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All comments by Kit Woolsey
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Sure. Either partner could bid more.

North might have bid 3.

South might act over 3.

North might act over 3.

Any of these actions would be quite reasonable.
2 hours ago
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I agree. The point is that if West has his likely K1087x of diamonds, what is he going to do when he wins the club trick? He will almost certainly continue diamonds playing his partner for the jack, since he “knows” you would never go up queen with AJx in your hand. If that happens, you will be a big favorite to make.
3 hours ago
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It depends on the previous play. If I judge from the previous play that declarer knows there is a trump outstanding, he gets 2 tricks. If not, he gets 1 trick.
22 hours ago
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David,

What is the big guess? I think East should have doubled. But so he passed, and collected +50 instead of +100. Big deal. The partner of the 1NT opener knows where he is at, and isn't going to go far wrong.

I agree that this very deal is a case in point. It was N-S who had to guess over the pass, and South guessed wrong, getting to 2 instead of 2. If East had made a strength-showing redouble, South could have scrambled and gotten to the superior 2 contract.
22 hours ago
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Very interesting concept. A couple of questions:

What does the opening bidder do when they run from the redouble. Is he muzzled because you might have that 8-count? If so, you will miss out on some penalties when the redoubler has the goods. If not, he will be doubling the opponents when they have the balance of strength.

Do you always redouble with 8+ balanced? If so, then it seems likely (with opener 10-12 and the double 14+), that the redouble will be in the 8-9 range probably over 50% of the time (I'm guessing at that). Given that, it seems like the opponents should be sitting it most of the time if balanced. But do the opponents know that you are doing this? If they don't, then they won't know to sit.

Another point: Playing your methods, it appears that if responder passes that means he is balanced with < 8 HCP. That makes it very easy for fourth seat to pass regardless of his hand. Provided the opponents know you are doing this.

I think you have to tell the opponents that you redouble with 8+, whether responder redoubles or passes. Otherwise, they are at a disadvantage.

Perhaps the best approach is to randomize – say redouble 2/3 of the time with 8+ balanced and pass 1/3 of the time with 8+ balanced (or something like that – don't know what the optimal percentages should be). This way the opponents really are in the dark.
Feb. 20
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That all sounds good in theory, but i doesn't work that way in practice. When third seat redoubles, both opponents know they are outgunned in high cards. If fourth seat has a balanced 2-6 he just passes, and the initial doubler can take care of himself since he knows what to expect. Sometimes the initial doubler has a solid 7-card suit or the equivalent. Otherwise, the initial doubler starts runout procedure himself.

The point is that when you make the strength-showing redouble, this tells the opponents what they are up against. When you make the non-committal pass and fourth seat has a weak hand, he really has to guess.
Feb. 20
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Yes, it is the threat of playing 1NT doubled which is the key factor which puts fourth seat under pressure if he has a weak hand. If you play a structure where pass forces a redouble, he can just pass and see what is going on, and if 1NT redoubled comes around to him he can start a runout sequence to get to his best fit. Similarly, if you play that immediate redouble is business he can start a scramble, and his partner will know what he is doing. However, if the pass over the double is non-committal, fourth seat doesn't have this luxury. He has to take a position immediately, with the knowledge that if he passes the auction might end right there.

The actual hand is a good example. If South could take a scrambling approach, he could bid 2, and then redouble when doubled (which he definitely would be since once East shows strength E-W will never sell to 2 undoubled), and N-S would arrive at their best contract of 2. After the pass South doesn't have that option, and if he bids 2 that might end the auction in a very silly contract. True, it would be nice to play 2 being Stayman on this hand, but that won't be so good when South simply wants to run to 2.
Feb. 19
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Playing 3 as non-forcing gains when there are exactly 9 tricks available in diamonds and not 8 tricks in notrump. When this happens, the gain is about 5 IMPs.

Playing 3 as forcing gains when it leads to a better slam decision auction by setting the trump suit at a low level. It also gains when it leads to a better choice of games decision, quite possible considering that 3NT, 4, or 5 might be best. When either of these happens, the gain is at least 10 IMPs.

You can judge for yourself which treatment is more valuable.

Note that 3 forcing doesn't mean that it is game forcing. If partner bids 3 of something and you growl 4 back at him, that is quite passable. Having already supported diamonds, there would be no need for 4 to be forcing with partner having limited his hand.
Feb. 19
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Add in the 9 of diamonds, and game is approaching 50%. In addition add in the 8 of clubs, and game is better than 50% I believe. Make East's 4-card suit one of the minors instead of hearts, and game chances go up considerably.

These are pretty random factors which can't really be taken into account in the bidding. Be concerned about missing 4 when you have 10 top winners, or getting to slam off the first 2 tricks. Don't worry about hands such as this. If you get to game or stay out of game, it isn't a big deal, and you will never have enough information to intelligently get it right anyway.
Feb. 19
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With RHO having a stiff heart, playing him for the diamond length looks clear even without the tell-tale diamond discard. The diamond discard makes it close to a lock.

