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All comments by Leonard Helfgott
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On a lighter note—Obviously from the side of the Atlantic that originally defined the meter.:). I guess it must have been a USA colloquialism in newspapers, television and media to distinguish it from the U.S. Open for as long as I could recall, until recently. And, even as a scientist, I do prefer the original definition of the meter.:)
July 26
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Let me give you modeling analysis from a different sport, golf. Assume it is the U.S. Open or the Masters or The Open (formerly called called the British Open), or whatever. Consider 3 categories of players: A) with average of 70 and std. dev. of 2, B) average of 71 with SD=2.5 and C) average of 72 with SD=3. Notice that in all 3 cases a score of 66 is 2 SD's better than average. Now if you have just 3 players in the event, who is most likely to win? Player A of course.
But now assume there are 150 players in event, 50 in each group. From which group is the winner most likely to emerge?
Answer: group C. In large groups with higher variance, wild things happen.

And if any of you recall a TV show from the 1960's, T.H.E. CAT starring the late Robert Loggia, William Daniels says “In a universe of infinite chance, anything can happen.”
July 25
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Agree. While I prefer the risks involved. With a double, people who would severely criticize 3C are resulters. Resulting is a four letter word, isn't it?
July 25
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I think the very first responsibility in a decent reverse structure system would be to disambiguate constructive raises of openers minor from preferential or weak supporting hands. If not a constructive raise, then rebidding your 5CM could be a secondary option. But if it went 1D-1S-2H to me and I htld AJ9xx xx KQx xxx I am ALWAYS going to bid 3D (gf) comfortably and in tempo. If partner has 3S or Hx with club weakness he can always rebid 3S as I have not denied 5. Are there really that many out there who tremble with horror with the thought of playing an occasional 7 card fit?
July 25
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You're not the only abstention. I'll play for opponents to balance.
July 24
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I M happy to reverse with this 7 control hand. Pattern is OK for. NT but I need much more than 25% of values in doubletons.
July 24
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It would be worthwhile to read Thomas Andrews Fantasia website. One of his comprehensive analyses regards raising 2NT to 3NT with every possible combination of balanced 3-5 counts, including effect of tens. One of his up shots is that 4333 generally has the lowest trick expection and requires a tad more to raise to 3NT than other distributions. HOWEVER, 4333 is the most likely to make EXACTLY 2NT, the other patterns creating more variance and more opportunity to go down in 2NT as well as make 3NT. If we extend the thought to 1NT we would expect partner to feel on safer ground opposite 4333 with a 4-5 count than opposite hands with one or two doubletons.
July 24
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Playing a common convention where 3C JS could show long spades or S+4H or S+ clubs, and maybe more, we could relax standards a bit. Without such a treatment the 3H bid could be read as 5-5 some of the time. At some (weaker ) point you'd have to bite the bullet and bid 2H. It might be interesting to poll exactly what point that might be with 5=4=4=0 pattern.
July 23
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How wet would 2H be without the spots, i.e. AKJxx KQxx KQxx –.?
July 23
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Well the 1.75 is a guess, probably an overguess, but if we all took 1.35 at face value we'd not open 1NT on plenty of hands we currently and routinely do. If partner has Jx we have a full stop, and often with 10xx. If they lead/ break the suit in a suit contract and don't get an advantageous ruff, we win a trick or get a discard. If partner has Kxx and they lead from the ace, an extra trick. What the value of Qxx is, a priori, before knowledge about suit or NT, must be much better than 1.35, at least 1.6-1.65 IMO. Add that to whatever you think the diamond suit is worth and you should be near 14 1/2. Then you have to decide how much it takes to upgrade, technically and tactically in various seats— 14.5, 14.75, 15.0. We all routinely open 1NT with 15hcp and even 16hcp hands that are worth FAR less than 15 hcp, so it's largely a matter of personal strategy. (You pays your money and you makes your choice.:))
July 23
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The Toms got it right!
July 23
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I'm interested!
July 23
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Dave: correct. These evaluators view Qxx as 1.35 when in reality and especially for NT they are more like 1.75, IMO. And they view AKQxx as 10.5 an apparent overstatement, and AKQJx as 11.0, only a 0.5 gap. If you view the playing strength gap as a full point you get closer to 15.

And Dave, since we are both retired actuaries (!) we can play with the math. Partner will have “on average” about (13-5)/3=2 2/3 diamonds. If he has 2, the jack increases odds of running suit from 36% to ~85%. If he has 3 it increases from 68% to ~96%. So the weighted average gain is 35% which is worth about 1 hcp. You could bring in voids, stiffs, 4 cards, etc. but this is rough ballpark.
July 23
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1. I don't think the 3Rd qualifies technically for 1NT but is probably the best tactical shot in 3Rd seat.
2. Not sure what is best about card treatment. I believe Kit Wolsey has commented that he occasionally upgrades/downgrades without comment on card, and always expects partner to bid as if in range. Maybe I misinterpreted.
3. I have to admit that I do upgrade more than I downgrade, and reserve downgrades of 18 for truly horrible disgusting collections, e.g. In addition to 4333 or KQ/KJ/QJ/etc. doubletons, there would be no spot cards and 0/1 aces. I did once ask superstar Joe Grue about this and his reply was very simple: “I never downgrade.” Of course if we could play the cards like him we might also.!
July 23
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If you clearly have 15-17 on card I don't think you should include “good 14s” IMO. The first two hands seem way beyond “good”. The third was an admitted stretch which is best reserved for 3rd-4Th chair IMO.
July 22
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No. It was an x that came out in caps.
July 22
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Kit: Great article as always. I'll read it a few times to let the subtleties sink in! One point: Since East and West know exactly the spade distribution, could not East's first spade play be suit preference, I.e. The 5 to show heart ace and the two to show diamond ace? West might not be able to read the 5 but the two from x-2 when count is known sounds like diamond preference. What do you think?
July 22
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Wanted to see general consensus opinions of a group who on average would probably be much better than average club player.
July 22
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As Danny Kleinman said, why only take advantage of superior cardplay when you can also take advantage of superior bidding.
July 22
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Let me start by saying that I chose to open 1NT on all 3 and was the only player among 25 tables to do so! On the 3rd I was doubtful but in the mood. If you do the math, the jack in AKQJx adds about 1/3-1/2 trick compared to AKQxx.

I believe the first two are clear upgrades, the third likely not because Two Qxx holdings are not great, somewhat offsetting the diamonds. However as Frances Hinden pointed out it has preemptive value. Didn't matter here as partner has 5S with 8Hcp and +140 was an average. The other two were more interesting. On the first partner had the hoped for 10 hcp and we were only ones in game, +630 bring a top. On the second, they missed a heart (!) partial for our +50 or -110, and our +120 was a top, partner holding 9xxx Ax 9xx Qxxx. Of course, this doesn't always work, we all get burned by “nonclassical” 1NT openings, but if it's worth 1NT it is likely the percentage action.
Also, if you use the K&R hand evaluator on these, remember that it is highly suit oriented, and when you open you don't know whether you'll be in suit or NT. So I've found that “splitting the difference” between hcp and K&R is a decent rule of thumb.
July 22
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