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All comments by Randy Thompson
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I can preempt 1N on 12-14 (well, not ALL 12 counts, as they can't be 4-3-3-3 or have <2QT), so with hands with only 4-card suits I often can do that . . . or I can make use of one of those magical green cards in the bidding box that let partner know I don't have an opening bid, don't have 5 diamonds and don't have a five-card major, other than maybe a very bad major.

Nonvul in third seat, any hand with 5 diamonds can be bid 2 and in my youth (long long ago, in a galaxy far, far away) I DID open 2 on QJxx a time or two but the ACBL got stodgy about that so I stopped. I reserve the right to do it again, as it has been decades since the last instance and can't be called a “pattern.” (partner will play me for at least a low straight flush in diamonds). Now, both of the following are clearcut nonvul 2 openers in 3d seat: Kxxxx, Ax 65432 x and Ax Qxx KJxxxx Jx. Nothing quite like a side 5-card spade suit to keep shape-double opponents from doubling, and that is the suit that can be bid at the 2 level if they do reopen with a double or leave in a take-out double when it's back to me. Partner expects at least Qxxxx for a 2 opener nonvul in 3d seat and QJxxx for a 2 opener there. If 5-5 in the reds, I prefer a !2H opener with a diamond bid to come later if they give me a chance.

The payoff for playing 5-card majors and having opening bids in 3d seat promise opening values come on the constructive hands where partner doesn't have a good fit and on competitive hands of all varieties and on the constructive hands where the fourth seat hand takes a bid (and it always should if possible, including psyching 1N, etc. to take advantage of the smoke screen created by drury addiction).
Sept. 5, 2014
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We play 3-way immediate non-drury in 3d seat (undisciplined weak 2's), so that opening 1M in 3d seat shows an opening 1M bid and system can stay on, including a natural 2. We do dump Bergen raises for fit-showing raises and old-fashioned simple and limit raises. We have been using 2N as a 3-card limit raise, but I don't like that (preferring 1N then 3M instead, as partner will only pass 1N with a minimum flat hand). Still fishing for a good use and reading here to try to find one.

For all those relying on Drury to let their 3d-seat opening bids range from 8 to 20, I usually ask what is Drury after P-P-1S-2H? Do your opponents really let you just bid upside down flip flop 2-way Drury or must responder guess whether opener has an opener or a drury-induced 4-card psych? Just asking.
Sept. 5, 2014
Randy Thompson edited this comment Sept. 5, 2014
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I'm a passer. Whether partner's pass was intended as forcing or not, the force, if any, was based on my stretched-beyond-the-max 3N. I choose to unbid that game! If partner couldn't bid 4N or double, then I'm betting that we weren't making the game I bid at my last turn. IMO, we can't come within two tricks of making a (likely doubled) game and we would at best beat 4 one trick, so the imp odds on double are dreadful and bidding 4N or 5 when we MIGHT beat 4 is worse than doubling. We may have only two tricks for partner in 5. I don't see how partner could have intended a pass-and-pull slam try given my club holding, but if he did, maybe he was slicing the salami too thin with his pass.
Sept. 3, 2014
Randy Thompson edited this comment Sept. 3, 2014
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From what I've read, tables are close together and smokers wander among them while hands are live. Not an atmosphere where some would want to play for lots of money.
Sept. 3, 2014
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We MIGHT have five tricks on defense. No chance whatsoever we have 9 tricks in spades or 10 in a minor unless partner bids it w/o prompting.
Sept. 3, 2014
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Encyclopedia of Bridge suit combinations suggests low to the 9 is best. I always hope my partner has this play to make and that if this is all we needed to make the game, then I must not have bid it all that badly. :)
Sept. 2, 2014
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I don't think it's worth investing a lot of energy in defining the various strengths of raises here, unless you are playing against frequent psychers. We would just bid 3 as often as possible (take their bidding space and suggest a save) and in the rare case where you have enough defense that you thought it could be our hand, perhaps cuebid 3 along the way. Double should just show a high honor (likely a doubleton) and ask partner to underlead if they bid 3N.
Sept. 2, 2014
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You apparently assume that a 3m rebid by responder is forcing. If playing WEAK NT, then should not be forcing. Therefore Stayman is clear. If partner rebids 2, or 2, you smile and pass; if partner bids 2, you bid 3 and hope.
Sept. 1, 2014
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If playing my favorite methods, I'd bid 3N (3+ hearts, 12-14 HCP and no stiff/void) – a “Flat Rat Raise.” The ability to hide declarer's hand from the opps can result in a tenth trick. If forced to commit a 2 bid if forcing game, I'd rather call it a 3-card limit raise (which was how I voted). Also, if our opening bids weren't very sound than I'd also vote for the 3-card limit evaluation.
Sept. 1, 2014
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“When the kibitzers don't know what trumps are, the last bid suit is trumps.” That rule has worked well over the years. My partner just sent me this question by e-mail and we were pleased that we both said “spades.” To avoid this confusion, we have agreed that cuebidding of cheapest first/2d round controls in support of hearts begins with 4 in this auction, not 3. We already have the firm agreement that you can never commence a cuebidding sequence with a cue of shortness in partner's suit. This just adds a no-cue policy where you have not denied support for his first-bid suit.
Aug. 31, 2014
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I'm not as down on this auction as many apparently are. The 1 opening is a matter of style (I'd open it a 12-14 1N or a 14-16 1N or 1, depending on system and partner.) 2 is clear. 2 is a reasonable choice, although it has a lot in reserve if we are playing diamonds and not no trump. If 3 was a game try, rather than an attempt to unring the 1 bell, then it's only a little pushy. If 3 was a game try then 5 isn't all that bad, tho maybe a 3 cue bid would be better. Opener MIGHT have been 2-1-5-5 after all. If 3 was meant to unring the diamond bell, then it was the big error here, as partner's negative double showed hearts and a minor and he has said that diamonds is that minor. If we must hang someone for this auction, I suppose it is South, but this auction might happen in the best of families.
Aug. 29, 2014
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If this hand is possible for a negative double, then the partnership should never never never convert a negative double to penalties by passing. I can go either way on this issue (can negative doubles just be based on shape or must they have some convertible values) if partner has a strong preference. As I like to take out takeout doubles, I mildly prefer to allow one on something like this. But, IMO, either way can work, so long as you and partner are on the same page on this sort of double (see also 5-5 in the unbid suits with similar values).
Aug. 29, 2014
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Try using your fingers, but on your lap, out of sight while continuing to look only at your cards. You don't have to look at your fingers; you can do it by feel or leg taps, leaving each finger on the leg until done. I find that when I'm using Redwood or RKC Gerber or Kickback instead of 4N, I have to do something like this to help my aging mind not just resort to the bid that would be right in response to 4N. Yet another huge advantage of bidding screens!
Aug. 29, 2014
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Undiscussed, this is not lebensohl.
I think it shows their suits and wants me to bid a 5+ card suit. Pard could be say 3-3-4-3. I bid 3.
Aug. 28, 2014
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It's rude and obnoxious to leave the table for any reason other than necessity (bathroom or water come to mind). If it slows down the session, I'd call the director on the second time the person left for any reason and every subsequent time.
Aug. 27, 2014
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It makes NO sense to play puppet stayman over a weak no trump as there is just no reason to open a weak no trump with a five-card major.
Aug. 27, 2014
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On a side note – Whatever happened to the hundreds of bidding screens newly constructed for the world championships held in Philly a few years ago? We had high hopes they would have been purchased by the ACBL and used more extensively at NABC events. Pity that so few can be available for those. Did those get shipped elsewhere in the world? Destroyed? Stored somewhere until there is another world event here?

