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All comments by Randy Thompson
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This combination was on the cover of a Reese book – Reese said to play the better player for the ace, because a weak player would have already played the ace by the time you play a second time from dummy. But, I assume the OP is talking about what you do against pairs where both players are very good.
Aug. 22
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Reverse Flannery responses would take care of this issue. With weak 5-5, responder would respond 2; with invite 5-5, responder would respond 2; when he responds 1 and then bids 2 over 2 here, it is GF.

correction of confusing typo
Aug. 19
Randy Thompson edited this comment Aug. 20
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Include the widest range possible and you are “safe.” We tried to be specific, in announcing “12-14, could be 15 if 4-3-3-3.” Our attempt to be forthcoming caused opponents untold grief! One would hear it and say, “aha! our strong NT defense applies because it might be 15.” The other would hear it and say, “aha! it is a weak no trump because it would almost never be 15!” We felt guilty getting good results from their confusion and now just say “12-15” in the announcement and on the card mark it “12+ to 15-”. Before a KO or Swiss match, we give the full explanation because then they have a few seconds to verify which defense applies if there might be confusion.

I would give no relief if an 11 HCP hand such as the one in the posting were opened with a card that said 12-14, because it is normal to upgrade or downgrade a point based on whether the points are quacks or aces and supported kings. That is “just bridge.” The range numbers are what partner expects, not what opener always has.
Aug. 16
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In my most long-standing partnership, one of us nearly always splinters with a stiff A/K; the other seldom does. Neither is 100%. And, after decades of trying it both ways, I cannot tell you which way is more effective.

My advice is to do whatever your partner prefers on this issue and save your stubbornness for other points of disagreement. More important issue on splinters where you should dig in your heels and insist is that they should be limited in power to a hand that can accept a signoff by partner. Why tell him how to evaluate his hand and then overrule him? It'll just **** him off.
Aug. 16
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Don't think that matters. What he will have is either the minors or clubs and over 2, he has two cheap ways to show the minors (double and 2N), one with power and the other shape and he can overcall at the three level.
Aug. 13
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3N over 3 is one way to bid the minors and it may work if LHO has 10 of them that are divided 5-5. Over 2 he can double to show both minors and values, bid 2N to show both minors and shape or bid 3m with a 6-card minor (likely clubs). We don't know at the point of the 3 bid whether we have a game and we haven't shown anything in hearts so there is less likelihood of a minor suit fit than there is over 2.
Aug. 13
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If facing 3 hearts, we will be defending 5 or 6 if we start with 2; we might buy it in 3 or 4 if we start with 3.
Aug. 13
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If we have a 6-3 heart fit, we may have to bid to the 6 level to buy it. The opponents will have 17+ minor suit cards. 2 makes it trivial for them to find their double fit; 3 does not.
Aug. 13
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There are two other players at the table (who have no impact in a bidding contest but matter in a real setting). If we don't have a heart fit, there is no advantage to bidding 2, as it mistates the location of our values; if we do have a heart fit, then the opponents have a double fit in the minors. Bidding 2 makes life easy on them; bidding 3 makes life hard. Over 2 they can double or bid 2N to get into the auction easily and descriptively. Over 3, they would have to bid 4N in order to show both those minors or overcall 4m in the dark. That is a LOT more of a commitment on their part prior to knowing whether we have a game. If they do buy it in 5mx, the last thing we want from partner is a heart lead. So, that is why someone would NOT start with 2. In a two-person bidding contest, 2 stands out; in a real-table scenario, I much prefer 3.
Aug. 13
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Brad: You took the words right out of my mouth about the reason for bidding 1. I'm pretty sure we are wrong, but old dogs often don't bother to learn new tricks.
Aug. 9
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Being “smarter than the field” isn't always a plus. Even if you think 6 is right, you can be sure that almost no one but you in a club game will think that, so you will be competing with many tables where the contract is 5 doubled. The club game field tries to get doubled as low as possible, maybe even bidding only 4, always intending to keep bidding to 5 “if they bid a game.” In a team event, you can rely on your teammates to do what is right and at IMPs, the odds may well favor the 6 choice. If they bid on and go down or if they double when they have a slam it can be double-figure IMP wins, while down one more than the other table isn't a “zero;” it's minus 5 imps.
Aug. 9
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Richard: I think that's an ACBL rule. For sure you can't do it here.
Aug. 9
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Corollary Addendum: “unless it's right.”
Aug. 8
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At Imps, this was a very reasonable auction. At matchpoints, IMO, 5 would be enough.
Aug. 7
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Marshall: If you agree that 3 fixes strain, then 3N can be used as Frivolous 3N. I now have that agreement with all 3 of my regular pards.

