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All comments by Randy Thompson
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Is it too late to abstain? The issue should have been simple – how high in clubs. Partner is a passed hand and yes, we MIGHT have a slam, but playing in 4 would . . . well, zero tolerance precludes me from saying what I think of pass. Re-Cue auctions are seldom anything but blame transfer auctions. This auction has officially derailed – I quit in game, 5, the one that will make, not 4, the one that will go down in flames, likely on a 3-3 fit.
March 14, 2014
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Undiscussed, and without specific agreement to the contrary, double is surely penalty. Yes, I am old. And yes, I would be damned glad to be playing penalty doubles on this hand! My usual meta-agreement is that doubles above the level of 2 of partner's suit are not support and whether they are penalty or DSI depends on where you sit in connection to the bid (behind it double is penalty, in front of it DSI). Here, if we pass, partner's double would be DSI. This may not be best, but it seems to come in handy over frisky preemptors.
March 11, 2014
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I voted for 3N but on reflection I think the 3 bidders made a better bid than I and the 4 bidders made a MUCH better bid than I. One bid I would never make with this massive hand is a non-forcing 3. Because 4 goes beyond 3N maybe it should imply diamond support and a hand such as this one that can underwrite 5m but still isn't sure which m. Hard to imagine it as non-forcing when 3 was available for that sort of hand.
March 11, 2014
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Tom:

3N certainly could be right – if you can get to the hearts after they are ready to run. With 6 hearts and a fit for your diamonds, pard might not have all that much outside. To use your J in no trump, you will need two side entries; in trumps you can just float that jack and ruff something to get there to draw more trumps.

I view this as similar to a Jacoby transfer followed by a raise of 2M to 3M – Partner seldom is interested in hearing 3N from you on that auction. That said, he still has a turn to bid and gets to share the blame if he guesses wrong.

In saying there was no alternative to completing the relay, perhaps I'm just reading too much into this based on instincts from where opener's rebid was 1N not 1. I'm new to XYZ in a situation where opener's rebid didn't limit his hand. Maybe it DID limit it by being willing to let responder stop in 2, as pointed out by John Adams. But, as 1 wasn't forcing, there was already a limit to how strong opener can be and surely it would take a heart fit and a very heavy 1 rebid to overrule the relay and not let partner describe his hand. If our partnership style would be to skip spades and rebid 1N or 2N on all flat hands, then my 1 rebid showed a short suit somewhere (surely hearts about 90% of the time). Yet partner invited in hearts, not no trump. He could have Ax QTxxxxx Qxx x or the like, where his shortness is in the unbid club suit.

March 10, 2014
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This is simple. You had NO discretion about bidding 2 – none at all. Bidding anything other than 2 would be presumptuous and a violation of system. Partner MIGHT just be getting out in diamonds! 3 is invitational with SIX hearts and 2 is invitational with FIVE hearts (or six very, very bad ones where pard wants 3-card support to go on). This isn't a situation where you do anything other than decide whether to bid 4 or pass –regardless of your superior judgment. Just do what pard asked and decide. I'd bid 4.
March 10, 2014
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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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