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All comments by Kit Woolsey
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South did not deny a spade control with 4. 3 would have been a suggestion to play in spades.

Controls aren't the only issue involved when it comes to slams. You can have all the controls in the world and still not be able to take 12 tricks. Being off a cashing AK is only one of the ways for a slam to fail. One has to judge what is the most important consideration.
April 29
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No, leading away from a bunch of small clubs is a lot safer. That doesn't give declarer anything he couldn't do himself. Worst case is something like giving declarer his guess on the queen, and that isn't likely to matter anyway.

As for leading away from the king of clubs, let's see what it takes to be right. South appears to have the ace of clubs on the auction. So, the club lead needs:

Partner to have the queen.
Declarer to have a way to discard losing clubs on diamonds.
Those discards aren't available quickly.

That is quite a parlay.

For the club lead to lose, all that is necessary is for either dummy or declarer to have to queen.

It doesn't look like a good bet.
April 29
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Why not splinter with a stiff ace? It tells partner more about your hand than a simple raise would, which will let him evaluate better.
April 29
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3 would suggest that maybe spades is a better trump suit. We don't have to play in a 4-4 heart fit just because we have one.

Why shouldn't 3NT be an offer to play? Do you think that just because we have an 8-card major-suit fit that 3NT is out of the picture? If South were 5-4-2-2 with stuff in both minors and weak hearts, he would be happy to bid 3NT over 3. And then North could pass if North had an appropriate hand to play notrump opposite that.
April 29
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This sort of problem illustrates why playing new suits non-forcing opposite 2-level overcalls is a questionable approach.
April 19
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Taking the concept of winning the race to bid notrump to the ultimate extreme.
April 19
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Obviously partner will be expecting 3-card support when you bid 3. You can do it on your example hand if you so choose, of course.

Normally you will bid 3 with 3 spades (unless you are willing to play 3NT even though you have a 5-3 spade fit). This gives partner room to suggest 3NT himself, make a slam try, or just bid 4. However, if you are sure you want to play in spades and really like your hand you can make a Q-bid yourself if you want.
April 19
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Bart,

I do not believe your 3 ace problem is equivalent to the actual problem for the following reason:

In your 3 ace problem, if West has 2 aces he is presumably equally likely to lead either of them.

However, in the actual problem, if West has KQ of clubs and one of the other missing honors, he is not equally likely to lead either of them. He will always be leading the king of clubs. Thus, the problems are not equivalent.

If it were true that West were equally to lead one of the other honors vs. a club honor if he had that and the KQ of clubs, then your analysis would be correct.
April 19
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David,

I agree that if declarer takes one of the finesses and it loses, then the second finesse is about 50%.

However, suppose declarer takes one of the finesses and it wins – say declarer plays the 10 and it holds (I'm assuming that East will always duck if he has the king, but always win the jack if he has the jack). This means that West has the jack. What about the king?

Without the wire that one of the finesses is offside, it would be 50-50 where the king is. However, because of our wire, it is 100% that East has the king.

This same analysis applies to the original problem. Let's suppose we knock out the missing ace. If East has the ace, it is now 50-50 where the missing king is. However, if West has ace it is 100% that East has the king, since we have a wire (i.e. the KC lead and West's initial pass) that West can't have both the ace and the king.
April 19
Kit Woolsey edited this comment April 19
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I don't agree. He might have:

Minimal 4-5-2-2 and be wondering whether or not to reopen.

Some 4-6-2-1, and be choosing between 3H and double.

Some 4-5-0-4, and be wondering whether or not to risk a penalty pass.
April 19
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Let's look at the first question, where RHO is known to have at least one of ace of hearts or king of spades.

We will ignore stuff like vacant spaces, which complicate the issue and won't have too much of an effect on the result. If you need the answer to the last decimal, these factors can be weighed in.

Without any prior knowledge, there are 4 ways the ace of hearts and king of spades can be distributed:

a) LHO both
b) LHO ace, RHO king
c) LHO king, RHO ace
d) RHO both

These 4 ways are equally likely (ignoring vacant spaces).

You now have the information that a) isn't the case. The other three possibilities are still equally likely – that hasn't changed. Therefore, the answer is:

b) 1/3 of the time
c) 1/3 of the time
d) 1/3 of the time.

It is as simple as that. The same type of logic can be applied to your other examples.
April 19
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If I held the South hand, passing out 4 would not be on my radar. I do not think it is a LA.

A poll might answer that question. The problem is that it would be very obvious to the person polled what the issue is, which might influence his answer.
April 19
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I can think of several hand types where West might have a problem. If I were East and were permitted to take advantage of the UI, I would have no idea what action is right. I don't see that the UI suggests any particular action.
April 19
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Andy properly demonstrates the best procedure for working out this and other card combinations.
April 18
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In order to have both an invite in diamonds and a signoff diamonds, you would need to either:

Play 2 over 1 as not an absolute game force.

or

Play 1NT response as 100% forcing.

I believe that the cost of taking either of these approaches outweighs the gain from having an invitational 3 of a minor call.
April 18
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You say:

South decided - rightly or wrongly - that his hand warranted a raise to game.

That may or may not be the case. South's statement is self-serving and can be ignored. We can't read South's mind. What we can do is look at South's hand.

Is it so clear that South has a game drive? Not to me. Thus, if South has UI which suggests that passing 3 is right, then South should be required to pass 3.

Does South have such UI? From what I can tell, South apparently did not realize that there was a takeout double (or didn't realize that the double made a difference) and bid as though his RHO had passed. This was not a mechanical error. It was a mental error. Thus, South definitely does have the UI that North has mis-interpreted the 2 call.

Does the UI suggest bidding 4? I think it does. If North has something like xxx in spades North won't like that holding and will tend to go low if close. With South's actual hand, he would be happy if North had no spade wastage.

Therefore, I would not allow the 4 call.
April 16
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The answer is that there are no guidelines. Each case has to be analyzed separately.

There are some situations where it is obvious what is suggested by the UI. A slow penalty double indicates that the player isn't really sure. A slow signoff to partner's slam try indicates that the player doesn't have a dead minimum.

Other auctions aren't so clear as to what a quick or slow action indicates.
April 16
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I will accept that double is a logical alternative. What I don't accept is that the UI suggests bidding 6.

Suppose South had doubled, and that turned out to be the winning action. It could be argued just as easily (and more accurately IMO) that the fast 5 call indicated that North had no slam interest but just wanted to play 5, thus suggesting that South double rather than bid 6.

You can't have it both ways.
April 16
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In scenario 1, I don't think any particular inference can be drawn from partner's slowness. I can't imagine him bidding a quick 3 whatever his hand is on this auction.

In scenario 2, obviously you must pass.
April 15
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Seems to me that South has a pretty clear drive to slam. I was more wondering if we were missing a grand.

Even if South's bid were marginal, what does a “fast” 5 bid tell South other than what South already knows from the 5 call — that North has a lot of clubs and some stuff on the side.
April 15
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