Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Oren Kriegel
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I spoke to Steve about this hand after the session. He admits that he might have played it wrong, but he thinks the difference between the two possible lines is minuscule. He estimated a 1% difference between the two lines.
May 15
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Why was this a seemingly easy hand? Seems very difficult to me.

A common start was (1) 4 (P) 4NT, after which overcaller showed two keycards with a void somewhere. Looking at:

Axx
Q9x

AKQ10xxx

which keycards do you think partner has? If the AK, claim 7. If the A, A, partner might have the J and win a finesse, or partner might have eight hearts and they split 1-1.

Obviously when you're off the A it looks ridiculous to bid 7 but give the players some credit.
May 14
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Strongly disagree. The top few teams do get seeding points for high finishes in the round robin. As someone aptly put it yesterday, it makes more sense to seed an event based on lifetime performance (or at least the last few years) rather than two days.
May 11
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I imagine you are largely joking, but I'll make a serious attempt to explain my abstention. (What else is there to do at 1 am?)

I don't read it as compelling a vote from all juniors, just requesting non-juniors not to vote.

Having done no more than skim the new charts and the pursuant discussion, I don't feel that I can make an educated vote.

A regulation that might “restrict one's ability to psyche 1NT” would not reduce the game's appeal to me, but I am not a typical case among juniors. That doesn't mean I would favor such a regulation.



Some things I would like more clarity on (and I realize many of the answers might be available elsewhere, but I'll content myself with remaining in a state of unenlightenment at the moment):

Many commentators have talked about “disallowing psychs” in various circumstances. I would want to know how the new language (and eventual practices, although obviously those will not be able to be gauged until after the charts go into effect) compares to the current language and practices.

Is opening an X-range 1NT with Y points “disallowed” in the same sense that opening 1NT with a small singleton is currently disallowed?

There is no universal understanding among players or directors about what the current rules are about some of these things. Is it illegal (currently) to agree to open a Precision 1 with 9 HCP? What if those 9 HCP are the AKQ10x?

Will opening 1NT with a “wrong” number of points be subject to immediate penalty? Or will it require recorder forms to establish a pattern of deviation/psyching?
March 25
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One obvious reason that comes to mind, not talking about differences between the Spring and Summer NABCs in general, is that the limited KO in the Spring is a 10k even when the Mini Spingolds in the summer are (now) limited to 6k. Some of those 6-10k players might be entering the 10k KO in the Spring but the open Spingold in the Summer.

I haven't done any research to back this up, so I might be totally off-base, but that's my intuition.
March 23
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By not taking the relay to 2.
March 21
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Hugh would open 2, I'm sure, but doesn't that make 1 the very bad bid, not 4?

Having opened 1 (perhaps Hugh was indisposed at the time), what should North do besides raise to 4?
March 20
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“Even if 2 is GF and 4 is looking for slam, does N really have much more to show?”

Yes! How about them ace-king of trumps? Pretty good cards, not at all “pretty much shown … by bidding out his shape.” Holding good trumps alone almost always warrants cooperating with a slam-try, and this North hand also has good spades. That's two more things North should want to show.

North could hold a variety of hands with the same number of high-cards and same shape, such as this respectable collection that makes slam, well, odds-against:

KQxx
x
KJx
QJxxx

“South seems to me to be the one with extras not shown.”

Even granting that premise (which is not true), how is South supposed to show those extras? By bidding slam? The auction has reached 5 by this point, unless you think South should have done something different earlier in the auction (like what?).

Who would receive the blame for reaching slam opposite a hand like the one above? (Or, worse, a hand without the J.) I suppose North must, for having less than the values he has shown.
March 20
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4 over 2 is the sort of bid that should never be made (OK, maybe with 4=0=4=5 distribution). Yes, it's easy to say, “singleton heart, diamonds, etc. etc.” but North has no reason to think that South is aiming at diamonds when he bids 2.

If North bids 4 and South was coming in clubs, the whole auction is off the rails. If South was too strong for a 3NT rebid and was hoping to be able to show his range after 2, the whole auction is off the rails (is 4NT Blackwood? if so, what does South do with, say, 3=3=4=3 shape and a 17-count?). If South was planning on raising spades, the whole auction is off the rails, unless South is satisfied bidding 4, 5, or 6.

The actual auction looks accurate to me, up until North's 5 bid. North has a perfectly reasonable hand with great trumps, so cooperating is beyond automatic. Note that South has the totally wasted K and slam is (virtually) cold barring 4-0 trumps opposite North's hand. That should make it clear who should have done more.
March 20
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The voices from the choir saying, “how could anyone miss XYZ scoring error?” are way out of touch.

