Monday, May 29, 2006

Protecting Partner

I was talking with someone last night and they introduced a new concept. You play negative docubles. Let's say you hold:

x Axx Akqxxx Ax

As dealer the bididng goes 1 d, 1 s, p, p, to you. My inclination is to rebid my diamonds.

No! We x. Because if p holds a hand full of spades they cannot. So, we x and if p converts it's probably right.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Three Kings

I was speaking with Bob about 2h supernegative. I'd been debating with another beginner about whether 2 Diamonds shows a hand that is bad but not bust. (My feeling is that it doesn't imply anything negative, only that you have a hand without a suit good enough to justify getting in the 2 clubs opener's way. ) Eventually the conversation turned to the cost of bidding a suit without compelling reason. For one thing.. you wouldn't want to bid 2n unless you were sure you'd play in hearts, or at least, not in nt. Right? But Bob mentioned that the two nt bid for hearts is one of the things he most dislikes about the 2h neg. He said... and this is the interesting part... if you have three kings you want to be the declarer in nt. And how do you make that happen if 2n is hearts.

But can we extrapolate? If we have three kings do we usually want to declare period?

The Power of Positive Pessimism

A smart person (Justin Lall) explained to me that the more rocks solid your contract looks the more you must visualize what could go wrong. Encountered this doing BridgeMaster the other day. And after looking for a moment at a hand that looked cold I realized the problem was here: akqj2 in a side suit. It was that innocuous looking 2 waiting to get me. Very satisfying to catch it.

I find the obverse much more difficult... if a contract seems doomed I find it very hard to visualize the perfect scenario that will save me.

And I really always thought I was a glass half full kind of person.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The last few days

Today I encountered this situation for the first time, but I'm sure not the last.

I held 11 points. 4 spades a couple of hearts four clubs and three diamonds. Partner opened a spade opps overcaleld 2 nt (unusual.) I wanted to cue. Because that seems right. But would partner know what I meant? Which do I cue? The suit with the better cards or the worse? Well, I asked around and here's what I learned. 3c shows a limit raise for p's suit. 3d for the other major and 3s is competitive. And apparently that's pretty standard (Unless I got this backwards.)

Yesterday I learned about the covention with no name. 1d 1h 4d showing a solid 64 diamond and heart hand. Nice.

And I learned about signalling to p's lead in a trump contract with a doubleton honor or a sequence.
With the doubleton you play low. With the sequence you play the top and p knows it's a sequence because had it been a doubleton you'd have played low.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Turns out there's more to it

Things I didn't know about Italian Cues:
NT shows a second control in the suit just bid ie:

1h-p-3h-p-3s-3n (shows a spade control)

If a suit is skipped next suit bid shows the skipped suit

1h-3h-4c-4d (4d shows a spade control)

After two cues at the four level you cannot use bw

1h-p-3h-4c-4d-4n (shows a d control)

Over splinters a cue of splinter suit shows only a first round control

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Trying not to be the person who...

My desire to be helpful is not extraordinary. People like to be helpful. That's why we hold doors even for people we don't know, and point out when someone's shoe is untied. Unlike the door situation I think a helpful beginner is a dangerous thing. I still remember (this example may be a bit extreme mind you) when I found out that after you bid your weak two there's more to the whole weak two treatment. I remember I stared opened mouthed, squinting supiciously at the person who said (irritably) "You can't pass. 2nt asks for a feature!" Because, well, no one had ever told me. In fact my earliest bridge education came from a man named Paul who would say before five minutes before the game began, "OK and tonight we'll play weak twos, gambling nt, supersonic three spades of death and killer reverse illuminati" "How are we going to do that Paul?" "Easy Deb, if you have a six card suit and a weak hand bid on the two level, if you have a long strong suit with no outside entries bid 3nt, if you have a slam going hand bid three spades and wink, and if you think the opps are enemy agents try mind control." "Alright Brain but what should I do with all the jelly jars? Narf!" (Sorry tangent) And then as we were already late we'd run to the table and I'd have no idea what we were doing and hope like anything I'd get only weak hands with six card suits so I could bid at the two level. I cried a lot at the table and eventually gave up bridge for about ten years.

Still, I think Paul was really trying to be helpful. I try for the most part not to be the helpful person doing more damage than good. I recognize that I'm not ready to start giving lessons. But ...

What happens in a partnership where you'd like to try a method you think is superior and p doesn't know it? In the age of the internet happily there are a great many good articles floating around. You can email your notes when you have them. You can find essays by the great bridge minds and give them the links. For the most part I'm not put into the position of playing teacher, which makes me far happier and more comfortable, and no doubt leaves my friends better informed than if I tried to explain things to them.

I have a partner who doesn't bid Italian cues. I really think they should, and tell them so repeatedly. Finally they yelled at me, or at least typed at me in capital letters: I DON"T KNOW HOW! And I wanted to say "look you can bid your first or second round controls as you go up the line. so if you have the king of clubs and the ace of diamonds, cue your clubs first, or you're denying the king of clubs. It's really simple. As for figuring out if it's an ace or a king you bid well if it really looks like we have slam, rkc is going to clear up any residual confusion." But I don't ever want him to be the person with the open mouth squinting supiciously at the person saying, "Didn't you know with italian cues you must..." And I can't find anything really substansive on Italian cues when I google.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Confused by this concept

Luis says that if you open a club and p bids a heart and you bid a spade you're promising 4 clubs.
Well, the good thing here is that if you as responder have three or four clubs (likely enough) and a poor hand you now have the option to play in 2clubs rather than 1nt. And that can be nice.

However if you also have 4 spades and you don't have clubs then you're sad. You wanted to be in spades.

Bob uses this example to make the point What if you held qxxx qxxxx Qx xx. (If you're playing 2way checkback can you bid 2h with this holding?) You'd really rather be in a spade fit here, wouldn't you? If p held xxxx xxx xxx xxx? And his 1nt makes you feel just a little tragic.

So, pros and cons on both sides. Luis points out it's a matter of style and benefits and losses either way. My question is how standard is this treatment? Which has the bigger benefit, and the greater drawback? Which method profits more often?

Card play

Edited For Clarity I Hope

Let's say that you can count the hand, maybe slowly but let's say you can do it.
Now let's say you're south declaring and your holding looks like this:


Also you have worked out (cause you can count) that the AJX are over on your right. If Let's say the suit in question is spades. Let's also say that your only losers are in spades. Before you give up the spade trick (that you must lose) you run off the other suits. Now, let's say you did not play your winners in the outside suits first. You play your king they take their ace and play your side suit. Then you have not excecuted a strip endplay. They don't have to exit the suit you want. But if you take your side suits first, voiding yourself so if they play that suit they give you a ruff, they have to play the suit you want or give you a ruff and sluff. And that is a strip endplay. Wheeee!

Some other interesting facts about cardplay... usually if the opps have bid a suit, especially preempted in a suit or shown length and they don't lead their suit, they are often leading their singleton. If they don't lead their singleton it increases (not guarantees) that if the trumps split badly the other defender has the length in the trumps.
counter free hit unique web
View My Stats