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All comments by Sabine Auken
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I am not going to name any household names here, we are all in total awe of them.

Last summer at the World Championships in Lille Roy and I didn't qualify for the final stages of the main mixed event. Instead we teamed up with Zia and Ida Grönkvist to play in a mixed board-a-match event. Ida, only 17 years old, represented her home country Sweden in the women's competition in Lille. Now she was impressive! It seemed to me that she must have been playing this game for at least 20 years already, even though that was mathematically impossible.
May 3, 2013
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Thank you for inviting me, Steve, and yes, interesting question. This is a bit like the chicken and egg story. Does success follow a substantial amount of adrenaline and a high focus or do we start getting more focussed and feel a higher amount of adrenaline flow once success sets in? I really don't know.

Some players are able to play each and every hand as though they are of equal importance, you and Michael Rosenberg are two of the best examples. Most players, myself among them, sometimes take a more casual approach in a lesser event, and then regret having done so later. I am not sure exactly what makes it happen or when, but there almost seems to be a “adrenaline-kick” point that turns fatigue into focus. It comes together with a feeling that you actually can do it. And after that you are just always totally focussed and hardly need any sleep at all. And to answer your last question I feel that the built-up pressure actually helps you to focus more and increases the likelihood of your bridge actions being successful.
May 3, 2013
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Not surprisingly there was a lot of excitement in Denmark about the Danish Vanderbilt success and everybody is now referring to the event as the Vanderbilde. Ib Lundby (retired editor of the Danish bridge magazine) has written an article about just the last 16 deals against Monaco. I believe it has been sent to the ACBL Bulletin, but I do not know whether it will be published. In any event here is a link: http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/9212144/Vanderbilt.pdf
May 3, 2013
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I haven't played any of the methods for a long time. But now that you mention it, I think it could be fun to try some of them out again.
May 3, 2013
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Thank you very much, Steve, it has always been a pleasure meeting you at the table. If everyone were like you, there would be no need for a Zero Tolerance Policy.
May 3, 2013
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May I please quote what I already wrote above: “Personally I love Krzysztof Martens' Bridge University series. His books are very demanding and you need to read them again and again and then one more time to take it all in, but they will make you a better bridge player.”

In addition to that I think that every bridge player who takes the game seriously should read “Adventures in Card Play” at least once. No book better demonstrates what actually can be done with 52 cards. The imagination is extremely inspiring, although some would argue that it can do more harm than good, causing players to go hunting for a backwash squeeze instead of taking their finesses. But it sure is a great book and fun to read!
May 3, 2013
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Thank you Ari, that was very thoughtful of you to include a link to my book.

I am afraid I have a very bad long-term memory and I can't think of an all-time favorite hand. My latest favorite hand comes from the recent Yeh Bros Cup. I held

J953
76
A54
J653

At favorable in 1st seat Roy opened 1H, RHO doubled. LHO jumped to 3D over which RHO bid 3N which ended the auction. I led the H7 and dummy hit with

AQ2
542
K10632
84

Declarer won my partner's jack with the queen and played the C2 out of his hand. It seemed strange that declarer didn't attack diamonds. What was he up to? Was he trying to sneak a club past my jack? He seemed to have a long club suit. Maybe my partner had a stiff honor? I didn't really think that much about it except for “who would play a low club out of his hand with AKQ1092?” and then followed with a low club. The C8 won the trick and declarer quickly claimed 10 tricks. Don't ever do that to me again, Joel Wooldridge! His hand was

K86
Q103
Q
AKQ1092

It really takes guts to have the courage of your convictions and back up your judgment with a play like that and it has my full admiration.
May 3, 2013
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Finally an easy question, thank you so much for that, Greg! You can find the correct German pronunciation here: http://www.forvo.com/word/sabine/#de Just click on the little arrow.

But you may pronounce my name any way you like best. I only find that charming. :)
May 3, 2013
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I guess like so many other things aggressiveness is a relative term. I actually don't feel that our partnership is overly aggressive when it comes to bidding games at any excuse at all, which is an approach some experts favor. Admittedly we are very aggressive, however, when it comes to constantly trying to create problems for our opponents and lead them into potentially unfamiliar territory.

As to detailed vs. normal structures to begin with the most important thing is knowing your system and your agreements. Obviously a detailed structure with a lot of agreements is a lot more hard work. But if you and your partner are willing to put in that work and have the time to do it, it will pay off in the long run. If your time is limited, you will be better off with a normal structure and simple agreements.

As to my advice to you may I please refer you to my comment to Michael Chadov above.
May 3, 2013
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@Bea: For a number of years there were no trials at all. The team was simply nominated by the Federation.

