Editorials

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Please honor Ed Gould at the sectional named for him

If you remember Ed Gould, please come to the NHBA sectional named for him, November 5-6. Ed was a prominent figure in New Hampshire bridge for many years. Ed ran the game in Manchester and served as:

  • President of District 25
  • Member of the ACBL Board of Directors, 1973-1991
  • President of the ACBL, 1990
  • Chairman of the ACBL Board or Directors, 1991

Opening 1NT with a Singleton Honor

It may now be legal but no one will ever convince me that it's good bridge or something to try out at a club game. It used to be considered a psyche and it's still a psyche if you consider the expectations of the vast majority of club players.

Psyching at a club game may get you a top but it's not even close to being worth the animosity it creates, particularly among newer players. If you must psyche, be very careful not to fall into a pattern because it consitutes a a private understanding. Even if you've never actually discussed it with your partner, having an advantage with respect to recognizing partner's psyches is cheating.

Barry Rogoff

Non-Standard Leads and Signals Should be Announced

Players should be required to announce non-standard leads and carding conventions before play begins in any level of competition.

The leads in bold on the convention card can be considered standard except for the choice of ace or king from ace-king. The king used to be standard in the US but the ace (always popular in Europe) has become so common that it's no longer safe to assume either is standard.

Some time ago, there was a very well-known and highly-regarded New England partnership who used third and fifth best leads against notrump contracts. The theoretical advantage is debatable but the practical advantage was huge. Fourth-best leads were (and still are) so common that just about everyone fell victim to it once. Why don't more people use it today? My guess is that feels too much like cheating.

Even expert players forget to check the opponents' convention card in which case upside-down count and/or attitude and other follow-suit signals become a private understanding and can be a huge advantage when declarer bases a line of play on the opponents' carding. Lavinthal and odd-even discards have the same effect.

Odd-even discards are legal but odd-even follow-suit signals and encrypted signals are not. Upside-down count and/or attitude signals are legal but in my opinion, upside-down suit preference signals should be illegal. There's no theoretical advantage to them but using them to confuse declarer is a huge advantage.

Barry Rogoff

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