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All comments by Sabine Auken
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Denmark is a relatively small country with competitive bridge being concentrated in few places. Germany is a much bigger country with competitive bridge scattered to the four winds all over the place. As a result it is much easier in Denmark to organize and execute ongoing challenging competitions such as a division and a cup tournament.

This kind of competition exists in Germany as well, but the participation in Denmark is much higher. I believe this may be one of the reasons why, as far as I can see, the general standard of bridge in Denmark is higher than in Germany.
May 2, 2013
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Hi Bea, I am afraid I do not have much to add to what I just said above. But I can tell you that, when Daniela and I started playing together we still had six years left in the juniors competition. We never made it onto the German junior team. I did feel discriminated against back then.

Later I also felt that being very successful in international women's competition the German Bridge Federation had a special interest in keeping us there and it may have influenced their decision as to how to select the open team.
May 2, 2013
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The answer to this to me is clear. By far the most important ingredient for a partnership to be successful together is respect and as a result of that trust each other and trust each other's abilities. You don't have to be the best of friends to have a successful partnership. But if you do not have respect for each other, you better start looking for someone else.
May 2, 2013
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David, I hope your father-son partnership becomes just as successful as the Bildes. They are great players and awesome teammates and playing together as father and son adds an extra dimension.

You ask whether women's bridge is good for the game. Several years ago (in the early 90s if I remember correctly) the Norwegian Bridge Federation seeing no logical reason why there should be a difference in the ability of men and women bridge players, decided to abolish all women competition. The result was shocking, their membership sank drastically. This may not prove anything, but it seems to me there is a large group of women who prefers to play in women's competition. And in my thinking if that is what keeps them coming to the table, it's good for bridge.

Whether women's bridge is good for the development of talented female players I would say depends on the ambitions of such a player. If she wants to excel in women's bridge, it's excellent. If she wants to excel in open bridge, she probably doesn't find herself in the right place.

You ask whether having a Y-chromosome is an advantage in bridge. I doubt I will find much disagreement here saying that men generally are better bridge players than women. Much has been speculated about the the reasons. Personally I feel that it at least to a certain degree has to do with women generally being multi-taskers noticing anything that goes on around them, whereas most men tend to have a one-track mind that makes it easier for them to focus on one specific task. I do not know enough about chromosomes to tell you whether owning the Y-type automatically gives you an advantage.
May 2, 2013
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In my view one of the best things one can do is watching more experienced and preferably expert players live in action and then get lucky and have the chance to discuss as much bridge with them as possible. Pick their brain!

In addition to that I am convinced that reading a lot of bridge books will greatly enhance your game. 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.
May 2, 2013
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Let's just say I like to think that I run every day. :) On a more serious note I do believe that physical fitness can contribute greatly to your performance at the bridge table. I definitely run almost every day when I am at home, be it rain, snow or sunshine. At tournaments I like to go swimming in the morning if I can find a pool. When that's not possible, Roy and I put on our running gear and find the fastest route to the next breakfast place.
May 2, 2013
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There have been many recent advances in technology which enable tournaments to provide live scoring, results from other tables and recaps. I imagine that due to the size of ACBL events, it must be very difficult to implement them in the US, but I am certain it will happen eventually. I think these features make bridge more fun for the players and more interesting for those watching.

I also believe that getting closer to standardizing rules internationally will only help all players around the world focus more on the bridge instead of rules and regulations and that in turn may help to reduce director calls and rulings.
May 2, 2013
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Thank you, Felix, I have been asking myself the same question! It seems to me that in some events totally out of the blue there is a team of destiny and luckily in St. Louis that was our team. There is no secret recipe to make it happen. You just keep trying to do the best you possibly can. Once you get past a certain point, adrenaline kicks in and prevents you from getting tired. You reach a state where everything keeps falling into place and even questionable actions at the bridge table turn into gold. And then all of a sudden you have won the Vanderbilt!

Josephine Culbertson and her husband Ely who contributed so much to the popularity of bridge won the Vanderbilt trophy four-handed and the great Helen Sobel did it twice, both in 1944 and 1945. That will be a tough act to follow! :)
May 2, 2013
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Luckily these days most international events are transnational. And when the few remaining events that require national representation are taking place, there are also always transnational alternatives.

So Roy living in the US and me living in Denmark doesn't constitute a real problem for the possibilities of our partnership. But if you can start a new country that we can represent together, please don't hold back! If you succeed, I promise that smile you saw in the bar will never disappear. :)
May 2, 2013
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Occasionally, during opening or closing ceremonies when they have a dress code, everyone dresses up very nicely and it's a nice change to see all your friends looking so elegant. It makes me think of “the good old days” and I feel like I'm part of something special. That said, I also understand the desire to be comfortable during play, especially during long events.

As to most fashionable bridge players Zia and Norberto Bocchi spring to mind and who could possibly top Bronia? I want those jeans with the holes, Bronia! I have to run now. Sorry, if something is missing. :)
May 2, 2013
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Hi Greg and thank you Bridgewinners for inviting me into the Well.

I don't believe there is any single best system. Ideally you would want to play a system that suits your character. The 4-card major canape system was a very dynamic system. We hardly ever missed a 4-4 fit in the majors and often quickly bounced the auction. It was fun to sometimes have a surprise for the opponents in form of a reserve suit.

