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COUNTING - at the table

#1 User is offline   hallway 

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Posted 2003-June-08, 17:34

Ben (Inquiry) advised in another thread - quote -

"Keep up the counting patterns. If it doesn't work as you try to go to sleep - try it at the table"


Been there and done that Ben :D - I was sure it was you who answered my prayers at the time :)

After three - almost - sleepless nights of trying to follow Ben's sage advice off to Bridge I went.

Now we (the newbies) decided sometime back that a good defensive strategy would be to arrive early and nab the seats at the Directors table. The logic being that by starting off in the Lion's Den when the bell clanged and E/W were exhorted to "MOVE Please" we would have escaped and be free to roam without fear, furthermore at the start of the evening s/he would be freshened, fed and watered ergo at their most benign ;D

And so Round One
(my P informed me later that I had gone off into a trancelike state ::) )
I decided to try this 'thinking of hand shapes'.

suddenly
S/he who has their name upon the wall says, "WHAT !! , are you doing " ????
I, too stunned to think of a suitably witty response settled for the simple truth , " trying to figure out the shape of your hand "
LHO, "Don't be ridiculous !!"
S/he who must be obeyed, "WELL - what is it ??"
I (with a beseeching glance skywards and a fervent prayer - "Ben & BBO please don't fail me now " :- ) and with what I hoped was a calm and assured manner, smiled chamingly and said , "5, 2, 4, 2"

BINGO, EUREKA, JACKPOT, HALLELUIAH !!!!!!! ;D ;D

RHO's back snapped upright, the hand shot up, the eyes locked on and the eyebrows headed for the hairline, LHO's chin trembled upon the chest and P's mouth hung open with eyes the size of saucers.

I sat silently whilst thinking , "yes, yes, YES !!!! [glow=red,2,300]I L O V E BBO[/glow]"

The cone of silence remained until "E/W MOVE Please" rang forth.

Sad to say all subsequent attempts at assessing hand shapes failed - dismally LOL - still there's always tonight. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE
This week, however, I think discretion may be the better part of valour , I'll start practising at Table 2 ;D
Maureen
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#2 User is offline   inquiry 

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Posted 2003-June-08, 19:27

Success will follow success... keep it up. It really does become easier as long as you try to do it on every hand...

You may want to practice this counting thing when you are dummy too... since you can only see one hand, when you can figure out the shapes from that seat you are really doing something. And besides, it gives you a useful mental exercise to figure out what is going on.

(did they preempt, did they use michaels or unusual 2NT, what spot cards are they leading, what suit did they throw away...etc... try to build an image of the hands.... )

Ben

PS... great story telling... your post are so expressive. :)
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#3 User is offline   Cave_Draco 

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Posted 2003-June-08, 19:55

Also, when kibitzing, only look at one hand, ;D.
"I know that there is only one power worth having. That is the power, not to take, but to accept; not to have, but to give."
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#4 User is offline   Laird 

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Posted 2003-June-09, 05:28

Hi Maureen

I'm very pleased to learn of your success in counting the patterns at the table.

For me I have to report a less than satisfactory progress in this regard. I practice, practice, practice too but cannot get beyond 4-4-4-1 and then its Z zzzzz.
I even have the hand patterns Ben gave, stuck up on my computer as an aide - memoir, pathetic!
Perhaps its a female thing, they are so familiar with using patterns eg knit one purl one, knit two purl two etc :)
However I take some comfort from the posts of both Yzerman and Mishovnbg who reported about an expert who only uses random count as he believed giving count was as much use to the offence as it was to the defence... but that is different isn't it?
Misho on the other hand stated that counting every hand leads to fatigue - I can understand that!
Codo also found suit preference to be more useful.
Misho also mentioned Smith signals ( not familiar with them ) and lavinthal.
I know I'm grasping at straws but is there another way - I prefer to play 'chop sticks' rather than practice 'scales'!

Cheers
John :D
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Posted 2003-June-09, 06:58

For me I have to report a less than satisfactory progress in this regard. I practice, practice, practice too but cannot get beyond 4-4-4-1 and then its Z zzzzz.

Then it is even better than counting sheep!!!!

"However I take some comfort from the posts of both Yzerman and Mishovnbg who reported about an expert who only uses random count as he believed giving count was as much use to the offence as it was to the defence... but that is different isn't it?

Yes, this is very much different. What they are saying is that they don't give count so that declearer (but also partner) will have a hard time counting his hand. I give right and wrong count on defense too... if the conditions are right. If I know, for instance, that confusing partner can not harm the defense, I too will try to mislead everyone. As far as counting every hand leads to fatigue - good bridge is very exhausting. If you want to just have fun, don't worry about counting, learning bidding rules, trying to calculate risk/reward for bidding on... just have fun and play. That works well too!. If you want to improve, well, the game is mostly mental (and psychological).

