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Goulash Tactics

#1 User is offline   PhilG007 

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Posted 2018-April-29, 06:47

Playing in a Goulash tournament you are dealt a 9+ suit What are the correct tactics to adopt? And does the rank of the
suit and the vulnerability play a part in influencing the decision? Playing in goulash tourneys I frequently see these suits being
opened at the one level which must surely be wrong as it allows the opponents to easily compete. I've always regarded
goulashes as 'barrage" tournaments where if you're dealt a long strong suit you should bid it as high as you dare immediately
with the express intention of freezing out the opposition.
"It is not enough to be a good player, you must also play well"
- Dr Tarrasch(1862-1934)German Chess Grandmaster

Bridge is a game where you have two opponents...and often three(!)


"Any palooka can take tricks with Aces and Kings; the true expert shows his prowess
by how he handles the two's and three's" - Mollo's Hideous Hog
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#2 User is offline   FelicityR 

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Posted 2018-April-29, 13:05

Just because you have a long, long suit in a goulash doesn't mean the other hands are similarly freaky. Occasionally my bridge friends and I play a rubber or two of goulash - for reduced stakes - to liven the evening up. Bidding normally works fine most of the time I find.
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#3 User is offline   smerriman 

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Posted 2018-April-29, 17:11

View PostFelicityR, on 2018-April-29, 13:05, said:

Just because you have a long, long suit in a goulash doesn't mean the other hands are similarly freaky.

Well, I'd have to disagree completely - that's true if you're dealt a long suit in normal bridge, but the way Goulash is dealt involves everyone having freak hands. This is especially true on computer-dealt Goulash hands, which are normally restricted based on a 'freakiness' factor.

Using a non-goulash bidding system is never going to work, but always opening a long suit at a high level has its downsides too - you're not only freezing out the opposition; you're freezing out your partner. Your partner needs to know when to compete, when to raise, when to penalise (since the opposition are likely to compete regardless).

Obviously there's a lot of luck involved, but regardless of how you play, you should at least have some definition of when you open low (eg obviously it'll never be a standard 5 card suit in a balanced hand). I like to do so with a four card side suit, to at least give us a chance of finding a secondary fit.
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#4 User is offline   wank 

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Posted 2018-April-29, 18:54

yes, pre-empt, but very conservatively
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#5 User is offline   PhilG007 

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Posted 2018-April-30, 00:58

View Postwank, on 2018-April-29, 18:54, said:

yes, pre-empt, but very conservatively


In what way "conservatively"? At what level would you open? And what if partner has already passed? And would it
influence your tactics if you owned the spades,the"emperor" suit? Decisions decisions
"It is not enough to be a good player, you must also play well"
- Dr Tarrasch(1862-1934)German Chess Grandmaster

Bridge is a game where you have two opponents...and often three(!)


"Any palooka can take tricks with Aces and Kings; the true expert shows his prowess
by how he handles the two's and three's" - Mollo's Hideous Hog
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#6 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2018-April-30, 06:04

View PostFelicityR, on 2018-April-29, 13:05, said:

Just because you have a long, long suit in a goulash doesn't mean the other hands are similarly freaky. Occasionally my bridge friends and I play a rubber or two of goulash - for reduced stakes - to liven the evening up. Bidding normally works fine most of the time I find.


I find that bidding normally works terribly, partly because people have very different ideas about how to "normally" bid such unusual hands. Many of the conventions normally employed to show very strong hands or to explore controls become impractical due to interference or simply get in the way, because there is usually intense competitive bidding at 4 and 5 levels and it is urgent to compete and show suits.

Unfortunately there is no chance to form partner agreements and nobody has their goulash style described in profile. So it comes down to the lowest common demoninator, with abundant use of picture bids to suggest a suit that is both long and strong. As others have pointed out it is usually best to preempt as little as possible to leave space for partner, so 2 and 3 level openings are more robust than usual and (getting back to the OP) opening a solid 9-card major at 1 level is solid is a smart move if partner is on the same wavelength.
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