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All comments by Randy Thompson
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I would double and then bid 5N, pick a slam. If partner picks 6, I will correct to 6 – on the assumption that he must be exactly 2-4-3-4 for his decisions not to not pass the double, not to open 1 and not to bid 6. Too rigid? Maybe. But picking 6 with any shape other than that one seems like an error to me. I think he's picking hearts with that shape and hoping that the auction says he prefers 6 of either major to 6.
Oct. 18, 2014
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I bid 5 to get a lead; for me it isn't a slam try. It just shows clubs and makes partner captain if they bid 5. There is just too good a chance we are off the spade ace and a heart trick to go for slam. But, partner knows I'm short in spades (the opps and his hand and my bidding over 4 tell him that), so if he had say Ax KJxxxx x Jxxx he would know to bid our slam for fear of a double make.
Oct. 17, 2014
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Hmm, thought this WAS a choice between pass and 4. Pard has a min hand with losers galore outside of spades that we cannot cover until we have drawn trumps and our trumps are such that partner may need most of his limited values just to draw them. I think passing 3N is a shot in the dark (might do it if swinging for a board late in a session) and anything that risks partner bidding higher than 4 shows more optimism than I could muster. Slam isn't impossible, but it would take a perfecto and lots of luck. 4 seems best to me.

If pard has a 6th heart, did he have to call his hand a min? With a sixth trump and a control in every suit, he might bid something other than a discouraging 3 with the x Axxxxx Kxx Axx given as an example. Also, once he has 6 hearts, he might have a wasted Q or J in there and then he surely couldn't have much in the way of minor suit controls. 6 card suits are dealt about 1/3 as often as 5 card suits and when we hold four of that suit it likely is more like 1/10 as often. Give partner 1-5 in the majors and a hand he calls a min despite that stiff spade and it could get ugly fast if we go past 4.
Oct. 17, 2014
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Seems like the issue is how many diamonds? As 2, 3 or 4 could all be right, I prefer the “Goldilocks” middle choice of 3. That way, I may have a chance to bid 4 or 5 later. Pass is not an option. The notion that a preemptor never bids again dates back to a day when the preempts were very descriptive and this was a “Pass and come in later” hand.
Oct. 17, 2014
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John: I gave up BAM many years ago, due to profound lack of ability at that demanding form of the game. So, my 4 choice can be discounted if you are really “looking for help.” :)

But even though a conservative opener (partner expects 12 HCP, 2 QTs and 7 LTs and we almost never shade on more than one requirement) I think it's wrong at any form of the game to pass with this hand. I'm a queen shy in HCP and 1/2 QT shy also, but this is a 4 LT hand and it could get very high very fast (as it did). BTW, my pard won't open AKA in third seat if flat, nor will I (except when playing Precision).
Oct. 17, 2014
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I passed, but almost abstained, as I would always have bid 4 on the prior round. No idea what is right on THIS hand, but 4 on the prior round can work either as a make or as a save or as a goad to a save (phantom or not) by the opponents. This is a classic “last guess” situation, as you don't know what is right for them to do over your 4 but you will know for sure what to do if they bid on. Now, they know you didn't think you'd be making 4 or else that you are walking the dog where that would make very little sense. You will get doubled now, so your only hope if you bid 4 now is that it will be a make.
Oct. 16, 2014
Randy Thompson edited this comment Oct. 16, 2014
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Partner's hand was: 43 AQ73 AJT5 KQ5.

So, if you bid 4N, you reach slam (strain still up in the air?) If you cuebid 4, partner will either read you for high spades and bid 4N then guess over your 5 or else he will punt the guess back to you with 5 (or perhaps a thoughtful 5, which would show a club control because he bypassed 4) and you will still have to decide between hearts and no trump.

6 should win the bidding contest, but it lost imps on the board when LHO cashed the A and I wasn't able to peek to see his JTxx. 6 is gin about 70% of the time (hearts 3-2 minus the QJ tight offside but plus the Stiff T or J offside)minus an unlikely fast ruff (so call it about 66%). 6N makes on this hand IF you guess that the hand long in hearts also had the Q. It's probably right to play it that way as it has to be stiff/doubleton/tripleton in order for the suit to be picked up for 4 tricks, and RHO is very unlikely to have a stiff/doubleton diamond. But, 6N doesn't make on all the hands where you have 4 heart tricks, as you still will need a diamond finesse. There might also be a pointed suit squeeze or a red suit squeeze or a double squeeze if they don't duck the A twice. (If there's one that works when they do duck it twice, it would be over my head anyway.) If you stopped in game, you'll win imps, but probably shouldn't be proud of it.
Oct. 16, 2014
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Close question – at matchpoints it could be right to stay low and if the heart spots weren't this good (make the Ten the 8 say), I'd bid only 2. But, bidding 2 with this hand would be anti-field and that seems wrong, especially if we feel like we're among the better pairs in the event (as is surely the case for BW participants).

