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All comments by Kit Woolsey
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Marty brings up a very important point involving using double-dummy simulations for this type of decision. It isn't just a question of the opening lead. Declarer will play perfectly, guessing any queen which needs to be guessed.

Will the simulation show a bias in favor of 3NT or 5? Marty gives good reasons why there will be a bias in favor of 5, and he may well be right. I'm not sure. There are several factors which may create a bias one way or the other, and often these aren't too obvious.

The only real way to solve this problem is to deal out a lot of hands and play them single-dummy, as best as possible. This is time-consuming, and the sample size might not be great enough anyway.

The optimal thing would be to have the computer simulate the hands but playing single-dummy as opposed to double-dummy. We could put the hand into the computer, go to bed, and in the morning have the results from thousands of simulated hands. Today's computers are fast enough to do this. The problem is that current programs don't play and defend well enough so that their results can be trusted. There may be a bias towards 3NT or 5 due to this inaccurate play and defense, and looking at the hand it is not obvious which way this bias would be.

The day will probably soon come when programs play and defend well enough so such single-dummy simulations can be trusted. When that day comes these simulations will teach us a lot about the game, and many philosophies which have been thought to be correct will be demonstrated to be wrong.
an hour ago
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Because sometimes the diamonds aren't 3-2. If the king of hearts is onside and the diamonds are 3-2, I'm always making even if I lose the diamond finesse.
18 hours ago
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You aren't competing against the pairs in 3NT. If they get the diamonds right, they beat you. Similarly, you aren't competing against the pairs in 6. There might be some competition against the pairs in 4, but only if there is QJxx of spades offside – since on heart to the ace they will unblock the king, win 2nd heart in dummy, and ride the 9 of spades. So basically you are only competing against the other pairs in 5, and should just take your best play without worrying about the rest of the field.
22 hours ago
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Assuming banana isn't spades, we play this as a puppet to the next step, allowing us to distinguish between a hand which has game interest and a hand which is just competing. A direct 3-level call is constructive. It is basically the same concept as a 2NT lebensohl call, where a 3-level bid is constructive and 2NT is likely a weak hand somewhere.

We do this for all 3-level auctions where the normal meaning would be negative or responsive double.
Oct. 19
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I wouldn't know which heart to continue with as partner could have Jx, Jxx, or xx, so I'm shifting.

I wouldn't know which spade to shift to, as declarer could have xx or Qx.

A club shift could run into declarer's KJ10xx or something like that.

That leaves a diamond shift. It doesn't give declarer anything he couldn't have easily done for himself. A passive shift seems okay, since we can't cash 5 tricks off the top. Also a diamond shift might be necessary if declarer has something like Qx J10xx A10x KJ10x.
Oct. 19
Kit Woolsey edited this comment an hour ago
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I changed my mind. It looks like I will be passing the jack of diamonds whether the heart finesse wins or loses, so I should do that first since the entries are more convenient that way. The main plan will be to ruff 2 hearts.
Oct. 19
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Why wouldn't you want to be in 6? Seems like it is cold on 2-2 clubs, and has plenty of play even if you have to lose a club trick.
Oct. 19
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Anybody who responds 1NT with the North hand would be better off not playing forcing 1NT response so they wouldn't be able to make such a bid.
Oct. 19
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A good theme for this sort of hand is: Do what you have to do first. Here you know you are going to have to take the heart finesse at some point, so it looks right to cross to the ace of clubs and take that finesse.

Your follow-up will depend a lot on whether the heart finesse wins or loses. Exactly what that follow-up should be in both variations is not immediately obvious.
Oct. 19
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Point count is only one factor. There are many other things to consider. Some of them are:

What is your doubleton? If it is a doubleton club, you will be forced to rebid 2 if you bid. A 2 bid is more likely to be dropped than a 2 bid, since it is more likely to be a real suit.

Which major did you open? If you opened 1 and are rebidding a 3-card club suit, you are unlikely to be dropped there (unless that is where you belong) since partner has whatever Bart variant you play available.