Note that if RHO happens to have the king of spades along with the diamond length (unlikely, but you never know), then you will have him in a 3-suit squeeze provided that he holds a club honor, since he will have to blank it. Of course, you will have to read the end position.
Feb. 18
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That goes both ways. If you fail to alert, you risk partner alerting, and the information will not be the same on both sides of the screen.

The answer is for both partners to follow the principle: if there is any doubt, alert.
Feb. 18
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With screens this is not a problem. Alert, and give the explanation you gave in the writeup. Your screenmate will then know exactly what you know.

Without screens there is a potential UI issue, but you should still do the same thing. If partner has what you think he has, there won't be a problem, since he would have been expecting you to say what you did. If he has something else he has UI, and he will just have to deal with it.

If you do anything else then the opponents don't know what you know. That is MI.
Feb. 18
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Not a problem. Make an insufficient bid of 3, and when that isn't accepted correct to 4, barring partner.
Feb. 18
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I also agree. However, a winning club finesse only gets us up to 11 tricks.

I believe I would pitch a club on the second spade. Then queen of diamonds, diamond to ace.

1) If diamonds are 3-2, heart ruff, spade ruff, and run trumps. This makes without the club finesse if the hearts are 4-4, along with a possible show-up squeeze.

2) If diamonds are 4-1, diamond to jack, spade ruff, draw last trump. Assuming king of clubs is on, this makes when clubs are 2-2 or when an opponent has 3 clubs and 5 hearts.
Feb. 18
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Thanks, Craig. That is just about what I expected.

So why does E-W do so well when N-S have an 8-card fit? Several reasons which can be seen from East's point of view.

1) E-W have at least a 22-18 edge in high cards. This is lot to overcome to make 8 tricks, unless there are extra trump tricks or a source of tricks in a side suit.

2) Even if North has a doubleton which is a potential ruffing value, the defense may be able to prevent that ruff. Remember that the South hand is very weak, so declarer might not have that entry he needs to get the ruff.

3) The fact that East has an honor (and not merely a jack) in every side suit makes it a lot less likely that North is going to produce a source of tricks in a side suit.

4) With North holding most of the strength, that 10 of spades is a big card. It might be worth a half a trick on average.

A very instructive hand and simulation. I think we have all learned a lot from it.
Feb. 18
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Richard says:

If the opponents are playing an eight-card fit, the likelihood is that declarer will get fairly close to his contract if not make it.

Is that so? I'm going to go out on a limb and make the following prediction:

Even if the opponents are KNOWN to have an 8-card fit, doubling is still the percentage action (although by a very small amount).

So, would somebody please run the simulation with the further stipulation that West has a doubleton spade (all other parameters the same) and let's see what happens.
Feb. 17
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Yes, when 2 goes down 2 tricks and 3NT is bid and made at the other table, the gain from doubling will be 4 IMPs, not 5 IMPs.

There are other possibilities. if 3NT is making at the other table and 2 goes down 3, the gain from doubling is 9 IMPs (+3 instead of -6).

If 2 goes down 2 and the contract is 1NT making 2 at the other table, the gain from doubling is 6 IMPs (+5 instead of -1).

The bottom line is that the other table result isn't going to have much effect on the swing from doubling.
Feb. 17
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Thanks Craig. Those results are very consistent with David's, indicating that small changes in the parameters have little effect on the simulation.

It is worth noting that down 3 is more common than making. The gain from doubling when down 3 is the same 8 IMPs (=500 vs. +150) as the cost from doubling when making (-470 vs. -110). That itself is sufficient to illustrate how clear the double is.
Feb. 16
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Whatever writing I did along these lines had to do with strong NT openings. 10-12 is an entirely different issue. If the distribution and the strength is right for the 10-12 NT, just do it regardless of honor placement.
Feb. 16
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Feel free to tweak he parameters as you see fit. I chose the parameters I did because they are simple and reasonably accurate.

A couple of observations:

The only shapes which we would not be opening 1NT (which the suggested parameters allow) are 5-4-2-2 hands with a 5-card major. Note that since West can't have 4 spades (since I specified that opponents have at least 7 spades), these would involve West having a doubleton spade – unfavorable for the double. Thus, eliminating 2=5=4=2 and 2=5=2=4 shapes would make the double a little more attractive in the simulation.

Anybody who doesn't act over a 10-12 NT with a 14-count is just asking to be stolen. 13-point hands are admittedly more marginal. If you want to run the simulation constraining North to 14+, that is fine. That figures to make the double a little less attractive.

As to shapes for the double: If you allow the doubler to have a singleton, that singleton will often be a spade. This would make the double considerably more attractive, which is the main reason why I chose to say that the North hand has no singletons – although in real life some players do make a penalty double of a 10-12 NT with a singleton.

I think that most players will double with 5-4-2-2 hands (except 5-4 in the majors, but North can't have that). However, if you want to eliminate 5-4-2-2 shapes, go ahead. That would make the double of 2 a little less attractive.

So, the parameters which are as unfavorable for the double of 2 as possible would be:

West: 10-12, no singletons, voids, or 6-card suits.

North: 15+ HCP, no singletons, voids, 6-card suits, no 5-4-2-2 hands.

South: 5+ spades

Even with these modifications, I predict that the simulation will have the double of 2 being a significant winner.
Feb. 16
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