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All comments by Peter Fordham
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I don't doubt that electronic gadgetry will overtake the game eventually, but I will go down with the current ship. I like to play cards, specifically bridge with pasteboard in my hands. There is a spatial element to the game that is lost in the electronic world. That is why I do not play on-line on BBO. I have played on-line but I don't enjoy it anywhere near as much as sitting at a table with my usual three opponents.

As an ethical adjunct, I am more than happy to play major matches with screens. more relaxing with partner's quirks taken out of the equation.
Dec. 8
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@David Mac, Doubtless your opponent behaved badly, but your action of turning over his card is also specifically proscribed. Law 66D - After play ceases, the played and unplayed cards may be inspected to settle a claim of a revoke, or of the number of tricks won or lost; but no player should handle cards other than his own.

You'll generally find directors more receptive to your call for assistance if you have ‘clean hands’.
Dec. 8
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Richard,

a la RATS from Lord Edgar, this hand gets everything
1 was Reasonable
2NT was Attractive
3 was Thoughtful; and
3NT was simply Scintillating

Not often are all four levels of excrutiation (is that a word?) found in the one auction. Not only that but there was one okay bid in the middle in 2
Dec. 8
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I like this question because it draws attention to the manner in which bidding keeps evolving.

When I first learned to play 1m (1) X was penalty, so removal suggested a shapely hand and if to a higher ranking suit likely 6-5 pattern

Then along came take out or negative doubles. If takeout, the bid of a new suit just implied a fit there. If -ve, at this point, the X showed 4 and 1 showed 5+ Thus the bid of 2 was indeed a reverse.

More recently, X denied 4+ and showed the suit bypassed by the overcaller. Thus 2 supports and shows a minimum opener.

I understand the more avant garde approach is that X =4+ and 1 denies spades and allows opener to bid 1NT. 2 here is also a reverse.

In the situations where 2 is a reverse, it is a matter of partnership agreement about how strong that means, but I would expect ‘too strong for 1NT opener’ or equivalent. 2-2-4-5 in 1NT range get opened 1NT
Dec. 8
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I've got Aces, shortage and four spades, ideal assets to take action. Would I be embarrassed to put this down in dummy if partner bid 2. Not at all. What about 4? Delighted, possibly makes, possibly good save against 4. Light but okay in my book.
Nov. 8
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Michael,
I understand that and respect your opinions. It just nags at me sometimes that players do know they have x tricks and their language is sloppy. Then they get jumped upon.

Many moons ago in the finals of a national juniors tournament (That is many many moons ago) I held this trump suit in a grand slam AQ109 opposite K8765. LHO led an off suit. I won the tricks and tabled my cards.

A kibitzer (improperly) said, trumps are 4-0, one down.

The director, when summoned, ruled that I had been alerted to information, that I was not entitled to, ruled one down.
My playing skills were better than my understanding of rights and responsibilities at that stage. I confess to being a bit jaundiced about attitudes to claims and concessions since.
Nov. 4
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There is another aspect to claims that rarely seems to get an airing in these discussions and that is -

Law 74 - Conduct and Etiquette. B. Etiquette. As a matter of courtesy, a player should refrain from …
4.prolonging play unnecessarily (as in playing on although he knows that all the tricks are surely his) for the purpose of disconcerting an opponent.

Now, I accept that declarer here had apparently not carefully turned his mind to the 4-0 break, but when that possibility was raised, he accepted the loss of a trick if that were the case.

Nonetheless, what would all our posters have to say if our hero had not claimed and simply played the hand out to T13, unblocking where needed? Would they be writing player memos etc about this player's breach of Law 74B4? And what would they say when the player's defence was that he was not trying to disconcert, he was merely completing the hand as normal play?

It has seemed to me that in the world of claims there are always a bunch of black letter lawyers hovering so that one is ‘damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.'

A not too dissimilar world exists where the revoke laws are clearly, IMHO, in conflict with the exhortations in the Introduction to the Laws.
Nov. 4
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Charles,
You may be right about hand construction, but the OP says that 4 is a puppet. I presume that required opener to bid 4. Partner might be void in hearts and have five trumps.
Will heart cash help this defence?
Nov. 3
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@HenryS,

I quoted verbatim from RonK's book.

What you say about the three honours out of top four, or four honours out of five is not part of what Ron says in that book. You may well be correct from other of Ron's writings that I do not have access to. He has few examples following what he wrote, one to bring a hand up to 15 and another to take it beyond 17 and they are consistent with what you say. I do however think it is relevant that he would not stretch it too far there as it was in a chapter for relatively inexperienced players.

Certainly the hand you quote is right at the edge and I might not be too keen to open 1NT with some partners. Looking at it through the Bansai lens, also from Ron's book, that I referred to above also, it is just 22 when a 50% lift on 15 is 22.5. I certainly would not criticize any one who thought it just beyond the fringe. I even baulked at this one myself. Sometimes these things are a matter of instinct. I put the hand I quoted as on the cusp and in, the one you quoted as on the cusp and out. Change the little spade to the ten would swing the balance.

