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All comments by Randy Thompson
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Is it possible to give west MORE than 100% blame?
East underbid his hand twice, so how the **** can he get any blame for getting too high?
May 16
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BTW, my sim assumed that the 1N could have a 5-card major only with 15-16 and some 5-3-3-2 shape. And, it did not account for upgraded 14 counts with a five-card suit.
May 16
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If by 9 times out of 10 you mean 1/3 of the time, you are right. Just ran a sim and got bored after checking the first 200. Opener's side had 26+ HCP (clear games whether we bid or not), 33.5% of the time. They had 23-25 (invite range hands), 33% of the time. The points were between 18 and 22 for both sides 28% of the time and intervenors had 23+ HCP 5.5% of the time. The games that are bid with 24 and 25 HCPs are far from “normal” – they usually involve an invite and acceptance and they usually will just be blasting to game on those and on the 23's if we intervene.

Saving double for the 5.5% of the time we have enough of the balance of points to overcome declarer's advantage playing 1N seems like a waste of a useful call. And, that assumes we will always be doubling when we have the goods – but in fact we wouldn't even be close to penalty doubles on most of those hands – which 11 count would double them, direct or balance? We might also be penalty (or cards-showing) doubling on some hands where THEY have the balance of power. Those tend not to end well. And, the auction seldom will end in 1NX when we have the balance of power; even strong No Trumpers will have some form of run-outs.

The time to be wild and crazy (but LAWful) is nonvul at imps, not matchpoints. At imps, -500 if they are cold for 430 is a yawner; at matchpoints it is a zero. At imps, -300 when they are cold for 140 is also no big deal; at matchpoints, it is another zero. Any trick you might help them get through distributional knowledge is only a big deal if it is the one that lets them make their contract; at matchpoints, getting a trick fewer than the field is going to get you a very bad score (maybe not a zero).

