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All comments by Leonard Helfgott
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Sounds like you guys are arguing unnecessarily. If preemptor has something like AKxxxx or KQJxxx he can of course lead that suit happily no matter what you say, but AQ, AJ and KJ or weaker holdings can be dangerous, so leading partner’s choice has value there. I personally do not generally McCabe with Axx or Kxx although it could be right, waiting for AQ, KQ(J) or AJT type holdings (and likely not A or K in partners suit). I’ve found it to be a valuable suggestion but definitely not a command. Simply require tolerance (xx or better) so as to allow partner to return comfortably to his suit comfortably if needed. I like the idea of using after overcalls as well, but I’d be fearful of trying that with some partners.
8 hours ago
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:) In the “old days”. Weren't we taught to NOT overcall at 2 level on a 5 card suit, especially when red and especially at Imps. Of course no one is that strict anymore, and you have to balance suit quality against shape—- and strength of major fragment. So we are in agreement, although you seem more emphatic than I (me?).
9 hours ago
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Richard: 5D=very good diamonds sounds like a “picture bid” or NOT Fast Arrival application, which I fully endorse. I could not fathom bidding 3S on a singleton (as suggested by Mr. Zastera) or jumping to 5D with this hand and catching partner with the huge spade hand (missing 4S). As far a bidding with just an Ace, I thought that was popular now, but not by all. Perhaps Opener could bid 4H (Last Train??) over 4D to determine whether my hand was Maxi or Mini, a very grey territory. I would not destroy partnership harmony by passing a strong Jumpshift, so not an option for me.
15 hours ago
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I believe that Mccabe was originally constructed for weak twos. So IN THEORY it wouldn't necessarily apply to higher levels. However, my amenable partner(s) have already included it over higher preempts at my suggestion. The “painting a roadmap” drawback suggested by Steve Moese seems nowhere near as important as suggesting a safe lead (with tolerance/support for preempted suit of course). I have been using Mccabe happily for many years, and hope my partners remember it also applies at higher levels.
15 hours ago
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I don’t understand why 4D should show slam interest, given that 3D is game forcing. I understand 3NT with 10xxx hearts, but What if opener has a big 2-suiter, perhaps AJxxx Ax AKQTx x, and you hold x xxx Jxxx AJxxx. That’ 8 tricks at NT and 11+ in diamonds. Bidding 3NT makes no sense, leaving the natural raise as normal choice. If opener has the big spade hand you will always wind up in spades anyway, and “taking a position” to pass a jumpshift can be partnership destroying. Also, I have been led to believe that responder always bids with an Ace in most modern styles.
July 19
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Ken Lebensold wrote one of the most entertaining Bridge World articles ever, “Odd Bridge” in 1975. When my unit (106) asked me for some literature for their newsletter, around 1999, I contacted Mr. Lebensold and he was kind enough to allow me to reprise his terrific piece of fiction.
July 19
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Well, this problem appears to be a dud for most. I’m wondering if the voting would materially differ if the majors were reversed (4=5=3=1) or the suit qualities were vastly different, e.g. Txxxx AKJx KQx x.
July 19
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Steve: The advantage to picture jumps is that it immediately focuses on the strong trump holding (within a usually minimum or non-maximal hand) as opposed to just any minimum hand. Sometimes opener is much more concerned with trump strength for slam investigation that whether merely minimal or not. It also highlights lack of 1St/2nd round controls in other suits, helping stop in game when needed with plenty of hcps but inadequate trumps or controls. You dont have to use it often, the negative inferences also provide guidance. Another really good tool when used properly(along with Jacoby, splinters, serious 3NT, slower auctions, etc. IMO.
July 18
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I agree with you Jeff. Picture jump to 4S with AQx Qx xxx AKxxx very descriptive. Jump to 3S to signify immediate slam interest requesting (demanding?) immediate cuebid—eg. 1S-2C-2D-3S with AJx Kxx AX Axxxx. Quiet return to just 2S (GF) for everything else.
July 18
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3rd seat fairly obvious. This was Hand 5 of Tuesday’s Common Game and analyst suggested 2H.
July 18
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Nick: I agree with you that my 2D is clearly “unsound” but I gave in to temptation not wanting to miss a fit/lead and being accused of being too conservative once again. The positive result was very lucky.
July 18
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Nick: Do you plan to double higher level contracts also, like 3H or 4H?
July 15
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I have an agreement with all partners that the RKC ASKER must have at least one Key. If I have 3 we are missing only one, which means bid the slam according to the original intention of Blackwood. If partner is able or inclined to ASK with zero, (which I do not play) you must pass with 3 if feasible.
July 9
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Doesn’t the last trick—club 4 to 5, make it partly a steppingstone?
July 8
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Flawed 2H action? Do you recommend 3H instead?
July 7
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David: Thank you for posting this as I feel my education and judgment in this area (and others) could be improved. Esko: Thank you for this analysis. Just recently I encountered a similar situation where I held Jx spades and 9-sixth of diamonds and thought, as you do, that over 2Hx I should choose 2S with 2-5 but 3D with 2-6 despite the higher level and lower scoring strain.
July 7
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The “debate” sounds to me as follows:
1) It is fairly well established (check Pavlicek tables) that 16 opp. 8 has lower expectation than 12 opp 12 if declarer is not specified. How much less ? Some nonzero amount.
2) Let’s posit, as you both seem to agree, that 16 as declarer
Is advantage vs 8 as declarer.
3) No reason to expect Declarer Advantage to be greater for Declarer with 16 than for Declarer with 12, or for 12 to 8 for that matter.
4) So its really comparing edge of 12:12 over 16:8 in 1) to edge of 16Decl:8 Dummy over 8Decl:16Dummy in 2)
Now THAT’s an interesting DD simulation. Here Mr. Zastera's love of DD analysis seems useful. We can ignore declarer competence and Declarer Advantage.
July 2
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IMO much more than informational leakage is the price you pay for 2NT down 1. This is why inviting from 1NT to red games is 38%, but inviting from 2NT needs only 33-34%. For white games its 45% and 40% respectively.
June 30
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Craig: A through analysis, but I would play Devil's advocate on some points and disagree on others, as follows:
1)“Would you have raised to 4♥ in an uncontested auction?
My answer is ”no“. Perhaps your opinion is different. I do think it is close–I would bid 4♥ at IMPs.” AGREE.

