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All comments by Spencer Hurd
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I have been playing as recommended by Justin for about a year and a half. Hasn't come up. Still, however rare, it seems a great answer to several hard hands to deal with.
Nov. 12
Go
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Playing against Stewart-Woolsey is one thing. Playing agsinst Mr. and Mrs. Smith in our club is another. At chess, it matters not how good they opponent is - my computer's decision to move is entirely based on the actual position - it is the best play the computer can deduce and it will assume that the opponent will play the best moves from now on.
But at bridge, the position is not always known and the input will contain a lot of garbage as the opponents are not playing the best moves.
Oct. 24
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All of these ideas have merit. The ACBL convention card and others of similar type are designed for purchase by clubs who make them free to members. Most players can find a way to employ such cards.
If you need a different card, create one in a reasonable format and other users at a tournament or in your club will want to buy one from you.
Most Print Shops will print a few hundred for a very nominal cost. You might even hand out one free one to each partnership which might need a couple. Probably ten cents per card would be enough to be profitable.
Oct. 24
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I would suggest that occasionally one knows the declarer well (famous or a personal acquaintance). If one knows that declarer is VERY able, one might get suspicious and consider the 2nd hand high play - especially look for other entries. Here there are other entries to dummy so the holdup only gains when declarer holds Ax - but then what do you do when declarer continues with the J? (Partner may hold Ax.)
But declarer's cleverness holding Ax always loses to Kxx(x) in the West. Sometimes a clever declarer may be baiting East with xxx trying to keep the dangerous opponent off lead - exactly what books teach a declarer to do. How dangerous a defender are you?
Other hands of this type can be found at:
athttp://bridgewinners.com/article/view/second-hand-high-2/.
Oct. 24
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2 would show a sign of life - and would be discouraging. THIS IS A POOR HAND. 2 should be slightly forward going, yes, but should show something more appealing in diamonds. Maybe K72 QJ743 AJ32 10 (same 11 points). If partner holds more than 10-11 points herself, I can rethink matters if she continues.
Oct. 20
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Yes, the Unlucky Expert, who knew all the percentages, but they did not always apply to amazing bad judgment used by his opponents.
Oct. 14
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I play another rule which comes up often. When one player invites game, the partner can pass or not pass. But if not-pass is chosen, it is game forcing.
The classic example is
1 1, 3 3

Applying the rule, 3 is invitational so 3 is game forcing.
The 3 bid in the original question is invitational (when not playing strict 2/1). So, 3 is a Game Force.
Oct. 4
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Why not “At least 2 females and at least 2 males”?
Frankly, there are many reasons for having a minimal restriction - one (or more) player(s) may have a special restriction (health, business, early or late arrival or departure). Surely it is better to allow the players to make flexible arrangements, especially if 4 males and 2 females anticipate playing in other events as a team.
Perhaps this is directed slyly at 2 same sex professional players being hired by four same sex amateurs?
Legacy legislation should be removed or at least seriously considered (and explained).
Oct. 4
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Just say, “Mr. Smith, please ask your partner if she has any questions before leading your singleton in such a dramatic fashion.”
Sept. 29
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These are fine comments. I would add this - are the opponents “better” (lots more master points, known experts, in the next higher bracket usually)? Then just before you bid, consider whether they are likely to have a similar auction. If yes, then all of these rules (and perhaps better ones) will be used by them!
If high card points are the basis for further bids, then be conservative. If distributional values (which seem to be a plus) are part of your evaluation, then bid onwards.
Finally, for each “invitational” auction, make up a sheet of examples, say 6 acceptances and 6 non-acceptances. Similarly, for the opener, and the auction (for example) 1S-2S, make up 6 or so 3C bids and 6 hands which do not call for a 3C bid (also - distinguish with other sheets of hands between opener's rebids of 2NT, 3S and 3C).
Improving players sharpen their judgment with well-chosen examples not by rules imvolving only points.
Sept. 23
Spencer Hurd edited this comment Sept. 23
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West has 11 points and no aces and a mediocre suit. His K is worthless. His partner has only a limit raise. He must signoff with 3. Question: is 3 recognizable as a mild game try with a hand not powerful enough to just bid game, or is it a slam try? It looks like East thought 3 was a slam try. So, 3 is bad enough in itself to fail for the semester (er, hand that is).
East is as great a sinner - 5 of his 9 points are not in opener's suits. His best suit is diamonds and THEY are in 4D. A double cannot be a bad choice as partner can overrule.


