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All comments by Randy Thompson
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Partner made them guess and they took the push. Way to go, partner. Hope they guessed wrong!

I think both players bid this hand well – you can't double them every time they are going down w/o getting some peeks. :)
Dec. 10, 2013
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I prefer “Rainbow” signals to rote agreement about what signal is demanded – how can the leader know before seeing dummy what signal will be best? If you have 5+ length in the suit led, presumably partner knows you have length, even on this bidding. In that case, middle encourages continuation; high discourages and asks for the higher ranking non-trump suit, and low asks for the lower-ranking non-trump suit. Thus, the 3C would ask for a diamond shift here. Also, if the A might be from Axxx or AK, then you likely have much less chance to get this right. If playing Rusinow, at least you know an ace lead is not from AK and thus is either looking to give a ruff or get one – here it could be either – or just looking for fast tricks for fear of a two-suiter, but the 3C still seems like the right card.

What was 3H? This looks more like a good mixed raise than a bad limit. What opener needed to carry on to game would vary with whether this dummy is a disappointment or near the top of what he expected.
Dec. 10, 2013
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You surely intended to reach 5m regardless of how you began (xxx Qxx in the minors or three of either minor plus the A gives you a good play for 11 tricks), therefore 4N is far better than 2N at making the opponents, who must have lots of majors, guess. Take them out of their comfort zone and get to it. This is working out well – double now tells partner that your minors are topped by aces and kings. He should be able to get this right – if he wants to bid on and cares which minor is longer, he can always bid 5N. But, odds are that he is going to sit for this double, given that he passed instead of doubling or bidding 6m over 5.
Dec. 9, 2013
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If 5N is the grand slam force, it will also serve as a transfer to 6, but giving partner an ulcer on the way.
Dec. 5, 2013
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Did Partner think you were going to sell to 4 if he passed? Only way to play 4 is for partner to pass then pull the double to 4 – and that is NOT a pass-and-pull that shows values – it shows the cheese that he had.
Dec. 5, 2013
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Oink Oink Oink. They were already going to play me for the clubs. I think they are going down. I double. -750 is not going to be making its first (or last) appearance on my scorecard. :) I lead the KH.
Dec. 5, 2013
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When 1N is doubled, my partnerships all play that redbl commands 2 and shows an unspecified 5+ suit with a weak hand (will pass 2 if clubs). If I have that agreement, I'll import it to this auction and redouble and cross my fingers that pard is on the same wavelength. If not (and I assume that's the question posed here), I'll bid 3 and then pass 3M (until it's doubled) or bid 4 over 3.

I think the doubler missed his chance to double 3N – or to just beat it many tricks undoubled.
Dec. 4, 2013
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I have a meta-agreement with all my partners (and 2 out of 3 honor it!) that “there is no such thing as a 6-5.” We bid all 5-6 hands as if they were 5-5 or 4-6. Excess concern for getting the location of the 11th card right in auctions where the opponents give us a free run and we have most of the deck risks being able to show an entire suit – a major no less when they compete. Opening 1 lets you then elect to bid 5 later over the opponents' bid of game in a black suit. If you start with 1 on a limited hand then the heart suit is gone forever if they can jack the auction. If I open 1 and then later 2 or 3, my partner will expect reverse values. I will NOT bury a five-card major over the location of the 11th card of a two-suiter.

With only five losing tricks, this hand has better than normal offense for an opening bid and with two quick tricks is has what partner is entitled to expect even from a conservative opening bidder. No way pard will ever get a decision right later in this hand if we start off by passing this opening bid (at least in my opinion).
Dec. 4, 2013
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You can always bid spades later – but only after you have let them exchange enough information to know what to do over your lurking spade bids. If 6-5 is supposed to come alive, 7-5 should certainly say SOMEthing – 4 is my choice, but 3, 2 snd 1 all are surely better than pass. There was a “rule” back in the day attributed to Charlie Showalter – “If you are considering two calls and one of them is spades, bid spades!”
Dec. 1, 2013
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When holding support for partner, my partnerships only bid 2X with a GOOD suit – two of top 3 honors or AJTxx or better. That way when we show support, partner knows where he can find tricks, especially if he has honor-x in my suit. Partners tend to discount shortness in my first bid suit – but here, that would be MAGIC. I see no reason to confine 2N raises to 4-card support. I play 1M-3N as a Flat Rat Raise (12-14, 3+ suppt, no stiff/void); limit (3OM omnibus) splinters to about 12 HCP (any hand too strong to honor a signoff in 4M doesn't splinter) and limit void-showing splinters (4m or 4OM) to about 10 HCP and use 1M-1N, 2X-4M as a “Secret Side Suit Raise” – a GF raise with 3 cd suppt some stiff/void and some not-good long suit. Then, we use 2N as any hand too strong for (1) a Flat Rat Raise, (2) a Secret Side Suit Raise or (3) an Omnibus Splinter or (4) a Void-showing Splinter. 2N is used on STRONG hands, strong enough that asking instead of showing makes sense and that has little to do with whether we hold 3 or 4 trumps. (With limited values, we would not bid 4S over 4H to show a void – 3H would then a bid showing spade shortness would have to do double-duty.)

