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All comments by Kit Woolsey
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Is there some reason we can't combine ruffing out KQx of hearts with the doubleton diamond in the hand with the doubleton spade? On club lead, say, take 3 clubs pitching a heart, ace of hearts, heart ruff. If no honor appears, forget the hearts. If an honor does appear, cross to king of diamonds, another heart ruff, and if that doesn't work take ace and king of spades and try the diamonds.
Dec. 14, 2012
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Of course that can happen. There are many other possible things which can happen. The “number” you go for might be only -100 vs. the enemy game, or maybe even +530. Your partner might have the goodies and the opponent steps in at the wrong time, in which case it is your side which collects the number. The higher preempt may take away bidding room you need to get to the best game when partner has a strong hand. The higher preempt may simply be one level too high in a part-score hand. And so on.

I apologize if it appeared that going for a number and causing the opponents to have a high-level accident were the only two possibilities. I was merely trying to illustrate that one should not be afraid to take an action merely because the action is likely to lead to higher volatility. If you judge that the expected IMP result of action A is higher than of action B, you should take action A even if the downside swings of A are greater than of B.
Dec. 10, 2012
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All true, Brad. Of course a defender might be willing to risk playing the king from king-doubleton anyway. He will wind up with egg on his face when his partner has a singleton ace or queen. However, if declarer has AQx and decides that RHO would never risk playing the king from king-doubleton, then it will be declarer who wind up with egg on his face if he now tries leading low towards the 10 from an initial holding of AQx. It is situations like this which make card play more than a matter of sheer technique.
Dec. 10, 2012
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Every bid or play you make involves risk and reward. These choices are based on your judgment as to which action has the greatest expected value.

Furthermore, you don't know that opening 2 is the “safe” bid. Suppose your counterpart at the other table chooses to open 3. Now it is your 2 opening which becomes the “swinging” action which risks losing a lot of IMPs to a random event, while opening 3 becomes the “safe” action which is more likely to lead to a push.

Dec. 10, 2012
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Clearly the WBF philosophy of alerts behind screens is the correct one. I would go even further. I think the philosophy should be: If there is ANY possibility that an opponent might misinterpret the meaning of a call, then it should be alerted.

I agree with Mike about asking about enemy bids in uncontested auctions. I do this often. It isn't just for the purpose of masking when I need to know right now. It is so I can follow the logic of the auction as it develops, rather than having to work it all out at once when the auction is completed. Also, this may prepare me for a later action I need to take.
Dec. 9, 2012
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Let's carry the logic a step further. Assume the opponents know from the auction that you don't have a 10-card fit. This makes it safe for RHO to play the king from king-small (or KJ doubleton), and he should do so often. If you have AQx you will never risk trying the swindle of continuing with a small card from your hand, as this will gain only when RHO has a singleton king and it will lose when he has any king-doubleton which is three times as likely.

From the above analysis, it is clear that if RHO has KQ doubleton he should always play the king. This will protect the defense if LHO holds J9x. When LHO sees it go king-ace and then a small one from declarer, LHO will know not to go up jack, since declarer would not risk this play holding AQx.

The conclusion is that when it goes queen-ace and a small card from declarer, LHO holding J9x should know that the queen is singleton and that declarer is attempting a swindle, since he would know that from KQ doubleton his partner would always play the king.

That is how good defenders can protect themselves from this swindle.
Dec. 9, 2012
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Good guess. We play all bid other than pass or redouble mean exactly what they would have meant had there been no double.

We play that 2-3 of a minor shows the corresponding major, and asks opener about his support for that major. This is how we handle strong responding hands with a 5+ card major. Since our 3 of a major calls are pass or correct, something like this seems necessary. We find no need to bid a minor naturally.
Dec. 9, 2012
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I don't agree. Why would the 9 look less like a singleton than the 3?

Unless you know the exact effect such a play will have on partner, it is always better to make the correct play and hope partner can work it out. If you falsecard partner, you better make sure you want him to believe your falsecard.

To illustrate the dangers with this sort of play, suppose West has a 5-bagger for his multi which he could certainly have at this vulnerability. If East plays the 9, West will be convinced that East has a singleton or a doubleton heart, so continuing hearts will be automatic. If East properly plays the 3, at least there is a chance that West will get it right.
Dec. 9, 2012
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Forgetting about the multi issue, let's suppose you open 3 and 2 is opened at the other table.

Suppose in your judgment, you think it equally likely that you will gain from the higher preempt (by the opponents getting to the wrong game or having a slam accident) than that you will lose (by going for a number greater than their game).

Your average gain from their accident is about 12 IMPs. Your average loss when you go for the number is about 8 IMPs. Sure, opening 3 creates more volatility, but under these assumptions the odds are in your favor. That is what you should strive for.

Whether or not you agree with these estimates is another matter, of course. But if you believe they are accurate and there are no other considerations, then 3 figures to be a more successful action than 2.
Dec. 9, 2012
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That seems like a pretty slender inference to me. Do you think South would really pass 3NT with something like AJ109xxx xxx x Kx?
Dec. 9, 2012
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Yuan,

There is nothing you need to say. It will be clear when you put down the dummy in 3NT that you forgot your agreement (or perhaps intentionally misbid). As long as the opponents have received the proper information about the partnership agreement and your side has not made a marginal call which might have been suggested by unauthorized information, you have done what you are supposed to do.

