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All comments by Mark Whitman
1 2 3
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Thanks very much for writing up this series. Without realizing how early in the day you played your boards, I also tried to figure out why your scores declined. I could only come up with a couple of very unsatisfactory answers: a) west coasters, who presumably play the boards later than us east coasters, were somehow more skillful players (seems quite unlikely), or b) some folks who played later were getting a wire on some of the boards and taking advantage. Glad to hear that there were far less disturbing reasons for the slight drop in percentile.
Aug. 11
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I don't think that the “slow shows” or “direct denies” applies after a double of a weak 2 bid. I thought that applied only after interference over 1NT. The responder to the double of 2 would never jump to 3NT without a stopper. I can't imagine not responding 3 to the double on the given hand. That seems to show your values pretty well – 8 to 11, diamonds, and no 4-card spade suit. If anything, you're at the very top of your range for that action – maybe too good after an initial pass. After the 3 bid on the actual auction, I'd think you could cue 4 or just blast 6.
May 9
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Lots of questions here. Did your partner really not raise 2 to 3? That seems like taking advantage of the UI.

Is it crystal clear to win the K and finesse in clubs? My inclination was to win the A and play ace and Q of hearts, pitching a club if not covered. If RHO wins the second heart and returns a club, I'd hop ace and play a third heart, and in this case a fourth, for another club pitch. I'm not at all sure which is the percentage play, but it's not clear to me that a club finesse is the only choice.

Not inserting a middle diamond on the second round playing in 3NT is a no-win proposition. I'm surprised that so many went down.
March 30
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I guess it's a matter of partnership agreement, but in the version of New Minor Forcing that I prefer to play, opener's first responsibility after the 1m-1-1NT-2om auction is to bid 2 with 4 hearts and 3 spades. Responder will usually continue with 2NT or 3NT as appropriate if he doesn't hold four hearts, and opener can then preference to spades if he holds three. That still allows 3 to be reached as a possible part score contract if responder is merely invitational, although I'm sure that would be very infrequent. It also may right-side contracts if opener is stronger than responder, and it also allows a 4-4 heart fit to be found after a 2NT rebid by opener.
Feb. 14
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I had a club opponent double my partner's Stayman 2 response with a club void. He intended it as lead directing assuming we would end up in a major suit contract. Partner and I weren't on the same wavelength about the redouble, so I didn't get to play there, but we ended up in 3NT. LHO still led a club. It wasn't a success for the opponents.
Dec. 6, 2016
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I think 3 is simply 4th suit forcing.

When the opponents have bid a suit, typically a jump to 5M asks your partner to bid slam if they have a first or second round control in the opponents' suit. That's not applicable here. If there is one obvious unbid suit, then a jump to 5M similarly asks for partner to bid slam with a control in that unbid suit. I'd assume that that's not applicable here even though diamonds have never been bid naturally. The remaining meaning for a jump to 5M is to ask partner to look at how strong their trumps are. If they have good trumps, bid 6; otherwise pass.

I'm not sure what the advantage is to jumping to 5 as opposed to simply bidding some sort of key card Blackwood. I guess Blackwood risks partner responding 5 with the A and AQxxx, where you'd need trumps 3-2 with the K onside. In contrast, a jump to 5 risks opener turning up with something like KQJxxx AQ109x where you'll probably need the K and J both onside.
Nov. 4, 2016
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I'd love to see simple up and down arrows that take you to either the previous or the next poll without having to use the back key. Especially if you've been away a while and have more than a full page of problems, it's annoying to have to hit the back key, go down to the bottom of the page, hit the “get more content” button, and then scroll down again.
Sept. 9, 2016
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You may want to add the K to Martel's hand in the original diagram.
Sept. 1, 2016
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Darn. I was going to post this hand. I faced only a 3 preempt at my table. Maybe I'll wait a couple of weeks and re-post.
Aug. 23, 2016
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Does winning the Flin Flon sectional make you the new King in the North? If so, I suggest you respectfully decline any invitations to attend wedding celebrations at Walder Frey's castle.
You know nothing, Greg Humphreys.
July 19, 2016
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How about the lead of the diamond queen to the ace followed by another diamond? North can ruff low and then play a heart. West takes his ace and plays another diamond. As long as East doesn't overruff if declarer trumps with the 9 or 10, I think he always gets two trump tricks for down 1.
July 18, 2016
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Off topic, but South is lucky to have North as a partner. Whenever I make a bid like South's 3NT, my partner will turn up with a small singleton or doubleton spade and the opponents will happily run the first five tricks on defense. To find North holding AK2 of spades is more than South deserved.
July 6, 2016
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It really is too bad that the opponents didn't bid 6. Then the OP (and his partner) would have to decide whether to push on to 7 or not. Assuming the same lead, he'd have an even better story making a doubled grand slam on a double squeeze, which I'm sure he would have found. And if he and partner elected to let the opponents play in 6, would he have been up to finding the lead? Even if my partner had doubled, I'd probably find the 2 lead as my hoped-for brilliancy with less than stellar results.
June 1, 2016
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Is North worth an opening 1 bid in fourth seat if South chooses to pass? I deliberated for a while, but chose to pass the hand out rather than open when I thought east/west had us dominated in the major suits. Counting only 14 Pearson points influenced my decision. That didn't work out well though.
May 2, 2016
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David Smith had a really nice run a year or two ago at the World Series of Poker that received a write-up in the ACBL Bulletin. He also writes an interesting poker and bridge blog:
http://pokerandbridge.blogspot.com/

Get going on renewing your membership at the Metropolitan. It sounds like they really need your money:
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/22/arts/two-art-worlds-rich-modern-and-struggling-met.html?_r=0
April 27, 2016
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I was just thinking that John should use 1NT over an opening 1NT as a transfer to diamonds and 1 over 1NT as a transfer to clubs. That might keep the bidding one level lower on the bad hands.
April 22, 2016
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One other alternative:

http://bridgewinners.com/article/view/visual-creator-for-hand-viewer-and-play-out-the-hand-tool/

I haven't tried it, but it looks promising.
April 12, 2016
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Yes, yes, but look at the bright side. He always seems to be available when I come to the table. He doesn't play slowly, which is much more frustrating than not playing well. He doesn't play any worse at the end of a long session than he plays at the beginning – certainly not true of me. He doesn't object if I choose to answer the phone or take a minute to watch an instant re-play on TV mid-game. He doesn't make a habit of pointing out my errors – even the obvious ones. And no matter how much (deserved) verbal abuse I heap on him for his mis-bidding and mis-defense, he's always willing to sit down opposite me the next time I show up.
March 23, 2016
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This was board 12 of the common game on March 6th.

http://bridgewinners.com/article/view/common-game-2016-03-06-board-12/

The early voting favors a pass, which was my choice at the table. 2 became the final contract. Partner chose to pass in the balancing seat with K7654 Q10 A6 10942, which I also think is quite reasonable. But about half the N/S pairs got to a making 4 contract, so our result was under 50%.
March 10, 2016
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North has awfully high standards for opening the bidding. Nice hand though!
Dec. 22, 2015
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