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All comments by Randy Thompson
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I prefer Leaping Michaels with powerhouse 2-suiters over 1M as well as 2M and Nonleaping Michaels over 3M. 4 at the go would describe this hand. Too many times when you use Guessing Michaels, partner won't know if he has a massive fit or no fit. Hence the name.
March 7
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If the deuce of spades were in either minor suit, opening 1N would be an easy solution. If a bid would be perfect if one “loose deuce” were moved to another suit, how bad can it be if it isn't moved? If the hearts are good, and doubletons bad, move the loose deuce to hearts and rebid 2. If the hearts are bad and spades good, move the loose deuce of hearts to spades and open 1. Or don't play Gazzilli and rebid 2 in tempo (showing 3+ clubs), along with many in ACBL land, where Gazzilli can't be played in most limited events. Anyway, this seems to me to be yet another hand where the Late Russ Ekeblad's “Loose Deuce” analysis is the way to sort out your problem, and it doesn't produce one constant answer, but 3 different ones, depending on what your hand looks like.
March 5
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David: I agree with you that upgrades and downgrades are best used as a way to get to open 1N instead of something less descriptive and durable in competition. But, downgrading when you often upgrade is usually a very bad idea for another reason. Your 1N range becomes much too wide. Partner can cope with 14-16 where it might include 13 with a decent 5-card suit; but if he must worry about a “bad” 17, he won't know if a 10-point hand is a game force holding or a skinny invite that risks 2N down one. Not saying that downgrading to a 1N opener isn't ever possible, but it is not the “second side of the same coin” by any means. If you upgrade OFTEN, then you should SELDOM downgrade. But whichever way you go, it should be to get into a 1N opener and out of a more ambiguous opening.
March 3
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Their average score for that session.
March 1
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Too much of a good thing?
My partner and I open 1N with 12-14, but we subtract a point for 4-3-3-3 shape, so 15 HCP with that shape would also open 1N. We struggled with what to announce. We tried, saying “12-14,” but if he's 4-3-3-3, it could be 15.“ That created HUGE problems for our opponents whose methods switch if it could be 15. Many times one of them would play weak NT methods and the other would play strong. This was not a fun way to get good results. We asked a world level player what he would prefer to hear, given our agreement, and it was just ”12-15.“ That's what we now do in pair events.

In team events, before the match starts, when they have time to discuss which of their methods applies with no live auction going on, we give the full explanation, including that we treat it as 12-14. There is only one time we ever can know it is 15 – when pard super-accepts a Jacoby transfer with 2N, which shows 3-card support and some 4-3-3-3 15 count. (Oddly, that 2N bid has never hurt us, but it surely will some day.) There is also one time when the range shifts up to 13-15 and we alert that. When they double 1N and it goes pass, pass back to opener, if he passes, he has to have some 4-3-3-3 shape, which means he can't have 12 but could have 15.

We don't volunteer that a 12 count has to have 2 Quick Tricks to open 1N or that the 1N cannot have a five-card major (but, of course the frequent 5-card major box on the CC is not checked). Quick Tricks also matter for minimum suit openers. At some point, it's a self-indulgent waste of everyone's time to give lectures on your bidding methods. If asked about style, or for more info about 1N, we can go on at length. Any opening bid theoretically requires 12 HCP, 7 or fewer LTs and 2+ QTs and opener is not supposed to shade on more than one of the requirements unless he has 13+ HCP, in which case all other ”requirements“ are ignored.

