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All comments by Randy Thompson
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So much for watching WBF events. Too bad they'll go from thousands of viewers to dozens.
Aug. 2, 2014
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With no fit, pretty clear that it's best to go low here. Playing K-S, where 2 is forcing and 2 by partner is almost-automatic, you could then show this shape and reverse strength by rebidding 2 over 2. This hand is just barely worth that treatment, but in K-S you could also show 15-17 with a 1N rebid (probably my choice here). That structure causes its own problems on other hands, but it helps on hands like this one, where a non-forcing 2 rebid that might have the same shape and 11 HCP could cost us a game bonus.
July 31, 2014
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Don't worry about them making 2 whether doubled or redoubled. If they can make 8+ tricks playing in a suit that splits like this? They have at LEAST a game their way. If their methods over double relate to suitability for playing in OUR suit, so that playing redoubled diamond contracts is possible? I want to get in there as often as possible, as these folks aren't capable of taking advantage of the extra bidding room that a double gives them except on the 1% of hands where playing diamond contracts is right their way.
July 30, 2014
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Indeed. Vs weak no trumps, our doubles of Stayman and Jacoby show cards (usually 15+ HCP).
July 30, 2014
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(IMO) all this hair-splitting and diction-based analysis just misses the bridge point – does the pass say “let's play 1Dxx or does it say ”You pick our strain.“ Pretty clear that it said ”you pick.“ I think the explanation should be very simple – ”she was NOT suggesting playing 1Dxx; she was asking me to bid my longest/best suit." Period. Next board. Whatever hand she has for choosing to throw the decision back to the doubler has NOTHING to do with absolute length in any major; she is just saying the doubler is better placed than she to make that choice. Might be 6-6 in the majors, with every intent of pulling 2 to 2/3/4. Might be 1-1-1 in the unbids and wishing the pass showed a desire to play diamonds (with the intent to pull to 2). Phrasing it in terms of absolute major suit length was unfortunate, but (IMO) not worthy of a procedural penalty.

Easy to say all this now with time to reflect. Harder at the table and nary a soul has pointed out that (I think) English is NOT Irina's first language (although I know from playing against her a few times that her English is excellent). Defending this ruling is amazing – despite the highest character and qualifications of the members of the committee, all of whom I respect, and at least one of whom I can call a friend (which is more than I can say about any affected participant). Good, qualified people don't always get it right. The dissenting opinion was right on target (IMO).
July 29, 2014
Randy Thompson edited this comment July 29, 2014
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This ruling sends an unfortunate message: “Volunteer NOTHING unless asked.”

In this situation, the world divides into those whose pass says they want to play 1XX and those whose pass says they want doubler to pick the runout suit. The opponents are entitled to know which approach this partnership takes – if they ask. They aren't entitled to anything else. The wording of a volunteered explanation that wasn't even required and that actually DID reflect partnership experience shouldn't be the stuff of penalties that decide an event.
July 28, 2014
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After reading the write-up in the Bulletin, I'd have to say that this well-intentioned committee of good people and excellent bridge players erred. This “win” will now forever have an asterisk (meaning “not really”). Congrats to the Baker team for winning the event and to the Wang team for winning the appeal.
July 27, 2014
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4N isn't Blackwood, that much is for sure. Don't think we can ever make an intelligent decision about a grand – each of us has made a non-forcing bid in NT at this point and neither will view ANY bid as a try for a grand. Better be prepared to play in your next bid and for me that's gotta be 6N.
July 24, 2014
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If partner made a passable 4N, of COURSE we give on grands! Aces? Only been playing a little over 40 years and so far no 6N off two aces –but some day it will surely happen, and we'll pay up with a bad board and not worry about it for 40 more years.

When accepting, if we might prefer a suit slam to 6N, we bid 4-card suits (cheapest decent suit) at 5 level and 5-card suits at the 6 level. Mostly our 4-card suit suggestions would be minors, as pard eschewed Stayman and seeking out 4-3 fits for slam isn't part of my approach. 5-card suits could be any suit. We also play 5N as non-forcing back-atcha invite– 4-3-3-3 max that if opposite another 4-3-3-3 hand could easily not be enough. I suppose this stuff is less useful at matchpoints.
July 23, 2014
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I would open 1 playing any system (and would actually have my bid in my Precision partnership). In my non-Precision partnerships, an opening bid is “expected” to have 12 HCP, 2+Quick Tricks and no more than 7 Losing tricks. 13 HCP forgives all other flaws and you have to bid something. Otherwise you can't flunk more than one requirement. This hand has all the defense expected of an opener, with two aces. Its 6 Losing Tricks has “extras” for offense (if partner has a fit for one of our suits). If partner insists on his own suit, then at least we have two tricks for him. The only problem could be if partner insists on 3N with a misfit. With even a partial fit for one of my suits, it could be a source of tricks and the side ace an entry to them. I must say that being vulnerable at match points could be a reason to pass this hand, but with low ranking suits, will you ever get to show them later and can pard ever read you for this much offense or defense? There's more than one way to get a bad board and passing this hand could wind up being one of them.
July 16, 2014
Randy Thompson edited this comment July 16, 2014
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Old dogs learning new tricks: My partner and I just agreed to use one-under 2M as a 3cd limit+ raise of M after 1M-dbl-?? We decided that our ancient Jordan 2N's inability to distinguish 3 and 4 cd raises weren't good enough. So we can raise via 2M/3M/fit-showing jumps/transfer to 2M and 2N.

