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All comments by Kit Woolsey
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There is a reason why leading middle from xxx is called “MUD”. That reason isn't only because of middle-up-down.
7 hours ago
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I would be very suspicious about such a simulation. The fate of 3NT is very likely to depend upon the opening lead, while not so much for 4. The double-double simulation will always make the best opening lead.

As an illustration, consider the actual layout but interchange the E-W hands. Do you think a player with 10x of clubs would find an opening club lead? No way. However, the double-dummy simulator will find that lead.
Aug. 19
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I give South 100% of the blame for holding exactly the wrong hand.
Aug. 19
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Usually when the opponents have bid only one suit, the focus should be on stoppers in that suit – not some other random suit.

That being said, I agree that 3 instead of 3 would have been quite reasonable.
Aug. 18
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You are right. I forgot that if I have 2 diamond tricks all I need is 2 club tricks. So unless I have some reason to think the king of clubs is more likely to be on my right, which I don't as far as I can tell, my play doesn't gain anything.

In fact, your line has the additional advantage that when East has the queen of spades you can play for a black suit squeeze at the end if you discover that East has more clubs than West or your table feel indicates that East has the queen of clubs.
Aug. 17
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Another reason for starting with aces is that hopefully the outstanding 2's are in different hands, and the players holding the 2's will be more reluctant to double you than if you had called a middle start card.
Aug. 17
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What difference?
Aug. 16
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Not natural. Maybe that's what it should mean, but we can save that for the post-mortem.
Aug. 16
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Since a second diamond trick doesn't help you and a diamond return by East (assuming he has the ace of diamonds and goes up with it) is what you don't want, I suggest you dump the queen of diamonds under the ace. There is no way East will ever find a diamond return when you do that, and now you can test the spades with the ruffing finesse in clubs in reserve.

It is true that in theory you would be letting East control your line of play, since he knows your exact hand from the bidding. However, in practice even the best players will just automatically return a trump, thinking that you might have mis-described your hand in some way. If East doesn't make a trump return quickly that would mean he has worked out the hand, and then we would be into mind games.
Aug. 16
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If you had been nice enough to give South the 5 of spades, I would have done that. However, with South's spades being what they are, I believe this fails in the variation where East has 4 spades and the diamonds are 4-2 (without the queen dropping). When I go for the crossruff (by cashing the king of diamonds and ruffing a diamond), East doesn't ruff in the first time. But after I have taken my second ruff in dummy he does ruff in, and I have to lose a trump trick at the end.
Aug. 16
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What is your game plan after ruffing the diamond with the 9 of spades if both opponents have followed? If you lead a spade to the ace, you are down when East has 4 spades (while my line would have succeeded). If you continue crossruffing, you may eventually lose to West's 10 of spades when the suits are splitting decently.
Aug. 15
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There is no “always” in this type of situation. Every hand is different. The choice will depend upon the auction and your exact hand.
Aug. 15
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If trumps are 2-2, I can handle any 5-1 diamond split provided I don't draw a second round of trumps prematurely. I have 4 dummy entries (2 high trumps and 2 ruffs), which is sufficient to ruff 3 diamonds establishing the long diamond and get back to dummy to cash the diamonds. This gives me 7 trump tricks, 3 diamond tricks, 2 club tricks, 1 heart trick.

Thus, right line of play looks to be ace of hearts, ace of diamonds, trump to dummy, and (assuming both follow to first round of trumps), ruff a diamond with the jack of spades (assuming East follows). This makes if trumps are 2-2 and diamonds no worse than 5-1 (7 trump tricks, 3 diamond tricks, 2 club tricks, 1 heart trick), or trumps 3-1 and diamonds no worse than 4-2 (6 trump tricks, 4 diamond tricks, 2 club tricks, 1 heart trick).

