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the "le bridgeur" blackwood quiz discuss hands in the "le bridgeur" quiz about blackwood

#1 User is offline   aleaxit 

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  Posted 2019-June-23, 10:14

[SPOILER ALERT]: if you haven't taken the "Le Bridgeur" quiz on Blackwood you'll probably want to do so before reading this thread.

I disagree with some of the official answers in the quiz and I think they're worth discussing.

My main beef is about deal #4, where I opened 1 with AQ987-AQ53-A-1062 and partner responded with a splinter 4, which I take as showing 4+ trumps and about 11-14 HCP (not counting a possible singleton honor).

The official answer is that you should now bid 4 to gain the "essential" information about the K. It is nice for me to see that the quiz (on this hand like on others) implicitly assumes the "Italian" style of control bids (first- and second-round controls allowed) and not the rigid "Aces first" control bidding the robots use, which I find much less useful. But, that's just an aside.

Rather, my focus is: what makes the K "essential"? Even without it the slam should at worst be 50% (on the finesse), but can easily be better than that, e.g if responder has something like KJxx-xxx-KQJxx-x -- a bit to the light side for the splinter, but, despite this, 12 tricks should easily cash with 4-3 in opps' hands, and, should be 5-2, there are other chances (trumps 2-2 would allow 12 easy tricks too, for example, and of course there's always the finesse as the last chance -- overall, a small slam with very, very good chances).

So what's the point of ascertaining the presence of the so-called "essential" K, since you won't (shouldn't) give up if responder denies it, anyway? Why freely and uselessly give opps more info than needed about your hands? Just check with 4N against the risk of 2 missing key-cards, and give 6 a try if partner has one key...!

My other disagreement with the quiz is on deal #5, where, having opened 2 with 4 keys, 6 strong , controls everywhere, I'm supposed according to the quiz to hold off Blackwood to give partner a chance to use Blackwood on me. Only problem: if partner has no keys, or one key and no Q, they'd be loco to bid 4N and risk a 5 reply by me (if I had a different hand) telling them "hi partner, now you know for sure that we must not bid slam, but the rules of bridge force you to bid slam anyway, isn't that fun?".

This is really a fatal flaw of RKCB (compared in particular with Kickback) -- asker needs a certain minimum number of keys to ask with 4N (depending on trump suit -- everything is fine of course when trumps are , which is exactly when Kickback also uses 4N as the ask!-) lest askee's reply force the pair to slam in the full knowledge that 2 keys are missing!

So what do y'all think...?
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#2 User is offline   HardVector 

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Posted 2019-June-23, 10:43

On the first one, you should absolutely cuebid the A to find out about the K. Why are you worried about giving information to the opponents here? Partner showing the K let's you take charge and bid Blackwood to find out about the A and K. If partner has both, bid 7. If partner has the K and a club void, bid 7 (you know how to do that, don't you?). By the way, you really need to be careful not to be too strong with your splinters. Generally, 14 HCP + shortness is too strong for me.

On the second, you didn't give a hand, so I'm not going to comment on your problems with it as I haven't read the article.
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#3 User is offline   aleaxit 

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Posted 2019-June-23, 14:14

View PostHardVector, on 2019-June-23, 10:43, said:

On the first one, you should absolutely cuebid the A to find out about the K. Why are you worried about giving information to the opponents here?


Because there's really nothing to gain in return for giving away information and opportunities, such as letting RHO do a lead-directing double of 4 and suffering a ruff there.

View PostHardVector said:

Partner showing the K let's you take charge

And if partner denies the K? I'd better take charge anyway, since, as I showed, 6 is pretty sure to be 50%+ unless we lack two keys.


View PostHardVector said:

and bid Blackwood to find out about the A and K.


If partner has both, bid 7. If partner has the K and a club void, bid 7 (you know how to do that, don't you?).


Presumably partner would jump to 6 with the club void and an odd (1) number of keys. If you do play 3-round-control responses to specific-suit asks then you won't be able to securely ask for the K at this time, since, on 6, partner would bid 6N with a doubleton in hearts. However, with a void in clubs and a doubleton in hearts, partner would have typically 5 spades and 6 diamonds, so, in addition to the heart-finesse chances, there are prospects of establishing diamonds; overall, far from a terrible grand even without the K. Far more likely, on a 6 SSA on their 6 void-showing, partner will deny the K by bidding 6, or promise it by bidding 7, so we can play a small or grand slam accordingly.

