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Bridge Conventions in Depth by Mattheew & Pamela Granovetter

Poll: Bridge Conventions in Depth (12 member(s) have cast votes)

Level of player this book is suitable for

  1. beginner (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  2. intermediate (7 votes [58.33%])

    Percentage of vote: 58.33%

  3. advanced (3 votes [25.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 25.00%

  4. expert (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  5. BBO expert (2 votes [16.67%])

    Percentage of vote: 16.67%

How suitable is this book for its targe audience?

  1. Terrible (2 votes [16.67%])

    Percentage of vote: 16.67%

  2. Poor (3 votes [25.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 25.00%

  3. Okay (3 votes [25.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 25.00%

  4. Good (4 votes [33.33%])

    Percentage of vote: 33.33%

  5. Excellent (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

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#1 User is offline   Antrax 

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Posted 2012-January-26, 01:11

The book is 290 pages long, and it discusses 66 conventions. That should give you an idea of the approximate depth level the book title mentions.
It's difficult to criticize, since the book clearly states the target audience is those people who say "let's play <convention>" without discussing any followups, and for those people, the riveting half-page section titled "Texas in competition" gives no less than three examples where it applies.
The book is arranged by four sections, from "basic conventions" through "bread and butter conventions" to "fine arts conventions". It's unclear what separates a basic convention from a bread-and-butter one, but jumping to the last section suggests "fine arts conventions" are those conventions (like XYZ or exclusion keycard) for which the amount of space (six pages and three pages, respectively) is outright insufficient, so presumably the complexity of the convention is the criterion.

My other gripe, beyond the misleading book title (I think "conventions at a glance" would've been more fitting), is that even at my B/I level of expertise, some of the advice in the book seems wrong. For example, in the first chapter, about Stayman (the most detailed one in the book, surprisingly), the authors advocate against "garbage Stayman", and as a corollary, suggest opener with a five-card major reply to 2 with his major at the three-level (also, never open 1NT if your majors are 5-2). That is the last sentence of the chapter, without further suggestion on how responder can proceed if his hand is of invitational strength - presumably the five-card major is worth forcing to game at all strengths, regardless of responder's holding.
Another example: the 11th convention is "three card support vs. support double in competition". The section shows how using the support double loses in cases opener wants to penalize the overcalled suit, and giving the opponents more room to describe their hand. A third example is provided, where opener uses a support double instead of bidding his second suit (since support double is mandatory), and a good game is missed (due to the opponents not raising their 10-card fit to the 4-level immediately). Then the chapter ends, presumably advocating always raising with three cards in competition, and suggesting no way to tell responder when he should compete further with extra length.

By that point I had my doubts about the benefit from this book, so I started leafing through it, when "The best defense to multi" caught my eye. This defense, one page long, has the philosophy that "because the convention is going to hurt you on some hands, you must hurt them back". With this principle in mind:
X shows a good hand with one of the majors. If it's the multi opener's major, you're in luck because you didn't overcall with yours. If it's not, "you or your partner may have a chance later to double responsively, showing the other major".
But wait, since X shows a good hand with a major, that leaves 2/ for showing clubs/diamonds, instead of overcalling them naturally on the three-level which is clumsy. And THIS allows your 3/ to be weak, "another counter-attacking tool against the multi".
The page-and-a-half concludes with the following example:

And N/S are robbed blind of their 4 by the Best Defense to Multi. Hurray!

Don't read this book.
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#2 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2012-January-30, 03:24

I am sorry but Multi over Multi is an excellent defence. The main drawback is in memory load, especially in the ACBL where you will rarely see it opened against you. A common variation is to use a 2 overcall to show the balanced hand and for 2/2NT to be the constructive minor suit transfers. There are several who think that Garbage Stayman is superfluous over a strong NT and that the bids can be better used for constructive purposes. I think it is fine to point out the positives and minuses of conventions but I think it is a shame if the authors have allowed their personal viewpoints to overly colour the context as seems to be the case in your Support Doubles write-up.

Given the longer discussion over Stayman I would have thought there would be some comparison against using, for example, 2NT or 3 as Puppet Stayman, or even versus a 2 puppet scheme. As always, you need to discuss the merits of any convention within the framework of the overall system. If that system is assumed to be "5 card majors, strong NT, better minor" then it is going to be useless for alot of players around the world.
(-: Zel :-)
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#3 User is offline   Antrax 

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Posted 2012-January-30, 03:36

I honestly don't know how to defend against Multi; However, I think it's presumptuous to present the defense you came up with as "the best". I'm also not sure how cherry-picked and how plausible the outcome of the hand above is.
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#4 User is offline   cloa513 

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Posted 2012-January-30, 05:42

View PostAntrax, on 2012-January-30, 03:36, said:

I honestly don't know how to defend against Multi; However, I think it's presumptuous to present the defense you came up with as "the best". I'm also not sure how cherry-picked and how plausible the outcome of the hand above is.

Simple defence to multi, assume its a weak 2 in hearts make sure your hand is a better takeout shape and worry less about strength, bid 2 as a range of hands forcing to 2. The given hand, North is strong enough to bid 3.
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#5 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2012-January-30, 09:48

View PostZelandakh, on 2012-January-30, 03:24, said:

I think it is fine to point out the positives and minuses of conventions but I think it is a shame if the authors have allowed their personal viewpoints to overly colour the context as seems to be the case in your Support Doubles write-up.


The bit about Support Doubles seems to be misleading too, since people who don't play SD usually play the double as takeout, not penalty.
I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones -- Albert Einstein
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#6 User is offline   inquiry 

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Posted 2012-January-30, 21:48

I don't think they came up with the defense to multi themselves. As noted above, this is a variation of multi versus multi, for instance, check out this post from 2004 that I made describing multi-versus-multi (this is the time when I learned this method, which I play to this day). Dealing with their multi-2D
--Ben--

#7 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2012-January-31, 02:20

Chris Ryall also mentions on his site that it was discussed on rec.games.bridge.okbridge back in Jan 1997 and that there are earlier references too, for example at Cambridge University in the 80s. His (short) write-up is here for anyone interested.
(-: Zel :-)
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#8 User is offline   Free 

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Posted 2012-April-19, 10:04

I wouldn't call multi vs multi "the best defense", but it's quite ok in my experience.

The problems that I've always had with every conventions-book I read is that they don't go deep enough, they hardly show you how to handle interference, they only show the positive side, and they always have a near-perfect example and opps are always stupid. The example of multi-defense illustrates this perfectly. As North I would just Dbl (partner only needs A and we're defeating this contract most of the time). Swap K and Q and it's a massacre!

These books aren't made to teach players anything, it's just a list of random conventions with first round responses, a bit like a dictionary.

I can't vote because the level of player this book is suitable for is "none of the above". :P
"It may be rude to leave to go to the bathroom, but it's downright stupid to sit there and piss yourself" - blackshoe
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#9 User is offline   whereagles 

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Posted 2012-April-22, 14:44

The Granovetters have a very dogmatic writing style, which I happen to dislike.
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