Richard: 3 should deny a spade suit that can play opposite a stiff, or even a void, so you are not going to be allowed to play 4 by a partner who noticed that you passed up a chance to bid 3. I would want to have a high diamond honor if willing to abandon the chance to show this spade suit.
Aug. 6
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This is a spot where 3N by responder over a 3 rebid should be “Frivolous 3N” and suggest that Responder does not want to cue bid. In that case, there would be no need to worry about a 4 bid that could not happen. We play Frivolous here because it is another case where 3M has been bid with game forced and trumps decided. Over 3N, we can cue 4 and partner will surely cue 4. Then when we bid 4, the need for a heart control is clear and partner can carry on if he has one. All the hands that folks fear missing a slam on here seem to have SIX diamonds. 6 diamonds when we hold 4 is some tiny fraction (at most 1/3) as likely as 5 diamonds. Then pard needs more than just the top two diamonds to have a loserless suit for slam. Even at IMPs, it's better to play 4 making instead of 5 down one. Last chance to convince a partner with a stiff spade that spades should be trumps is right now. IMO, 4 completely gives up on our best game strain in search of a slam that will usually play just as well in spades as diamonds.
Aug. 6
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Over a major, I think it is right to play 13-16 for the balancing 1N range. You no longer are likely to get to show 15-16 by rebidding 1N. This came up last night on BBO and we reached a game others missed when the 14 top of others' balancing 1N was near the bottom of ours and a 10 count with a 5 card suit drove it to game. IMO the harder issue is the lack of anything resembling a stopper of a suit where they hold 5+ (unlike the case with a minor, where most will hold 3+).
Aug. 5
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A delayed 3N sounds like a scared heart stopper (to me), but I may well score 3 heart tricks if they lead the suit each has bid! Instead, should I first try my best to make my three dead clubs trumps by doubling or try my best to avoid a game bonus by bidding 2-only no trump? I'm with Richard on this one – bid what is front of your nose and leave the daisies to be picked by other, more subtle, folk.

Pass, intending to convert another double to a penalty double might well be theoretically a great choice, but defending 2 undoubled doesn't appeal to me at all. Partner has already shown his heart shortness and limited values and will pretty much never re-enter with a double (as opposed to 2 or 3m), so the upside of pass is slim and the downside is grim.
Aug. 5
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I would open 2, but wouldn't mind if my partner opened 3 on this hand but could neither imagine nor forgive passing.
Aug. 4
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If you play a style (as I now do) where you can open 1 with 4-5 in the minors and less than reverse values, and you don't have the methods to promise 5 or more diamonds in your bids that show clubs, then responder needs to treat the suits as equal and not insist on the notion that diamonds must be longer than or equal to clubs (a notion born many decades ago when that was always the case). In fact, when you make a bid that promises 5 clubs, partner should probably assume that the minors are either 5-5 or 4-5, not 5-5 or 5-4. In other words, your assumptions should match your style.

Back in the 1990's when having the best matchpoint event of my life, part of the reason had been undisciplined weak two's, especially in diamonds. Our game was so good that day that I had the rare experience of knowing we had the (300+ pair regional play-through Open pairs at a nationals) won going into the last couple of rounds, so long as we didn't stack up four zeros in those rounds. All day long, my partner and I had been opening 2 with a holding such as the one I picked up then – JT987. But, no longer needing to do anything anti-field, I passed nonvul in first seat. To show the kind of luck we were having, my LHO then opened 1 and rebid clubs and then when his partner didn't appreciate that his repeated club bids raised the possibility of 4-5 in the minors, they wound up in 6 (undoubled, of course).
Aug. 1
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