Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Randy Thompson
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Surely there should be an irony alert?
May 10
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For me, it's all about system swings. Say each team has one Big Club pair and one 2/1 pair. If behind, I want the Big Club pairs at the same table to maximize system swings; if ahead, I want them separated to minimize system swings. The concept is the same if one pair on each team uses weak NT and the other strong. Other than that it comes down to who on our team can best cope with an exotic-methods pair on our team.
May 9
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With clubs and heart support, a fit-showing jump to 3 can be treated as invitational+. Then a 2 rebid after 2 shows 2 hearts and there is no need to self-preempt with 3. With 4 probably no reason to introduce clubs – just cue bid. This is all just my opinion, not what I think most folks play, but fit-showing jumps in competition seem to work well. I started playing these after seeing bootleg copy of Eddie Manfield partner notes, where he said, in defense of using fit-showing jumps instead of splinters: “in competition, tell partner where you are long and let the opponents tell him where you are short.” Simple? Yes. Effective? yes. I like to play that in comp, the only splinters are in the opponents' suit(s).
May 6
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Partner's most likely shape (given that he has 3 hearts and 6+ diamonds and that no one bid spades) is 3-3-6-1. 13 HCP is going to be far more likely than 16. 6 diamonds far more likely than 7, 3-1 in the blacks more likely than 2-2, 3 spades and 1 club far more likely than 1 spade and 3 clubs). Let's see where we want to be opposite a non-minimum AJx Axx KQxxxx x. Seems like 3 might be our last shot at a plus score. Only if the diamonds are much better would diamonds play better than hearts. Move the black ace to clubs and we are down off the top in 3N with down 2 likely and down one or two in 3. At other tables, they will likely be playing 2 or 2 (whichever one opener rebids). Let's bid 3 and beat all those in 2 and some of those in 2 (when the weak opponents slip a trick – weak opponents never lead trumps). I would say that 3 has an expected score of 140. Unlucky if our methods (huge range of HCP and of diamond quality) caused us to miss a game, but at least they may have let us find our best matchpoint strain.
May 5
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Life is too short to get all bothered about what goes on against you at a club game. Winning at a club game is more fun than not winning, but having stress-free fun at a club game is more important (to me) than how or whether I place. If you want masterpoints w/o worrying that your opponents are unethical, you can score thousands of masterpoints playing BBO robot games. To my (not-from-experience) knowledge, bots may fix you but they never cheat you.
May 2
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I considered 3, but didn't want to have the next UHold be what I do over his 4 or 5 bid. I thought about double, but wasn't sure we could beat 2N, even with the Q lead. You better have your partnership agreements fully locked and loaded for this auction or you may find that both you and your partner think the meanings of double and 3 are “obvious” but that you don't agree on what obvious meaning that is. When you pass at the go with this hand, partner should not have to live in fear that you will punish him w/o having a fit for his suit. Would I LIKE to show the majors? Sure. Am I certain which call shows the majors? No. The one call that cannot be misunderstood here is pass – and it might even be the right call. Is it so impossible that partner has a 2-2-5-4 with about 9 HCP, all in the minors? After pass, if it goes, (3), Pass, Pass back to us, then maybe pard will work out what a balancing 3 shows (it certainly denies diamonds and we didn't open 2). We could still be in trouble if pard is 2-2-5-4, or 2-1-6-4, but I would risk showing the majors once I was more sure of having found a call that showed them. If it goes all-pass, I lead my top spade and hope to get a plus score.

Interesting problem!
May 2
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The recorder system is 100% useless. Nothing ever happens. Prove me wrong. Tell me about even one instance where action was taken against a player due to recorder reports.
May 1
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I had the same scenario once – we played 1NXX with 26 HCP – off the first 7 tricks on one suit and the ace of another.
April 29
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Simple escapes: All weak hands either pass or redouble.

REDOUBLE…..commands 2 and shows some 5+ suit and <invite values.

PASS….. shows any weak hand w/o a 5 card suit OR a hand with no major suit interest but invite or even GF values.

ALL OTHER BIDS….System on (but have invite+ values).

OVER PASS, Opener:
bids a 5 card suit if he has one, (if can't have 5 cd M then 2 = 4-4 in majors)
Passes with 4-3-3-3, or
Redoubles with 2 (or 3) 4-card suits.

OVER REDOUBLE, Responder:
Passes if he has enough to know we have half the deck or more or
Bids his cheapest 4 card minor or
Bids 2 with 4-4 in the majors or
Bids 2 with 4-3-3-3 or with 3-4-3-3.
If Opener passes 2 and it gets doubled, Responder redoubles to show 4-3-3-3 or 3-4-3-3 and Opener places the contract.



The ambiguity of pass by Responder and the option that Opener has to pass with 4-3-3-3 (which ups our range by one point if he is 4-3-3-3) puts a lot of pressure on Advancer to rescue us if he is weak. There is tactical advantage to leaving it possible for it to go all-pass over EVERY call (other than when Responder redoubles to show 4-3-3-3 or 3-4-3-3 in one rare auction). If Doubler is light, he often rescues us; if Responder is light, he often rescues us.

It has been at least two or three years since we have gone for a number after 1N is doubled. It helps that our range is 12-15, where 15 is only if we are 4-3-3-3 as that brings us into strong no trump defenses vs most pairs, but we are now playing 11-13 nonvul in the first 3 seats, so the experiment will continue.

