Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Day 9 – Halfway to better bridge on the Internet

What I have learned so far is that there are a lot of resources on the Internet that can help to improve my bridge game and that of all players. While my focus has been on the expert level there is much for players of any level. Most of the material is free. One problem is that it is spread across so many places and needs some organization. I am going to think more about how to deal with that and get the best out the resources available.

Today I decide to focus on conventions. A long time ago I had an idea for a database of all bridge conventions which could grow expand and change with time. Various people have tried to do this but I am not sure how successful they have been. The logical place to start would be somewhere like wikipedia, a place where many people could make contributions to a whole. I am going to start by looking at bridge conventions on Wikipedia.

The bridge convention list on wikipedia is very eccentric and seems to be to be designed more to classify conventions than to list them. For example under weak opening bids we have: kamikaze 1NT, Ekren and Mudiberg. Oddly enough I play all of them if you consider 10-12 notrump to be kamikaze. Ekren is defined as an opening 2◊ or 2♥ to show both majors at least 4-4 and as the author suggests it is superior, increasing the pressure to bid on left hand opponent since 2♥ can be passed out. Interesting some players use 2♣ to show this hand. I assume they play strong club.

The link for the explanation of Ekren takes me to Swan games which has a suggested defence. Nothing much is written about the Kamikaze notrump but it does take me to bridgebum

which has a small amount of helpful information. For example they do have the escape system I play with Isabelle which we call Guoba (after John Guoba a Toronto lawyer and bridge player) and they call touching escapes. This system is designed to allow you to give you the maximum chance of finding your best fit but does have some drawbacks. Isabelle and I have improved it. Maybe I should publish our ideas?

Australian Stayman is listed under fit-seeking conventions but there is no explanation of it at all. Intrigued I google it and come up pretty dry. So I wander over to the Australian Bridge Federation site.

It has a few interesting things like a feature “what should I bid” but no discussion of Australian Stayman. I also check and find out that Austrlian Bridge Standard uses normal Stayman. I can’t find it. I cheat and look it up in the Encyclopedia of Bridge Conventions and the Bridge Encyclopedia . Its not there. Success! I find it in an unlikely place, the website for Jack Bridge, one of the leading world computer games.

With Australian Stayman the responses to 2♣ are

  • 2◊ minimum with 4-4 in the majors
  • 2 of a major minimum with four of that major only
  • 2♠ minimum with 4 spades 2NT minimum no 4 card major
  • 3♣ maximum no 4 card major 3◊ maximum with 4-4 in the majors
  • 3 of a major maximum with four of that major only

Having found it I wonder if it was worth the search. Conclusion: There is a lot about conventions on the web and a few good sources. However wikipedia is not one of them. My dream of one good place to go, where everyone could contribute and build a real convention database does not exist.

Well there must be some good news today so I head over to great bridge links

and find a link to the Australian Bridge.

 its an Aussie day so I am visitng the Aussie magazine. I am going to try the online bidding forum. I decide to do last month’s forum so I can look at the answers when I am done. I use my old trick of cover up the answers with my word document while I look only at the question. It seems Larry Cohen is guest moderator this month (August).

Here is hand one. I hold ♠ QJ108 ♥ 3 ◊ A43 ♣ AKJ86 The auction starts off like this:

West North East South

Pass Pass   1♣   DBL

RBL   1♥      1♠   2♥

Pass Pass    ?

I usually play that redouble shows no fit and is penalty oriented and I am sure that the problem was not designed with that agreement in mind. Partner’s double of hearts would have been for penalty so a pass here denies a penalty double of hearts.

What else does partner’s pass show? Partner Since I already bid 1♠ over 1♥ I think I have denied interest in doubling hearts from my hand. can’t have four spades. I suppose he could still have three clubs. Perhaps he is 3-3-4-3 or 3-3-5-2. I have enough extra values that I want to be in game. I suppose the choice is between 3◊ and 3♥.

I am not sure what a double by me here would be. I don’t think it is penalty. Partner can bid 3NT over either bid but I like 3◊ a little better because it shows my shape, more or less.

When I look at the answers I see that the respondents are confused about the meaning of double with some thinking it is penalty and some takeout. Hmmm. Double gets a score of 70. I don’t like making those bids in real life unless I am sure partner and I are on the same wavelength. 3♥ also gets the top score. The concern (perhaps valid) with 3◊ is that you might be 4-1-4-4. I suppose that depends on whether you open 1♣ or 1◊ with that distribution. 3◊ gets 80 points. The auction is worth some discussion with partner.


Linda LeeSeptember 12th, 2008 at 2:08 pm

Maggie Sparrow emailed me with the following comment:

I think this website has a list of conventions, specifically

Nick FahrerSeptember 12th, 2008 at 9:18 pm

Australian Stayman is better known as “Extended Stayman” in these parts and I think the description of responses on the Jack website is accurate.

I dont like it, and nor does the bridge cognoscenti here either – with a max opener forces the auction to the 3-level; by implication responder requires some values and that dissuades dumb opps from entering a (1NT) auction using their gadget-du-jour and therefore the prospect of a penalty diminishes.

I look forward to your observations of bridge systems/ conventions here after your visit.


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