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All comments by Mike Cassel
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Yes, we went for 1100 in 4HX. I could have held it to 800. I'm most interested in how to reach the par contract of 2N on hands where doubling 2S may be risky.
May 31, 2012
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Bridge movies like this and Kit's Korner are what make this site so richly rewarding. thank you for a fine submission.
May 3, 2012
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Even KTxx of hearts might tilt toward 3N at imps. Vulnerability, undisclosed here, would make a difference as well in the sense that the preemptor might have an entry outside. I think partner rates to have something in diamonds. This would be a good one for a simulation.
You'd have a real challenging bidding problem with one more diamond and one less heart.
April 10, 2012
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If you google ‘kokish-kraft’ ‘reverse flannery’ you will find some systemic followups. I like the idea of 3C over 2S as an ask for further description of shape so that the responder can show 5-5 hands and/or 6-4 shapes as well as 3 card support for opener's minor (this is not part of the Kokish followup). We use 2N to get out in 3 of opener's minor, or if opener follows up with 3M, as the start of a slam try in the major.

I would certainly appreciate hearing from experienced RevFlannery partnerships what the best continuations are.
April 1, 2012
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Playing ‘system on’ over penalty doubles of weak Notrumps I transfer to hearts particularly if the balancing double can show slightly lighter values. On a good day partner has the values to make a super accept and you get to a game when possibly 1NX is only fetching +300. I'd like to get back to ‘the field’ rather than be at the craps table. If partner has no extras I'll take my chances that they still won't find their possible spade fit.
In the Silver Ribbon Finals we played 1NX to reach a best result possible for +100, when +110 was available in spades. +110 was worth 44x on a 77 top and +100 was 28x.
http://www.acbl.org/assets/documents/play/hand-records/2012/Memphis/88251m.pdf Bd.14
I think this is a hand where passing might be dangerous. I like to defend 1NX when it's more clear we SHOULD be defending.
March 28, 2012
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I like the idea of making an insufficient bid here as the hand has nowhere near the defensive strength for an opening 1 bid. lol Might start with 3H if i needed to mix things up. If by some mistake i put a 1H bid on the table I wouldn't dream of bidding again unless forced to. How many lies do you want to tell? LTC evaluation makes an opening 2H viable, but the offense-defense ratio is out of whack. Would you not be better placed to listen to others' descriptions before your own misdescription?
Feb. 28, 2012
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never had a 10 card suit, but doubt that the opponents would be playing any contract if i had one. at favorable vulnerability i think 6C opening bid might be ‘the ticket’… rule of 500?!
Feb. 22, 2012
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you might want to add that you are red vs. white
Feb. 20, 2012
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from Margot Hennings to Special Events Task Force members 2/10/12
Congratulations! Did you know that collectively we all are the GNT/NAP/Special Events Task Force for 2012? Assuming you all are willing to serve, that is J. And, I am your Chair! The committee is comprised of ACBL BOD members—Bonnie Bagley (D17), Georgia Heth (D8), and myself (D6); non-BOD GNT/NAP Coordinators—Mark Aquino (D25), Rich Carle (D20), Mike Cassell (D14), Barbara Doran (D6), Sheila Pies (D9), and Paul Pomeroy (D12); and ACBL staff—Patty Taylor and Carol Robertson.

Sharon Anderson, our ACBL President for this year, has carefully crafted a series of task forces in addition to the standard BOD committees, to really take a hard look at the way the BOD does business and interacts with its constituents and with Headquarters staff, and to address a number of issues such as this that have come to the forefront of the way the ACBL supports its current bridge programs and events in general.

Speaking to the Coordinators, this GNT/NAP/Special Events Task Force is largely a result of the great effort and energy shown by you all in 2011 with the initiation of your GNT/NAP Coordinators’ Forum in Seattle. As you know, many ACBL Board members attended that Forum and lobbied for a BOD “committee” to work with the Coordinators to help make their desired actions happen in Horn Lake and to present formal motions to the Board later this year for policy changes, if appropriate.

