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All comments by Randy Thompson
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I assume 2H would say, “I'd have passed a natural 2H,” and 3H would say “I'd have raised a natural 2H to 3H.” If not vul at imps, 2H might be enough. Pard can still make a move over 2H with a super hand for his bidding. Vul at IMPs, you gotta bid more than that, so it's 3H vs 4H and why not let partner participate in this decision? With 10+ major suit cards, most of my pards will open pretty light. One of our minor suit cards is worthless – It's most likely the KC,as pard's most common distribution will be 5-4-3-1. If I could trade my minor honors (Kx and Qxx) I'd probably bid the game as pard rates to have 2 or 3 in my shorter minor. Most of the time when we have a good game (40% or better), I think pard will carry on to 4H over 3H. 3H also works as a “Blame Transfer,” as now pard will have the last guess.
Oct. 18, 2013
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Pass would never occur to me, but some partners accuse me of bidding like an illegal alien (no green card). :) You have to be extremely pessimistic to pass and I have no words to describe double on a hand with not even one sure trick and 11 cards in two suits for which partner might have a fit. This is the sort of hand where double-game swings abound. With only a 5-loser hand and a void in their primary suit, this hand has a lot of offense but if partner's opening bid contains much if any waste in hearts, slam is out of the question.

BTW, I ran some simulations and there were more slams than I would have guessed. There were a LOT of hands where 5S would or could go down but 4S make. Interestingly many would fail from partner's side but make from our side. The culprit was that Kx of diamonds. There was often somewhere to park a diamond loser if they didn't take the first two tricks by leading through it. I think the imps and the frequency favored bidding 4S, but the auctions got too complicated to be certain where they would wind up or what might be the lead or play choices.

To resolve a dilemma that I raised before, I assumed partner would bid 5N over 5H to find your other suit when he had a minor he might prefer to spades and a hand worth accepting. He might do that on many hands that had diamonds or both minors and not much waste in hearts. So, 5H might well be a better choice than 4N.
Oct. 17, 2013
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The biggest issue I see in this problem is whether you ever want to play with this partner or these teammates again. If you do, bid 4S, along with 96% of those responding here. If it's wrong, then your teammates are 96% to understand. Try something else and it better be right, as they are 96-4 to not be very understanding. Anyone can envision a magic-card slam that can be made if you guess to drop offsides honors in the premptor's hand, etc. Over 5H, will partner ever know to bid his Jxxx of clubs instead of 5S or 6S with AK or AQ? The issue isn't only whether you can make a slam in your best strain it's also whether, if you can, is it possible to find the strain that makes? 5H gives an illusion of putting clubs in the picture, but does it? IF you are going to pick something other than 4S, I think 4N is best – planning to correct 5D to 5S or to raise 5C to 6C. Of course, if partner bids 6D, with something like AQ Axx AQxxx Jxx you will want to go back and re-visit 4S. He would also likely bid 6D over 5H with that hand. They have made you guess here and if you are really favored in this match (96% might disagree) then why make a bid you (should) KNOW won't be made at the other table?
Oct. 17, 2013
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“Gets us to slam?” Really? You look for slam with 8 HCP opposite 15-17 flat? 4S is the only bid that passes even the most rudimentary of sanity tests. We don't look for slams in this type of auction, just the safest port in a storm.
Oct. 16, 2013
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3S is reasonable because of the JS.
We show specific kings over a 5N ask or when we hold the Queen of trumps and pard does a queen ask. I would be reluctant to bid 6H lest pard think his QH was a magic card instead of toxic waste and go wrong. But, in THIS auction, where partner has shown diamonds and I have denied the A or K, I'd try 6D to see if hearing that I had Qxx of diamonds was enough to let him place the contract. If I'm claiming a KD that I've denied, I must have SOMETHING in diamonds and I can't have the KC or KH as part of my “extras.”
I think 5N should show the QS abut some non-king extras on the side, while 6S shows the QS and otherwise nothing not already shown.
Oct. 16, 2013
Randy Thompson edited this comment Oct. 16, 2013
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After 1M-2M:
New Suit…short-suit try (accept if have bid w/o counting soft values in opener's short suit –cuebid if have a max that is all working)
2N……5-3-3-2 17-18 HCP no stiff/void (accept if have max raise and accept to 3N if not counting shortness to get to the max.
3M…….6-3-2-2 or 5-4-2-2 hand (accept if have the raise counting only aces and kings or if have max HCP (bid 3N if have max of 8-9 HCP but with <6 HCP in aces/kings Pt range for 3M varies w quality of the suits/points.