The amount of help you give declarers with DISCIPLINED intervention is significantly more than with undisciplined intervention. Nothing is for free, and if you goose them into 23 HCP games, you better beat those games.
May 16
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If he might raise on 3 (true in one of my partnerships), then 2N should be a spiral inquiry. We play then that 3 would be min with 3 card support, but <5 diamonds (so we bid 3 unless we are hungry for a top and grab for the brass ring in 3N), 3 rebid by opener would be a min with 3 but also with 5+ diamonds (we bid more, depending on what a “min” might mean for partner's opening). If he must have 4 for his raise (true in 3 of my partnerships) then aren't we glad to have bid spades? I find it just strange to suppress a 4-card major here. I hope all my opponents do that.
May 16
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Forget how strong you need to be for various diamond bids – ALL of them (should) deny a four-card major. If partner rebids 1N, 2-way checkback (or XYZ, which is the same here) lets us relay to 2 and then raise to 3 (invitational with 4-5+).
May 16
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Long ago, I ran some sims involving HCP distribution once you fix opener with 15 HCP. The chance that we have a power-based game when they have 15 are very very close to 0%. The remaining HCP tend to be divided evenly among the other 3 hands, which means that when opener has 15, our combined holding rates to be about 16-17 HCP. We would need all 25 of the remaining HCP to have a power-based game. We can have fit-based games, but showing shape gives us our best shot at those. Highly disciplined intervention can actually help opener and responder evaluate their cards and play contracts. Wildly undisciplined intervention can pretty much eliminate invitational auctions w/o giving all that much help to the opponents. The opening side will have lots of game and slam decisions to make, while we will have very close to no such decisions. Their game-going hands or slam-going hands will just shrug off aggressive competition unless we can take away a lot of bidding room with raises. When they have choice of game decisions or game-or-not decisions to make, aggressive competition can mess them up. Competitive part score deals reward getting in there LAWfully as often as possible. Of course, I'm talking about nonvulnerable actions – vulnerable, there is just too much risk to offset any rewards from being wild and crazy. Even the best players on planet earth will have more accidents in competitive auctions than constructive ones. And, even the average club player has methods that let them make decent constructive decisions when given a rocking chair no-intervention free run. When I bid 2 over their big NT, it is alerted and explained (online or if asked at the table) as “4+ diamonds, 4+ of a Major, 0-25 HCP.” We are just teeing up a LAWful search for a fit and/or jamming the working of their scientific structure. I had a partner who wanted to just say “diamonds and a major” but I said I would not play with him if he didn't give the full story about suit lengths and power. Not only is that proper ethics and required by the rules, it also is something that works to our advantage! Hearing that explanation makes folks take some eccentric actions based on the premise that they are/may be getting interference no one else is getting.
May 15
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Game bids have to be to play in comp (IMO) so we cut off our fit-showing jumps in comp at 4. Whatever the base system, this is a limited bid that makes partner captain for the remainder of the auction. I might double after a fit-showing jump but pard would only sit with shortness in my side suit – he would be expected to pull with a double-fit.
May 14
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I like to play that in this auction, double asks for a spade lead. We may hold them to no more than 10 tricks (KQ of spades, 5 clubs and 3 hearts on a spade lead. The big upside of double is that otherwise we are approximately 100% to get a heart lead(hoping to find heart length here) and setting them will be all but impossible. Double is a “hero” bid, but might work. Are we going to sit if they send it back? If we do, we may be consulting the back of the 3N card to see the score for making 10 tricks redoubled when pard dutifully leads his stiff spade.
May 13
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When playing that type of JS to 3, you need an artificial 3 here to ask if the hand is a GF spade one-suiter (he rebids 3, forcing) or actually has clubs (he rebids anything else, naturally). Absent that, I would just close my eyes and bid 3N with this hand – it might be right on either type of hand pard might hold.
May 13
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Responder doesn't have a 5-card suit (or would have shown it by now). Opener doesn't have a 5-card minor or a 4-card major (or he would have bid it by now). Responder has no long suit and a max of 11 HCP opposite a hand with 17-18 and no long suit. Uh, where might we be going other than 3N? I suppose we might be better off in a 4-4 minor than 3N, but the only shapes he might have that wouldn't just bid 3N would be (1-4)-4-4. This is a very narrow target, but if opener is worried about a major suit, then he should bid a 4-card minor over 2N, leaving room for responder to bid his 4-card major and let Opener decide what to do, given his holding in the other major. Otherwise, opener should just bid 3N and stop all this sharpening of the defense.
May 12
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Failure to bid 2 in this auction denies 4 hearts. A susequent 3 bid by opener should show 3 hearts. Finding major suit games should get top priority. Missing a diamond fit by rebidding 2 here is seldom a big deal; missing a heart fit by bidding 2 is far more likely to be a big deal. Whichever one you bid, your bid of the 4th suit at the three level will be treated as a three-card suit by sensible partners (because 5-4-4 patterns aren't close to as common as 5-4-3-1 or 5-3-4-1 ones). Finding a game or slam in the fourth suit isn't something our methods should prioritize.
May 12
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Live competitive bridge is on life support and likely to vanish if we can't do something like this.
May 6
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Good point. As a weak no trumper, over their direct double, I play that system is on (with any bid other than pass or redouble showing invite+ values) over double; all weak hands and all hands with no interest in a major suit game start with pass or redouble.

All weak hands with a 5+ card suit redouble (commanding 2, followed by pass or correct).

All other weak hands pass and opener then has four options:
(1) bid a 5-card minor;
(2) pass with 4-3-3-3;
(3) bid 2 with 4-4 in the majors or
(4) redouble with two (or 3 with a stiff honor) 4-card suits, at least one of which is a minor.

If your weak NT permits a 5-card major then (3) disappears and (1) includes bidding your 5-card major. When responder has no 5-card suit and opener is 4-3-3-3 it is extremely unlikely we have a strain that will fare better than 1NX. (Murphy says that if responder has a singleton, it is most likely to be in opener's 4-card suit.) In our methods, Opener's pass there guarantees some 4-3-3-3 hand (and it bumps our range from 11-14 to 12-14 or from 12-15 to 13-15, as we pass 4-3-3-3 and the min of our range for that opening and bid 1N with the top of it only with 4-3-3-3. When opener redoubles, responder sits with enough HCP to reach 20 when added to opener's min (or to 19 if 4-3-3-3, counting on declarer advantage on the hands where outgunned 19-21. Or he bids his cheapest 4 card suit with one proviso – with 4=3=3=3 or 3=4=3=3 we bid 2 and pass pard's choice unless he passes and they double, in which case, we redouble with those shapes and opener places the contract.