View PostHardVector said:

By the way, you really need to be careful not to be too strong with your splinters. Generally, 14 HCP + shortness is too strong for me.

Doesn't appear to be particularly germane to this hand. Anyway, the Wikipedia entry mentions as possibilities ranges of 10-14 or 11-15 HCP, either of which make sense to me, as well as 10-12, which I find a bit light (though it may coincide with Barbara Seagram's indication of 13-15 including distribution, if the singleton plus 4 trumps is valued at 3).

View PostHardVector said:

On the second, you didn't give a hand, so I'm not going to comment on your problems with it as I haven't read the article.

OK then: opener's hand is Ax-AKJ98x-Kxx-AJ; bidding is 2C-2D; 2H-3H; 4C. To recap, the quiz says you should bid 4D, claiming that partner will then ask with 4N. I say that partner should not bid 4N, hearts being trumps, with 0 keys, or 1 key and no Q, since now a reply of 5 by opener would force the partnership to slam in full knowledge of two missing keys. And yes, opener could perfectly well have just 2 keys in this sequence, for example AK-KQJ98x-KQJ-QJ (22 meh HCP vs 20 good HCP in the actual hand, identical shape).
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#4 User is offline   HardVector 

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Posted 2019-June-23, 16:13

Anyway, the whole idea in the first bid, is that slam is very likely, you are probably going to bid it anyway. The question is, is there a grand? The K helps you to answer that. If you are REALLY worried about your hearts being 4-4 and they are 5-0 and can double for a ruff at trick 1, then you go ahead and stop cuebidding and guess.

On the second hand, I agree, bidding 4d is a mistake. It's your partner's turn to bid, and if you bid 4d they will call the director for bidding out of turn. Notice, however, if your PARTNER bids 4d how much better your hand is and taking control with Blackwood is easy.

If that is really the way the quiz was written, I have lost a little respect for them.
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#5 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2019-June-23, 16:43

On the first hand, I suspect the 4 cue is more about the possible grand slam. As little as KJxx Kxxx xxxxx - gives a good shot at seven, and this is probably too weak for a splinter. Of course, KJxx xxxx KQxxx - is a better hand where the grand is pretty poor. Do you have a way to ask for the heart king after partner shows a void? Maybe 6 does this, but there is very little cost in cuebidding here. Opponents doubling for a heart lead on their void (where they wouldn't find that lead regardless holding great length in hearts) seems remote.

On the second hand, I assume the auction is 2-2-2-3-3-4 (so that it's opener's turn to bid, and he didn't bypass his obvious spade cue). Here a 4 cue seems called for. The thing is, opener's hand is really quite bad for a strong 2 opening. Only twenty high, pretty flat shape. Partner could have the club king, diamond ace, and heart queen and slam STILL might not be great (xxxx Qxx Axx Kxx and you basically need the club finesse). When you're minimum for the auction so far it's fine to cue-bid below game but you really ought not to blast keycard. If partner wants to sign off in 4 after 4 that is likely to be the correct decision; blackwood deserves to find partner with xxxx xxx Qxxx Kx or the like where 5 has little play (even if you add a major queen the five-level is far from safe).
Adam W. Meyerson
a.k.a. Appeal Without Merit
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#6 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2019-June-23, 19:30

View Postaleaxit, on 2019-June-23, 14:14, said:

Because there's really nothing to gain in return for giving away information and opportunities, such as letting RHO do a lead-directing double of 4 and suffering a ruff there.
...
And if partner denies the K? I'd better take charge anyway, since, as I showed, 6 is pretty sure to be 50%+ unless we lack two keys.

