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All comments by Randy Thompson
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Back in the 1970's a group of young players around Washington, D.C. (known as “the Boys”) used to play no-peek now and then in a club game. Bidding “methods”: Must pass in first 3 seats and in 4th seat, must open 1. Responder bids suits up the line and if no opp had acted after their auction of 1-1, 1-1, they bid 3N. Highly illegal, but then so was a lot of what they inhaled or ingested prior to the game.
Dec. 5
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To quote a stock line of a Washington Post humor/sports columnist, “Pay the man, Shirley!”
Dec. 5
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Yes, but I would open 4 with that for tactical reasons. The notion that someone can be bluffed out of noticing all those non-hearts and HCPs in their hands and passing over 2 is just gibberish. I want to make them find THEIR fit at a much higher level.
Dec. 4
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Not sure about applicable regulations across the pond, but we describe our 2 opener as “9+ tricks with a major OR 10+ tricks with a minor OR 22+ HCP.” We usually open Two-suiters 1X, although Kokish lets us open 2 with hearts and another suit, but even those will normally fit into the 9+ playing trick category. When the opponents open 2, you should be MORE willing to mix into the bidding, not LESS willing; their game bonus will cover a lot of your potential minuses. Even red vs white here, South should bid 2. Does that mean they will find the 7-level save at unfavorable? No. But, I wouldn't reward anyone who passed the South hand with any freebie imps, regardless of regulations or vulnerability.
Dec. 4
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SB should be ashamed of himself/herself and should be shunned by other players.
Dec. 4
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So North should alert 3 and explain it as a “Wonder Bid?” (He either has short spades or long spades – and now I'm telling you – and partner – that I don't know which, so that the REAL ethical issue comes when West doubles and the issue is whether South is required to go down with the ship in 3N doubled, even when sure that 6m would be a better contract? Guess he would, as he passed 3N in this auction. Hard to imagine why one is required to alert a bid where there is obviously zero partnership understanding. So now, we not only must alert our agreements but our non-discussed non-agreements? When did bridge become a game of lawyering rather than play? If 5 spade tricks weren't enough for West to double 3 “natural” why would they be enough to double it when short? IMO, South acted absolutely correctly and the issue of whether there was an “agreement” can be resolved by applying what real lawyers would say was a matter of “res ipsa loquitur.”
Dec. 2
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Inconceivable wrong!
Dec. 2
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Playing matchpoints, frequency is a big deal. Some of the most difficult bidding problems ever come when the opponents open a weak 2 bid. If you are dealt 4-2 or 2-4 in the majors and opening values or better, you will be hating whatever you do. 18-19 flat may really help – when it comes up. A quick check shows that 18-19 HCP are dealt to one hand 2.65% of the time. Then that is shaved down by requiring that it be flat! If you want a great chance to not use your 2 opening at all in 248 deals, play that it shows 18-19 flat! Only in that universe of under 1% do you reach the analysis of whether the opening bid helped you on those rare occurrences when you held 18-19 flat early enough in the auction to not be deciding what to do over THEIR preempt on that hand. Of course, the negative inference of not opening 2 showing 18-19 flat is also of some benefit.

Unless you build too many requirements into your weak two's, a 2 bid can come up maybe 5-10 times as often and it can induce a lot of mistakes by opponents.