I just finished playing this event with Bart Bramley, who is a very through player and extremely detail oriented. He handled all the scorekeeping duties for our partnership.

That didn't stop there from being several scoring errors, including some where the players miscounted the tricks that were taken or put the score on the wrong side of the line.

It's much easier to be fastidious with the scorekeeping if you have plenty of time in the rounds to do it. As many tables were routinely running 5+ minutes behind, the scorekeeping became someone shouting, “enter the score!” before running off to the next table. (Sidebar: this evening, almost every pair was moving every round, so it's not like the North-South pairs could check the scores of the previous round during some dead time, because neither pair was still at the table.)
March 12
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One terrible thing about playing Kickback is that players so often infer things from its use that are not obvious.

It would not occur to me that playing Kickback had any bearing on this auction.

Nor do I think, “If the bid above four of the trump suit is your keycard ask, then 4NT does not ask for heart keycards in any event,” is an accurate statement. There are plenty of events where you might play 4NT as a keycard ask in hearts when the auction has not reached 4, even playing Kickback. Here is an example I thought of in about 5 seconds:

1 (P) 1 (2)
2 (4) ?

I don't know about you, but playing Kickback, it seems obvious to me that 4NT is keycard for hearts here.
March 7
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Ruling 3NT down one seems a little odd, because it is bizarre not clear to assume that E-W would reach 3NT with no spade stopper after that suit gets bid (and, presumably, raised).

That said, you might rule that E-W get to 5 down one. Or 4 making. Or defending 3x making, after, say:

1 (P) 1 (1)
X (1) 2 (3)
P (P) X (AP)
March 7
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At a double-elimination US Trials a couple of years ago, one team was up a lot going into the last two sets of the USA1 final. The other team wanted to withdraw and were told by the directors that they really, really shouldn't do it with two sets to play.

So they played on, quickly and badly, and withdrew as soon as both tables had completed the seventh set. I'm talking expert players not bothering to take finesses to make games. It was ugly, and I wonder what purpose strong-arming this team into playing on fulfilled.

(By the way, they went on to win the USA2 final, so it's not like they were completely out of gas in this event.)
Feb. 24
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That's what #5 was supposed to be (see below). Fixed now.
Feb. 23
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You should alert it, since you have a relevant agreement about an analogous sequence. (Presumably, you know how you play 1 - 1 - 1NT - 2 if responder is an unpassed hand.) If asked, say, “We haven't discussed this when responder is a passed hand, but if he were unpassed…” then explain that agreement.

Often, the opponents will stop you after “we haven't discussed this when responder is a passed hand,” for fear that letting you continue will help your side. That's their prerogative.

How you continue after 2 is a matter of your bridge judgement. The way I play two-way checkback is that 2 forces 2. If partner bid an undiscussed 2 as a passed hand, I would always bid 2. What to do when partner bids 2 is a trickier question.

If you play two-way checkback differently, your considerations may be different.
Feb. 16
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If declarer doesn't wait till you've quitted your trick to play to the next one, you can use your words and tell declarer to wait. Or, as you often recommend, you can involve the director.

Declarer's behavior and/or tempo doesn't give you license vary your tempo with no bridge problem to deceive declarer.
Feb. 12
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I don't think deciding which card to play for deceptive purposes is a legitimate reason to break tempo. If you aren't ready to make your deceptive play in tempo, that's too bad.

As David points out, you had lots of time during the play to get ready. If declarer is say, David Grainger, who is playing the hand at the speed of light, you can always hold open an earlier trick while you do your thinking.
Feb. 12
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It's not “fair” for West to break tempo mid-hand without a bridge problem. What to play from xx is not a bridge problem. It is at the most generous a signalling problem and much more likely an ethical problem.

If West does hitch from xx, you deserve redress. Knowing that and taking it into account isn't improper. Whether or not you can actually convince a director about the bridge aspect of your line and whether the director actually believes you (if West is willing to hitch with xx, he's also probably willing to lie about it) are other considerations.

If West can smooth duck Hx and get you to go wrong, well done. You would never call the director in that case—this is when you've lost two tricks “fairly.”
Feb. 12
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Ian, you're knocking down a straw man. You should know as well as anyone that good methods can be used badly. After all, you've posted more than once about disasters occurring in your pet methods…
Feb. 10
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Right. I'm saying that no hand with a doubleton spade would ever jump to 4 on this auction, so I would treat 4 as a splinter, not natural.
Feb. 10
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