Sharon eagerly agreed and expanded the concept to include a look at ALL special events held by the ACBL, from Junior Month to Club Appreciation Month and everything in between. I know the non-BOD members are more interested at this point in focusing on the initiatives that are just getting started on the GNTs/NAPs, so I am looking to the three BOD members—Bonnie, Georgia, and myself—to get the ball rolling on the issue of Special Events in general and other Grass Roots Events in particular. However, these concepts are all really closely linked. For example, the purpose of this Task Force is to:

· Explore new grass roots events/strategies and
· Recommend programs that encourage participation in bridge both at the local level and in tournaments/NABCs,

A strategy to create a Grass Roots Event Fund Month similar to the Junior Fund Month—something proposed by the Coordinators in Seattle—is a great initiative that will serve both purposes.

Following Seattle, the Coordinators put out a list of action items they wanted to work on/needed help with and I have attached that list, which now has highlighted rows to represent the progress that has been made to date and what remains to be accomplished. Of most interest to this Task Force right now, is the follow-up meeting of the Coordinators at a Forum on Saturday morning, March 17, to which all interested parties including other BOD members, are invited. Our challenge before Memphis, given the approximately four weeks we have between now and when the BOD meetings start on the 12th, is to figure out how we want to approach looking at the entire set of so-called Grass Roots Events the ACBL currently “supports,” what changes/re-structuring if any we want to propose, what we can do to help the Coordinators given their specific goals, and how we can organize our approach to presenting our ideas at that March 17 meeting.

To this end, I would like to suggest two “meetings”:

· A telecom, optimally sometime the week of February 20, at a time that would allow participation by most if not all of us, and
· A face-to-face meeting on Thursday afternoon, March 15, at 3 p.m.

I know this second meeting will interfere with bridge play that afternoon and at future NABCs, I will do my best to avoid this, but for this first time, I would like to ask anyone who has not yet made plans to play that cannot be broken, to please try to be available in Memphis by that time Thursday the 15th. I also realize that some of the non-BOD members of this Task Force, given the late notice about this meeting, might not be able to make it that day due to schedules that keep you from being able to arrive that early and/or because you have already made travel arrangements that cannot easily/inexpensively be changed. I think it is very important that we have at least two opportunities to talk together before the Coordinators’ meeting Saturday the 17th. And, we will have the benefit at our March 15th meeting of the previous Monday’s discussion by members of another new (BOD-only) Task Force that will be looking at New NABC Events, with an emphasis on how to entice regional players to attend NABCs. Bonnie and I are on that committee, too, along with Bob Heller (D7) as Chair, and Merlin Vilhauer (D20) and Suzi Subeck (D13). This group promises to have good synergy with our Task Force.

Two documents that will help us as we move forward in our thinking are attached:

· The aforementioned Coordinators’ Action Item List, and
· A list of all Special Events (“Grass Roots” and otherwise) provided by Patty

My personal opinion is that we should strive for a tight, comprehensive “package” of initiatives and motions for the whole BOD as needed, but not expect everything to be enacted all at once. Most important is to show that we are thinking about the whole picture and not just a piece of it. The BOD has rightly commented that we too often vote on something that seems like a good idea and then those darned “unintended consequences” show up that we probably would have thought of, had we taken a bit more time in the first place to think through what we were voting on, however much of a good idea it might have seemed to be at the time. We cannot take this approach as a reason for NOT moving forward, however, and I welcome all of your thoughts as to how we can best accomplish developing a long-range strategy as well as a set of measurable objectives to put in place within the next month, before the Summer NABC in Philadelphia, and by the start of the next NAP and the next GNT qualifying periods, recognizing that the Conditions of Contest for these latter events may be such that REAL changes cannot occur sooner than the 2012/2013 cycle.


