on the right track.

I would return a diamond. This leaves declarer free to continue trying to set a second spade trick, which will be great for the defense.
8 hours ago
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The signaling methods at trick 2 don't really matter, since East is known to not have enough length in spades to give a meaningful signal in spades.
17 hours ago
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Yes. E-W play multi.
17 hours ago
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I don't understand why you say bidding 3NT makes it harder for 4th hand to come in than bidding 4. 4th hand can bid 4 of a minor over 3NT, which he can't do over 4.

I did comment on the 3 opening. I said it was pretty rich with both vulnerable.
18 hours ago
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You need a pretty good reason to play 3NT when you have a 5-4 major-suit fit. Since partner has 5 hearts he has a doubleton somewhere, and if you also have a doubleton you might have matching doubletons which as you know is terrible for 3NT. So I would pass 3NT only I am 4-3-3-3, and even then I might not.
19 hours ago
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No. 1NT-2;2-2 is non-invitational with 4 spades. Opener will pass unless he has a doubleton spade, in which case he will make whatever is his best bid – probably 2NT unless he has a 5-card minor in which case he bids his minor. Responder can take it from there.

1NT-2;2-3 is invitational with 5+ spades as you say.
19 hours ago
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I'm not saying South's motives were pure. South may very well have mentally taken advantage of the UI. However, accidentally or intentionally, South made the bid he was supposed to make.
21 hours ago
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There are so many factors which go into this decision that having a poll based on your highest heart is meaningless.
Aug. 18
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It doesn't matter whether the commentator says the slam was bid and made at the other table if the play of the hand has been completed there. The result is on the screen for all to see. If you don't like that feature (I do like it), I suggest you talk with BBO.
Aug. 18
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I totally agree with that, and would never do it, except maybe to say that there is some excitement coming.
Aug. 18
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This has been a fascinating discussion for me. I never realized there was an issue here. Nobody has made this kind of complaint to me. I know that when I am kibitzing I enjoy hearing about what is happening at the other table. I admit that I have never read the commentators guide (sorry, Roland). In fact, I didn't know it existed.

As I said, I assume the only issue is when the board is being played simultaneously. If the board hasn't been started at the other table, there is nothing to discuss. If the board has been completed at the other table the result there is on the screen for all to see, and unless BBO changes the software to eliminate this feature (I hope that doesn't happen), the only new information given by the commentator is how that result occurred, and it doesn't appear that there is any objection to this information. I can understand how one might object to the commentator giving information about the other table when the board is in play at the other table (but completed at our table), but once the board is completed at the other table there shouldn't be a problem.

I will run a poll on bridgewinners to see how the bridgewinners public feels. Admittedly the bridgewinners public isn't the same as the general public, but it is the best we can do.

If a meaningful percentage of readers do not want to know what is happening at the other table when the board is being played, what I plan to do (when I remember) is as follows:

Before I type a comment about what is happening at the other table, I will type the following message:

Spoiler alert

This will let kibitzers know that I am about to type something about the other table with my next comment, so if they don't want to see this they can scroll beyond my upcoming comment.

Is this okay Gabor?
Aug. 18
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Even assuming North's 3NT is an offer to play, passing would be a shot in the dark. South has an automatic 4 call.

The real truth of the matter isn't that the 4 bid is suggested by the UI. It is a pass of 3NT which would be suggested by the UI.

If the 4 call doesn't wake North up, what will North think South has? A strong jump shift in diamonds with some heart support. Who knows what North might do thinking South has that. North might drive to slam. Which is exactly what happened. By passing 3NT South would end the auction, stopping North from going crazy on the bidding mis-understanding, and hope to get lucky and have 3NT turn out well.

If South had passed 3NT and gotten a good result, I wouldn't let him keep it. I would revert the auction to South bidding 4, and then North either passing or bidding further depending on North's hand.

Not only did South make the correct bridge bid. He made the bid which is required by law – the bid which was not suggested by the UI.
Aug. 18
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It looks like Multon knew his customers.
Aug. 18
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As a frequent commentator, I am more than happy to do what other kibitzers prefer. However, I would like some clarification about this.