Playing these methods, we have been numbered after a 1N-(dbl) start about once every 3 or 4 years. The ones best set up to hurt us are the ones whose double of Stayman and Jacoby are cards-showing. That happens maybe once every 1-2 years. The LAW tends to protect us, as we almost always find any 8-card fit at the two level – even 4-4 club fits. It is important tactically that Opener is obligated to pass with 4-3-3-3. Hearing that pass is one of opener's options makes the partner of the doubler flush out more often than you can imagine. The redouble that might get passed puts pressure on the doubler to flush out if he doesn't have “the nuts” and it almost guarantees that his partner will flush out (even when doubler has 7 fast tricks) if responder passes Opener's redouble. The number of times that they COULD have numbered us far exceeds the number of times that they HAVE numbered us. “Could” might be as often as every 4-5 months.
May 6
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The BIG problem with weak NT is at matchpoints where we bury our 4-4 major suit fit and make a trick or two less than the field.
May 6
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“Penalty” is perhaps a misnomer. “Cards-showing” is more accurate and is a very effective way to get us into competitive auctions. When it isn't cards-showing, we weak no trumpers tend to give you a round of grateful applause as you rescue us from danger with an artificial double. (Whew! No -800 today!) You almost never get to defend 1N doubled against an experienced weak NT pair unless they have a serious shot to make it or at worst go one away, so “penalty” is more dream than reality. But, you have to start by announcing a better hand than opener has so that they can't push you around. If doubles of their run-outs are penalty, you hamstring yourself. They should no more be double than in an auction where cards-showing doubler had opened 1N. As has become modern standard, doubles of their run-outs (by either partner) are take-out but then partner of the doubler can leave it in now and then when appropriate. MOST important for defending vs 1N is that a double of Stayman or Jacoby should also show cards. When we weak no trumpers are in greatest peril, we don't sit there after 1N-(P)- to us and wait for the axe; we run and the running route is almost always Stayman or Jacoby (especially Stayman, where responder may have no long suit at all).
May 5
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System on is what I think is best. Pretend doubler opened a 15-17 1N and your methods over their bids can be exactly as they would be in that situation. You don't have to learn a new system. Was it wrong to be in 3 BTW? With 23 combined HCP you wound up in your 8 card fit at the three level, with no game likely and with the 7 card suit in the weaker hand being trumps. Did you want to be in 2? The redouble commanding 2 could be an exception as that can't be a bid over a 1N opener. But it leaves the entire two level open for Stayman, Jacoby, Minor transfers, size asks, whatever you want, same as if they had passed. I would have expected this post to be on a hand where you missed a game or ate a double or got too high, etc.
May 5
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This is masterminding that I like to leave to others. It disrespects partner and makes it impossible later for him to know which of your actions was a mistake, or what type of mistake it was. I think he will likely pass whatever you later bid and then check to see if the partnership desk is still open after the session, even if your heroic pass works.
May 5
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Hard to be proud of any of the three alternatives (double, 1N, 2). Any could be right; any could lead to disaster (although at these colors, disaster is unlikely). Pass could even be right (beating those who chose the “wrong” option(s) of the three). I like to have a better heart suit for overcalling and a much better one for doubling and rebidding 2 over 2m. I like to have a third spade for 1N. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to do something I don't like with this hand I overcall then double with this pattern and sometimes it works. That's what I'd do here (overcall 2 then double 2 for takeout).
May 4
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Minors with unequal length (6-5 or 7-6). This lets partner ask for the long one if he doesn't have a strong preference, while 4N shows equal minors (5-5 or 6-6) and forces a pick.
May 4
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If you play OBAR, you don't need to worry about inviting game, as this is an as-if-balancing double that will never have enough to accept when you have enough to invite. Games will make or not make based on degree of fit, not degrees of power. Just bid 3 to play or bid 4 based on a big heart fit. Let other folks bid 2N for whatever reasons they deem appropriate.
April 29
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