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All comments by Kit Woolsey
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Looking at the GCC under responses and rebids which are allowed, the first entry is:

ONE DIAMOND as a forcing, artificial response to one club.

This doesn't say to an artificial 1. It says to 1. Thus, unless I am misreading it, your 1 on your 3-3-2-5 (or on anything) is quite legal.
11 hours ago
Kit Woolsey edited this comment 11 hours ago
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I think saying it would not be among your top choices is an understatement. For me, it would be my thirteenth choice. A club would be the last suit I would lead. And if somebody pointed a gun to my head and forced me to lead a club, I would certainly lead a small club rather than the ace – quite safe (compared to leading the ace), as declarer can't have a singleton club.
12 hours ago
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Since the only upside to the club lead even if partner has ace-doubleton is getting a ruff, I don't think partner would lead a club from Ax if he has Jxxx of trumps.
12 hours ago
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1. Dummy bid clubs, so the club lead may establish dummy's club suit for a red-suit discard.

2. Aces were meant to capture kings and queens, not 2's and 3's.

3. There is nothing in the auction which remotely suggests that dummy has strong red suits on which club losers may be discarded.

4. Declarer is known to have only 5 spades, so need for a cashout is extremely unlikely.

5. Partner is known to have no diamond honors, so a diamond lead is perfectly safe.

6. A red-suit lead may establish a trick for the defense.

I'm running out of reasons, but I'm sure there are more.
22 hours ago
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I could not imagine partner leading a club from Axx on this auction.
22 hours ago
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The danger with playing the jack of diamonds is that partner, holding AK10xx of diamonds and a trump trick, might decide you are giving count from Jxxx and lead a club, playing you for the king of clubs. Of course if your agreements are to always signal with second highest from four, then playing the jack is fine.

We weren't told what spot declarer played. If declarer played the 2 you are quite safe playing the 5, as this cannot be from a 4-card holding so partner will always continue the suit. Now you can follow with the 4, and if declarer thinks you have a doubleton maybe something good will happen. Also, if your agreement is to always signal with the highest card you can afford (i.e. highest from 4), then playing the 5 will work as partner will know you don't have 4 diamonds.

As a practical matter, unless you and your partner are on very solid ground it is probably best to just show him count and not worry about deceiving declarer.
Feb. 18
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We play:

1-1NT;2-2 = forces 2NT, prelude to an invite in a minor.

1-1NT;3-3 = choice between 3NT and 4.
Feb. 18
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Our rule is that a king lead in the middle of the hand asks for kount.
Feb. 18
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I don't know that partner would underlead the ace of diamonds. If he has a stiff club, a club shift (after cashing the ace of diamonds and getting a discouraging signal) will defeat the contract if West has ace of clubs and a spade trick.
Feb. 18
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So you took a normal line of play and went down on a bad split. What's the big deal?
Feb. 18
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I'm afraid I don't see the issue. The opening leader can ask all the questions he wants. There could be some UI to his partner on some wording of the questions, but that obviously isn't going to be relevant here. I don't see what there is to be upset about.

As to the play of the hand, straightforward is to cash a high spade, and if both opponents follow small cross to dummy with a club and lead a spade to the jack. However, if North doesn't produce the king of diamonds at trick 1 there is good reason to believe he doesn't have the king of hearts either, since if he did he likely would have doubled 4. If you are very confident about that assumption, your safest cross to dummy is the heart finesse.
Feb. 17
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For those of us who play kickback, this is nothing new. The general principle is that the cheapest bid above 4 of the trump suit which is not needed as natural is RKC. If the bidding had gone 3-4-P-?, then 4 would be RKC since both 4 and 4 are needed as natural.

As to the best meaning for 4NT, that can be debated. Most pairs play 4NT as natural, which obviously is ideal on your example hand. My preference is to play it as a slam try in partner's suit, which can come in handy since the overcall can have quite a wide range. This gives up on playing in 4NT, but my experience is that it is rare that you can make exactly 10 tricks in notrump and exactly 10 tricks in partner's minor, and be able to make that decision intelligently with so little information to go on.
Feb. 17
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What I said was wrong. If East has a singleton club, it could easily be right to shift to a club which will defeat the contract if West has ace of clubs and king of spades. Therefore, West must encourage in diamonds, and since the third round of diamonds doesn't matter he should encourage as loudly as possible with the jack. The jack of diamonds isn't needed for the overruff threat.
Feb. 17
Kit Woolsey edited this comment Feb. 17
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Obviously East could have taken control, but it was not unreasonable to be concerned about the diamond problem. West could have something like Kxx AKx Qxx AQJx which would certainly justify his 4 call. Bidding 4, planning on following with 5 if West signs off in 4, is a very reasonable approach which focuses on the diamond problem.

West's queen ask does not guarantee all the keycards. West might be off an ace and have been looking for a small slam if East has the queen of spades.

It was West's duty to bid 6 of a red suit (which one depends on partnership agreements, although it wouldn't have mattered here) to show that all the keycards are accounted for and that West has some grand interest. East would then have no trouble bidding the grand.
Feb. 17
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Gary,

How does East know that an ace isn't missing. West's queen ask might have been planning to get to 6 if queen of spades is owned, 5 if not.
Feb. 17
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Partner is going to continue diamonds whatever diamond I play. There is no other conceivable defense looking at that dummy. The signal won't matter to him.

The relevant layout appears to be partner holding Jx of spades and Axx of diamonds. I will win the jack of diamonds, and continue with the king. Now if declarer ruffs and leads a spade to the king, a fourth round of diamonds will defeat him.

Declarer is more likely to go wrong in spades if he thinks I started with 3 diamonds. Playing the 2 may persuade declarer that I didn't play a higher spot because I don't have one.
Feb. 17
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I guess it does. Fixed.
Feb. 17
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Why did West pitch a heart? Because he knew he didn't need it for the setting trick. This means he is down to Kx of clubs, and East reasonably discarded down to stiff ace. So West's hand is: ?x Qxxxx xx Kxxx. If this read is correct East is a 4 to 2 favorite to hold the queen of spades.

Even if my read is wrong, it is very clear that West cannot have started with 4 spades and discarded this way. So playing East for the queen of spades is at worst even money, and is probably better.
Feb. 16
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It is true that the failure to alert conveys information. However, what that information is can very well depend upon the player.

If I were playing with Zia, I would expect the UI to be that he had carelessly forgotten to alert. I would have to figure out what he meant with the 5 call (likely big heart support and a stiff diamond). But whatever was meant by 5, I would judge that there is zero chance that Zia made the bid because he thought I had shown diamonds.

If I were playing with an inexperienced partner, I would expect that the combination of the failure to alert and the 5 bid indicated that he had indeed not realized that I had made a transfer bid. This is more likely than the combination of his forgetting to alert and then coming up with an imaginative 5 call knowing that I had transferred. That is something an inexperienced player simply would not do.

So, while the information that partner failed to alert is the same in both cases, the inference that can be drawn from the combination of failure to alert and the 5 call is entirely different depending on the player.
Feb. 16
Kit Woolsey edited this comment Feb. 16
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I do not agree. There are plenty of hands with which I would not overcall (no suit to overcall), and which are unsuitable for a 1NT overcall – perhaps a singleton in a major, even though the hand is pretty strong. This sort of hand will usually have a pretty strong holding in opener's suit. This is exactly the sort of hand on which one would want to make a penalty double.

On the other hand, I won't very often (translate to “never”) have a 1-suiter with which I don't overcall immediately at some level but then choose to bid at the 2-level after the opponents have exchanged information.
Feb. 16
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