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All comments by Randy Thompson
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Imaginative actions – thx for sharing them. I was particularly impressed with Bathhurst's K lead.
May 23, 2014
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With 3 hearts, my partnerships would all bid 3 to demand cuebids and try for slam and 4 to show limited values – in either case with GOOD club suits (not possible on this problem – 2 of top 3 clubs or AJTxx or better). The 2 bid shows exactly two hearts (denies 3 hearts) and denies a good spade stopper (a “scared of NT” rebid). We have other ways to deal with flat raises (3N with 12-14 flat and 1N then 4M to show some less-than-good side suit with 3 cd ht suppt and a short suit somewhere and 2N to show hands too strong for a splinter, or for 3N or for 1N then 4M. This limits the flow of information about declarer's hand when responder doesn't have independent slam interest and it limits the new-suit-then 3M or 4M bids to ones with GOOD side suits that are a source of tricks for slam.

Obviously my preferred methods aren't being employed here, as my clubs are too good. But, after rebidding 2N, I'll be bidding 4 over partner's VERY likely 3N bid. If partner surprises me with say 3 (no really, I DO have three hearts!) then off we go in hearts.
May 19, 2014
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Either 3 or 3N could be right on a given layout. I choose 3 because it doesn't preclude 3N, while 3N comes very close to precluding spade contracts. Good problem.
May 15, 2014
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Partner said that if I could stop hearts,he could make 3N. If my heart stopper were the ace, I'd likely move over 3N. I would expect something like Axx x Kx AKQxxxx on the expected heart lead, we will need to guess the hearts at trick one AND see clubs break 3-2. On a diamond lead we will need clubs 3-2 and the same heart guess a bit later. on a spade lead we will have to guess spades at the go and then see clubs 3-2. 4N won't have any meaning to a partner who bid on 8 playing tricks and not some range of HCP. I think we'll fail in a slam at least twice as often as we make one if we bid on. Non-slam hands argue for the easiest one – 3N. If going to try for slam, I would bid whatever 4 level bid was RKC for clubs (probably 4 in most partnerships).
May 12, 2014
Randy Thompson edited this comment May 12, 2014
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3 avoids the stopper-or-not issue and leaves partner plenty of room to bid 3 if he has 5 (and maybe if he has 4), so I see no reason to double and no reason to unilaterally claim or deny a stopper.
May 12, 2014
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We play our “unusual over unusual” defense when they show two specific suits. A bit of 2 shows invite+ values with clubs; a bid of 2 shows invite+ values with diamonds; 2N is take-out for the minors; 2 is diamonds and less than invite values and only 5 diamonds; 3m is competitive; double shows a desire to penalize them in at least one major and forces game if we don't double 2M; 3M shows a stopper in M and not in OM and usually has a very good minor suit source of tricks; and 3N is to play. I would have bid 3 with this hand, expecting partner to have a decent fit most of the time that RHO has 9+ major suit cards.
May 8, 2014
Randy Thompson edited this comment May 8, 2014
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This double calls for spades by a hand with the K and spades that will be ready to run once partner's stopper is driven out. I picture partner with something like Axx KQTxx Jx Axx. If playing that redouble showed doubt, that's surely the right choice. W/o that agreement, I think it's time to bid 4 of a red suit. As hearts has a game bonus, I'd guess to bid !4H at IMPs, but 4 seems like our most likely plus score at matchpoints.
May 4, 2014
Randy Thompson edited this comment May 4, 2014
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Partner is a passed hand. Do we really have slam ambitions? Can he really have a hand w/o a heart fit that is so good he couldn't just have bid a spade suit, forcing or not? Isn't all this describing for the sole benefit of the opponents? I think 4 at our prior turn to bid stood out as an option and continues to be the best available bid.
April 25, 2014
Randy Thompson edited this comment April 25, 2014
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Tough problem. I'm with you, Eric, but there aren't many of us and we could easily be wrong. If partner has an ace, we likely want to be in a slam. If he doesn't have an ace, we may not be setting 5. So, in my minority opinion, bidding 6 covers both those cases. Partner won't be bidding any ragged 5 card suits over the double. If LHO bid 5 at these colors at matchpoints, he'll be void somewhere and likely will have 5-card support. He surely didn't bid 5 to go for 500 opposite our nonvul game. But, he may have figured that if he goes for 500, it would do okay against our slam. It would help to know whether RHO is a wild preemptor or LHO is an idiot. Either one would tip the scales towards double being right.

Question for the doublers: If you double and partner bids 5X, would you really pass? If not, then shouldn't you have bid 6? When double fetches all-pass, as it will 90% of the time, then we better hope they don't have the two missing bullets and a stiff spade, or we'll be scoring up a doubled overtrick. One ace and a stiff spade could result in a game/slam swing.
April 25, 2014
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Yuan: Sorry, I guess I responded to the agreement and not to the question asked. I don't think the ACBL can or should bar your choice to use this agreement. If your 3m bid there is natural, IMO it isn't even alertable, much less illegal. All this furor over what is “balanced” strikes me as nuts. At the world level and in big North American events it's clear that bidding NT with a stiff or a 6 card suit is common and results in no penalties or even director calls. At every local club in America the 5-4-2-2 patterns are opened 1N. One of my partners has a name for those when they are xx and xx – named after some player from years back in Texas who used to do that all the time. I do it all the time and 6 card suits now and then.
April 24, 2014
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Vs Precision 1, we play it natural and strong.
Vs. others, we play it as Sandwich – getting us into the auction w/o overly exciting partner.