Thanks very much for your help and your presumed enthusiasm for this Task Force. I am excited and I hope you are, too! …..–Margot
Feb. 12, 2012
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from Mark Aquino in advance of the Seattle GNT/NAP Coordinator forum
Mark Aquino, the GNT Coordinator for D25 attended the Toronto Board of Governors meeting. The Board asked the ACBL Board to reconsider it's decision to not waive entry fees at the summer NABC for the GNT finals. He has coordinated with Rich Carle from D20 to help us gather in Seattle to address common concerns for the grass roots events. I've offered this blog as a forum to share information.

My name is Mark Aquino, and I've been both NAP and GNT Coordinator for New England District 25 for more than 10 years. Over the past 30 years, I've also occasionally represented my district at the National finals in both the GNT and NAP in Open, A, and B flights. I further want to thank Rich Carle from D20 (Oregon and Northern parts of CA and NV) for his gracious offer to help arrange a meeting of us all in Seattle. I'm going to be temporarily in Cincinatti for my day job between Labor Day and Thanksgiving and I certainly need and welcome this assistance. In Seattle, I'm interested in our reviewing:

1) What each and every district is doing to provide incentives and subsidies for the NAP and GNT beyond what the ACBL currently offers?
a) What works and what doesn't work?
b) How can we best work together to improve this?

2) What kind of marketing and promotional activity is currently being done. a) Is there anyway we can piggyback on each other rather than re-create the wheel 25 ways across the ACBL
b) Is there anything the ACBL can do to help us more? I've long been annoyed that District finals of GNTs and NAPs were not afforded the same visibility as other Regionals. I'm also annoyed that the ACBL hasn't found a way to publicize the schedule for club NAP games and, if applicable, club and unit qualifying GNT games. 3) What are the different Conditions of Contest for GNT and NAP in each District?
a) Is there any way we can make these more uniform?
b) Is there anything the ACBL can do to help simplify and standardize CofC's?
c) Can we establish a list of items that must be incuded in each CofC?
d) Can we have standard playing arrangements and qualifying rules for x number of teams?
e) Can we have standard tie-breaker rules?
f) Can we get some clarity around what exactly the ACBL process is for reviewing and approving our Conditions of Contest?

4) How many pairs and teams have been participating at the club, unit, and district level over the past 5 years?
a) If we don't have easy access to this info, how can the ACBL help us obtain this?
b) How can this info be easily stored and made visible by the ACBL?

I hope I have hit upon some themes and issues that are common to us all, and I hope I've sparked some new ideas as well.
Feb. 12, 2012
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Paul, your comments are valuable for serious partnership discussion in obvious forcing pass situations, but this is not one of them. Even if partner made a negative double over a 3S WJO i'm not sure that a forcing pass is established.

For casual partnerships I'm in favor of following a GAAP approach I like to play that slower sequences to any destination (a corrolary to the principle of fast arrival) show better hands, so I guess i don't understand why 5H directly, rather than after a 4N takeout, should be stronger.

In forcing pass situations you have 3 routes to 5H, including the pass and pull of a double, but only two otherwise. My ‘pull’ to 5H after 4N for takeout is a stronger sequence.

Being on the same page is the ticket. Meckwell Pass-Double Inversions, DSIP (do something intelligent partner),and other forcing pass treatments would make a great topic for more discussion
Feb. 7, 2012
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Partner is willing to undertake a 3 level contract opposite a very much weaker hand than the one I hold. I intend to correct 5 of either minor to 5H and that should clue my pard into a higher contract if he has good hearts and a pointed suit Ace or other suitable values (xx Kxxxxx Axx Qx). He knows my spade shortness based on his length. Would a direct 5H be based on the same amount of strength as the proposed slower sequence? I'd make the opponents make the last guess by bidding 5H with x Axxx Qx AKTxxx
Feb. 6, 2012
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When I check the opponents' convention card for their leads and signaling I am always glad when Smith echoes are not checked. West is never leading spades again if East denies spade interest.
To that end I'm wondering if playing on diamonds first isn't best. Another reason to play the SJ first. If the J does hold then E might be inclined to fly DK to return a spade.
Feb. 6, 2012
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call me a heretic but I am not enamored of jump rebids of the y suit as slammish. i think there are far more hands that are weaker where strain is important. so, for my partnerships:
1x 1y 1z 3y is an invitation with a pure hand, no more than 1.5 losers in the y suit
1x 1y 1z 2c 2d 3y is an invitational hand with 6y but the values are scattered.
1x 1y 1z 2c 2d 2y shows 5y or possibly 6y with a very weak suit. I have had good results with plus scores in 2y when all other pairs are at the 3 level with poor fits and shaky values