If you don't care if responder can promise invite+ values for any bid other than pass/redouble, then you can use Jacoby to get out in a 5+ major and have the redouble promise either 5+ clubs or 5+ diamonds.

Getting to play 1NXX when XX is “business” is a weak no trumper's fantasy – one of them always runs rather than incur a 7-trick game bonus. Using the redouble for long-suit run-outs (whether all suits or just the minors) is more effective. One theoretical flaw (at matchpoints) that has yet to occur at the table is 1N-Dbl-all pass when we have a 3N game.
April 29
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David: Okay, so now we are naming names. :) Marty Fleisher is a prime example of someone who could get hired as a pro on elite teams if he weren't sponsoring one of his own. He is a peer of the teammates he pays. He and some others like him are a big reason I don't enter the Spingold or Vanderbilt as often as before. Back in the day, we could “make hay while the sun shined” with the client at the table then try to hold off the beasts in the second half. But, when the sponsor is vastly better than anyone on our team, we need a lot more luck to stay close and more than happens in real life in order to win. 0-10K offers more fun these days (for me).
April 29
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An extremely well-written article. Young Mr. Xu has a bright future as a student or in whatever career he chooses. Questions by the thousands show a mind that will carry him wherever he may go. And hats off to the Rosenberg family for their efforts in attracting and developing young players. I suspect that mentoring someone this intelligent was a labor of love.
April 29
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When explaining tournament bridge to non-players, I often refer to it as an a less-than-perfect example of microeconomic price theory. (Please don't call me out on terminology; I'm working off memory of a class from 50 years ago.) Who is willing to ask you to be their partner or teammate is an excellent measure of how good you are, because the ask says they think you are as good as they are. I always add that two factors skew the model – money and sex. One of the downsides of being a client is that you can never experience this phenomenon.
April 29
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Michael: There absolutely is reason to presume that clients are much worse than the pros they pay. I presume that until proven otherwise – so do you. That some are top players doesn't mean we should start by assuming the client sits out the second half of KO matches because they have something more pressing to do. They don't play the second half because they aren't as good as the rest of their team. I know that; you know that; everyone knows that. So we don't get to naming names, let me just point out that a sponsor of a four-bagger is at the table for all the boards and when they win something big, they have earned respect as a player. If the team's 3 pairs rotate equally, the client has proved something. Otherwise, the client can only earn respect via Butler ranking and even there if he or she always plays only the first half, then perhaps they are gaining against other clients.
April 29
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Players know who can play and who can't. Some sponsors could be paid for playing if they weren't the ones paying. Others couldn't get partners or teammates good enough to win a local club game w/o hiring them. If one of those folks wants to bask in reflected glory, no big deal. There have always been pros and if there weren't, the game at the top wouldn't be as strong as it is. Winning as a sponsor earns you the presumption that you can't play and it means you have to work really hard to get respect as a player if the truth is that you can play. To me, that is “punishment” enough.
April 28
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Don't 99.9% of KS pairs play 2/1 GF over a 1M opener? As a KS player since the mid 1970's, I can't relate to this comment. I think Howard gives the explanation that almost all semi-forcing 1N pairs would give.
April 28
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An option of “West, if anyone” might appeal to many. If this is the worst thing West ever does at the table, we'll be seeing his/her name in lots of headlines. But, I would have acted with his hand at each turn to bid and accept that action might be very very wrong on other layouts. East clearly has no bid. One reason that bids by West work so well here is that North has a well-concealed 3-card fit for spades, making the LAWful total much higher than expected. Swap a spade from north for a heart from east and double doesn't work so well, at least at the second turn. Doubling early can keep our flail from happening at the three level. I don't like to sell out low, so I'd get in there early, while pard has some room to bid at the two level. If you double early and the heart and spade were shifted between N and E, Pard could bid 1N.
April 22
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The hand short in the opponents' suit should be aggressive about getting us into the auction. That is West. With 7 Losing Tricks, and decent support for all 3 suits, he should double at one of his two turns to bid. North having 3 spades on this auction is unusual. East balancing with what is surely two or three quick spade losers would be off the chart too aggressive. IMO, doubling 2 at the second turn is a pre-balance. I would double at my first turn, but wouldn't mind if pard waited till his second turn with this hand. Don't worry about the penalty double hands in direct seat – pard will be VERY short in their suit and can be the one to be aggressive later unless totally broke.
April 22
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If you play fit-showing jumps over 1 then this is a bit easier to sort out. If so, it shows 2 hearts, if not it should show 3.
April 21
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I used to do this somewhat frequently. These days, maybe once every 3 or 4 years. IMO, just raising to 3 is usually better tactics, as it takes away the 3 level, including their ability to cue 3. In general, 2N is a bid in search of a story for the bar. edit to correct typo
April 21
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As far back as at least the early 1970's, folks were making this tactical 2N bid and it was then, and still is today, just “bridge.” Just as those who think Stayman promises values or promises a major are 100% wrong, those who believe 2N promises anything may still believe in the tooth fairy. 2N asks something and only the asker knows why he asked and it is a bid that is marked in black (if forcing) and is not alertable no matter WHAT it asks partner to show. Partner's response is nearly always alertable. Sometimes a Stayman bidder's rebid is alertable if it denies a 4 card major or may not have one. This is exactly like Stayman.
April 19
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