Not part of the poll is ability to fail North whose 4 bid is awful. It must be true that North got lost at this point. The opponents are about to bid game (or consider slam) - why give EW a winning choice of doubling you? Apparently North holds the theory that because they did not double 3, it is safe to bid 4 in the hope that partner will bid 5.
Have you heard this one? “My bid was perfectly justified. You were at fault for not holding the hand I wished for.”
Sept. 19
Spencer Hurd edited this comment Sept. 19
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To imagine this unusual endplay - for down one - and make it happen - is truly excellent matchpoint play. Well done.
Sept. 17
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There are a lot of comments for such general agreement - problems with 2 and 3.
Suppose North bids 2NT, not 2, and after South's probable 3, North now has some interesting choices all game forcing -
(1) 3 - shows 5 spades and a heart stopper. Here the purpose is to right-side the NT (if necessary) and to suggest a better hand than 2 followed by a 3NT bid, and leaves a slam try available.
(2) 3 - something different from 2 immediately and again getting the NT from a sensible side.
It seems to me that Lebensohl itself can be another choice in the original question - that is, a 4th source of blame (because the convention needs to be developed more fully and with general agreement).
Sept. 15
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I like fit showing too, but surely that is misleading in this case since the clubs are so bad. A 4 bid should show good 8 to 11, maybe
86 Q876 86 AQ876.
Now South's double and lead of K are more appealing.
BTW, North should not pass the double with original hand given.
Sept. 13
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You never really know how good a percentage estimate is until you can see the dummy. Mathematically, in terms of strategy, it is clearer - you migh gain of lose 11 imps with a slam. So 60% is not a bad answer to the question.
Not many experts will tell you that their target is 60%.

Why you see risky slams - hard to determine percentages, and other factors intervene - how is a match going (or do you need a top).
Sept. 13
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Many years ago, I did not play 1NT forcing - but I played a 2/1 as not game forcing. There were easy rules. But - playing 1NT forcing avoids many ludicrous contracts. (Certainly not all.) The weaker your opening bids of 1 and 1, the more likely you are to run into terrible 1NT contracts. 1NT was an imposing contract when 14+ points were the norm for opening bids (in 1st and 2nd seat).
Look at it this way - “the field” will be playing 1NT forcing and will not be in 1NT when you are. It follows that you will get lots of bottomes on hands for which you took an anti-field position. So, matchpoint players in pair games have more to think about.
I am not sure about the best argument at IMP scoring. If the goal is merely to get a plus score, where 90 = 110 = 140 (essentially), then maybe 1NT forcing is not particularly necessary, but I have seen authors state that the forcing notrump bid is essential if you want to play 2/1 GF.
Sept. 1
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Clearly EW had a poor mutual understanding of their bids and-or the situation. Still for the problem as posed, I think West should bid once again - the player with 22 points has the primary responsibility for getting to slam. If West had just KQ75 then 6 still has some play. After 3, East could wake up and bid 4. That might get West on track.
Anyway, what is needed is a clearer understanding of “Advanced Lebensohl”.
Aug. 31
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Maybe this kind of 1NT opening with a 4-4-1-4 inhibits an easier natural slam auction:
1-1, 1-3, 3-4, 5-6, P

Notes: 3 = 6+ diam, forcing to game (applying xyz). 3 = stronger than 3NT. 4 = natural, describes 6-4 in the minors. 5 = confirming 4+ clubs, 6 = confirming 4 cards in clubs. North prefers clubs because of intermediates in clubs and so as to have a spade lead come to hand. A 6 bid might be make at the end with slightly different cards. From South's point of view North could be 3-4-1-5 or 4-4-1-4.
Aug. 28
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Not only was this one close but their previous win which versus the Bulgarians was very close. I suspect there are 100 hands where either they or the French can think, “If only I had… we would have (or might have) won it all.” Our guys played well enough despite the champiuonship play by the last two opponents especially.
Now two frightening thoughts: The French have a lot more fine young players who will be available for the next 30-40 years. And we are training a generation of European players in our own tournaments.
Aug. 27
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If we can send two teams, why can't Europe send a team and also the current World Champs if from Europe?
Aug. 27
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