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All comments by Randy Thompson
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WAY too specific of a description of a weak two. Just say “weak two” and don't impose a length or HCP straight jacket on it, especially since both can vary quite a bit based on seat, vulnerability and partner's preferences. I abstained because I would never play a weak two that always had to be 6 and fit into a 6-11 range in all seats, but I would have voted for “weak two.” In first or third seat nonvul, 5 card openers are more likely than 6-card openers and vul, a 7 card suit is very possible (although not nearly as likely as 6).

Weak 2 openings induce a lot of errors by opponents. Those whose doubles promise 3+ support for both majors (i.e. the sane folks) are confounded by lots of flat hands with 2-4 or 4-2 in the majors. Those whose doubles can be on whatever they were dealt incur their disasters a level higher than when they make those doubles of 1X.

The 4-4-1-5 10-15 HCP Precision opening is fantastic and it comes up a lot more than the old 4-4-1-4 or 4-4-0-5 Precision 2. That opening not only works when it comes up, it works to make the 2 openers always have 6 clubs (which is WAY better than “6 or 5 and a 4 card major”) and it works to reduce some of the ambiguity of the 1 openers.
Jan. 18
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Chris: Our experience was that the women saw two young men and decided to bid (as the drill sergeants used to say in basic training) “like they had a pair.” We collected one 800 after another and never had to do more than occupy our chairs and double now and then. :)
Jan. 16
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and the first two are mutually exclusive.
Jan. 16
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We use the same one-suited slam tries (4X is two-under slam try). That eliminates all issues of strain and leaves only level to be decided. Opener has 3 degrees of interest in the slam. With no interest at all, he bids the trump suit. With maximum interest, he bids 4N, RKC. With a hand in the middle, he bids the “gap” suit (one under the trump suit). Having the hand that rates to have all suits controlled do the asking makes most sense to me. And, letting opener break his hand's suitability for slam into love it, hate it and “meh” seems to me better than always being forced to answer keycards when responder may have one or two suits uncontrolled.
Jan. 16
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Max:

I like your suggestion a LOT and see virtually no downside to it. I have yet to lie on a KO entry, not due to fear of repercussions, but rather just a general reluctance to lie. I think if you lied the “wrong way” to get into a weaker bracket, then there would be problems with getting any master points and also possible discipline. If lying to go UP a bracket or two, my guess is that a warning would be your penalty.

Not that I have never lied on an entry. I lied to get to play in my first sectional “Masters Pairs” (needed 100 points to be eligible and I had about 5). My pard and I weren't concerned with not being eligible for master points but we went to the tournament to play against all those world level players in the D.C. area at the time (about 1971 or 72), not against ma and pa in a limited game. My very first sectional win was in an event for which I wasn't eligible (got only the points for section top) – a Women's Pairs! We were too late for the Mens and they had an odd number of pairs in the Women's so the directors asked us to fill in.
Jan. 15
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At a nationals, when we asked the director to move up in a regional KO, he said it wasn't allowed, but then he said, ever so carefully, “but, you should know that we NEVER check the total master points that you list on your entry form.”
Jan. 15
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Whichever one is wrong is disallowed – a modern problem where the answer is “if it huddles, shoot it.”
Jan. 14
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I have a rule that would decide this for me – we play that redoubles below the level of 2N are always to run; at 2N or higher, redoubles are always business (if the suit was bid to play). This may or may not be the best agreement, but my pards won't worry about taking a long time to redouble for business, as I will never pull it. If pard feels 3Hx is not a good place to play, then he needs to self-rescue. A slow self-rescue could suggest a 4-card suit, but the auction so far already suggests that.
Jan. 13
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Club lead might also work, whether low from Qxx or Q from QJx. Any minor suit lead makes this a good slam; and major suit leads still leave you with that diamond hook (or maybe QJx of clubs if you have time to try that suit first w/o screwing up the entries.
Jan. 13
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Steve,
As a weak no trumper, that is exactly what I hope for in a balancing double of my weak 1N. I always insist on defining double as artificial (any meaning pard wants other than a balanced hand of any power) in balancing seat vs a weak NT. IMO, against veteran 12-14 no trumpers (or wily young 10-12 folks) who know to “run before the double,” your side's max combined HCP when it goes 1N-P-P to you is 22 and partner's max is is 22-yours. So, you will never have a power-based game bonus to protect. OTOH, you could easily be fighting their 24 (14 opposite a bad 10) with marshmallows for weapons and no shape with which to flee when one of them redoubles (we play redoubles there as business and all subsequent doubles as penalties). Dare to pass big flat hands! Go plus or go -90 when the field or other table holding their cards is +110 or +140.