Just read the discussion about minor suit rebids. Say what? Bridgetta dealt us 6 cards in a major suit and so far we have only shown 5 of them – seems wrong at any form of the game to bid a minor here with anything less than a GF JS hand. With a stiff in pard's spades, I'd want the Q before I'd make up a minor (3 with this shape). I wouldn't mind if my pard thought the J was enough.
Oct. 16, 2014
Randy Thompson edited this comment Oct. 16, 2014
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I assume we have ways to get out in 2 or 3 over NT rebids, ways to apply the brakes over 2 rebids and maybe we can even hope for ways to stop in 2 over 1 rebids. Losing 100 a trick in 1 can really mount up fast so the risks of getting too high if we don't pass are at least balanced by the risks we are already way too high if clubs are trumps. I bid 1 so that passing 1 is easy. If partner bids 2, I suppose I'll use lebensohl to raise him to 3 and hope he pictures this hand. If not vul at Imps, I'd pass a 2 rebid.
Oct. 16, 2014
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The way I like to play, pard's 3d seat pass at favorable denied five diamonds, almost denied five hearts, almost denied 6 clubs and made it unlikely he has 5 spades (else an undisciplined weak two or a 3 preempt). So, he's either flatish or has 5 clubs. Someone needs to get us into this auction if we have an 8 or 9 card spade fit and now seems like the time to bid spades They are about to find their 8-10 card heart fit and this is the least risky time to bid. Pard will presumably have noticed our original pass. 1 will surely fetch a negative double and pard can retreat to 2 w/o a spade fit and know we won't play him for 6 clubs. In that case, our hand is quite good in support of clubs, so we can bid 3 over 2 by RHO.
Oct. 16, 2014
Randy Thompson edited this comment Oct. 16, 2014
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This is an easy 2 if playing Reverse Flannery responses to 1m (where partner cannot have 4+ hearts unless he has gf values). At matchpoints, going plus is a good thing and even if not playing Reverse Flannery, rebidding 1N will tempt partner to bid 2 with the wrong hand a lot more than 2 will. He will picture 1-3-5-4 for the 2 bid and that isn't far off. If he corrects to 2, we can trot out a 2 call to complete our picture (and hope that it doesn't force us too high) of a 3-suited hand with more than a min but less than reverse values. If he rebids 2 over 1N, we'll be sweating as we pass; if he rebids it over 2 we can relax and let him go for his 8 tricks.
Oct. 16, 2014
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Jx AQJx AQJx Qxx.

That's 17 and we never mastermind and call 17 HCP a min hand (note that the “wasted” J is a fourth spade trick). If you have all that, then LOTS of responder's slam try values must be in spades. When very flat, point count matters and we never ever lie about it. We only exercise “judgment” on the middle of the range – 15 is always a min; 17 is always a max; 16 is where you have to evaluate your hand. To avoid having tempo tilt us unethically, when pard shows a max we assume 17; when he shows a min we assume 15, however long it may have taken him to make his choice.

I absolutely agree that a good partner won't have that hand. :) That's every single HCP in the deck that isn't a high club and the odds of that are almost (but not quite) zero. BTW, with that hand, they would have to lead a club in order to beat 6 or 6N.

I sort of thought the issue was whether to bid 4N and risk helping the Defense or just blasting to slam. 4N would for sure help in deciding that 6N was safer. But, even there the J might make 6 better than 6N because of the ability to ruff a diamond or two and odds are you will need the heart hook even in 6N when pard has no long suit. I gave the agreements for 4m, just to let those unwilling to Blackwood w/o club control and unwilling to just rare back and bid a slam have something they could choose. For me this was – blast to 6 or blast to 6N or bid 4N. When you endplay pard into cuing the suit you DON'T want led, with the leader eagerly awaiting his pard's double or lack of same, well….
Oct. 16, 2014
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While I might open that distributional hand you gave, it would technically be a point shy of an opener and passing it would be an option. If you jump to 3M on 17, must you jump to 4M on 19? Our jumps to 3M show 18-19 in support and responder sometimes passes! That's because we respond a bit light when short in opener's minor. If you don't include 17 in the 2M raise (where there is room to invite) then you have to overreach with 3M and 4M bids that partner's shaded response can't stand. Our 4M shows 20 in support, counting some useful doubleton in a flat 19 HCP hand. If counting distribution to get to 20, we splinter to let partner know what's going on. We also can splinter to show how we get to 18-19 so long as it doesn't go past 3M.