2)“Next question: does actual auction make raise to 4♥ more or less attractive (or maybe ”the same“) as the uncontested case?”
“My answer is ”less attractive“ because of the ♠:Jxx which in my experience has an annoying tendency to produce an ”unexpected“ defensive trick when partner has stiff ♠Q (or ♠K). And I don't trust the opponents enough to be confident that partner has a stiff ♠ anyway.”
DISAGREE. I would think Jxx with their spade bidding would make bidding 4H MORE attractive. Firstly, if partner has a stiff spade (and not a stiff honor which might have been devalued anyway) Jxx is a favorable holding, as it would be opposite a splinter or a short-suit gametry. (higher pictures bad, Jack or less good). If partner happens to have a doubleton and they are in an 8 card fit (well under 50% in my view) partner seems more likely to have a black honor in clubs than in spades.
3)Of course, we agree the 5th heart is huge
4) The doubleton diamond is almost ideal. Bad would be xxx unless opposite AKQ, and a stiff diamond would be misfitting unless partner had Axxxx or AJxxx and you could engineer a dummy reversal.
5) Partner is likely to have help (any picture)for the only strength of your hand, clubs.

I also feel that partner has “limited” his hand with the 3H call and most of the decision should be on South. If South does pass and partner chooses to now double (for partner to bid 4H now, as suggested in the Common Game analysis, would be folly) I think South would be OBLIGATED to pass Without some freakishly defenseless hand.

Of course, bridge is an ironic game. In actuality 3S Was cold, (-140 would be a near bottom) and 4H down 1 undoubled (-50) scored 30% in the A game, 50% in the B game, and 70% in the C game at our club! (Wednesday Common Game Board 1) Partner held x KQJ10 Axxxx Kxx (I agree with 3H) and good defense of two dummy spade ruffs promoted 98x opposite stiff ace. 4H would make with 96xxx trumps instead of 76xxx!
June 30
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Three.
June 30
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