This hand is ideal for Jacoby 2N. Pard's magic 3D bid over 2N will set us off to find out how high we are going to play in spades. Any other response will leave us at least as well of as if we had started with 2D. Bidding the suit that contains 1/18 of our high card strength as our first call seems dysfunctional to me, as it leaves partner no way to evaluate his hand well.
Nov. 30, 2013
Randy Thompson edited this comment Nov. 30, 2013
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Partner was willing to play 5H despite my having shown a diamond card and a spade card (by inference). Can we have a grand? Can we find it? I think anything other than 6H is just a blame transfer.
Nov. 28, 2013
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I bid 2 just following “Sukonek's Rule” – “with 7-2-2-2, bid one less.” That bit of advice has held up over the years.
Nov. 27, 2013
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Cuebidding here is for the benefit of the opponents. We have the controls to just ask with 4N and if 5 isn't safe, then partner shouldn't have opened much less bid 3 rather than 4. If I had Serious or Joking 3N available, I'd still go to 4N. If there were a way to do a keycard ask for spades w/o risking playing the wrong major (partners sometimes believe your show of support), I'd do that so I could ask for the spade queen – a great card for a grand if pard has 3 aces.
Nov. 26, 2013
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So partner holds length in all four suits? Yikes! He holds exactly 3 hearts, at least 5 clubs, and either 3 or 4 diamonds. If he has a spade stopper its the A, Ax or Kx, all of which will do just fine playing in clubs.

I think 4C stands out, “just in case” partner is 3-6 in the minors and was strapped for a forcing bid at his last turn. If he's 4-5 in the minors, he'll know that we have more 4 diamonds, so he'll be well placed to pick the strain. If you play fast-arrival, then 4C should be stronger than 5C and thus he should be looking at enough round points to know that our spade-stopper-less hand has diamond points.
Nov. 22, 2013
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Is 3 enough? Would you not bid that here if the Q were the 2? Before the 3D bid that went undoubled by partner, 3 probably was enough, for fear of diamond waste and heart shortness opposite. Now? I think it isn't close to showing this hand. KJxx Tx Qxx Jxxx is more than enough to bid a game here and won't partner pass 3 in tempo with that apparent POS?
Nov. 22, 2013
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Don't we have almost exactly what Partner should expect? Haven't the opponents told him we are short in spades? Do we know why partner bid 4H? Isn't partner better placed to make this decision than we are? Sometimes, even when we are given the bidding problem on a napkin over dinner, it really is partner's problem and we should let him have some fun too.
Nov. 19, 2013
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Pass would invite the grand (and would suggest a very confused partner as he signed off in 6S with full knowledge of your hand). His double repeats the message of his 6S – we will take at most 12 tricks in spades. Even pausing to think now is an insult that will send partner scurrying off to find the partnership desk after the round.
Nov. 19, 2013
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You are right, Kathie – the only man to pick a night with Cheryl was Roy Fox – the one who had just been one step away from the Spingold finals recently. All four wives predicted their husband's answer correctly on that question. I remember that you also predicted Mike's answer to the question “If there were substitute wives like substitute quarterbacks, what is the first name of the woman you would pick as your substitute wife?” Mike's answer was “Raquel” and you guessed it. Mine was the (unusual) first name of a woman actually in the audience that night and Carolyn guessed it. Uncomfortable? Maybe a little bit. :)
Nov. 16, 2013
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Henry: My wife and I were also on that Newlyweds panel you mention. There was no better person to gather around at the Hospitality Suite after a regional event than Mike. His private score card always included several zeroes – even in events he won handily. When he would give a UHold, the extra details were often more instructive than the story itself. “So, you open 1N, 12-14, and your LHO huddles for a full 13 HCP amount of time and then passes…..” “Remember, your partner (him) is one of the world's finest bridge players….” “Do you want to win 10 imps at a time or 6 imps at a time – you have to decide.”

Mike's local nickname was “World” after “World Be Free,” (nee Lloyd Free), the Sixers basketball player who was wild and crazy – but absolutely unstoppable with the ball in his hands. Everyone who ever played with Mike (Kathy, Mikie, Walt, Peter and others) got better from having played with him. He let all his partners feel free to make decisions without fear of recrimination – and they made better decisions as a result.

Kathy was and probably still is one of the slowest (and best) bridge players I've ever played against. No one was more bothered by it than Mike. I can still hear him sighing, fidgeting and then finally nudging her: “Play something, Kathy! Even if it's wrong; I don't care; PLAY something!”

Our friend's wife (a novice) playing in her first or second actual bridge tournament sat down at Mike & Kathy's table and was so intimidated by playing against “The Cappelletti's” that she passed a hand with 3 aces in first seat, lest she have to declare a hand against them. When Mike became declarer and discovered two of her aces early, he “knew” where the third one was. Ooops, Mike made one less trick than the rest of the field – and was just as pleasant and polite as if he hadn't just been mega-fixed. He had a story for the Hospitality Suite for sure on that hand.

All of us who knew him feel the loss of a great mind, an old friend and a willing mentor to all who approached him with a question.
Nov. 15, 2013
Randy Thompson edited this comment Nov. 15, 2013
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Partner almost has to have a solid diamond suit and AJxx of spades or a nearly solid diamond suit and AQxx of spades for this auction to make sense. If he has that he will know what to do over a 5C cuebid. I think I played this hand on BBO recently. If so, I had the other hand and opened it 1D Precision and bid game in spades on a similar auction. My partner passed too quickly and we missed the slam. The key is that partner committed us to game with a hand limited in HCP and lacking the AK of clubs and the K of spades – what more can he hold than really good diamonds and spades to go with his heart shortness? If I recall, we made 7 when partner had a heart void.
Nov. 15, 2013
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