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All comments by Kit Woolsey
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900 last minute cancellations. That is incredible. If that is accurate, then there really is a serious problem of people booking rooms they might not be using.

Jonathan, do you happen to know if there were similar numbers of cancellations at the Intercontinental?
7 hours ago
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Why would one even consider the queen of hearts play if one didn't first see the reason for making the play? One wouldn't, since that might simply be blowing a heart trick if declarer has KJxx(x) in hearts. Therefore, if a player even considers the play it would be because he pictured the actual hand and the reason for making the play. And if a player did picture this hand, he would conclude that the chance of unblocking the queen gaining was more likely than it losing, so he would make the play.
9 hours ago
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In theory, what you say is true. In practice, it won't happen. If it is so difficult for a defender to find the falsecard, do you really think that declarer is going to go a step deeper in the analysis, think of the falsecard that a defender might find, and play for that?
9 hours ago
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I was commentating at the table where declarer didn't play a heart to the ace early – he just got the trumps correct outright. After the hand was finished, I realized and mentioned that perhaps a better line of play was a heart to the ace first. I looked at the other table, and saw that this is what declarer did. And only then did the concept of the queen falsecard hit me.

Well, if it takes me that long to see the concept of the falsecard when I can see all four hands and know that the contract depends on guessing the queen of spades, what chance do you think a defender has who is looking at only two hands and is probably taken by surprise by the heart play. I would think that even the best of defenders would really have to be in the zone to find that play. Michael Rosenberg was South at the table where the heart was led first, and he didn't find it.

The hand was played in other matches, of course, and I would think many of the tables would reach the same position. I wonder how many declarers made the heart play first, and if any defenders found the falsecard. I'm betting that nobody found the falsecard.
22 hours ago
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Holding Qx of spades? I'm not so sure about that. If South finds the falsecard, I guarantee you at the table no declarer will think it was from q10 doubleton.
Aug. 22
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Don't kid yourself. Experts are still only human. I am quite sure that South never considered the falsecard. If he had considered it, he would have found it.
Aug. 22
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If South had played the queen of hearts on the first round of hearts, I'm sure declarer would have gone down. That would look like a singleton queen, and declarer couldn't afford to test the hearts any more before drawing trumps. He would play South for 2-1-7-3 shape.

Could South have found this play? In theory, yes. South knows the diamond count, and from declarer's play of the queen of clubs at trick 2 South can make a good guess about declarer's shape. The heart play at trick 3 is so unusual that South might figure out why declarer did this.

That is all in theory. In practice, such a play is extremely difficult to find. South is not expecting the heart lead, and he would have to think very quickly in order to not give the show away. The only way such a falsecard could realistically be found is if South was thinking about declarer's problems while declarer was deciding what to do after ruffing the diamond and South worked out the hand. If that play had been found, it would be the defensive play of the year.
Aug. 22
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Just out of curiosity (considering the hand West bid 3NT on), what is the expected range for the 1NT rebid?
Aug. 22
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I can confirm that the HB story is 100% accurate. HB was a friend and occasional partner of mine from my graduate school days (sorry, not naming any names). Ron's team played the HB's team in a Swiss match, and Ron did make a $100 bet with one of his teammates at the other table (again, no names) that he could induce HB to do his thing. On the very first board, Ron declared a slam in a suit contract. As described, he won the opening lead with his “singleton” king, lost a trump trick to HB, and when HB continued the suit he led Ron (holding the ace) ruffed. That was sufficient to set HB off, and Ron collected on the bet.

If Ron were alive, I'm sure he would not be upset about the story Mike describes in this posting. He would proudly confirm the accuracy of the posting.
Aug. 20
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We open 1. I don't understand your question about continuations over responder's asks. What asks?
Aug. 20
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Most common and what I am used to is 2 0 or 1 control (ace = 2, king = 1), 2 = 2. After that, some pairs play that 2 shows some good 5-card suit, 2NT = 3 controls, 3 = 4 controls, etc. I don't have any preference. Any control-showing structure works fine.
Aug. 19
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It does on any transfer auction, since responder is showing his shape and letting opener make the necessary evaluations. And if you play 2 puppet Stayman, which I do, it is responder who is doing the describing on these sequences also.

Of course it is responder who knows the approximate combined strength, so responder guides the level. But it is opener who choose the strain, based on responder's distributional description. Also, if responder has marginal game or slam strength, responder can convey that information and opener can make the final decision based on his strength and how well his hand fits with the shape responder has shown.
Aug. 19
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I have never understood the fascination of 2 waiting response to 2, with the idea of staying out of opener's way so he can describe. It is a fundamental principle of constructive bidding that the stronger hand should be the one making the decisions, since that hand knows more about where tricks are coming from and needs less information from partner to place the contract. 2 waiting goes completely against this principle, with the weak hand saying nothing and the strong hand trying to describe.

My personal preference is control responses, since often that is all that is needed for the strong hand to place the contract. However, any descriptive bid by the weak hand is better than the weak hand giving the strong hand no information.
Aug. 19
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Thanks. Fixed.
Aug. 19
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With 5-4-2-2 (5-card minor, 4-card major) we always open 1NT if we judge the hand to be in our notrump range. If not in our notrump range and not strong enough for a 1 opening, we open 1 and rebid 1NT if partner doesn't bid our 4-card major.

With 5-4-2-2, 5-4 in the majors, of course we open the 5-card major.

With 5-4-2-2, 5-4 in the minors, we can either open 1NT or open 1 and rebid 2, depending on the quality of the hand.

A 2 opening is always 6+ clubs.

With (41)35, we open 1. With (43)15 we open 2 (since our 2 opening is multi).
Aug. 19
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Thanks. Fixed.
Aug. 19
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Even assuming that partner's queen of clubs is an honest suit-preference card, that doesn't guarantee that partner has the ace of spades. Partner might have the king of spades and think it might be important to show spade strength. Risking a sure set would be foolhardy.

I think your construction is a bad example of the question which you are really asking, which is:

Do you risk a sure set for the possibility of extra undertricks on the assumption that partner has carded properly.

There is no pat answer to this question. It depends upon how trivial partner's carding is. If it is automatic that he will have carded correctly, then generally you should go for it. If there is a reasonable chance that he might have made an error, then take the sure set.
Aug. 18
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A great idea. Everybody will approve, except for those who book rooms they have no idea whether or not they will be using and create room shortages for the rest of us.
Aug. 18
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Not a forcing pass. If partner had bid 4 over a 3 opening, we would be in a force.

FWIW, my forcing pass agreements are not related to vulnerability.
Aug. 18
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He will have time to play the queen and 10 of hearts, since declarer has to cash the ace and king of hearts before completing the run of the clubs. Michael will be aware of the position, and his carding will tell Pepsi whether to play him for the 10 of diamonds or the 9 of hearts. Pepsi just played too quickly when the ace of hearts was cashed, and then had no choice but to hope Michael had the 10 of diamonds.
Aug. 17
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