Maybe you could vary your choice with seat and vulnerability. Odd seats nonvul (prime preempting conditions) weak two; other seats and vulnerabilities 18-19 flat.
Nov. 29
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Penalty, but that said, this definition would come up once every three leap years.
Nov. 28
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West (barely) has a GF hand and if that means he must bid 2N in their methods, that's fine. East has good trumps and one suit that isn't wide open, so passing 3 isn't crazy, but it's leaning forward for sure. How either of them failed to double 4 is beyond me. Both seem have been bidding partner's imaginary “extras” instead of what was under their nose. Three outside aces and a bare minimum for a game force with terrible hearts looks as close to an automatic double of 4 as you may ever get dealt. With 2 dead spades, 2 dead diamonds, no aces, bare minimum high card points and a club control that is King-super-empty, East has about as automatic a double as you will likely get dealt. Had to go with “both” on this one.
Nov. 27
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I answered 2 based on my preferred style. I only play it with one partner, however. Sometimes you get the bear; sometimes the bear gets you. But, playing this style along with opening all 11's and good 10's means that if you pass nonvul in first seat, it is a LOUD pass.
Nov. 24
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Probably not now that you posted this post!
Nov. 24
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NT range can impact this – P-(P)-2N-(P), 3N-all pass if your range is 19-20 or 19-21. The Random Monkey is 11-2 to let 3N make on that blind auction. If East opens 1 and West bids 2N as a passed hand, North might find a heart lead against 3N.
Nov. 21
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This issue cost my partner and I a KO match (where we had led by 27 after 3/4). We came up with a firm rule: In competition, a game bid at your first turn to bid is ALWAYS to play. In comp, you have to able to bid you super long suits immediately, while they can still obstruct the opponents. Similarly, if you play fit-showing jumps (or splinters), in comp, those have to end at 4 (for the same reason). The only exception would be a jump in the opponents' suit. I don't see any reason that you have to play this way in a constructive auction, where you could easily bid your suit first then bid game in it.
Nov. 21
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After 1N-2T, 2M-3m, ?? I prefer to play the 3m as invite+ and opener's bids as:

4M…Max with fit for M; denies longer/better fit for m
3OM…Max with fit for m; denies a fit for M
Cheapest om…Max w fit for M and longer/better fit for m (M for game, m for slam)
4m…min with fit for m, denies a fit for M
3N…Solid Max with possible double stops in both unbid suits
3M…default bid – cannot make any of the forgoing bids; doesn't guarantee 3 of M

What is a max with a fit for m depends on degree of fit – with 4 card support for m, it takes top of range; with 5 card fit, it takes middle of range; min is less than those.
Nov. 19
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Best shot at a plus score for our side is the opponents declaring 1N vul on the lead of the Q. Why opt for a shot at +90 in a minor when it likely won't make unless we are cold for +100 defending. And, there is always the chance of +200 defending. I don't see this as “wimpy” but just “normal.” :)
Nov. 18
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I prefer mandatory super accepts over transfers (1N or 2N).
After 2N-3T, ?? opener bids 4M with 4-card support and a bad hand (for a 2N opener) for slam. With a good hand for slam, he cue bids cheapest control, with 3N a cue of suit T.
Nov. 17
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One of the top-level pair from Philadelphia,, Jordan-Robinson, once said that the reason that they were such good declarers was that their bidding gave them a lot of practice declaring (and making) impossible contracts.
Nov. 15
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I disagree. The amorphous 2+ 1 of Meckwell Lite works like a dream! Okay, now and then the dream is a nightmare, but it gets us into the auction below the level of 1 and 1 so we find our major suit fits easily – at the one level. This amorphous (but LIMITED) bid forces us to guess now and then; it forces the opponents to guess constantly. I always secretly smile when pard opens one of these; I hate it when the opponents do it.

Let's compare this 1D opening to pass. You expect 11-13 flat when pard opens 1 and are right about 62% of the time according to a sim I ran. When distributional, the range is still relatively tight – 10-15. Pass, on the other hand, has a 10-point range that you expand to 11 if you pass an 11 point dog. Pard has no idea of where you are in that range. And, Pass is the least preemptive call in your bidding box. 1 precludes them from opening 1 or 1! At a recent sectional, the auction at our table was 1-P-1N-2S, all pass. At the other table, it was P-1-P-1, P-1N-P-4. Game swing when 4 was an early claim on the 7-2 fit. This isn't rare; it's common.

If you are talking about a non-big-club context where opening a bad 11 expands an already gigantic range to 11-19 then you may incur some problems. But when it is limited, the 1 grunt is a very effective grunt indeed.
Nov. 14
Randy Thompson edited this comment Nov. 14
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Great article.

Add another excuse to pass: “My hand is too good to open a weak two and not good enough to open at the one level, so I pass!” No such hand. Pick one and live with it.
Nov. 14
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