Thx for this topic as it got us talking and helped us get more of our methods into the 3 vs 4 distinction that can be critical to partner's hand evaluation.
July 16, 2014
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Hearts are trumps. 1 then 3 then 4 should settle that issue. So, whatever 3 and 4 meant, 4N is RKC, not “to play” or whatever else it might have been. 4N by a hand that refused a chance to bid 3N is certainly not to play. The game is much too hard if the 4N bidder is still resisting hearts – a void is adequate support after 3 heart bids by partner. 4 should have been natural and forcing (at least I think it should be forcing) 4N says "now that I know my stiff heart honor is great support, I'm going slamming and want to know about keycards.
July 16, 2014
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Spot on! I often wish that my partners would pass with such hands (one would and 2 wouldn't), but I know that at the table, my inner demons would reach out and put that 4 card in my hands every time. 4 isn't necessarily wrong. I don't worry about partner bidding 4 or 4 or dbl, but I do worry about 5 and maybe about pass. If partner has say Axx Qxx Axxxx xx we could watch them take 9 or 10 tricks in clubs while cold for 4.
July 16, 2014
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We play old-fashioned Jordan – 2N is limit+ with 3+ trumps and usually 10+ HCP. We also play fit-showing jumps as limit raises. This combo helps partner decide when to double them if they bid on and shuts them out from any cheap bids when we have power. But, we play that redouble is a transfer to 1N showing EITHER 6-8 OR 12+ HCP (with subsequent free bids showing the 12+ GF hand) and a direct 1N showing 9-11 HCP. It would be easy to add in a third meaning to the transfer to 1N – a 3 card limit raise if followed by a spade bid later. We leave bids of 2X free to provide a soft spot to land with short spades and length in X. Direct bids of 2 show what they would always show – 3 card support and 5+ to 9 support points. With fewer support points we use one of those green cards that abound in each bidding box, so there is no need to distinguish between raises to 2. Adding the transfer-to-1N-then-rebid-3 sequence is a great plan – for spades, but not so great for hearts. If using this method for either major, then after 1-dbl-1(transfer to 1N), they could destroy our limit raise sequence with a 3 bid or a 4 bid. If you don't mind asymmetrical methods, you could use this for spades but not for hearts. Using redouble then 3M to show the 3-card limit suffers from the same problem in heart auctions. Probably your surest way to show 3-card support is some form of what Yuan Shen suggests above – perhaps transferring to 2M could show the 3-card limit+ hand and bidding 2M could show the 6-9 hand and passing could still show lesser hands. :) I know; I know; only some of us old folks ever pass with 3 card spade support.

July 14, 2014
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Is the partnership desk still open?
July 11, 2014
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My partner and I decided a couple years ago (after this very auction) that when the hand on lead doubles us, he can certainly beat us and we start bidding suits up the line and worry about being bluffed out of our game later. We have methods when the hand not on lead doubles (redbl says sit if you can stop spades, pass says I can stop spades, after a spade-stopper showing pass then redbl says sit if you can stop hearts. If they've doubled on a minor suit, then they're too tough for us and will get their bonus. :)
July 11, 2014
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oops misread the problem
July 8, 2014
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Recently saw a bumper sticker with an even pickier theme:

Let's eat grandma.
Let's eat, grandma.

Commas save lives!
July 5, 2014
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We play Smolen instead of Puppet and so far it has helped a few times and never has hurt. We make one-suited slam tries by bidding 4X to show a one-suited slam try in the polar suit:
4 = heart slam try;
4 = a spade slam try;
4 = a club slam try and
4 = a diamond slam try.
The responses are simple – bidding responder's suit shows a bad hand for slam in that suit; bidding the next cheapest (“gap”) suit shows a modest hand for slam in that suit and 4N is RKC for that suit with a great hand for slam. Any bid of 4X fixes trumps and the only issue remaining (even if opener has a stiff honor or xx in responder's suit) is how high we are going to play in that suit.
Using 4X as a one-suit slam try means that with both majors (5-5 or better) you transfer to 3 and rebid 3 if you have NO slam interest or LOTS of slam interest. With MILD slam interest, you transfer to 3 and rebid 4. If opener gets excited, it's the second major that he likes for RKC purposes, as he failed to super accept the first one.
Any hand with a 4 cd major starts with Stayman.
After 3-3,
3M is Smolen
4m is natural
4M shows 4 cards in M and at least 4-4 in the minors (stiff/void in OM)
3N/4N are quantitative

For hands with BOTH minors (4-5 or 5-5 or better), we start with 3 minor suit Stayman (gf). If opener denies a minor by rebidding 3N, responder can bid 4m to show 4 of m and 5+ of om (minor Smolen), 4N is natural and 5/6/7 says “pick a minor, damn it.” Not having to handled one-suiters and two-suiters together (by playing 4X as one-suited slam tries) really lets your other auctions be more precise and comprehensive.
July 4, 2014
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3 is forcing. It allows partner to rebid 3, over which 3 stands out, or 3 over which 4 stands out, or 3N, which would mean partner can stop clubs and we have likely right-sided the contract. This hand is too strong for a non-forcing 2N (IMO) due to the major suit tens that make for a lot of fast trick possibilities and it has that pesky lack of a club stopper for no trump. With 2 flaws, I think 3 is preferable to 2N. But, it's possible that diamonds is the minor that could prove to be the problem, so 2N is certainly a reasonable alternative.
July 3, 2014
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