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All comments by Kit Woolsey
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Probably about the same as the gain from defenders going all out to defeat the contract.
Feb. 23
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All you say is true regarding the defenders knowing more about declarer's hand and their ability to convey crucial information. However this is all overshadowed by one thing: The opening lead. The opening lead is on balance the most important card played for the entire hand, and the lead is made with less knowledge than the rest of the cards played. If the defenders can survive the opening lead without blowing one or more tricks vs. the double-dummy lead, I agree with you that it will be defender's advantage after that. However, the cost of the wrong opening lead makes it declarer's advantage.
Feb. 23
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I'm not a statistics expert, but I do have a very good feel for this sort of thing. I am convinced that, for this sort of problem, a sample size of over 500 deals figures to be quite sufficient to get in the ballpark – at least to determine whether there is a “declarer advantage” or a “defender's advantage”.

Perhaps some statistics expert can answer the question: If there is “no advantage”, what is the probability of getting the results that I got with 500 deals? I understand that the result will depend upon the average deviation per hand, which I don't have the data for. For the sake of argument, assume 1/2 trick is the average swing per hand (i.e. the difference between the double-dummy result and the number of tricks actually taken).
Feb. 23
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I should have been clearer. After he bids 6, what would your bids mean? Would your bids be showing specific kings, or would they be asking about other specific kings. Obviously if a keycard is missing and you just needed the queen of trumps for slam, you will sign off regardless of your hand, as is the case here.

My point is that partner might have a hand where if he can find you with the right red king he can bid the grand. For example, he might have something like: AQJxx KQ AQxx Ax. If you bid 6 over 6 and that shows the king of diamonds (and of course the missing keycards), he can confidently bid the grand. He has enough secondary stuff in the red suits that he was willing to lie about the king of clubs, gambling that showing that king wouldn't cause you to bid a bad grand.

If your follow-up bids would show specific kings, that is what I think he is doing. If not, perhaps he chose to treat a stiff ace as having the king.
Feb. 23
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I would have to know the entire king-showing structure (i.e. what does 5NT, 6, and 6 show) before I could come to a sensible conclusion.
Feb. 23
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I'm going to continues spades. If North was foolish enough to duck the first spade, I'm betting that he won't then cash his spades since he will know that will establish a trick for me. If I am right, I can then safely play North for the queen of hearts.
Feb. 23
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Several years ago I analyzed all the hands I played at a Fall Nationals (over 500 deals). These were all at matchpoints or BAM, which figures to be most meaningful with every trick potentially important. This isn't a huge sample, but it figures to be large enough for a decent approximation. I compared the table result with the double-dummy result for the same contract.

I don't have the data any more, but as I remember the overall results were that for the table results declarer averaged about .2 tricks better than the double-dummy result.
Feb. 23
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We all agree about that. However, that doesn't mean partner necessarily isn't allowed to bid the grand if he has a clear grand bid.
Feb. 21
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Personally, I think my club holding of AKxxxx makes it over 90% that we want to be in the grand (assuming no UI), given that we have all the key cards. Assuming this is an accurate assessment, do you really think I shouldn't bid the grand because of the UI?
Feb. 20
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How do we know that shortness has been denied? I don't believe that was stated anywhere.

If that true, then the case for allowing the 7 call is even stronger. I can't construct any hand where you wouldn't want to be in 7 except when responder has xxx in clubs, and he huddle doesn't give any indication about this.
Feb. 20
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I have seen plenty of ATB hands where I wouldn't have thought there was any discussion of who is to blame, but different players have different ideas.
Feb. 20
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A reason you are getting good results might be that GIB bids better (or less worse) opposite a 1NT opening. Your counterparts who are opening 1 of a minor have to struggle with GIB's inaccurate explorational bidding. Playing opposite a human partner who has some idea how to bid, you might be doing better opening these hands 1 of a minor.
Feb. 20
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The auction is similar, but the issue was whether or not there was UI. Rightly or wrongly the committee determined that there was no UI, so that was that.

Had it been determined that there was UI, then we would get to the question of whether passing is a LA.
Feb. 20
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David said:

If partner might have hands where bidding seven will lose, then not bidding seven is logical unless those hands are highly unlikely.