You asked for opinions, you got an opinion which agreed with the panel/moderator on Le Bridgeur, and then you feel the need to (re)argue your point. Why ask for opinions if you aren't really interested in opposing viewpoints. Better to send an email to Le Bridgeur trying to make your point.
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#7 User is offline   smerriman 

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Posted 2019-June-24, 00:02

The article says (emphasis mine):

Quote

Using Blackwood is not a crime, but if, as expected, North shows only one keycard, you won’t know whether s/he has the king of hearts. By bidding 4♦ you can find out this essential piece of information.

I agree with the OP that this explanation is not a very good one. But I agree with everyone else that 4 is the correct bid (just for a different reason; finding the grand.)
Feel free to send me a friend challenge of any format as often as you like. I'll always accept :)
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#8 User is offline   Tramticket 

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Posted 2019-June-24, 01:10

View Postaleaxit, on 2019-June-23, 10:14, said:

[SPOILER ALERT]: if you haven't taken the "Le Bridgeur" quiz on Blackwood you'll probably want to do so before reading this thread.


Is there a link?
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#9 User is offline   smerriman 

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Posted 2019-June-24, 02:25

View PostTramticket, on 2019-June-24, 01:10, said:

Is there a link?

https://blog.bridgeb...-use-blackwood/
Feel free to send me a friend challenge of any format as often as you like. I'll always accept :)
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#10 User is offline   Tramticket 

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Posted 2019-June-24, 02:43

View Postsmerriman, on 2019-June-24, 02:25, said:



Thanks.

Looks like a well constructed quiz. It even states "As always in bridge, there is more than one right answer". So, if you don't like their suggestions, carry on using your own methods. But their answers look reasonable to me and if you want to improve, you might respect their expertise.

My score was 7/8 (I might have taken another cue bid on #2, but I can't really disagree with their answer).
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#11 User is offline   FelicityR 

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Posted 2019-June-24, 03:26

6 out of 8 for me. But quite surprised that the French champions don't use transfers or Texas on hand one :huh:
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#12 User is offline   Tramticket 

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Posted 2019-June-24, 05:49

View PostFelicityR, on 2019-June-24, 03:26, said:

6 out of 8 for me. But quite surprised that the French champions don't use transfers or Texas on hand one :huh:


I was surprised too - pleasantly surprised. Maybe I'm not such an old dinosaur after all!
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#13 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2019-June-24, 08:49

View PostFelicityR, on 2019-June-24, 03:26, said:

6 out of 8 for me. But quite surprised that the French champions don't use transfers or Texas on hand one :huh:

Me too.

I found a French Wikipedia page on the SEF system. It uses 3 through 3 as natural, slam-invitational bids (3 is a transfer to ), while 4 and 4 are drop bids.

They also call Jacoby Transfers "Texas".

#14 User is online   pescetom 

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Posted 2019-June-24, 15:31

View Postaleaxit, on 2019-June-23, 10:14, said:

[SPOILER ALERT]: if you haven't taken the "Le Bridgeur" quiz on Blackwood you'll probably want to do so before reading this thread.


Maybe you could provide a link to the quiz or some idea how to find it?
It's not obvious from the Le Bridgeur home page.
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#15 User is online   pescetom 

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Posted 2019-June-24, 15:37

View Postbarmar, on 2019-June-24, 08:49, said:

They also call Jacoby Transfers "Texas".


That's common to both French and Italian players.
They are also very surprised if you make a Texas transfer B-)
In compensation, they will usually alert any transfer (although the latest Italian regulations prescribe an announcement for Jacody transfer over a NT opening).
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#16 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2019-June-24, 18:56

View Postaleaxit, on 2019-June-23, 10:14, said:

[SPOILER ALERT]: if you haven't taken the "Le Bridgeur" quiz on Blackwood you'll probably want to do so before reading this thread.

I disagree with some of the official answers in the quiz and I think they're worth discussing.



So what do y'all think...?


1. I don't answer any quiz in Bridge that only allows only one right answer
2. I don't answer any quiz in Bridge that doesnt start by describing the bidding system/conventions being used
3. I don't answer any quiz where I feel there is ambiguity and opinion involved
4. I don't answer any quiz set by people who seem to think there is only one correct answer and that they know it

Its a good set of questions for discussion, as per above, but please Bridge people don't ever fall into the trap of badly designed and structured multiple choice questions. Too much of that happening in academic assessment these days as it is, let alone in Bridge and other places :)
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#17 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2019-June-25, 08:44

View Postpescetom, on 2019-June-24, 15:31, said:

Maybe you could provide a link to the quiz or some idea how to find it?
It's not obvious from the Le Bridgeur home page.