It has taken some getting used to, but now I have learnt that it is not necessarily always best to find your 4-4 major suit fits. What I love most about our current system is its flexibility and the possibility in many auctions to decide whether to be dummy or declarer. Having several choices on almost every hand is not a typical part of most other systems and it has made me think differently about bidding. That has done something I never thought possible, making the game I love even more fascinating than it was before.
May 2, 2013
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Paul, I guess you meant to say “except without screens” instead of “except with screens” :)

I agree with you that the WBF policy makes it very clear that all conventional bids must be alerted. And it is really quite simple. Any bid that doesn't denote willingness to play in the suit bid must be alerted. That means e.g. that an opening bid of 2C showing any strong hand has to be alerted, whereas a Precision 2C opening showing 5 or more clubs does not. That probably feels weird to most ACBL players.

After reading Jan's comment (Thanks for that link to the appendix on screens, Jan! Now I even figured out how to find it on the ACBL site, all my previous efforts had been without success:))I took another look at the WBF policy. And there is indeed something I find confusing. It says:
If screens are not in use do NOT alert the following:
1. All doubles.
2. Any no-trump bid which suggests a balanced or semi-balanced hand, or suggests a no-trump contract.
3. Any call at the four level or higher, with the exception of conventional calls on the first round of the auction.

It's 2) that confuses me. To me it seems to indicate that there actually are “natural” no-trump calls that have to be alerted when playing WITH screens. But I can't figure out what they are supposed to be. Maybe the intention of the regulation is to explicitly forbid alerting “natural” NT calls without screens, whereas when playing it doesn't really matter if one alerts them or not.
Dec. 11, 2012
Sabine Auken edited this comment Dec. 11, 2012
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I have a feeling you are probably right about this, unfortunately.
Dec. 10, 2012
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Kit, I agree with you and Michael, that it is good practice to inquire about enemy bids during the auction, even when they are not alerted. And when you play long enough against a pair, they will realize that your asking questions doesn't necessarily indicate anything about your hand. Still I feel this approach is more suitable for long knock-out matches, where it is easier to manage one's time. Playing just three boards in the Reisinger creates certain time constraints that make that approach a bit more difficult. Also one doesn't have the benefit of one's opponents knowing that you often ask questions about unalerted bids.
Dec. 9, 2012
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Michael, I agree that unfortunately far too often there is unauthorized information transmitted even behind screens. But I wanted to focus on just one issue. My thought process was that theoretically no unauthorized information is transmitted during the bidding behind screens, as long as everyone adheres to the rules. And if that is the case I can see no reason why not all conventional bids (and maybe even more as Kit Woolsey makes a case for) should be alertable behind screens.

It now appears that all conventional bids are indeed alertable behind screens under ACBL rules as Peter Boyd and others pointed out. They found that regulation in a little footnote on the Alert Chart. In view of that it puzzles me, how it was possible that one of the best ACBL directors in front of a group of directors explained to me that the alert rules behind screens were the same as without screens with the exception of there being no delayed alerts behind screens, and everybody nodded their head.

That leaves two thoughts:
1) Is it possible that ACBL does not categorize cuebids and control bids as conventional?
2) Maybe the fact that all conventional bids are alertable behind screens warrants more than just a little footnote on the Alert Chart and deserves its own paragraph in the Alert Rules.

Dec. 9, 2012
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Oh wow, thank you so much for that, Peter! I just looked up your link and it appears you are absolutely correct.

The situation I cited in my article was an actual director ruling in the recent Reisinger. The director ruled that 4H didn't have to be alerted, because cuebids weren't alertable. After the round I went back to the directors to get the heads up on alerting rules behind screens, because I wasn't familiar with them. I was told the alerting rules behind screens were the same as without screens with the exception of there being no delayed alerts. Now I am beginning to wonder whether in ACBL terminology a cue-bid is not considered a conventional call……
Dec. 8, 2012
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Bob, I wish you were right! You write: “Behind screens, the normal ACBL criteria for what is alertable is no longer relevant.” Unfortunately those criteria are still relevant behind screens. That is what the directors will rule when you call them. At least that is what happened to my pair in the recent Reisinger. Our opponents did not alert 4H in the example that I gave as a cuebid on either side of the screen, even though they had the agreement that it was a cuebid. The directors ruled that alerting a cuebid was not required.
Dec. 8, 2012
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I am afraid I have to disagree with your statement here. The only way to insure that asking a question about an unalerted bid doesn't give away anything about one's hand is asking about every single bid. Personally I do not know anyone who does that. It is simply too tiring and time-consuming. As soon as you single out just one unalerted bid and start asking questions your opponent will know you must have a reason for asking. It won't be tough for him to figure out that reason and that will very likely guide him in the play of the hand. We could take this discussion even further. Obviously one could start asking questions about an unalerted bid when one isn't the least interested causing one's opponent to draw some wrong conclusions. But I don't even want to get into that……

In addition to that it is simply not correct ever to form a question by writing down “Q?”. You are not supposed to ask leading questions. The correct way to ask questions is “Please explain” or similar.
Dec. 8, 2012
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Slight correction, Paul. It's Dany, not Dani, just because that's the way she likes it. Your partner is delightful and enchanting. Please tell her to never stop asking questions.
Getting back to what the thread seems to be about:
1. Sweden
2. Monaco
3. Italy
June 16, 2012
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First of all thank you very much for the many nice words and comments. At the risk of sounding terribly trivial I cannot imagine anything more inspiring and motivating for a writer than appreciation. To those who don't approve of the content or the style of the article I am confident you can find plenty of other reading material here that suits your taste more. This website is a terrific and quite unique effort to provide a platform for serious bridge players. It more than deserves our support.

Finally I apologize to those interested in the more technical aspects of the described deal. I cannot satisfy your thirst for the technical details you are asking for, I simply don't remember. Since those details were somewhat immaterial to the point I was trying to make I was hoping I could get away with it. But you bridge players are just too tough!:)
Sept. 1, 2011
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