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All comments by Kit Woolsey
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Anything other than the next step is a signoff which virtually must be accepted.
March 15
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I haven't described the weak relay to the readers. It is as follows:

When responder's final shape-showing call is 3, then while 3 is the normal control ask, 3 is a special type of control ask. Responder bids 3NT with fewer than 4 controls, or 4 controls but fewer than 13+ HCP. The idea is to be able to come to a quick stop when responder has 4 controls but not the needed fillers.

The weak relay should be used only when you know you don't want to be in slam when partner has 3 controls, since his response won't tell you how many controls he has. If slam is still in the picture opposite 3 controls, which as we have seen it is here, then one should use the normal control ask.

I didn't list 3 as one of the options simply because that would confuse the reader who isn't familiar with the structure.
March 15
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Of course I would easily get to the good game. But if the South hand were, say, AKJx Qx Qxx Kxxx (a 15-count instead of a 13-count), then of course I would have no trouble avoiding the terrible game.

The point is that it is the mesh which makes game good, and short of looking into partner's hand you aren't going to find out about that good mesh. All you can do is use your best judgment, and sometimes you will miss good games or arrive in bad games.
March 13
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From North's point of view if he has Ax of hearts, if he ducks the heart I might then cash the spades and throw him in.

The reason I can't cash the spades first if I am trying to get North to crash the hearts is that I wind up in the wrong hand.

If I had Richard's example hand and chose to play North for Ax of hearts, which I probably would, then this is exactly how I would play it. Thus, North has to guess which hand I have, and he will probably go wrong since without the king of hearts I don't have much of a 4 bid.
March 12
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If opponents lead ace from AK, as most do these days, that means North has at best KQJxxx of diamonds. If all else he has is the stiff king of hearts, that isn't much of a 2-level overcall at adverse vulnerability.

I think it is better to pay North for Ax of hearts. If he has that, he will be concerned about being end-played whether I cash the spades first or not.
March 12
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I don't see why 3 sets trumps. What would you bid with something like AQJ10x, xxx Kxx Kx?
March 11
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Nice approach, Michael. I didn't think of it.

Your idea may be better than you realize. In addition to West always covering with Qx or Qxx, he will also always cover with Q9xx. Thus, when he doesn't cover it is very likely that East has the queen of spades.

Given that, my followup after winning first spade trick would be to test the hearts, pitching a spade. Then:

If East has 4 hearts, diamond to king, diamond finesse, ace of diamonds, and run clubs to squeeze East in the majors.

If West has 4 hearts, cash high spade and run clubs, hopefully squeezing West in diamonds and hearts if West ha Qxxx of diamonds.
March 11
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No. Opener bids naturally, whatever he thinks is most important.
March 11
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Just queen of diamonds onside is good enough, since if the spade finesse works we have 12 top tricks.
March 11
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If I wanted to KC in hearts, I would do so unambiguously by bidding 3 and then 4NT.

If I wanted to make a quantitative NT call, I would do so unambiguously by bidding 2NT and then 4NT.

Thus, the immediate jump to 4NT is a bid I would never make.
March 11
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Rainer said he ran it 3 times, for 3000 trials. I haven't done the math, but intuitively that seems pretty sufficient to me for an event which is somewhere near 50%. If the difference is by chance, that would mean that over the 3000 trials 3NT makes about 150 times less that would be expected due to the luck element. That feels very unlikely to me. I think it more likely that one of you may have made an error setting your parameters.
March 11
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Let's suppose East does, in fact, have AQx of hearts and Qxxx of diamonds. When the heart is led off dummy, he thinks for a while before playing small. This induces declarer to go up king of hearts and take the ruffing finesse in diamonds. Declarer calls the director, and complains that East intentionally played slowly in order to induce declarer to go up king of hearts.

Do you think declarer has a case?
March 11
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In the end position, if declarer decides to play for this layout I believe he should cash the ace of clubs first. If West plays the 9 or the 10, he can continue with the jack. But if West plays a small club, now the 109 doubleton doesn't exist so declarer should continue with a small club just in case West happens to have started with queen-doubleton.
March 11
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Great job Eugene. The overall result is close to what I had anticipated, thought I did think that bidding would work out a bit better.

