Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Dan Dopps

I recently learned of the passing of a friend and former partner, Dan Dopps of Mansfield.  He was one of the four original contributors to the Modified Italian Canape System and played this regularly for many years. 

One of my fondest memories was our continuing debate about whether Losing Trick Count, or counting Winners, made more sense when dealing with unbalanced hands.  I ended up winning that debate, in a strange fashion.

Dan opened One Diamond, showing any number of possible hands (long clubs, long diamonds, or diamonds with a longer major).  I made some response, and he made a jump rebid showing, and now the debate...

1. Dan's position: 9 winners.
2. My position: 4 losers.

Seems like not much of a debate?  Dan thought that my approach was bizarre, and pessimistic.  I thought his approach was the exact same thing (I thought it was) such that using terminology of "losing tricks" made sense.

However, we soon found out why I was right.  With a CLEAR three tricks, I forced the small slam, which failed by one trick.  Dan thought that my hand was not good enough to force the slam, which seemed odd to me.  I mentioned that my three covers took care of three of his four losers, which suggested that the slam would make.  He retorted that I should count winners.  So, I added 9+3 and got 12.  He grumbled, I went for a smoke.  Next round.

Well, mid-auction on the last board of the next round, the director came over to ask Dan which of the 14 cards in his hand was not supposed to be there.  In the end, all 14 were in fact in his hand when he bid and played the hand earlier (a claim, and two people who could not count).

This sealed my victory in the debate.  Counting winners, he had my 3 tricks plus his 9, for 12 tricks.  But, counting losers, he had 14 cards, minus 9 winners, is 5 losers!  Thus the one-trick set.

So, if 14-card hands and 12-card hands occur much for you (especially in Rubber or party bridge), then I propose that LTC works much better in the long run than Dan's optomistic winners count.

But, I suppose that Dopps Count might help in some situations, where you need tricks and can claim, as long as the opponents do not grab theirs first.

I also remember two incidents that amused me.  We always discussed theory and missed the world around us.  In one event, we left with a round to play because the last hand in the next-to-last round was too fascinating for us to focus on the game, and we got confused.  We also accidentally entered a novice game for a similar reason, scoring up about a 260 on a 156 average (playing canape in the novice game).

1 comment:

Memphis MOJO said...

I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your friend, but isn't it great that bridge gives us so much to enjoy and remember.