By UPH:
double is take-out with full opening values;
1N is take-out with less than that and less shape than needed for 2N.

By a passed hand:
double is take-out with 2 defensive tricks (old fashioned Quick tricks) or “almost” an opener (we pass some good hands) and
1N is take-out with toxic waste – but enough feistiness to want to protect partner from having passed some awkward shape – and less shape (or strength) than is needed for 2N (at the given vulnerability).
April 24, 2014
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If you treat this as a flat 15-17 (and I have no problem with that) then why not complete the transfer? Playing in the weaker hand's longest suit is seldom a bad idea with limited values. If partner had intended to rebid 2N, or 3C how is he to carry on now? You have just turned a rocking chair auction into a nightmare guessing game for partner and you can't even be sure diamonds will be the better strain if he's weak! Getting in front of partner's normal sequences here seems to me to qualify as felony masterminding. If you are going to get this overwhelming urge to bid 3 now, I think you should open 1 and rebid 3. Opening off-shaped 1Ns work just fine so long as you don't try to have your cake and eat it too – just complete the transfer, even if it's into say a stiff-honor or xx suit. If you stay with the ship you set sail in, you'll never get in trouble with the directors, even if off-shaped.
April 24, 2014
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As the 80-something seed, we beat Vic Mitchell in the round of 32 of the Vanderbilt in 1983, playing straight down the middle at both tables. He came up to us at the next Spingold and said he was glad to see us get eliminated before he had to play us again. Good teams LOSE for the same reason that other teams lose – they make mistakes or get unlucky. If you give them odds-on freebies, then they can win whether they play well or not. If you are down a lot after 3/4 of a long KO, THEN look for anti-percentage swings; prior to then, IMO it's best not to do anything against a top seed you wouldn't do against a bottom seed.
April 24, 2014
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I think you should bid every hand as if you are the 1 seed and the other team the 2 seed. I see no value in giving higher seeds a gift. Do what's right and win when they don't. Make them take every IMP they get; don't give them even one. 5 has HUGE risk – the risk of all-pass. 6 may not be the best possible contract, but it's the best contract that's possible. (See S.J. Simon, “Why You Lose at Bridge.”)
April 24, 2014
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With what people open 2 on these days, it seemed right to me to bid 3. If partner has a stopper, we belong in 3N and we are unlikely to go one away in 4 with all these early controls in side suits. I see your balance and raise you a preempt. :)
April 23, 2014
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Wow! I thought both the overcall and the pass were automatic, but I've never seen 100% before – I thought I must have been the first to answer until I clicked on the hand and found 93 folks had already agreed with pass.

The hand short in their suit MUST be aggressive or you'll never be able to get into auctions until silly bidding levels. Passing 1 with this hand is a losing style.

If partner has enough in hearts that 4 can make, then we'll likely take 5 or 6 heart tricks in 3N. If partner has only one spade stopper, then he should have the Kx and that gets us to 7 tricks. He should have at least a shot at a double spade stopper for his 3N bid, however, as 3m would have been forcing.
April 18, 2014
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Whether this is an opener depends solely upon partnership style and agreements. Playing 2/1 with a stranger I would pass.

I would pass this hand in my 2/1 and KS partnerships, where it flunks 2 of our 3 requirements for an opening bid (2 QT, 7 LT and 12 HCP). We play that you can't flunk more than one requirement (except that 13 HCP forces an opener regardless of other flaws). Move a small spade to anywhere else in the hand or move the J to diamonds and this would be an opener in all 3 partnerships (because the LTs shrink to 7, with points in the long suit(s)). My 3d partnership plays Precision and this would be a full opener, and I only wish my partner's openers were always this good (and he likely wishes mine were as well).
April 18, 2014
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Over a jump to 4, my partners will bid 4 with x or Kx (cheapest first/second round control). The death holdings with partner start with him bidding 4, showing shortness that devalues our K. With this hand, 4 functions almost exactly like a help-suit slam try in hearts.
April 16, 2014
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I love playing behind screens. I can't see partner's face or body language or know his tempo, so I don't feel any concern about whether I've received UI and what that might do in the way of restricting my options. Second, I can self-alert to my screen mate, so HE for sure has my understanding of what is going on. Third, I can ask my screen mate questions w/o concern for giving partner or his screen mate any UI. Fourth, it's very awkward to have any between-deal conversations with partner and that is normally a very good thing, as hands are normally best discussed over drinks after the game when both partners are more forgiving. All you lose is the poker element of reading the actions of the opponent on the other side of the screen – but I'm not a good poker player and maybe he is, so no big deal.
April 15, 2014
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I feel strongly only that we must bid SOMETHING (1 1 2 are all okay by me). Passing with this hand is giving aid and comfort to the enemy and no help at all to partner. We have 2 old fashioned Quick Tricks so we have the defense partner may expect of an opener and satisfy the Rule of 20 and we have only 5 Losing Tricks so if he has a fit for one of our suits we have offense well beyond a normal opener – so we can open the bidding despite single-digit HCP. We have two suits we surely will want to bid – better start NOW.

1 bids your length first and leaves spades as a convenient rebid all the way up to 4. 1 denies them the chance at a cheap heart overcall and gets our most likely game strain on the table fast. 2 with a plan to rebid spades will be toughest for the opponents to bid against, but if partner has 4-4-1-4 with three aces and out, he better have a good sense of humor when you declare 2, cold for slam in spades. In 3d seat, 2 would stand out as the best choice.
April 15, 2014
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