If RHO has 4 trumps, I will cash he king of diamonds and try to crossruff the hand if the diamonds are 4-2, taking 8 trump tricks, 2 diamond tricks, 2 club tricks, 1 heart trick. If LHO has 4 trumps, I think I need diamonds 3-3 or queen of diamonds doubleton.
Aug. 15
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I agree that at the 5-level having the king ask for count is superior that having it ask for suit-preference. That simply happens not to be my partner's preference.
Aug. 13
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If partner had the hand where a diamond shift is right (either AKQ10 of diamonds or KQ109 of diamonds and ace of hearts), he would have had a discouraging heart on the table on the third round of clubs in order to deny the ace of hearts. That would force me to shift to a diamond, since I would be able to count 9 tricks for declarer otherwise. Since he didn't do that, a diamond shift can't be right.

Declarer is known to have a doubleton club, and from your discussion he also has a doubleton spade, leaving him with 2-4-5-2 shape. Partner an work this out also. You need partner to have AJ9x of hearts. The queen of hearts shift will clarify everything for partner.
Aug. 12
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I would rebid 2. I'd rather lie about length in a minor than length in a major.
Aug. 12
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What undisclosed agreement?
Aug. 9
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The proper way to work out the theoretically best play is to assume you are required to announce to the opponents your complete strategy, and that they will have the best defense against your strategy. For example, if you plan to lead to the king and then lead to the queen if ducked but lead to the 10 if not ducked, the best defense against this is to duck from Ax.

There are 5 possible strategies:

a) Lead to king, then: lead to queen whether ducked or not
b) Lead to king, then: Lead to queen if ducked, to 10 if won
c) Lead to king, then: Lead to 10 if ducked, to queen if won
d) Lead to king, then: Lead to 10 whether ducked or not
e) Lead to 10

Now, count the number of combinations where each strategy succeeds.

a) succeeds when West has: J, AJ, A6, A5, A4, J6, J5, J4, AJ6, AJ5, AJ4, A65, A64, A54, 654, A654 – 16 winners

b) succeeds when West has: J, AJ, A6, A5, A4, J6, J5, J4, AJ6, AJ5, AJ4, A65, A64, A54, A654 – 15 winners

c) succeeds when West has: J, AJ, A6, A5, A4, J6, J5, J4, AJ6, AJ5, AJ4, 654, A654 – 13 winners

d) succeeds when West has: J, AJ, A6, A5, A4, J6, J5, J4, AJ6, AJ5, AJ4, J65, J64, J54, A654 – 15 winners

e) succeeds when West has: J, AJ, J6, J5, J4, AJ6, AJ5, AJ4, J65, J64, J54, AJ65, AJ64, AJ54, J654 – 15 winners

So, if my counting is correct then a) is best, as suggested.

Of course if you want to get involved with head games with the opponents you may choose a different strategy. But this is the straight percentage strategy.

It is to be noted that if declarer follows the percentage strategy, it doesn't matter what the defenders do. I believe this will always be the case with positions where the defenders know declarer's holding in the suit. When the defenders don't know declarer's holding, it is possible for the optimal strategies for both sides (according to game theory) to be mixed strategies.
Aug. 9
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If South had xx in spades and Qxx in hearts and N-S sold out to 5, you would be asking who was to blame for not taking the save.

Let's face it: bridge isn't an exact science.
Aug. 9
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Yes, you do. Or at least you have to allow both contracts. Barring some extremely unlikely mixup, it is very clear that the final contract will be game or slam in spades one way or another.

Let's suppose you rule the result is 6 down 1. Suddenly you are magically transported into an alternate universe. The auction starts the same with the same alert and explanation, but in this universe the player leaps to 6. However, in this universe the spade king is on, and the slam makes. Would you rule the result in this universe is 4 making 6?

I don't think you can have it both ways. You can argue that the pair is more likely to get to slam due to the UI. You can argue that the pair is less likely to get to slam due to the UI. But you can't choose which argument to make depending on whether or not the slam happens to make.
Aug. 9
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