Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Max Schireson
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I think this question is the most interesting thing going on.

I think taking the heart can also cost if partner has Qx of spades - which is right down the fairway of possible hands - and declarer decides to play partner for Hx spades… a third spade trick is declarers only hope and I don’t see another choice.

It seems you need to weight the odds of this being the layout and declarer finding this line against the odds of partner getting in with the CK and not cashing.

From partners perspective with that hand, the losing cases for cashing look like you having QJxx of spades and declarer can pick up the hearts and remaining clubs, or you have KQT of hearts. The losing case for not cashing is when you have HA, and declarer has SQ, or a 5th club, or maybe you have SQ and KQ of hearts but then declarer is a bit light (but maybe with a 5th club?)

I think there are more layouts where it costs to not cash than to cash, but I don’t know that it is by enough to make in clear at the table and partner could easily get it wrong.

I would really wish that I could cash the HA, but I think I can’t afford to pay off to partner holding Qx of spades, so I think I have to leave partner to their problem.

???
Jan. 28
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Thanks, I will look for it.

“both declarers were not paying attention” - its a hard game. That’s why I love it - and also why I take the under on whether a defender with KT is more or less than 83% likely to play the K.
Jan. 27
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I am assuming that when both declarer should played the 5 off the board in The NY Times deal, they had some reason to suspect shortness on their right? Otherwise they made a clear error in not catering to a stiff 6 or 7.
Jan. 27
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Avon,

It appears there is nothing new :)

Well, if the choice of what to do was split in a deal in NY Times column, and Belladonna would still be at the table thinking (in a somewhat different situation) it is at least reasonable for me to think that one should finesse, and also reasonable for me to be unsure!

Still quite cool imo that with the 4 rather than the 3 this issue doesn’t exist.
Jan. 27
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Thanks!

Being new to bridge I had heard vaguely about a famous KT hand in the Bermuda Bowl but knew no details. I also didn’t get the Kantar connection (I just assumed that this play was in one of his defense books).

As for math, finessing here when you play small and see the K is right if your RHO plays the K less than 83% of the time.

Richard estimates (roughly) than an expert would play the K in the Kantar situation about half the time.

It’s not clear to me whether this hand (which itself is incomplete, not stated which hand is declarer etc) would be very different, but my instinct was that it would be the majority of the time but less than 83%. You have much much more knowledge of what plays actually get made in top level competition, so I am curious what you (and others) think.

However, based on my instinct that an opponent would play K from KT less than 83% of the time, it is profitable to play low to the J and then finesse for the T if the K appears when you don’t hold the 4.

Playing this way you pick up stiff K, K7, K6, and K4, all of which you lose to if you (correctly) run the Q holding the 4. You correspondingly lose to KT (when they play K), KTx, and KTx3.

My observation that the winning holdings are entirely flip flopped is, however, an overbid; I neglected the stiff T on your left, which is picked up either way. Anyway still quite a change.
Jan. 27
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I should have spotted that issue myself. Such things are more common among immature writers.

:)
Jan. 27
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Ah, that’s the Kantar heroics.

You have reached the crux of the issue in my opinion.

If you play low to the J, you don’t have to pay off to the K from KT tight; you can always opt to continue with an honor to pick up the KT. But should you?

By paying off to K from KT tight *when they play the K*, you can pick up a stiff K, and all the KT tight cases where they don’t play the K. Except possibly against the very best opponents I would rather let the hero’s score their KT, while picking up the stiff K, and the KT held by non-heros. I thought the non-heros would outnumber the (very very small) difference in frequency between KT and stiff K.

Edit:typo (bad, do vs don’t)
Thoughts?
Jan. 26
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My concern is that the U26 has been the “main event” in junior bridge. Will U31 now become the main (most prestigious) event, and will U26 be diluted? Or will it be unclear because there wasn’t funding for U31? If there had been funding for both would our strongest players that are eligible for U26 have wanted to play U31 instead? Or would it depend on what the top juniors from other countries are doing?

There are really really strong players competing in U26 today - players who are competitive in top level open events. I think those players, when they play junior bridge, probably want to compete against the world’s top juniors?

For this reason I would preferred to have the age range for U26 extended rather than having another event (if a change was going to be made). That said I am far too old to be eligible for either so not sure what participants think.

Edit: typo corrected
Jan. 26
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It’s certainly right to play as you suggest with AJ842.

What do you think you gain starting with the Q when you lack the 4?
Jan. 26
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I don’t think they have an obligation to show their hand but I also don’t think it is wrong to ask them to, because doing so facilitates faster claims and helps everyone.
Jan. 23
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Even asking is “wrong” in some sense, it isn’t the same level of “wrong” as giving false information to which opponents were entitled.

It is in everyone’s interest to claim when nothing remains to the play. If the laws don’t allow a claiming player to see the cards, the laws are suboptimal. In such cases it is natural - and improves the game - for players to claim when the remaining cards are irrelevant to that hand, and for opponents to voluntarily show them. I don’t think it is wrong to suggest this to opponents.

