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All comments by Bill Segraves
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Almost everyone is ducking, and that will usually be the only making play when hearts are Ax offside, but what about the rest of the possible layouts?

If we duck and it's not Ax offside, then 3 heart losers are assured to go with the spade A, so we have to bring in the rest without a loser (either in a black suit or a 4th heart trick with spade A as entry).

Further, what if the opps switch to a diamond after the duck? Not only did we lose our chance for a heart trick, but we also lost the entry we needed if we'd hoped to enjoy the spades. So we're back on the clubs and hoping to bring them in for no losers.

If it's xx offside and we fly K, we have a trick and an entry, and just have to decide which is the best approach to the blacks, given the communication problem.
5 hours ago
Bill Segraves edited this comment 4 hours ago
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Ackkk! I got the vulnerability backwards! Corrected now and I'll message the few people who already replied.

(It was when you mentioned 2NT that I realized I had the vul wrong.)
17 hours ago
Bill Segraves edited this comment 12 hours ago
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Everything in tempo by declarer and defenders.
20 hours ago
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“JoAnn, isn't whatever experience tells us limited to those pairs who have been caught?”

Somewhere, the Reverend Bayes is smiling. The rest of us, maybe not so much.
June 2
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Something important happens when defender bot plays the ace from Ax one third of the time. If defender bot plays ace with any frequency more often than that, declarer bot will improve its odds by hooking the J on the next round.

That brings us to what I think is the penultimate piece of the puzzle. If defender bot plays the A from Ax with some frequency less than 1/3 of the time (e.g., 10% or 20%), what should declarer bot do?
June 2
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I do not disagree at all with your advocacy for 1NT SF to handle these hands in the absence of competition. Indeed, I mildly prefer it, though I do think there's more of a trade-off than you suggest (1NT is great if pard is a balanced non-accept, but just because pard has 5-4 distribution doesn't mean he's going to accept my invite, so I'd rather have invited at the two level).

But this post is about what to do in competition. Are you suggesting that we play 1NT SF after 1 (1)? If so, I'm not seeing how that's workable. I don't think we want to stop there unless someone shows a stopper, and if it isn't natural with a stopper, we just wrong-sided notrump if pard has a good hand with one.

And even if you want to argue for 1NT SF in competition, that ship has sailed in every case other than 1 (1).
June 2
Bill Segraves edited this comment June 2
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Using “standard” methods is of course the *easiest* approach, but even if I agree with pard that I am not going to open particularly light, I still greatly prefer to have methods that let me show a 3 card limit raise at the 2-level rather than the 3-level.
June 2
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Hmmm. We know that ducking 0% of the time is wrong. And you've suggested that ducking 100% of the time is wrong. I don't think you're suggesting that all values between 0% and 100% are equally good. I accept that it may be that the equilibrium case remains 53%, but isn't there a specific optimal defender strategy or range of strategies at equilibrium?

Edit: in case it matters, let's assume that we care what the probability of success is, and not just which of these actions is better. E.g., that there's an alternative line with some relevant percent probability of success.
June 1
Bill Segraves edited this comment June 1
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Lol. On the slam that got me thinking about this, I had plenty of entries, hooked the Jack on the second finesse …. down 1.
June 1
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Thank you, David. But how do we need to program our defensive and declarer bots to maintain or improve upon these odds, assuming enough experience to ascertain each other's strategy? You've alluded to some of it above, but I'm hoping you or others might dive deeper.
June 1
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Absolutely, but for the sake of this analysis, ruling that out by my conditions wrt side suit distributions in the last paragraph. I should have been explicit that nothing comes from the bidding either.
June 1
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And another question: in the one more finesse case, you can't pick up AJxx, so why are the two second round finesses not equal? Isn't Ax offside as likely as Jx offside?
June 1
Bill Segraves edited this comment June 1
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Since there's a split on some of the questions, let's ask some more.

Looking at the case where declarer can only take one more finesse, assume for the moment that fourth hand *always* ducks with Ax. What has declarer learned if fourth hand plays the A? What should declarer then do on second round if needing four tricks?
June 1
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Thanks. Good stuff.
May 31
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So, you'll be at the 3-level. Same place you would have been if you'd had to bid 3m to give limit raise. You win when pard doesn't have spades and break even when they do?
May 31
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Per the OP, we already play it over X, and I think it makes sense to extend that to an artificial 1NT, but I have some ambivalence about Drury 2 over a strong, natural 1NT. The chances of game just went down and the chances that partner has a 4-bagger just went up. I also might want to bid a natural 2.

Just thinking out loud, but mightn't X be a better way to Drury after 1M is overcalled with a natural 1NT? That allows opener to pass with the right hand, to bid a suit at the 2-level when light with a second suit, or to bid 2M?
May 31
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I'm still not getting it. Opener not light, but 4=5 majors, after P (P) 1 (2m), how do we find 4-4 spades if X is used to show heart support?
May 31
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Thinking more about this, I'm wondering about whether 1 (2) might be particularly amenable to a 2-way X: either reds (emphasis on hearts, of course) or 3 card limit. After 2 red by opener, responder can convert to 2 to indicate the 3 card limit. Even if the opps raise clubs, this seems like it probably can't go too wrong.
May 31
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We also use Ekren-style 2, and I was thinking this might help, but I was left with the following questions:

1) When we're vul, we don't open 4-4 majors with 2, so this solution would only work when non-vul. Do you open with 2 4-4 vul?

2) What if opener *isn't* light and has 4=5 majors? How do we find 4-4 spades?
May 31
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Paragraph 2?
May 30
Bill Segraves edited this comment May 30
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