After 1m-1M, 2M-?? (context: weak no trump system where the raise promises 4 cd suppt and 15-17 in suppt of M)
2N….GF slam try asking further description
3M….Min/max however you come to it
3m….Shortness in m – go if have raise w/o counting soft values in m (cuebid 4m if counting ace of m in accepting).
New Suit….Cuebid of soft values (accept if have the values promised by the raise w/o counting shortness in that suit).
Oct. 2, 2013
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As a result of having committed a negative double with this hand, I now know that partner has support for my diamonds and that I have approximately -1/2 of a trick on defense. I hope 5DX goes for less than the -790 awaiting us if I pull a green card. Had I never bid, I would sit for the double and hope to score my KH. I read partner for 2-2-3-6 or maybe 3-1-3-6 and extra values. He might think a Kx or Kxx of spades has a friend or two over here – WRONG!
Sept. 27, 2013
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When I took my wife (then my girlfriend) to her first duplicate game, on the very first board she opened 1N (15-17) and I had 17 HCP. Not wanting to have her first experience be going down in a slam, I bid 3N. She had a min hand and had to play it very carefully to take 12 tricks – but she took them. I promised her I would NEVER do anything like that again. Whoever your partner is, you should make any bid that is obviously right (in this case 3C). Trying to be cute and psych is no way to play in a regular partnership or with a newbie. Passing the hand you gave is a very gentle way to play bridge and I sure hope that everyone at my table passes it when I hold the cards the other way. Taking away the one and two levels is worth a lot and given what a nonvul 3C bid might look like these days, bidding 3C doesn't give away much at all.
Sept. 26, 2013
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I have been playing Defense (1) for some time and it is as simple as can be. It also lets us get back to even against the table(s) where our teammates (or the field) opened 2M. We can use lebensohl responses to the double or the 2H bid that functions as a take-out double. We can overcall with 2N or make a 2H/Dbl bid then bid NT to show the same sorts of hands that can be shown at the other table. You, like they, can bid 2S over a 2H opener but must bid 3H over a 2S opener. You have one LARGE edge – you can respond 2H to a take-out double of spades! What will happen with the flat 13-14 point hands at the other tables? They will pass. What will happen with the 15-16 point hands? They will stretch to bid 2N or else will pass. With Defense (1) we have all those options that they have. With the flat hands too weak for 2N, we can always pass and then reopen with a double –presumably showing such a hand, but only after having the auction confirm that it isn't wildly risky to do so.

On Defense (2), only after having SHOWN a flat 13+ will you find out if it was absolute insanity or useful. I like forcing my partner (and myself) to pass with those hands! I can't imagine wanting to exchange take-out doubles for bids that show a hand that much/most of the time should pass!

I'm willing to have a simple goal – just get back with the field on most hands and be content with that plus a slight edge on one type of hand (2H response to double of 2D). IMO, we don't need to try to cover all the hand types and flat-hand ranges known to man at the expense of efficiency and simplicity on the ones that most often matter.
Sept. 26, 2013
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It's not a point count issue for 2N; it's probably at least a 6-loser or better hand and isn't one that is better described by bidding a GF 2/1 then a forcing 3M or by a slam-interest-showing omnibus splinter (bid of 3OM) or a void-showing slam try of 4m or 4H if M was spades. If you don't have slam interest, in a club system you just make the magic bid of 4M and give the opponents no help on defense and bait a trap for them if they bid over 4M. On very flat hands, we likely would have at least 16 HCP and good controls for 2N. One type of hand that is a prime candidate for a 2N raise would be one with a long empty side suit (Axxxx or xxxxx are perfectos) where a stiff from partner will forgive a lot of losers. When you confine your side-suit-then-3M sequences to GOOD side suits (2 of top 3 or AJTxx or better) then those side suits are sources of tricks, not losers, and you use 2N for the bad-side-suit-but-strong hands.

It's interesting (to a bidding geek like me anyway) that in my KS and 2/1 auctions, all splinters (whether 3OM stiff-showing or 4X void-showing) are severely limited raises with NO independent slam interest (using 2N instead with independent slam interest) but in a big club system they should always have slam interest opposite a well-fitting hand (else why bother telling the opps about your hand(s)?). In my non-big-club partnerships, 3N is a “Flat Rat Raise” (12-14 HCP, no stiff/void and 3+ of M), splinters tend to have 9-12 HCP and shape that gives them about 12-15 in suppt of M; 1N then 4M is a “Secret Side Suit Raise” with 3 of M (with 4 would have splintered), some stiff/void (else would bid 3N) and some long side suit that isn't a GOOD one (as described above) and about 11-13 HCP. When limited, responder TELLS opener why he is forcing game; when too strong for one of those bids and not right for a side suit bid first he uses 2N (even with only 3 cd suppt) to ASK about opener's hand.
Sept. 25, 2013
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I love ASTRO over Majors and strongly prefer it to Guessing Michaels. For the good hands you can always use Leaping Michaels and then partner not only knows you have a good two suiter, he knows which minor when they bid 4M. Michaels over minors seems hard to do without.
Sept. 22, 2013
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In two of my partnerships (one KS and one 2/1), we play the traditional (flawed) responses to 2N, but in my Precision partnership, where 2N is a VERY strong bid and 1M is a limited bid we have 2N do double duty as a limit raise or a slam try. That way on slam hands, responder finds out if opener has a hand that would accept to game over a limit raise and can THEN find out about shape.