@Michael: I believe in a way it was a combination of both factors. For one with Daniela and me on the women's team there would always be a good chance that we would win a medal or (in case of the European Championships) at least qualify for the Venice Cup, and that was a desirable situation for the Federation. If on the other hand we played in the open competition instead, probably the perception was we would be in over our heads and have little chance to achieve anything at all. I also believe there was a concern that a group of male players would get incensed that two women were “stealing” their spot. I have no proof for any of this, it is just what I always have felt.
May 3, 2013
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Thank you, Gerald. This is the first time I have heard the expression TOONing, but I like it! Honestly, though, there are many who are so much better at it than me. I am really just average. The one thing I have learnt is that it's usually better to just follow my first inclination and intuition instead of thinking too much about it.

Very often not much good comes out of a long thought anyway and it often lets the opponents realize what it is you are up to. I am talking here about some kind of ruse that one would like to try out. Don't think too long about it, just do it!
May 3, 2013
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Thank you so much for this, Hazel. It makes a huge difference for one's game knowing that someone is rooting for you. For some reason it seems easier to guess which way to take the finesse. :)
May 3, 2013
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Thank you, Yuan, that is very kind of you to say. I must admit I have been struggling with how to achieve that feat. After some time I have come to realize that it is impossible to guess correctly what partner may have this time every single time. You just can't do it.

My current approach is to try and imagine what both the worst possible and the best possible hand for partner's action might be. And then I try to do something that won't be a total disaster, if he has either one of those hands. But maybe it's better to just assume an average hand for partner's action and then act accordingly. I will keep on experimenting. :) What are your own thoughts on this?
May 3, 2013
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Hi Larry. I love the name of your system! And I am sorry if I am disappointing you now. But if you are talking about the upcoming world championships in Bali my plan is to play in the Transnational Teams.
May 2, 2013
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Oh wow, I have listened to that story for decades and now it appears to be wrong. Thank you for correcting it and I hope your membership will continue to go up.
May 2, 2013
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John Diamond was asked the same question when he was in the Well. He answered that it had to do with a game playing mindset. That sounds pretty right to me. I also believe it has to do with combinatorial skills. Both trading and bridge require you to collect a whole bunch of information, sometimes out of nowhere, and sort of like a jigsaw puzzle piece it together into the big picture.
May 2, 2013
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Thanks, Bob!

I am not sure I have a strong preference for one method over the other. Either one could work better than the other on any given hand, most of the time they work equally well. Playing the second double as penalty a player typically would double with something as good as Kxx in the passout seat allowing the partnership to play for a penalty with let's say Qxx opposite Kxx.

This would not be possible playing negative doubles. But on the other hand if you double with KQ109 in the passout seat your partner is likely to run with a singleton and you miss a penalty which would have been easy playing negative doubles, because your partner would have doubled for take-out with his singleton.
May 2, 2013
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Hi Greg, thank you for the congratulations. I recall each round in the Vanderbilt, seeing your team close by playing the best of the best everyday, you must have had one of the worst draws ever!

I am not exactly sure what the general trend in Europe is. If you look at women's bridge in Sweden you might get the impression that the average age is 17. 

Both my sons know how to play the game, but they never play. I used to play in the local club once a week together with my oldest son. But it was just too boring for him. There were almost only “old” people around. To be totally honest I am very happy that my sons play basketball instead, which teaches them important social skills. But maybe they will take up bridge again later in life. One of the many good things about bridge is, it's never too late.:)
May 2, 2013
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That would be signaling at trick 1 against NT. The method was originally developed by my good friend Georg Nippgen from Germany (winner of the world championships in Geneva 1990). Unless there is shortness in dummy or the opening lead has asked for an unblock 3rd hand always signals as follows (S denotes the card 3rd hand plays):

xS, Sxx, HSx, xxSx, xxxxS

The ingenious thing about it is, if you can identify partner's card as the lowest you will usually know whether it is from two or from five which is sometimes difficult to signal, especially without an honor.
May 2, 2013
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Thank you Peg, it was great having you there and feel the positive vibes. It also helped not having to worry about how the pictures will turn out, because your pictures are always terrific! :)

I have always thought that if you want to improve your game, you are much better off playing in the toughest fields possible. Sadly for a variety of reasons not every woman always gets to play in her first choice of events. So one has to make do with what is possible.

It is my impression that there is a considerable number of women that prefers to play “just among themselves”. As long as that is the case I would as empress keep women's events separate from the open. If I am the empress, do you think I can get permission to play in the Bermuda Bowl? :)
May 2, 2013
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