"Codo also found suit preference to be more useful." Each signal has its uses. I assure you Roland plays count signals as well.

Smith signals - a signal used against notrump contracts where while following suit to declearers next lead (if possible to play a spot card), each defender signals: hi-lo = likes the opening lead: lo-hi = doesn't like the lead

lavinthal The context is a little off here, I assume the mention of lavinthal carding whre instead of giving count, a high card shows something in a higher suit, and a low card shows something in a lower suit (there are also lavinthal discards and returns). I generally give count with first spot card, and lavinthal with second. Sometimes my first spot card IS meant as lavinthal (partner is suppose to work out what he needs to know more. If where my entry might be is most critical, my first card will be lavinthal. This takes practice and an understanding of the bridge situation... and sometimes, I or my partner get it wrong (reading a count as lavinthal or lavinthal as count), but not that often. Best to stick to first card count, second lavinthal for a while if this is new to you.

Ben
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#6 User is offline   luis 

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Posted 2003-June-09, 11:54

Prism Signals can be used to get an exact count of the whole hand by watching pd's signals in the trump suit. There's a lot of theory about Prism signals but the concept is very easy: it's based in a very simple fact: in a bridge hand you have either one odd-length suit and 3 even-length suits or an even suit and 3 odd suits. With the trump signal you say which is the parity of your hand and which is the suit.

Example with 3 trumps:
4-3-2

4-2 = I have only one even suit and it's the middle suit.
4-3 = I have only one even suit and it's the lowest suit
3-2 = I have only one even suit and it's the top suit.
2-3 = I have only one odd suit and it's the highest suit
2-4 = I have only one odd suit and it's the middle suit
3-4 = I have only one odd suit and it's the lowest suit

If you have 2 trumps you can only singnal the parity of the hand, not the suit.

Knowing the parity and suit of your pd hand and watching dummy and your hand you can get the exact distribution of the hand applying some simple rules.

If someone is interested in this I'll explain the rules.

I've been using Prism signals with one of my pd's and after some practice the results are really good. You can play attitude always when pd leads the suit and suit preference when declarer is leading the suit, no need to show count. Declarer, of course, can get the whole distribution of the hand too but does he know how to use the prism? :-)

Luis
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#7 User is offline   Cave_Draco 

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Posted 2003-June-09, 12:15

Lol, Luis, I posted http://forums.bridgebase.com/in...lay;threadid=24 on Prism signals.
I still don't know if they are banned by the EBU; the Vinje trump signal was banned by the EBU as "encrypted" signals (Declarer does not have the same access to the information by virtue of the fact that declarers tend to pick suits where they have more cards) &, as Maureen pointed out... Beginner & Intermediate string, ;D.
Perhaps a string for signals? The Vinje trump signal is not as involved as the version of Prism that you describe but can still lead to "information overload".

PS. on another string I said that if counting hand patterns doesn't work re. Zzzzzz, count suit distributions. I know they appear the same, this was just echoing a comment of Ben's... If you count both, they MUST dovetail... If they don't? Someone is fibbing!
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Posted 2003-June-09, 12:27

Quote

You can play attitude always when pd leads the suit and suit preference when declarer is leading the suit, no need to show count. Declarer, of course, can get the whole distribution of the hand too but does he know how to use the prism? :-)


There is a lot of good about playing prism signals, but Luis was just kidding about the last little bit. When using any agreement, it is encumbant upon you to inform the opponents and share what ever your agreements are. If they dont know prism, you have to explain it to them. :)

You can read a whole book on prism at:
http://www.prismsignals.com/
--Ben--

#9 User is offline   luis 

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Posted 2003-June-09, 12:50

The link posted by Ben (Inquiry) is the best source of information about prism signals.

I don't think Prism signals can be banned since there's no encrypted information in the signal. Declarer can also get the whole distribution of the hand by reading and interpreting the signal.

What about coded 9's and T's ?
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#10 User is offline   Cave_Draco 

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Posted 2003-June-09, 13:39

Sad to say, it depends what you call "encrypted", opps bid an obvious 6-3 fit... Is P's signal Prism or not? You know because you have 1-2-3 cards, Declarer has no idea!

Fine as a punishment for picking a long suit, ;D, but it is information available to the defence that is "encrypted"!
"I know that there is only one power worth having. That is the power, not to take, but to accept; not to have, but to give."
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#11 User is offline   the hog 

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Posted 2003-June-09, 16:52

A quick question - are encrypted signals legal in the States? The dragon said no to the EBU. They are illegal in Australia.
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#12 User is offline   hallway 

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Posted 2003-June-09, 17:35

John ! JOhn!!! JOHN !!!!!!!!
you have RUINED my thread :'( :'( :'(

Just when I had got 'the guys' giving us BLI's USEFUL , BASIC advice we could UNDERSTAND you have to go off at a tangent and start talking Advanced stuff. All of which is incredibly fascinating but is no more use than ornament to those of us who still struggle to keep track of those 'missing' 26 cards.

