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All comments by Randy Thompson
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If you are going to bid with partner's hand, might as well double and not lose the spade suit. Passing with this hand is at least as risky as double, but passers seldom acknowledge the risks of their inaction. 7-loser hand with 2 QT and 12 in support of spades or diamonds. Seems like a double to me, assuming we are playing equal-level conversion. (My partnerships take out take-out doubles, but if partner decides to leave it in, he won't count on me for more defense than this.) IMO, it's better to double and then drag your feet than to pass and try to catch up later. If it goes 1H-p-3 *-P, P-?? (*preemptive) back to me will I be “safer” doubling now or must I defend 3?
March 9, 2014
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Congrats to two clear-cut inductees.
March 8, 2014
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Many/most here would often double 2H with a good hand and only 3 spades. (KQx, Ax, QJxx, AJxx) That makes double with the intent of correcting clubs to diamonds look a lot better. This spade suit is very close to a 3-card suit. Even at match points you have to make your major suit contract to outscore the minors.
March 6, 2014
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I'll bite – 6. This seems like a pure guess to me, so as usual, I guess optimistically. :)
March 6, 2014
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I open 1 in both systems and if playing Precision, I actually HAVE my bid! Passing first is too easy on the opponents and too hard on partner. My Standard partners would expect more (and the opening could get me in trouble), but my Precision partner would think this hand is just fine for 1. What is easy to overlook is the risk entailed in passing. It won't be EASIER to describe this hand after passing; it will be IMPOSSIBLE.
March 5, 2014
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Take out partners' take-out doubles. You have NO sure defensive trick and pass would pick up your Qxx of spades (if the second double didn't do it already). When partner is short in their suit, we have to avoid punishing him for being aggressive. Pass is a matchpoint bid – and not a very good one at that. They START with 6 spade tricks. If dummy can ruff a couple of diamonds or clubs, they are up to 8 and need but one power trick to feed you a well-deserved -730. Only if your opponents are novices will you do better than +200 by passing and +130 in 4 will do just fine. -100 in 4 will out-imp -730 by a HUGE margin. Passers need to learn the concept of “IMP odds.” You are laying approximately 12-2 odds here if you pass.
March 5, 2014
Randy Thompson edited this comment March 5, 2014
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We have very limited offense unless pard reopens with a double or 3 or 3 or 4. We have EXTREMELY limited defense regardless of partner's actions. We have bad support for clubs. We are long and soft in their diamond suit. We have VERY limited defense against 3. Pass seems to be the only call that passes a saliva test. The hand SHORT in their suit should be aggressive, not the hand with dead soft values in their suit!

If forced with a gun to my head not to pass, I'd bid 3, as partner cannot expect better hearts than this from a passed hand and our Ax provides a semi-soft spot to land if partner has a stiff heart.
March 4, 2014
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Just bid what is in front of your nose – 6. Bidding less is giving the opponents no credit for having half a brain. This is the ONLY bid that gives them the last guess. Bidding 3N last worked in other than an afternoon club game somewhere in the 1950's.
March 4, 2014
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I can't do it. My bidding box just doesn't have any red cards when I don't have 4 of the unbid major. My bad. It straps me on hands like this but then when I make a negative double my partner need not fear hands like this.

This is an impossible hand to bid but if we belong in 4 maybe partner will bid it over 4 if that's our best spot, or we can bid it over 4 by partner.
March 1, 2014
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I normally hate hiding my suits, but . . . they could wind up in NT and you have to manipulate pard's cards significantly for us to have a game. So, my plan is to lead hearts from the top (fourth best will just annoy partner) if they stay in NT and if they get out then I'll bid my hearts as cheaply as possible.
March 1, 2014
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Wow! I'm going to come back and re-read this Well, as it's remarkably educational and entertaining.

Thx for the best book on declarer play since Watson. The second half of the book depends on card reading that is beyond my skill set, but the first half I now re-read on planes to nationals. I have recommended it to many friends and when asked to summarize why it is so valuable, my usual reply is that “it taught me that 8's matter.”

Also thx for Support Doubles and what you did to change the Precision system I rejected in the 70's to one (well Meckwell Ultra Lite)that I've enjoyed playing for the past year.

Good luck in coming National and World events. You always seem to make the last 16 boards must-watch TV.
Feb. 28, 2014
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John:

IMO, Double would have a lot more going for it at matchpoints than IMPs. You may well be right, even at IMPs, but at IMPs, I'd rather explain +200 to teammates who were -500 than -870 to teammates who were proud of their +140.