BTW, those who are ”much too wise“ to ”just count points“ give me a strong urge to hurl. Usually, that means they are too undisciplined to be bound by any set of ”rules" and their partners are just left to guess what they might have for any bid they might make.
March 1
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Inconceivable to me that a passed hand can create a force by making a fit-showing-jump that usually makes partner captain.
Feb. 28
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To avoid -850? South knows he has a heart fit and North knows he can double and let South save with a heart fit and sit for the double without it. South was likely afraid of -800 in 5 doubled because he had an incredibly bad overcall and hoped pard would just go peacefully. Better chance at taking 9 tricks on offense than 3 on defense, with the South hand having ZERO tricks on defense.
Feb. 27
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North's double seems fine to me. If south has a stiff heart, the defense is going to start with A, ruff a heart. Sitting for that double knowing there are a zillion total tricks due to the double fits (ours and theirs) is just masochistic.
Feb. 27
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Oh, when I remember not to bid 2, I DO bid 3 (or 1 if vul). Barry and I quit playing it and went back to treating the Precision 1 as if it were a 1 opener. Not best, but we old dogs seem to be able to remember that trick more easily. I play the structure you suggest with Neil, but memory triggers seem to be different as he and I play Precision and somehow it is easier to remember in that (theoretically irrelevant) context. Getting old is a bitch, but (so far) beats the alternative. :)
Feb. 27
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I like this structure over Precision 1 and believe it to be best. Problems arise when you get dealt a classic weak jump overcall of 2. Memory test time!
Feb. 27
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“Should partner not cater to my hand being 6 or 7 great diamonds and 4 good hearts with a 5♠ response that's missing 2 aces?”

No, you are describing a hand that should have bid 4 instead of 4.
Feb. 27
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The north hand would be relatively easy if playing ASTRO cues (2 over 1 shows exactly 4 spades, 5+ clubs and opening bid values). When combined with Equal Level Conversion (of clubs to diamonds), it means you don't often miss your 4-4 major suit fits when they open 1M. This cue used to be popular. It has been great in practice over the years. But the world gave it up for Guessing Michaels (5 of OM and 5 of an unknown minor that becomes unknowable after Responder raises Opener to 3M or 4M).
Feb. 26
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Will partner frequently raise 1 with a 3-card suit? If so, then how will you be sure you have found a better strain? The 5-3 heart fit may (sometimes) not play better than a 4-4 spade fit, but it will usually play better than a 4-3 spade fit and about the same as a 5-3 spade fit. If you might have hearts for your weaker 1 bids, then how is partner to know whether 2 may be too high or game might be there in hearts in the auction: 1-1, 2m-2? My partners are 100% certain that I don't have 3 hearts in that auction. At the very least, I think it is a mistake to bid 1 over 1 with a hand worth a simple raise in hearts. “If you can make a simple raise, you must make a simple raise” is a principle that has held up well over the years.
Feb. 26
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If we have a double fit, who else has one? The opponents do. If we bid spades, who makes it easier for the opponents to make a two-suit double, bid 1N or 2N as shapelier, weaker take-outs? We do! The spade bidders seem to think about is whether spades will play better than hearts. Buying the contract in either of our major suit fits will normally be a LOT better than defending cubs or diamonds. Don't poke the bear; just figure our how high to play in hearts.
Feb. 25
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If we play attitude leads, I lead the 4 and if fourth best, the 7. Is there a reason to lead anything else? Wait –what? This was a BIDDING problem? Never mind.
Feb. 25
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1N then 3H.
Feb. 25
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I had to change my vote when I realized you were asking about how a “new partner” should take 3M bids. In my preferred methods, 3 here is GF and shows a GOOD spade suit and heart support. I treat it the same as a 2/1 followed by a bid of 3. Frivolous 3N or cue bids or both would ensue. 3 sort of has to be invitational unless 2 at the go would have been weak and 2 now is invitational or 2 at the go would have been invitational.
Feb. 25
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Yehudit: And you are less than half my age – I've been playing bridge “since Hector was a pup.” Thing is, you'd think I'd get better, but as judgment improves, memory fades – heavy sigh.
Feb. 25
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Mike: That's way too many restrictions on preempts! In first seat nonvul, a 5+ card suit, less than your partnership's opening bid values and an strong aversion to touching green cards should be enough! In third seat, those restrictions can shade a little bit to include bad opening bids.
Feb. 25
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As it should be!
Feb. 24
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