Also, many players have two routes to 2N but I prefer only x y z 2c 2d 2n
In my partnerships x y 1n 2n is a relay to 3c for drop dead, or employing Gavin's treatment with slammish hands with 5y and 4x or 4y and 5x and a singleton in the lower or higher suits. This rarity is useful if you care to add the memory work.

clarify with your partner how you get to sign off in 3C.

I'm sure there are reasons why the standard treatment for 3-level secondary jumps as slammish makes sense, but just as very few pairs play 2n-3n as a transfer or relay, even though it's a better use of useful space, I believe it's very easy to have a gear slip and forget that a 3 level rebid is not invitational.
Jan. 12, 2012
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5 days seems right to me. 3 events concurrent: unlimited, 0-10,000(max 60K avg./6person team), 0-2,000
2 days of seeded brackets to qualify 8 teams for KO play.
Concentration levels required are so high that 52 boards/day seems high for lower brackets.
Consolation (plate) brackets for nonqualifiers with high enough reduction factor to discourage dropouts into other events.
agree in principle that BRP should be first 4 days with mr. shuster that final day of BRP should be 1 section: 28pairs., semifinal day 78pairs?, day 2: 156 pairs
and with drewsky that semifinalists of Sr. KOs should be able to drop into Reisinger day 2, with Reisinger semifinal losers able to drop into NASwiss on Sat.
Jan. 5, 2012
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The CQ and C9 are equals as you lead the third club. how can you be sure the suit is divided 3-3?

I greatly enjoy and look forward to your bridge movies. Thanks very much for sharing your expertise. These instructionals are one of the reasons that bridgewinners.com is possibly the best online resource around for dedicated players.
Dec. 18, 2011
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News flash from Seattle

The ACBL Board breaks from tradition of honoring board tenure to elect Sharon Anderson as the new Board President.

Our District 14 Board rep. is eminently qualified to help move the ACBL forward and I am more than mildly surprised and encouraged by the Board vote. I am hopeful that

If the ACBL Board can focus more on policy decisions for our future and delegate more of the minutiae to task forces and committees with representation from multiple constituencies (I'm thinking about GNTs of course)we can move from the piecemeal approach to management to one based more systemically.

Mike Cassel
D14 GNT Coordinator
11/20/11
Nov. 20, 2011
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I'd appreciate comments parsing the circumstances where opener splinters directly vs. making a jump raise with shortness. also the implications for pairs who play serious vs non-serious 3N when responder's major is spades and 3N is the relay step.

In my mostly casual partnerships a splinter bid can be employed if you have first or second round control in side suits so that opener might have splintered in both of the example sequences leading to wastage discovery in the first and probable slam attainment in the second
Oct. 28, 2011
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Boards 11-16 in the 5th segment were huge for USA-2 where pressure bidding (spade barrage on 11), precision system bidding triumphs on (14 & 16) combined with a triumphant Ace underlead by Joel (16) produced 33 imps. I am hoping to hear more about the 6N contract on board 15, where Weinstein had a chance at squeezing his RHO in spades and diamonds.
It is a vicariously thrilling to watch bridge at the highest levels.
http://moot.typepad.com/files/usa2pullsaway.pdf">http://moot.typepad.com/files/usa2pullsaway.pdf
Oct. 26, 2011
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