IMO, balancing against a weak no trump should focus on the majors. The single biggest flaw in weak no trump methods comes when they miss a 4-4 major suit fit due to preempting themselves with the 1N opening. It is a shame to let them wriggle into their fit with a take-out double of your balance. Double for the majors and 2 for spades are the two bids that make the most sense – or maybe make it almost all about spades – double for the majors, 2m for m and spades and 2M to play. You can even have double show that OR a very good hand with spades (bid 2 over pard's 2X). If their weak NT can have a 5-card major (mine cannot), then you could balance them into a game when they had just missed their 9-card major suit fit.

To quote those known bridge geniuses, Mick and Keith, when my partner passes my 12-14 1N, I start (silently) humming:

“My, my” like the spider to a fly
“Jump right ahead in my web”

:)
Jan. 13
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Against a weak no trump in balancing seat, do NOT play “penalty doubles.” If they were in trouble, they would have commenced evasive maneuvers – usually Stayman or Jacoby. When they pass 1N, they have about 6-10 HCP and no 5 card major. Take it to the bank. It is possible that they have something like 3-3-3-4 and less, but move any club elsewhere and it is a clear Stayman bid when busted. Against my 12-15 1N, if you double in balancing seat, redouble by either of us is business – by opener showing 14-15 and by responder showing 8(+)-10(-). If you want to nail weak no trumpers, make sure that your doubles of Stayman show cards (and doubles of Jacoby too, not so much because doubling 2M will be a great score but rather just to show that this is likely our auction, not theirs).

If you play penalty doubles of Big NTs, you will only be dealt one a few times per year and if you wait for one so good that pard can't pull it, then one time every other leap year sounds about like the expected frequency. That's a pretty big waste of a cheap call. Give up on this and you can use double for lots of hands. Right now, in my preferred methods, double of a big no trump shows minors OR majors OR 6+ clubs OR 6+ diamonds (non vul, the two-suiters can be 4-4, vul they must be 5-5 or better) and 0-25 HCP. 2 is clubs and a major; 2 is diamonds and a major and 2M shows 6+ of M. Strong major-minor two suiters start with 2N if the major is spades and by 3m (showing 5+ of m and 5+ hearts) or 4m (GF with 5+ of m and 5+ hearts) if it's hearts; and 3M is preemptive with 7+. Vs. Weak NT, I play the same 2N/3m/4m structure, but the 3M bids are strong playing hands (about 8.5 or 9 tricks) with 6+ of the major (so you don't have to start with a cards-showing double with those hands).
Jan. 13
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It's much simpler to say that ANY bid over XX by Advancer shows his own long suit (and ends the auction). If Advancer wants to play in one of Doubler's suits, he passes and then Doubler bids his minor. If Advancer likes the minor, he passes, otherwise, he can bid 2 saying “I'd rather play in your major than your minor.” Giving up on defending 1NXX here may be the most painless decision you ever make in your life. If you would ever even consider that, don't play this type of double – play penalty doubles. That way, you will get to double maybe 5 or 6 times a year if you play a lot. But, if those rascals have decent escape methods (as do almost all reformed weak no trumpers), you may only profit from the penalty double one or two of those times.
Jan. 13
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YIKES! A conventional double should NEVER EVER be left in w/o 7 visible tricks. If playing a style that permits this type of double (nonvul), the best minimum number of HCP is zero. When playing a hyper-aggressive form of DONT, we alert a bid of say 2 and when asked say “4 or more diamonds, 4 or more of some major, and 0-25 HCP.” The closer you are to zero, the more cards you should have in your suits. But I would refuse to play any minimum point count unless we were going to play descriptive rather than disruptive methods over a big 1N.
Jan. 12
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This type of double is MUCH riskier at matchpoints than at IMPs. At Imps, if they nail us for 300 when they had a 140 part score or 500 when they had a 420 game, it is a small loss, easily acceptable for the good results on other such bids. But, at matchpoints, those are zeros that are just as round as going for 1100 for no reason. Doubles force some pairs into neanderthal methods that start with redoubling anytime they think they can make 1N (thus expanding our bidding room by letting responder off the hook and letting him bid his OWN suit freely and pass to try to find our best spot in one of doubler's suits). If they know the suits with THIS hand, do you think they will learn how to declare better when the hand has NO points in its suits and 6 soft points outside? If pard has Qx Qx in the blacks, he'll score both queens! If you adopt this style, you have to have a sense of humor and not engage in the bridge equivalent of the Spanish Inquisition every time one of your “pressure” bids comes a cropper. Don't judge the style until you have a record of results that lets you determine if you are winning or losing imps with it. Also, you have to worship the goddess of vulnerability and not even pause to think about making a bid like this if vul (at any form of scoring).
Jan. 12
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The diagram suggests that this hand is the companion hand to the doubler. If this was the doubler's hand and we are nonvul at IMPs, I'm fine with it. It's a bit frisky at matchpoints and would be “barking mad” if vul at either form of scoring.