I accept I have taken this to the limit. I have been attempting to get others to stretch beyond the stricture of only counting 4,3,2,1 type points. To me, presence of a 5-bagger is not upgrade. it is simple value. Upgrade or down grade comes from presence or absence of more elusive factors. What high spot cards do we hold, where are they etc. Is this 4-3-3-3 robust or is it scatty.
Nov. 3
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There is another clue that partner has the K. If partner held QJXX, since partner knows that declarer has at most two , partner can play the Q to deny the K without being concerned about setting up a diamond spot in dummy. Partner knows that either you or declarer has the king, and if declarer it is coming down next time. Curiously, partner cannot play the K without both the Q and J in case that does set up a ruffing finesse, an unlikely 10th trick but certainly possible if declare has six good spades.

I continue confident that partner's K will cash. If it doesn't perhaps partner needed to think a little more clearly at T1. If I am wrong I will apologise for my woolly headed thinking.
Nov. 2
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Surely Precision players and all other strong clubbers simply say ‘We play … with a …NT before pulling a card?
That’s all it takes.
Nov. 2
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@John H, You've piqued my interest. If you wouldn't open it a weak NT, I presume you would start with 1, and over the response of 1, surely you would rebid 1NT, not 2 In any weak NT oriented system that I have ever come across in the last 55yrs, and I've played a lot of Acol in that time, a 1NT re-bid shows either 15 to 16,17 or 18. That puts us back in the same camp.

I see you describe yourself as a rubber bridge player. I've played quite a lot of that though off a strong NT base, but I could not contemplate bidding 1:1;2, not in the 20C and certainly not in the 21C either.
Nov. 2
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@David C'
Take this hand, K7 Q86 AK1083 J106
I would expect that you would not consider opening this a ‘15-17’ 1NT because your focus is heavily, though I expect not exclusively on HCP.

I, and many, many others evaluate hands differently for NT purposes. I would regard this as a respectable minimum hand for a ‘15-17’ 1NT opening bid. (See Klinger advice above.)It is not an issue of ‘upgrade’. It is simple worth.

Looking at this hand differently through the lens of 5-4-3-2-1 Bansai Count, which is gaining in use amongst good players, still qualifies for an equivalent ‘15-17’ 1NT being in the Bansai 22-25 range (normal + 50%)

I do put on my system cards in the ‘pre-alert’ box that my partnership evaluates length as well as HCP, but as required in the 1NT box etc I put 15-17 or whatever convential range I play.

I have checked both ABF and ACBL convention cards and neither have HCP preprinted on them. why would I put '14+ or good 14, when that is not what I play.

Similarly, I would not open a hand with 17 HCP 1NT if it contained any respectable five bagger. It evaluates as 18!
Nov. 1
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@RF, I can only assume that your comment is a play on words, that subtle British humour. There is certainly a major overbid in this sequence. The jump shift to 2 with that potentially miss fitting hand is a gross overbid. Most would play this as game forcing(if not some other specialized bid). This hand is not within a bull's roar of a GF.

@JT, I rate 3 as 10/10 in this sequence. The auction is forcing and I show my primary club support for partner's (usually) 5+ card suit. Over to you pard.
Nov. 1
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@David C, I chose 1 because I happen to prefer to open one of a suit and rebid another suit generally if conveniently available, but I also strongly agree with LD that the hand falls in the 20-21 range.

Ron Klinger who is, I understand, the most prolific author of bridge books, and who sells large numbers of books in Nth America, in his 2014 book ‘A Good Game Of Modern Bridge’ at Ch2 Opening with a balanced hand (the club players section) in the elementary part of this volume says ‘When considering your opening for a balanced hand, we all start by adding up our HCPs. That should not be the end of it. When your hand pattern is 5332,you should make an allowance for the five card suit. Add one point for any five card suit, but be prepared to add two points for a strong five carder, one with three or four honours.’

While I recognize that this hand is semi balanced, the hand is nonetheless evaluated similarly. The suit is worth 9, the suit is 9. and the spade heart combinations are surely worth 2 between them. The hand clearly qualifies for a 20-21 2NT opener if one thinks that NT is the right strain to open the bidding.

If anyone objected to an opening of 2NT on the grounds that it was out of range, I would expect that a skilled director would draw them aside politely and refer them to many a beginner's book.
Nov. 1
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@Jay B,
I think reversing into 2 on your example hand is too distortive. It destroys opportunities to reach legitimate diamond slams when you have a standard reverse. On the other hand reversing into hearts here cannot cause problems. If partner raises hearts immediately, claiming four, then a return to spades will be fine as partner will have five. That cannot be assured if partner raises diamonds because diamonds may have been bypassed in seeking the major suit fit.

You will not enjoy the auction 1,1;2,3,3 if holding 4 and five, possibly six in a modest hand. Whatever does responder bid now? (It must be right to bid 3 at opener's third bid to cater for responder's possible five .)
Oct. 31
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Since when did ordinary 2/1 play artificial reverses. Surely there are other ways to describe big club hand?
Oct. 29
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At this moment 40 respondents out of a total of 50 votes, have voted for 3, LynnH. in my wildest nightmares. I cannot imagine any of them think they were making a non-forcing bid. Perhaps you might poll the other respondents privately.
Oct. 29
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@DavidW
It is not in the majors that any upward evaluation might occur. It is in the diamond suit. This suit is not a seven point suit. It is worth nothing less than eight and closes in on nine. As to evaluating down, a points a point for all that in thinking about NT openings.
Oct. 28
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The void doesn't worry me. It's the inability to get my shape across and the prospect of putting this hand down as dummy when partner gets in the way that I detest.
Oct. 27
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