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All comments by Phil Clayton
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Great problem, thanks Eugene and Ari. You don't see enough ‘fence building’ problems, and this is a great example of sound partnership defense.

If the opening leader has the AKTx and the A (instead of 3rd hand having the spare honor), it seems we still have the issue of distinguishing between Qxx and Jxxxx here. Similarly, if opening leader has AKTxx and we need to figure out Qxx vs Jxxx. I do not see a solution.

Kevin O'Brien's method is interesting, but it does not solve this problem. I suppose if I knew which signal I wanted from partner, I could lead the right honor card, but I don't.

I don't think I've ever led an unsupported Ace with a hand as strong as Andrew's. Maybe I'm not creative enough :).
April 20, 2012
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Takeout would be default. Trying to cater to an unlikely penalty by forcing responder to have several in their trump suit and calling the double competitive is a small target.

Three side questions:

1. Discuss with your partner if a new suit or raise of partner's minor after a takeout double is forcing (I vote yes).

2. If #1 is yes, are jumps to partner's minor or a new suit forcing? (I vote no).

3. Anyone for XYZ here? It doesn't seem to give up anything (I play it in one partnership).
April 19, 2012
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When 3rd hand passes, fit bids are not that important in these sequences, but if you are a passed hand, there's nothing else useful. Furthermore, fit bids do not come up enough to justify their use. WJS's here are probably more frequent, but I don't know who we are trying to preempt in a non-competitive, non-fit auction.

I'm OK with either of the following:

A. “One round force”, and bumping the range up to 13+. This keeps your cue-bid as some form of a raise, which is useful if the auction suddenly becomes competitive.

B. The same as Lynn Johannesen - except her example would be a minimum for me; a range of 12-14 seems to meld nicely with playing 1 as a range of about 7-11.
April 18, 2012
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The way I play Muppet is 2N - 3 - 3 - 3N shows the 5 / 4 hand and 3 puppets back to 3N (closing the threadjack).

Do we have to play Gerber? :(
April 17, 2012
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Our partner could have hopefully bid 2N with a hand better suited for offense (2 places to play I assume). Therefore, I'm expecting a hand with poor ODR / defensive for the x.

Passing is scary, but so is bidding. But if I pass and partner has the right hand, then +300 is a definite possibility, which beats our partials. Even +100 looks good if no one is making anything.



April 17, 2012
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Good question Henry.

I revised a set of one of my partnership notes last week and under competitive bidding, I had the standard mantra, “2N is never natural in competition”. While this sounds cool on internet bridge sites, I have found this usage tends to create some confusion. I have a lot of the same concerns with the meta-rule, “low level doubles are always takeout”.

In the given sequence, which is very common, I have discussed this with several partners. While none play it as natural, the different views are your poll choices 3, 5 (aka good/bad) and “other”. If pressed, I would probably go with 3 (minors, with double being purely card showing), although a 2N showing a bad hand with a minor, or a good hand with hearts is also very useful.

I do not know how much weight we should give a hand that has previously passed.

I am interested in other's views on this, as well as other 2N sequences.
April 17, 2012
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I like my hand. It started as a minimum but now it is quite nice.

After I voted for splinter, I read Ken Rexford's comment about this being a contested auction which implies he would take 4 as fitted. While I agree jumps in competition are generally fitted, I don't think this makes sense in a 1x - p - 2y - x sequence since RHO is advertising a lot of clubs and spades.

When we have a fit jump at our disposal, partner should be upgrading intermediate honors and downgrading shortness, but with RHO advertising clubs, that seems to be less relevant than the splinter. A splinter also helps his evaluation in a competitive auction, but when LHO passes which will occur most of the time, a splinter helps partner more for slam purposes.

If we don't have a splinter available, then I have to make some less-descriptive call like 3 or 4's. While I can cue 4 later, I prefer getting the character of my hand across immediately with 4.

Andy Robson sometimes posts here. It would be great to get his take.
April 13, 2012
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Sriram, I disagree. Its very unlikely I will lose three spade tricks under any circumstances. On the other hand, how many tricks will my spade suit (that partner is frequently counting on for 3N) take in notrump?
April 10, 2012
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Do I really have to sit for 3N with J9xxxxxxx….? Its an extreme example, but the question was phrased as “am I allowed to pull”?

Yes I have a void in my head. At least two that I am aware of:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ear_canal

P.S. these voids are helpful for listening….
April 10, 2012
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NV/NV wouldn't we rather play 1N than defend it (which seems like a likely call from LHO if we do pass)?
April 4, 2012
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Ditto Jim, KRex and Tom. Seems perfect.

Forcing to game on this is too much, especially considering the detritus that gets opened in 3rd seat NV.
April 2, 2012
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Compared to 30 years ago, bridge players are much worse dressed, but much better behaved. From what I remember, the standard of personal hygiene is about the same.

If I had to choose which attribute was more important, it would definitely be how they acted rather than what they looked like.
March 30, 2012
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I also like 3. Wrong hand type to pass, and 2 could be Jxxxx and out.

I've sometimes played ‘systems on’, but I hate having no bid with a single suited minor and a weak hand.

If you aren't playing systems on, what is 2N in this position?
March 29, 2012
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The 2 bidder has UI from partner's alert. There are many more qualified than me, but in general, give the hand with 3 + 6 to the player's peers, and ask what they would do over a (ostensibly natural) 2 call and x. My guess is you'll have some raises (and no rebids of diamonds with heart support!) and the hand with Axxxx might even carry on to game, but its hard to say without looking at the entire hand. Only then can you arrive at a sensible adjusted score.

The explanation of the player with Axxxx about how partner ‘must’ have forgot the bid seems very self-serving to me.
March 27, 2012
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2N as two places to play is what I would assume with a good partner. The strong NT hand type is rare, and I don't know that I need to get involved with a lot of defensive values and spade length, especially if partner can't balance with spade shortness when it comes back.

Passing? No thanks. We should be competing for the partscore with a 5-5, and LHO hasn't bid 3 yet. In addition, we could have a very profitable save w/r (-2 is 8 IMPs).
March 27, 2012
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With almost half of my points in short suits, opening 2N is clear. In addition, I may need to protect my Q. Move a club honor to a red suit and I will reverse.
March 24, 2012
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Quick story: In the 1st day of the Blues in San Francisco, you were still allowed to play multi in pairs events (this might have been the last tournament where this was the case). Partner opens a ‘garbage’ multi (2-7) and I pick up a nice 19 count so start with 2N as an inquiry.

LHO quickly engages the 3rd degree, “where is your defense”, and spending a few minutes reading the standard form, “why isn't this auction covered”..before finally passing with a grunt. Partner showed a minimum so based on these histrionics, I signed off. Game easily made.

What did LHO have for her oscar-winning performance? A THREE count.
March 22, 2012
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Gamesmanship 101 :), whatever.

I have seen multiple pairs / teams try this, just to stir up a little dust before gametime or before a new quarter.

March 22, 2012
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Hopefully Jan decides to ‘switch channels’ to some close matches for the 2 or 3Q especially if there is a “David V. Goliath” matchup. My recollection is that for the R32 there are only one or two sets of pre-duped boards that need to be used in conjunction with the VG.

For the R16 when screens start, all boards are pre-duped (someone correct me if this isn't the case).
March 21, 2012
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Monaco (Zimmerman) plays Barrett today, not Fireman.

Strul, who had to overcome a 25 IMP deficit against Narasimhan in the R64 plays Fireman (a very scary #28 seed with Hurd/Wooldridge). Gordon barely got past the #76 seed.

I like Zimmerman's chances of getting to the final four.



March 21, 2012
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