I don't know anyone who didn't love bidding boxes as soon as they got to use them once. My first time was in 1983 and it took about one session to love them. Most everyone I know loves screens, but few get to use them. Bridge with screens is way better – just not seeing partner's face when I put down another of my disappointing dummies makes them worthwhile. It is way easier to be ethical with screens, so long as you don't get too carried away and volunteer “usually” when you mean “usually, but not this time.” :)
Aug. 26, 2014
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It's all how you play the sequence. I play that if you bid 1 and then 3 it is a slam try with a VERY good spade suit and if you bid 1 then 4 it is a limited GF with a VERY good spade suit. We only find our 4-4 spade fits if partner reverses or if he bids 3 after a limit raise in hearts. That can be a problem on some hands but it is a big advantage on others. We sacrifice being able to optimize finding our best strain in order to maximize our chances of finding our optimal level in hearts. My answer reflects that approach, but if playing methods that allowed 1 then 3 to show a limit raise, I'd be right in there with a 1 bid (seeing, like you, no downside if those are our methods).
Aug. 26, 2014
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This hand is relatively easy if playing weak NT (1-1, 1N-2, 2-3 and now game is forced and trying for slam a matter of cue bidding style and what bid is RKC) or if playing Precision (1-1, 2-2, 3 and off we go again).

It's a seriously hard problem hand for the (common) methods presented, especially if partner will expect another queen for a 2 bid. I used to play a style where 2 reverses were not 100% forcing (but showed extras in the 15-18 range). That style has its own problems, but it would make this hand easy to bid as well. UHold bidding problems tend to be hands that don't suit the methods being used and no methods are perfect. On this hand my 2/1 partner and I would likely miss this slam as neither of us would rebid 2 or 2N or open the hand 1N. Once hearts is the 4th suit, we are officially in trouble on this hand.

Rebidding 2 should have given them a chance to find the slam IF they are playing Reverse Flannery. Now, responder's 2 bid is GF and 3 by opener should show extras and off we go again. I would have given myself no chance by rebidding 2; maybe my pard would have rebid 2 with this hand and we'd have had a chance.
Aug. 26, 2014
Randy Thompson edited this comment Aug. 26, 2014
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All three of the sites mentioned are easily reached with Apple lap tops (I have one and access each frequently with it). Good luck.
Aug. 24, 2014
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