It's been in the News section of BBO for several days, and smerriman posted a link above.

View Postthepossum, on 2019-June-24, 18:56, said:

4. I don't answer any quiz set by people who seem to think there is only one correct answer and that they know it

What part of "As always in bridge, there is more than one right answer" didn't you understand?

#18 User is offline   diana_eva 

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Posted 2019-June-25, 09:21

View Postthepossum, on 2019-June-24, 18:56, said:

1. I don't answer any quiz in Bridge that only allows only one right answer
2. I don't answer any quiz in Bridge that doesnt start by describing the bidding system/conventions being used
3. I don't answer any quiz where I feel there is ambiguity and opinion involved
4. I don't answer any quiz set by people who seem to think there is only one correct answer and that they know it

Its a good set of questions for discussion, as per above, but please Bridge people don't ever fall into the trap of badly designed and structured multiple choice questions. Too much of that happening in academic assessment these days as it is, let alone in Bridge and other places :)


I was the one who built the quiz based on an article in Bridgerama, a magazine for beginners. There was a pretty long article in French about Blackwood, with a few examples on where to use it and when not, and the article concluded with a series of "Exercises". Those exercises were what I based the quiz on. My translations and explanations might be imperfect, I'm sure the French version was a lot better.


The original article awarded scores like 5 points for this answer, 3 points for that answer, 1 point for that, etc. I was the one to simplify it to right or wrong because that's what my quiz making software could handle :) I am planning to create a few more of these, with Le Bridgeur's blessing of course, and this time use their scoring system if I can find a quiz maker that knows how to calculate scores.


The system assumed is a basic 5-card majors with a minimum set of conventions if any. It was not clearly stated anywhere but it also did not seem extremely relevant because the content of the magazine is aimed at people very new to bridge. Of course I couldn't convey all this in a fun quiz. Maybe I should have added a note somewhere.


So I'd advise not take this too seriously. The French thing was a lot more serious and comprehensive, but I suspect we'd have lost 70% of users before they even got to the quiz if I translated the whole thing and added system notes.

#19 User is offline   shyams 

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Posted 2019-June-25, 11:48

View Postdiana_eva, on 2019-June-25, 09:21, said:

I was the one who built the quiz based on an article in Bridgerama, a magazine for beginners. There was a pretty long article in French about Blackwood, with a few examples on where to use it and when not, and the article concluded with a series of "Exercises". Those exercises were what I based the quiz on. My translations and explanations might be imperfect, I'm sure the French version was a lot better.

The original article awarded scores like 5 points for this answer, 3 points for that answer, 1 point for that, etc. I was the one to simplify it to right or wrong because that's what my quiz making software could handle :) I am planning to create a few more of these, with Le Bridgeur's blessing of course, and this time use their scoring system if I can find a quiz maker that knows how to calculate scores.

The system assumed is a basic 5-card majors with a minimum set of conventions if any. It was not clearly stated anywhere but it also did not seem extremely relevant because the content of the magazine is aimed at people very new to bridge. Of course I couldn't convey all this in a fun quiz. Maybe I should have added a note somewhere.

So I'd advise not take this too seriously. The French thing was a lot more serious and comprehensive, but I suspect we'd have lost 70% of users before they even got to the quiz if I translated the whole thing and added system notes.


You are too polite. If I were the author/translator, I'd either ignore the post by pescetomthepossum or post a scathing retort.

This post has been edited by shyams: 2019-June-27, 12:32

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#20 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2019-June-25, 11:50

7/8 here but I felt that where you have the minimum 2N opener #7?), you have the absolutely key Q which partner Blackwooding won't find, and he might be worried about a diamond lead whistling through his K, so I Blackwooded, expecting that I'd sign off wrongly in 5 a fair bit of the time, but also expecting that partner might if I didn't.

Btw seriously hate the 2 opener on #5
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