I don’t think it is “wrong” for opponents to decline, but I do think that it is “wrong” for them to lie. (I think lying is generally “wrong”, with exceptions that include but are not limited to things like bluffing in poker or false cards/psyches in bridge).
Jan. 23
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I think it’s pretty standard that the next step is the Q ask. When that step is above 5 of the trump suit, then asker should have all the keycards and 6 of the trump suit denies the Q and I think it is normal to show a K as part of a positive response. Partner is interested in a grand but might not have a cold grand just based on the Q. With the Q and no K to show you can bid 5N, to respond positively without misleading partner about Ks or committing to grand (this could also be a K that is above the trump suit; whether to actually bid above 6 of the trump suit to show that K specifically is a matter of judgement). Of course if you know you have a grand you can bid it, or bid above slam looking for 7N.

When 5S isn’t a Q ask or otherwise defined, many people use it as a request for partner to bid 5N to play. Some may have agreements about what 5S then bidding over 5N shows.

If you made 5S the K ask then 5N in response could show the SK. The trade off is that when partner has to ask for the Q with 5N rather than 5S, 5N is no longer available as a Q ask response, so you la very helpful step to show Ks along with the Q without going past 6H. It helps on this hand and would hurt on others. Not clear at first glance how it nets out.
Jan. 23
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Good point re no room for Q ask, so not relevant here, teach me not to comment late at night, but a useful gadget when there is room.
Jan. 23
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It is not more deceptive, but it is an area where deception (as opposed to not providing information) feels unethical to me.

Is it ethical to lie to an opponent and tell them that their mother is in ill so they will be distracted?

I don’t think bridge is the sort of game where we should have to be worried about our opponents lying to us, other than with their bids or plays.
Jan. 23
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If double is penalty then I don’t think partner will think I have a spade stack if I pass.
Jan. 23
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If you can count 13 tricks, you should bid the grand (or make a bid that might get you to 7N).

If you can’t quite count 13 tricks, but think 6N rates to be reasonable (even if inferior) it seems logical to show a king above the trump suit.

Guessing whether partner would have shown a king above the trump suit with any given hand is a different question. Recently I won two imps playing an inferior 6N contract because grand was cold if partner had the SK and I wasn’t 100% sure they would have bid above our suit to show it.

One useful gadget I have with some partners goes as follows: if I ask for the trump Q and partner denies it, and I then bid 5N I am showing all the keycards without serious grand interest; therefore if I bid 5N directly (partner not having shown the Q) I have more serious grand interest. With that agreement here it would be even clearer to not sign off in 6H.
Jan. 23
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I think lying about a previous hand potentially deceives an opponent about the state of the match. At least in principle this could effect play later in the match.

I personally would find that unethical.

This is different from refusing to answer, which I would just find unfriendly and a bit unsporting.

I think this sort of question is similar to “who are your teammates”. Technically I might not have to answer but I think it is basic politeness, and even if there is no law against lying I would consider it unethical to answer “just some players from the club you wouldn’t know, decent but far from expert” if I am playing with Meckstroth and Rodwell (or vice versa).
Jan. 23
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“never understood why an experienced player (not a good player”…

Among the reasons a player who is experienced might not be good is they might not actually plan ahead, and they might never notice that in general after 1H-1N they might have nothing better to do than bid 2C on a doubleton. Having neither planned nor observed that general issue, they find themselves surprised to have no better call.
Jan. 17
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One problem I have with these types of situations is that BITs are often much more suggestive of a specific action to the partner of the player who broke tempo than they are to some random pollee.

Here bidding 3N was not just a logical alternative, but IMO clear enough that I don’t expect pass to be a logical alternative.

If I were in charge of the laws (and many will be relived to hear that is very far from reality), they would provide redress when:
1. A player has clear UI (eg, wrong or missed alert, or a very noticeable BIT)
2. They take a highly unusual action (probably their action not being a LA is a reasonable test)
3. The UI doesn’t suggest that their action is worse than the normal actions (this is to protect players who are trying to avoid taking advantage of UI and wind up selecting a call that wasn’t a LA because they thought the normal call was suggested by the UI).
Jan. 17
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“Would that absolve WEST from bidding 3 spades.”

Theoretically that would depend on what your double meant, but if it were takeout of diamonds, or showing spades, nobody would object to your partner bidding (at least) 3S.

“Barred myself from raising spades”

There is an interesting issue here which is a bit subtle. In fact barring oneself this way is arguably taking advantage. Why? If your question suggested (even if not deliberately) that you have some spades and some values, and if partners 3S call (even if subconsciously) already factored that in, then you have no reason to bid, you have exactly what your hesitation showed.

By barring yourself in this situation, you increase the effectiveness of the extraneous communication that is going on between you and your partner!

I am not suggesting that you and your partner are doing this on purpose. I absolutely believe that you are in good faith trying to understand how these situations work. This aspect of bridge is complex, and I see players much more experienced than you (judging only by your profile and available online results, no offense intended if these aren’t reflective of your actual experience) botch things up quite badly.

I hope you will keep trying to improve how you and your partner(s) handle situations with potential UI.

If you are open to constructive feedback on your actual bridge decisions, as for “should have doubled”, what would double mean?

In general coming into the opponents live auction vulnerable at the 3 level normally requires ***much*** more than a below average strength 4333 hand. You may be influenced by having seen partners hand and the very light “strong” raise, but I think most people would find it normal to pass with your hand, and probably you would find very little support for doing otherwise.
Jan. 13
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