Your comments about the DD nature of the simulation are pretty much on target. On the opening lead, the simulation will favor the defense vs. at the table play. On picking up the club suit, the simulation will favor declarer vs. at the table play. My judgment is that vs. 3NT the lead factor is slightly more important. If I am correct about this, that favors bidding vs. passing little more.

One part of your result which initially surprised me was the success rate of 3. I had estimated that would be in the low 80's. However,there may be an explanation. In the simulation, as we know declarer will always get the club suit right. Vs. the 3 contract, the opening lead is a lot less likely to be critical. Thus, I believe that the simulation favors declarer in 3 on this hand. If so, that would make my estimate of the fate of 3 more accurate, and would argue further for bidding vs. passing since at the table 3 is more likely to go down.

If you want to check to see how often the simulation will outplay the at the table in the club suit, that can mostly happen only when North holds only 3 clubs without the queen.
March 11
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Yes, I probably would rebid 2 on your example hand (although very close to a 3 call). The reason is that if partner doesn't fit clubs, the hand isn't so great. However, once partner does raise clubs, the value of the actual hand goes up a lot. Even though the hand started out as a relatively minimal hand, the club support easily makes the hand perhaps 2 points better. At least that is my evaluation.
March 11
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If he has AQ, he might think it could be right (or at least not wrong) to go up ace. But if he has the ace without the queen, he would never have a problem.

Thus, if my table judgment is that he felt he really had a problem (as opposed to just playing slowly while thinking about who knows what), I would play him for AQ.

I agree that if East had known the full position he might have reason to coffeehouse, and that if he does coffeehouse then there might be some redress. However, on this hand East has no reason at all to think that declarer has a guess (which declarer really doesn't have). Thus, his slow play wasn't a coffeehouse. It was merely a fumble.
March 10
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Yes, there could be multiple undertricks in 3NT which might move the odds. That is why I suggest a simulation. If the simulation shows that passing 3 is the percentage action, I will have learned something.

As for calling this hand an 11-count, that is so far off the true evaluation once clubs get raised that I don't even want to think about it. I meant it when I said passing 3 wasn't on my radar, and that for me the only two candidates were 3 and 3NT.
March 10
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I think you are on the right track, Wayne. However, there is a very good objective test. It is the bidder's actual hand.

To illustrate, suppose North's hand had been: xxx QJ10x x, AQJxx. It is quite clear with this hand that North isn't thinking about bidding 3NT. He is trying to decide whether to pass 2NT or bid 3. So, when South gets the favorable spade lead and both club and heart finesses are onside, does N-S get to keep the table result? Of course they should. The North hand makes it clear that the huddle didn't suggest bidding 3NT.

The actual hand is another story. It is quite clear that North was choosing between 3 and 3NT, thus this huddle did suggest bidding 3NT. Same auction as my hypothetical hand, same huddle, but different conclusion based upon North's actual hand.

The cards speak in these situations. We just have to listen to what they are saying.
March 10
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First of all, East clearly has no problem if he has the ace and no queen. You are known to have no spades and 5 clubs, therefore your entire distribution is known. East would have no difficulty ducking the ace of hearts here. Consequently, whatever is going on he isn't thinking about his play here, unless he has both the ace and the queen. Thus, if he has a reason for his huddle, playing him for the queen is clearly indicated (in addition to it being the obvious percentage play).

Secondly, East doesn't know your exact heart holding, nor does he know your exact diamond holding. Thus, he isn't huddling with the intent to deceive, since he can't know that you even have a problem or what that problem is.

You are entitled to draw any inferences you wish from the mannerisms of your opponent. However, if you get it wrong, too bad. Declarer should get no redress at all.
March 10
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Okay, I'm curious. I never considered passing, while both Chip and Geoff think pass is the correct bid. Somebody is off base. Perhaps we can learn something.

I would appreciate it if a reader who has simulation access would run this simulation. Here are the parameters I suggest:

North: 10-11 HCP, 3+ clubs, 4 or 5 hearts, no singletons or voids.

East and West: Less than 12 HCP. Not (6+ card suit with 8+ HCP)

Of course one could quibble with these parameters, but I believe they are good enough to show something if there is something to be shown.

Please get the results both in 3 and in 3NT.
March 10
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