As I see it, there are three possibilities:

1) My table is playing faster. In that case, the current board has not yet been played at the other table. The only thing to comment on is results of boards which have been previously played at this table and are now being played at the other table. I don't think there would be any objection to this.

2) My table is playing slower. The result from the other table is already on the screen, so it is not a secret. The only information which might be discussed is how that result was achieved. I don't think there would be any objection to this.

3) The tables are playing at the same place. This means that the current board is simultaneously being played at the other table. Thus, I assume the objection is to any discussion of what is happening at the other table at the same time the same board is being played at our table.

Am I correct that case 3) is the only scenario where you object to discussion of what is happening at the other table?
Aug. 18
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Leading low from dummy doesn't necessarily stop RHO from playing the 9. Playing the 9 is a disaster when his partner has the stiff 10, but playing small is a concession when declarer has the 10 since declarer will have no choice but to go right. It turns out that in Utopia a mixed strategy is optimal both for defender (when he has J9xx) and for declarer (when he has the 10 and RHO plays the 9). I will leave it to game theory experts to work out what these optimal strategies are.
Aug. 17
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Let's suppose I am the declaring side.

If the auction is such that my partner and I won't be having a mis-understanding (which hopefully is almost all the time), nobody will say anything and the hand is played out. If it turns out that our explanations were different, then there may be an adjusted score if the opponents were damaged. This is routine.

Suppose the auction is such that one of us thinks it is possible that there is a mis-understanding. After the auction is completed but before the opening lead is made, we will either say something like: I meant my 4 call as such and such, was that how you interpreted it, or we will pass our written explanation of the auction under the screen to be seen by the players on he other side of the screen.

There are two possibilities:

1) The explanations are the same. Fine. No MI. No UI. The opponents received the information they are supposed to receive about our agreements. The play is continued, and nobody has been damaged.

2) The explanations are different. There is nothing that can be done about the bidding. There was MI, and if the opponents were damaged they will get an adjusted score. However, there will be no MI for the defense. Both opponents will know what has happened. In fact they will know more than they are really entitled to, since in a perfect world all they are entitled to know is our agreements, not that one of us has mis-bid. They will know that their partner received the wrong information during the bidding, and that knowledge might help them. So what? They are the non-offending side, and they are being offered the most protection possible at this point. Since this extra information can only help, not hurt, the non-offending side, how can there be a problem?

The point is that by clarifying the mixup, I avoid any damage from MI during the defense. If this happens to give my opponents extra information they would not normally have had, they are welcome to it. It was our side which was the offending side, and the opponents should get as much protection as possible.

This is exactly what would happen if there were no screens. The declaring side clarifies things, and the defenders not only know what the actual agreements are but they also know what the opponents were thinking during the auction. The only difference is that they both would have received the same explanation rather than different explanations, but in both cases they will know what information their partner received.

the WBF and the EBU think it is best that in the case of a mix-up the non-offenders are kept in the dark about the differing explanations, and any damage to the defense gets resolved by some adjustment. It has to be better for the non-offenders to know everything which happened, so there will be no need for an adjustment from lack of knowledge affecting the defense.

I do not see any possible downside to this. The non-offenders know everything as soon as it is possible to let them know. There is no UI for the offenders, since one of them is dummy and is not involved.
Aug. 17
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The proper way to analyze restricted choice or pseudo restricted choice positions is to count the number of relevant initial holdings.

Assume the plan is to lead to the 10, and if that loses cash the king and lead towards your hand. It is clear that your play on the third round will matter only when East has at least one of the missing honors along with both of the missing small cards, since if East has to play the 8 or higher on the third round you will have no finesse position. These possibilities are:

98 QJ53
J9 Q853
J8 Q953
Q9 J853
Q8 J953
Q98 J53
J98 Q53

This makes it clear that the finesse is far superior.
Aug. 17
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Yes, I know this could happen, although it extremely rare. If it does happen, simple make everything UI to the offending side and everything AI to the non-offending side. That solves the problem equitably.
Aug. 17
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