How can opener have only thirteen in support if he has 4 trumps and can't have a flat hand? The only way we might be that shy in points would be if we were say 5-5 in the majors, where a couple of aces might be enough to warrant an opening bid. We don't care if partner thinks we have 15 in that case, as 5-5's with points in the suits (and 2 quick tricks) play better than most 15 HCP flat hands.
Oct. 16, 2014
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That may be what you played, but it isn't what the KS book provides. Responder can bid 1M aggressively when short in opener's minor and not be hung for it. A min distributional hand (12 and a stiff) is another way to get to 15. Why should you invite more in one circumstance as opposed to another? Either way the range of support points would be 15-17.

Our game tries here cater to all possible ways responder gets to 15-17. New suit is a “Concentration Cue Bid” saying “go if you aren't counting shortness in this suit (where I have soft values) to get to your 15.” 3M is simple min-max ask –“go with 17; stop with 15; and use your judgment with 16.” 3m is a short suit try saying “go if you aren't counting soft values in your suit to get to your 15.” Concentration Cue Bids and Short Suit Game tries can't be passed, so they can also be used for slam tries in lieu of going through 2N which might not tell you what you need to know to make a slam decision.
Oct. 16, 2014
Randy Thompson edited this comment Oct. 16, 2014
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Bob, you are just saying that you wouldn't play our system. The agreements are as given in the problem. Partner has SHOWN a maximum big NT by his sequence and along the way denied 5 diamonds (else a 3 rebid over 2N).
Oct. 16, 2014
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I thought the only issue was 6 or 6N. :) I see no votes for the 6 I chose (which was better will be revealed later), so you must not have voted. :) It's good to see someone shares my view that 6 was best (for the reasons you gave). I couldn't even imagine stopping (unless I bid 4N and found we were off two keycards or 1 and the Q). I paused briefly (speedball doesn't allow long reflections) while thinking about whether 6 or 6N would likely be safer. I never gave much thought to roadmapping the defense with a 4 bid and 4N doesn't resolve the issue of reaching slam off AK. If we give them no help, we may get two club pitches on the diamonds or we may get to ruff one or two diamonds if partner's diamonds are modest ones.

4 will also endplay partner. We KNOW he has no spade control. So, will he bid 4N? He can't stop in 4 with a club control that he is 95% to hold, so will all roads lead to him bidding 5? 4 works only if partner has all the missing HCP other than the AK and we can stop in 4. As soon as we confess to no 1st/2d round club control we WILL get a club lead from xxx, even if cold for 12 fast tricks in hearts or no trump w/o a club lead.

If playing 2/1, I would reach a slam by means of 1N-2, 2-4 and then off opener would go. 4 would show a slam try with a heart fit and no stiff/void.
Oct. 16, 2014
Randy Thompson edited this comment Oct. 16, 2014
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Not allegedly – 2 showed that, as it has for the past 40 years or so in this partnership. Either a 15-17 1N opener or a distributional hand with four card support worth 15-17 in support of hearts. I.E. old-fashioned KS. :)

Also, 4 is NOT Last Train – as noted, it would be cheapest first or second round control. When you know that partner has called this 17 or a good 16 (for purposes of slam, as 2N was an unambiguous slam try), and you know he has a very flat hand (4-4-3-2, 3-4-4-2 or 2-4-4-3) would Last Train make sense if playing it?

If partner opened a 16+ to 17 1N, would you really be skeptical about slam? What would it take to make you not skeptical? :)
Oct. 16, 2014
Randy Thompson edited this comment Oct. 16, 2014
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Maybe not? Really?
Oct. 13, 2014
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We always just bid game with a limit raise when there is no way to make one. I don't want to give up being able to do Something with values but no fit and no stopper in the opponents' suit.
Oct. 13, 2014
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Gary: We're all still waiting for the ACBL to do the same thing for you.
Oct. 13, 2014
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