Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Mark Whitman
1 2 3 4
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Sorry. This was intended for the intermediate forum. I'll try to have it moved.
Oct. 2
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Hi David. Maybe 7 or 8 years ago, you and your wife presented a wonderful seminar on defense at the Glen Rock Bridge Club in Maywood, NJ. There was something of interest for everyone from near-beginners to near-experts. Any chance of other seminars in the near future?
Aug. 27
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Nice article.

As North, I'm not sure that I would have skipped over 3 to cue a void in my partner's first-bid suit. And as South, assuming you were cue-bidding either first or second round controls, I would have returned to the trump suit if my partner had skipped over 3, ‘knowing’ that we had two fast spade losers. (Neither comment is relevant to the point you were making in your article, of course.)
June 22
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Here in suburban New Jersey less than 10 miles west of New York City, $15 will get you 24 boards in a daytime game and a modest bagel brunch. The one evening game each week is a comparable bargain at $12. The price is roughly equal to what a movie would cost. I'm envious of the prices elsewhere.
June 19
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Paul, thank you. I'm with you on the use of Stayman. I would have raised 1NT to 3NT in a heartbeat and been stuck with down one. Of course then the play of the hand wouldn't have been quite so interesting. Perhaps most people are opening the South hand with 1, but then you have no good rebid after a 1 response.
May 30
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This was from Wednesday night's Common Game. The Common Game analyst suggested passing 2 rather than taking a false preference to 2 or rebidding the spades. I had bid 2 at the table, but wasn't sure what was the percentage bid.
April 27
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Enjoyed the article. I'm guessing the hands but not the bidding were rotated on page 2.

For the hand on page 4, my inclination was to strip the diamonds and then play on spades. If East shows up with 4 spades, then play your last spade and pitch a club from hand. As long as East has the heart king, he'll be endplayed instead of west. I think this line still gives you the contract when East has both the jack and king of hearts.
Jan. 1
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Please cast your vote before reading this comment. This is basically just a sanity check. This was from a club game and East did not alert West's support double. West bid 3 at his fourth turn. I called the director after dummy came down to rule on UI. It seems to me that if the support double had been alerted, West would have no reason to compete any further. His hand doesn't really have any more offensive potential than he's already indicated, and if his partner is content to defend, I see no reason to overrule. If instead you know that partner hasn't picked up on the support double but instead pulled your (presumably) penalty double to 2, then there's a pretty good chance you'll find partner with spade length. And if that's the case, you'd probably want to compete to 3.

Sure enough, East came down with 6 spades and 3 made on the nose. 3 would have been down 1. Director, who I don't think has any understanding of UI issues (not that I do), ruled that the result stands. She said we hadn't been harmed because most tables were playing a spade contract and the double dummy result was to make four. West of course claimed that he would always compete because it was very likely that East would have spade length if he didn't double 3. I remain completely unconvinced.

Feel free to comment, particularly if you think I'm way off base.
Dec. 22, 2017
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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, 2017
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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, 2017
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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, 2017
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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, 2017
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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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