If this is the companion hand to the doubler, I'd bid 2 if playing pass or correct and would pass if playing more sensible methods (where pass of the redouble says “bid your minor, pard,” while bidding any suit would say “F your stinkin' suits; we're playing mine!”), but would bid 2 if in fear that this partner might be sufficiently demented that he would think I want to play 1NXX. If you are going to bid aggressively, you have to have your scramble agreements fully discussed. Their redouble expanded our bidding room – unless we decline to use pass of the redouble sensibly.
Jan. 12
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Club game? Stay with the field and bid the 6N that can't have fewer than 32 HCP.
Jan. 11
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3N seems better than the first double (but double isn't nuts and might be right).
4 or 5 instead of pass over 4 (but South apparently has played with North before).
Pass instead of 5 over 5 doubled.
Pass instead of 6 – this bid was incredibly bad, given that partner failed to bid 4!

I see nothing wrong with North's second double, so I can't say I hated all their bids. :)
Jan. 11
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Wow, I thought this was very close between 3 (my choice) and double. The vote isn't close at all and even pass beats out double. The only value I see to pass is that any of the three more logical calls (3/double/4) could be wrong. Our most likely game is spades; our most likely minus score is spades. 4 brings another possible game into play, but it pretty much forces some game and partner's pass makes taking 11 tricks seem unlikely. Our most likely bonanza is double; our most likely disaster is double. This would be even harder at matchpoints. With the magic of a possible vul game at IMPs removed, I would pass or double depending on how lucky I felt and the state of our game. If we bid 3 and there is a thunder-and-lightning double behind us, we can retreat to 4. Can't do it the other way.

Good problem.
Jan. 10
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Thx.

Reverse Flannery Responses to 1m take care of the major suit 5-5's (and major 5-4's). Over 1m opener:
2…5 spades and 4-5 hearts and less than game invite values
2…5 spades and 4-5 hearts and game invite values (9-11 in one of my partnerships and 10-12 in another).

No definition for that 3 bid – sounds like a hand that should bid 2 in our methods – but 4 would be Kickback for diamonds and 5 would be exclusion RKC for diamonds.
Jan. 9
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Partner can't have 10 flat (no 1N).
If you open 1N on 10 flat, surely you would open 1H with 5+ hearts, 10 HCP and distribution.
Where is the spade suit? Surely pard has 4.
So, game seems remote and this is matchpoints, so let's go plus.
1 seems like a good contract to me – I'm betting we can make it. Pass.
Second choice? 1N. (also attracting only a tiny minority of votes)
Third choice? 2, followed by a 2 bid if pard bids 2.
Last choice? 2, the bid most likely to get us too high.
Pard can't know our minors look like this instead of vice versa so he will have NO way of knowing what to do over 2.
Jan. 9
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