No, that is not correct. To illustrate:

Suppose you have to pick up QJ10xx in dummy, Axxxx in your hand. You lead the queen, and RHO plays small. There are no other possible relevant factors. It is possible that LHO has the stiff king. Assuming your play matters, he will have the stiff king a little over 25% of the time. I don't know what you consider your threshhold for “highly unlikely”, but I would imagine it is below 25%. Therefore, by your reasoning, going up ace is a logical alternative. Yet we know that it isn't a LA at all. Taking the finesse is 100% percentage play. No competent player would seriously consider going up ace.

The actual situation is similar. Yes, it is possible to construct hands where the bidding the grand is the losing action. However, IMO the chance that partner has such a hand is well under 25%. Thus, I do not consider passing a LA, just as I do not consider playing for the stiff king a LA. They are actions which might succeed, but they are clearly anti-percentage. I believe they are both actions which any real bridge player would not seriously consider as candidates.

You may disagree with my assessment, and think there is a good chance (with no UI) that bidding the grand is a losing action. If that assessment is accurate, then passing 6 is a LA which would be on player's radar, and the 7 call should not be allowed. However, simply because you can construct a couple of layouts where bidding 7 is a losing action does not make passing 6 a LA.
Feb. 20
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You are assuming that there was partnership disagreement. Isn't it possible that West did intentionally pass for penalties, particularly since due to the redouble down 1 gets the magic +200.
Feb. 20
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Suppose RHO had played the 4 of clubs, and LHO had played the 2 and the 7. Wouldn't the same argument apply about RHO's play? If he held the Q4 doubleton he would have no choice, but if he held the 74 doubleton he might have played either the 4 or the 7. Once again, by that argument it would appear that queen-doubleton in RHO's hand is more likely than queen-tripleton is LHO's hand.

The same argument would apply regardless of which spot RHO played. What is going on here?

The answer is that LHO's plays haven't been examined. On the actual cards played (8 from RHO, 2 and 4 from LHO), if West had Q42 he had no choice but to play the 2 and the 4 (obviously the order doesn't matter). However, if LHO had 742 he might have instead played 2, 7 or he might have played 4, 7. Thus, there were 3 possible pairs of cards LHO might have played with 742. These more than compensate for the 2 possible plays East might have played with 87 doubleton. This makes the odds 3 to 2 that West, the player with the tripleton, holds the queen, which is what we always knew to be the case.

You got it right at the table, so more power to you. Whatever your reasons were don't matter. You were right, and that is what counts. However, arguing that you were taking the true percentage play simply is not correct.
Feb. 19
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David,

I am disappointed in you coming up with a clearly absurd example. If I were arguing your point of view, I would have presented something like: xxx AKJxxxx A xx, a hand which South might very well have bid this way and slam is an underdog on a spade lead, needing a 2-2 heart split and a 3-2 club split.

However, that is not the issue. You seem to believe that a player may not make a bid suggested by UI (and we all agree that 7 vs. pass is suggested by the UI) unless the bid is 100% to be successful for any hand consistent with partner's auction. Maybe that should be the rule, but it isn't. The rule is:

A player may not make a by suggested by UI when there is a logical alternative.

So, the question isn't whether or not 7 could be a losing action. The question is whether or not pass is a LA. I don't think it is. Granted one can construct hands which partner might hold where pass is successful, when he can't hold these hands in light of the UI. But the existence of such hands doesn't make pass a LA. It simply makes pass a possible winning action.

Is pass a LA? That's what we have polls for. If the hand is given to several players and they all bid 7 in “what's the problem” mode, that indicates that I am right and pass isn't a LA. If some of them seriously consider passing, that indicates that I am wrong and that pass is a LA.
Feb. 19
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The only thing you are missing is the +170 you should have had.
Feb. 19
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No, it doesn't. If West ruffs in with the jack of diamonds, I can discard a heart from dummy, discard another heart on the queen of spades, and ruff the losing heart. The opponents will be out of trumps.
Feb. 19
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Ed,

If you are implying that any time a player fails to play in tempo he should get a procedural penalty because the laws say that players are expected to play in tempo, there would be more procedural penalties than the directors could possibly handle. We might as well be playing speedball.
Feb. 18
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