I suppose you will tell us you started running before you walked before ........ Talking of things back to front :D and your problem with 4441 Zzzzzzz. They kept me awake because I kept getting stuck in the 5's, so I tried starting at 13, 12 1 da da - no problem now ;D I'm fast asleep before I get to the 5's 8)

Now guys, starting my counting practising at Table 2 was not what you could call a success :) Dealer - 1C with a ring round it !! - deep breath, be brave M you'll just have to ask , you can't 'count' if you don't know what it means :-.

Well there was a poliferation of these things throughout the evening and asking was of no help ... well that is not in respect of assisting me in MY quest - the couldbes, maybes, not necessarilies, shortages (6 out of 13 is a shortage !?! mmm, true it is less than half ! but there was me thinking 0 to an unattractive 3 - lol) etc. etc. it was all too much it just scrambled my poor old brain .

So to Plan C/D - when Kibitzing and when Dummy

And talking of 'scrambling' Ben, you didn't explain what a 'scrambling 2NT' is ? ??? (new thread please)

Oh, and while I'm showing my ignorance of essential matters would you please start another thread and call it " A Beginners Guide to "Balance/ing" .

:-*
Maureen
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#13 User is offline   Cave_Draco 

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Posted 2003-June-09, 19:59

No Prob, Maureen, ;D.

Luis started a string on signals, :).

Concentrate on counting... HUGE rewards!

I support Ben 100%.

If you see opp is 5-2-4-2, elimination & throw-in ceases to be "Advanced".
"I know that there is only one power worth having. That is the power, not to take, but to accept; not to have, but to give."
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#14 User is offline   Laird 

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Posted 2003-June-10, 00:32

Hi Maureen :)

Sorry to have ruined your thread.

Regarding the counting pattern, I think I have got it sussed too.
Cave_Draco said our minds all work differently and how true that seems to be.
I just remember the 5 basic patterns and some possible opening bids.
4-3-3-3 Acol weak nt
5-4-3-1 SAYC - major open
6-5-1-1 2 level preempt
7-6-0-0 3 level preempt
8-5-0-0 4 level prempt
All the rest just branch from these, just like expanding a binomial equation - not that I can remember much about that.
I think you then adjust the pattern in the light of experience ie view of dummy, opening lead etc. The 3 level pre empt may adjust to 7-3-2-1 for example.
Thats the bad thing about threads they spark of ideas.

Cheers( from the dogs house )
John
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#15 User is offline   JRG 

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Posted 2003-June-12, 09:45

Smith signals - a signal used against notrump contracts where while following suit to declearers next lead (if possible to play a spot card), each defender signals: hi-lo = likes the opening lead: lo-hi = doesn't like the lead
=====
Actually no, that's not quite accurate.

That is what partner of the opening leader does: echos to show he has more in the suit than opening leader has a right to expect.

Opening leader, on the other hand, supposed likes the suit he led -- otherwise why did he lead it? So, when opening leader plays an unnecessarily high card, he is sending a WARNING: he wants to suggest that if partner gets the lead, he consider leading some other suit (i.e. not the one of the opening lead).
JRG
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#16 User is offline   luis 

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Posted 2003-June-12, 10:00

Trying to recover your thread (my proposal)

Are you interested in tips to count and discover delclarers distribution? I wrote an article some years ago, I can try to find it and post it if you want.
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#17 User is offline   hallway 

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Posted 2003-June-12, 14:42

Y E S please Luis.

As Laird (I think it was he) commented - we all think differently.

What makes these Forums so special is that here we have the opportunity to gain insight into the different ways people approach the same issue/s.

We can then assimilate that which we find appropriate to our own way of thinking.

I realise that these threads have the tendancy to take on a life of their own.

In this the Beginners and Intermediate Forum there is the opportunity for these threads to become 'learning tools' for future 'generations' of bridge players. More and more new bridge players will come to the game through the use of Internet/Computer learning rather than through Classes/Book learning.

To be really useful references each thread needs to (in this Forum) stay true to topic.

I would like all Posters (when here in the B/I Forum) to ask themselves two questions :-
(a) does what I want to comment on require a new thread ?
(:) would it be more appropriate for me to post it in one
of the other Forums?

:o I have left these comments here in this thread because it has already meandered along this pathway. ::)
BUT
Luis if you can find the article you speak of please post it seperately so that it does not become buried here.

Cheers,
Maureen

ps Laird is no longer in the Dog Box ;D
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#18 User is offline   lenze 

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Posted 2003-June-16, 08:39

There are only three kinds of bridge players. Those that CAN count and those that CAN'T
Please do not complain about my opinion. I don't have the time to convince you I'm right.
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