How strong is your major? Partner will often be taking a preference on a doubleton. If your major is too weak to play a 5-2 fit, that is a good argument for passing.

From a strength point of view, a good guideline is: If you would bid game opposite a 3-card limit raise, bid. If not, pass.
Oct. 19
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The double shows that I should be in the market for a new partner.
Oct. 18
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For those who shifted to a spade, I'd be curious which spade they shifted to.
Oct. 18
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Don't forget to include LHO being 2-3-1-7 when you make your calculations.
Oct. 18
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I might agree with you if I were that confident that the second round of diamonds will live. However, West's opening lead might be a singleton. If that is the case, playing a second round of diamonds is almost certainly fatal. I don't see why you think it is likely that LHO has KQx of trumps when he is known to have club length. That would indicate that LHO is more likely to have the doubleton spade, and even if LHO has the tripleton spade the odds are against his having both spade honors. He doesn't need these for his overcall.
Oct. 18
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What Michael makes some sense. I'm sure that at the table with screens I would not try to figure out why partner chose 3 for his game try. I would just assume that he had a very distributional hand and simply bid 4 getting him to pick the major and get this over with. Since I know I wouldn't think of taking any other action without the UI, I would have no problem bidding 4 with the UI. Of course, as we all know, all of this is academic.
Oct. 18
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Why would we have to have xxxx in clubs. It is quite possible (if not likely) that LHO has 7 clubs, considering that East failed to raise. For example, suppose West has Kx Qxx 10 AQJxxxx. If you told me that you would cash the ace of clubs and shift to a heart holding that hand after my line of play, I would call you a liar.

It is conceivable that if West holds 6 clubs your perfect computer might work out what is going on and find the winning defense. But West isn't a computer. In practice, he simply isn't going to see any danger in either playing ace and a club immediately or, if he has a second diamond, to leading that and then playing back a club when in with his ace of clubs. Even experts are mortal.
Oct. 17
Kit Woolsey edited this comment Oct. 17
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That simply isn't true. You have already shown partner that you prefer spades. It cannot be wrong to show partner that you also have heart support, and partner can pick the right strain.

If you gave the hand as a bidding problem to a panel of experts, I would predict exactly zero votes for a 4 call.

You are not required to make a bad bid due to UI. You are required to make the correct bridge bid. If there is more than one LA and one of those calls is suggested by the UI, you are required to not make that call. But you are not required to make a bid which isn't a LA.

If you honestly believe that 4 is a LA, then your argument is correct under that assumption, since 4 is suggested by the UI. For me, 4 would never be on my radar, so I don't consider it a LA.
Oct. 17
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Obviously my plan succeeded, since with that hand partner will be playing the 2 whether he thinks he is giving a SP signal or he thinks he is showing 5 diamonds.

Would partner have given the appropriate SP signal if his king were elsewhere? We will never know.
Oct. 17
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David,

Suppose you held the West hand and were playing behind screens, so you had no idea that there had been a mixup. You would think that partner's 3 call was some kind of game try. Obviously you are strong enough to accept. You have already shown that you preferred spades with your 2 call, so holding equal length in the majors the correct bid is clearly 4 and partner can place the contract.

I understand that it turns out that bidding 4 is likely to avoid a disaster. That is just happenstance. You are supposed to make the correct bridge bid ignoring the knowledge of the mixup, and that bid is clearly 4.
Oct. 17
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I would win the ace of diamonds at trick 1, and lead a spade to the jack. If West wins and plays another diamond, I win and lead a club up.

I'll grant that if West has something like Kx Qxx 10x AQJxxx he can thwart this line of play by taking his ace of clubs and exiting with a heart. But how will West ever find such a play? He isn't looking at my hand, and it will never occur to him that I took out dummy's only entry prematurely and stranded the king of clubs. It will be a reflex for him to exit safely with a club, and now I have the entry for the second spade finesse. In fact, West will probably play ace and a club upon winning the king of spades, thinking it completely safe and hoping his partner has a singleton club.
Oct. 17
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