Opener only has two responses to 2N:
3C to show he WOULD accept a limit raise or
3M to say he would NOT accept one.

If responder has a limit raise, he just bids game over 3C and passes 3M without the opponents having been told anything about shape.

If responder is looking for slam, he can bid 3D over 3C to ask for shortness or he can bid anything higher as an initiation of cuebids of cheapest 1st/2d round controls. Over 3M,responder can carry on with a slam try by cuebidding or by bidding 3N to ask for shortness. Or if responder's slam interest is dampened by opener's 3M rebid, he can just bump it to 4M w/o having given ANY shape information about declarer's hand to the opponents.

You could get a lot fancier than that, but this serves the purpose of denying the opponents information on routine game hands and lets responder find out about shortness and controls. By including limit raise hands, it also frees up another bid for other uses (3M or whatever 3m Bergen bid would be a limit raise in your methods).
Sept. 22, 2013
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May all your finesses work and all your opponents' fail! We'll be rooting for you and following via Vu-graph and recaps.
Sept. 17, 2013
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Chris:

Yes – there is NO doubt that it was far easier.

Perhaps as important as the influx of Euro pros was that back in the day, many highly seeded pros were trying to carry dead meat clients on their backs, while today many/most of the highly-seeded teams have patrons who (IMO) are REALLY good bridge players. In 1983, we beat 2 pro teams (and a third “amateur” team seeded in the high-40's that contained several players who later won NABC championships) and the two patrons of those teams were just too heavy a load to carry.
Sept. 12, 2013
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An example of your point: In 1983, we got 11.45 masterpoints for making the round of 16 in the Vanderbilt (which are now considered only black points, just the same as online points scored in robot games). BTW, our team had fewer than 5000 aggregate MPs at the time.

I like Adam's idea of only considering Platinum Points scored in the past ten years for seeding purposes and of expanding the events for which seeding points are given. For KO events, perhaps IMP Pairs wins should count.

To offset the alleged bias towards us geezers, I think the way to go is to permit discretionary re-seeds by committee of more than one grouping of anyone who has won an NABC+ event and who has been a member of the ACBL for less than ten years (or else upgrade their total by taking their average per year in the past five years and inflating it to a ten-year total).

Sept. 12, 2013
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Excellent choice. Good Luck in Bali. May you play as well as you did in the Trials!
June 12, 2013
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Henry: Opporunity cost dollars are just as real as other cash. Each stands to win or not win a bonus and the money difference is VERY real, not imaginary. In effect, they are “betting their bonuses” on the outcome of the finals. Those bonuses may very well ride on not only pure skill but also the location of two kings in 64 deals so there IS at least an element of gambling – surely as much of an element as at Bridgebig.

BridgeBig presumably is also not an ACBL event. Maybe the Cavendish too is barred from any booth, fliers, etc. at nationals and maybe they don't care as their clientele all know when where and how much w/o being recruited.
March 1, 2013
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So, does this mean that professional players who receive performance bonuses from their sponsors are violating ACBL policy? When the finals of a KO event see two pro teams with performance bonuses on the line isn't that EXACTLY what is going on? Is the Cavendish illegal under the ACBL policy? I'm not by any means saying these bonuses or the Cavendish should be outlawed by the ACBL; I'm just pointing out their hypocrisy. Good luck in changing the minds of the ACBL dinosaurs.
March 1, 2013
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1H-4C* *showing a void and a limited GF hand
4N-5H* *2 keycards w/o QH
6H-Pass

The hand values to 13 in support of hearts, has 2 quick tricks and is a 7-loser hand – of course it's a game force. Our methods would show a STIFF and a limited splinter raise via 3OM, so the jump to 4X is freed for voids. With a hand too strong to be comfortable letting opener stop in 4M, we would start with 2N instead of the limited splinter (whether 3OM or 4X). Once you are counting 5 for a void, it doesn't take much more strength than this to be TOO strong for 4C – this hand is perfect. Opener knows that he has a gigantic hand opposite four hearts, 12-15(or so) in support, counting 5 for a heart void. That makes this an easy auction and hearing of the two keycards makes this at WORST on a spade hook for 6 hearts.
Feb. 6, 2013
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Playing "Three-way-Immediate-Non-Drury will solve all of these issues – plus the ones where there is a preempt to 2S rather than a meek 1S overcall. In this method, if you open the bidding in 3d seat, then you have an opening bid! With less than an opening bid, you make an immdediate weakness-showing bid of 2D/2H/2S and increase the problems you give the opponents. Reverse upside-down five-way fit-showing drury still leaves you at sea if they bid 2S over your partner's 3d seat 1H opener. With say Ax Qxx KJxxx Jxx you will have NO idea what to do if your partner's drury-addicted opening bid can be a joke on a four-card suit or an actual opening bid.
Feb. 4, 2013
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