They could still have a 6-2 spade fit and partner some random 3 count. Pard's most likely shapes are 4-3-3-3, 5-3-2-3 or 5-2-3-2 and his likely HCP max is about 6. How can he pull “when he doesn't have a stack” with those shapes? Pull to what? Only if pard's spade spots are really good and his meager HCP include a side ace are we going to emerge with a great result. Double is VERY likely to end this auction as partner surely has 4+ spades and is unlikely to have another 4 card suit. The big win for double over passing is if partner has 4-2-4-3 or the like (yet didn't bid 2 over 2) and bids 3 and we go back with a +110 instead of a -110. I would be closer to bidding 3 than doubling. At least we should be double-proof in 3, so that -200 should be our worst result there.

Yet, passing feels Sooooo wimpy! :)
Feb. 22, 2014
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Steve:

I haven't played this method. As Eddie was playing with Kit Woolsey when he wrote that article, maybe Kit could comment on how it worked. I think it just became a DSI double (before its time)and partner could leave it in with length or bid something with shortness, knowing responder had some of everything. I think that the key was that it left the redouble as a head-hunting, GF redouble and opener was supposed to double if he could or give responder the chance to double if he were willing to sit for a penalty double. The key is not to play an “omnibus” redouble that might be this, might be that, who knows!
Feb. 21, 2014
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bid 4N or pass – certainly not double. Edgar Kaplan once noted that “points don't take tricks on defense; aces, kings and trumps take tricks.” They hand you pose has ONE defensive trick and at most hope for a slow trick in some suit – call it 1.25 defensive tricks. Playing a standard 1 opener for three tricks to even beat it one seems wrong to me. I don't think it's ever right to play partner for an error and the opening hand has all the defense he could ever imagine OUTSIDE the 7-card club suit.
Feb. 21, 2014
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Good problem!

I'm a passer, but I wish I had the guts to bid 6. If this is a normal auction there could be people going down in 6 so I don't think I'd ever bid 5 as I expect to get 500 regardless of whether or not we make slam in clubs.

If I were in buy-it-or-belt-it mode (needing a good board in a hurry), I'd bid 6 but otherwise would take LHO's bid to indicate we could be running into a 4-0 or 5-0 club break in slam or game. If we are plus only 200 defending, then maybe even 5 is going down.
Feb. 21, 2014
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Eddie Manfield wrote an article for Bridge World about this hand back in the 1980's called “I have a Secret.” His secret that he said his partners didn't want him to reveal in the article because it worked so well was how to handle this hand – pass over the double and then double at your next turn to bid to show 10-11 flat. That way, redouble says you want to hurt them in at least one suit and have an easy rebid (not this nightmare) if partner can't double them in the suit they pick. I have yet to convince a partner to agree to this, but it sounds like a winner to me.

In each of my 3 partnerships, I would show hearts (in one by bidding 1 and in the other two by redoubling as a transfer to hearts showing 4+ hearts). The old fashioned redouble to show 10+ HCP lets them bid 2S here preemptively, whereas it might show values if you just showed hearts at the one level. Defining redouble as a transfer keeps partner from redoubling on hands like this one! :)
Feb. 21, 2014
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I'm pretty sure that quote was originated by Eddie Manfield. It also is talking about bidding five-over-five, not sacrificing over 4M (preemptively, before they exchange info). The worst case scenario happened – and yet bidding 5 cost all of TWO imps. move some big card from the strong opponent to the weak one and neither could double and we'd be talking about -150 as the result we imp against 420.
Feb. 20, 2014
Randy Thompson edited this comment Feb. 20, 2014
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It feels AWFUL to pass this hand – but it's just too risky to take another bid. If we are making 3, maybe we are beating 2. BTW, I agree with the earlier bids here.
Feb. 19, 2014
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It was very aggressive to double, but could have been right. May as well back our first decision. Pard wants to play in a minor (unless he corrects to 5, in which case, I'll guess to bid a slam in hearts). Pard should NOT be sacrificing at matchpoints, so he expects to make, but for now, I don't see enough over here to bid more than 5 – he likely expects more than I have for my double. If double was right, then surely 5 is right now. If he's 3-2-4-4, (e.g., xxx Qx AQxx AJxx) he likely won't think much of this sequence. Maybe the first bid was the problem – double, pass and 5 were all logical choices.
Feb. 19, 2014
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Instead of 4, how about bidding 5 (Exclusion RKC) and find out about what really concerns you – spade suit cards. I think 4 was likely a reflex bid where you hadn't noticed that pard would have NO red cards to cuebid, regardless of cuebidding style. In the auction given, 5 isn't Exclusion, and pard would still have no red cards to cuebid, so I tried 5 hoping that my splinter shifted the focus from club losers to spade losers for the 5 bid. The risk of going down in 5 is small and the chances of slam are extreme. Pard should NOT have 3 hearts, (mine wouldn't have 3+ hearts unless he had GF values, which isn't possible on this hand). So, if pard has KQxxx and out to lunch after that, we should be making a slam. If he has KQxx, then we might need some luck or for hearts to split or for him to have a red queen.
Feb. 19, 2014
Randy Thompson edited this comment Feb. 19, 2014
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