As to what a “logical alternative” is, everybody has their own concept. I would define a logical alternative as an action which I would consider as a serious candidate, whether or not it is the action I would in fact take. On the actual hand passing 3NT would not be on my radar, so I don't consider it a logical alternative. Other players may feel differently. It is difference of opinions which make horse races and committee decisions.
Dec. 6, 2012
Kit Woolsey edited this comment Dec. 6, 2012
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John,

If you are arguing that North might have bid 3NT on some hands which partially fit the spades, then it doesn't seem like the unauthorized information would make a difference to South's decision since North would have bid the same way on a partial fit where he thought South had only 5 spades. If that is the case, then the unauthorized information didn't make any difference to South. Passing 3NT might be right or wrong, but that is just a guess.

If North holds a singleton small spade it is possible that North has the goodies in all the other suits and 3NT is right, but that is not the way to bet. It is much more likely that 4 will be better.

In other words, while it is true that the unauthorized information suggests passing 3NT on the auction, it doesn't do so for this particular hand. Bidding 4 is in my opinion simply the correct bid whether North knows South has long spades or not. If South's spades were solid, in would be another story.
Dec. 5, 2012
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Technically you are not required to disclose that you have forgotten your agreements. The opponents are entitled to know what your agreements are, not what was going through your mind. On this auction, it should be pretty obvious that you had forgotten. However, if I had been in your position I would have clarified the situation after the auction was over by telling them that you had forgotten.

The director should be called as soon as there is evidence that an irregularity has occurred. This cannot be determined until the conclusion of play when they see your hand.

The ethical implications are that you must bid your hand as if you were behind screens and had not heard the alert. You are not permitted to have the alert wake you up to your error.

It is clear that you received unauthorized information from the alert, and it is also clear that this unauthorized information makes bidding 4 more attractive since partner might be bidding this way with a doubleton spade as he thinks you have only a 5-card suit. The question is whether or not passing 3NT is a reasonable alternative on your cards. My bridge judgment is that it is not a reasonable alternative and that the 4 call is 100% clear, so I would not adjust the result. Others might disagree. If your hand were something like AJ10xxx Axx Qx xx then I would judge that passing 3NT is a reasonable alternative, so I would adjust the result.
Dec. 4, 2012
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Nice play. And declarer should have found it. If the spades are 3-3 or if West started with 3 diamonds, the third round of clubs will live.

To complete your analysis, if West pitches a heart on the third round of clubs then declarer must not play another club which would allow West to pitch his last heart. Instead, declarer leads a heart to the ace, ruffs a diamond, and ruffs the fourth round of clubs while West helplessly underruffs.
Nov. 24, 2012
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At IMPs the difference between +140 vs. +100 or -100 vs. -110 is tiny and not worth worrying about. Matchpoints is more complicated. There the difference is huge, but the danger of a tight double is much greater also.

In general, overbidding the trump total by 1 (i.e. bidding 3 over 3 which contracts for 18 total tricks when the trump total is 17) is a break-even proposition at IMPs, since if the Law predicts accurately then one but not both contracts will make. Factors such as vulnerability and offensive vs. defensive potential are often the deciding factors. Of course sometimes you can't be sure of the trump total. For example, suppose you are confident that your side has an 8-card fit, but the opponents might have either an 8 or 9-card fit. Then the trump total is either 16 or 17. Under these circumstances it is usually right to bid 3 over 2 (which contracts for 17 total tricks) but not bid 3 over 3 (which contracts for 18 total tricks), since bidding 3 over 3 might be a 2 trick overbid and is at least a 1 trick overbid.
Nov. 19, 2012
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We play (as do most expert pairs) than spot card signals in trumps are suit-preference if they mean anything. We do not echo in order to show 3 trumps.
Nov. 17, 2012
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thanks – has been corrected
Nov. 17, 2012
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Since partner is known to have 4 hearts, it seems likely that he has either Q109 or 109x of spades. Given that, a reasonable defense is to win the king of spades and shift to the 8 of diamonds. On the assumption that partner has an entry somewhere, this allows the defense to run the spade suit if partner has the queen of spades and to avoid giving declarer a spade trick (although not getting the long spades) if declarer has the queen. I'm not saying that this is the right defense, but it certainly should be included as an option.

Also, if I do win the king of spades it would be nice to know what declarer plays on the trick.
Nov. 10, 2012
Kit Woolsey edited this comment Nov. 10, 2012
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Our negative and responsive doubles at the 2-level are normal. We can bid 2 of a major NF (negative free bids) to play there. If we want to play 3 of a suit lower than the enemy suit, we play 2NT is Lebensohl.

Yes, we do miss having a thrump double. Note that the relay double doesn't apply over a 3 call, since there is no suit for us to play at the 3-level. It is a tradeoff. A normal negative or responsive double at that level is vague to begin with, since it isn't clear what the doubler is after. Does he have the other suits, or is he trying to get to 3NT, and where should you put your priorities when responding to the double?
Nov. 10, 2012
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Obviously I can't go into the kind of analysis at the table that I can when I have time to pour over every detail. At the table I just do the best I can, just as you and everybody else does.
Nov. 4, 2012
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