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All comments by Randy Thompson
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IMO, this hand is too good to splinter. With any hand that will give you the powerful urge to bid on after partner tries to sign off over a splinter, I think you should not splinter. Don't ask partner for an opinion you may ignore. We play that 2N shows a very strong raise – 16+ HCP if flat, 14+ HCP if a splinter on steroids or a hybrid hand with 3 card support and a singleton. That way, we only force declarer to describe his hand when we have at least moderate slam interest.

This auction presents a recurring theme with no clear answer (to all but the most dogmatic) – do you treat a stiff ace as a singleton or as a control to cue? (My partner and I often disagree about this but neither of us has a body of evidence to prove his position right.) If your choices are a self-preemptive 4 or a 3 that claims “extras,” then bidding 3 is a very reasonable choice, regardless of your feelings about stiff aces. Then a cue of 4 would either be the stiff ace or a void and would deny a spade control. North can take over at that point. Once South passed up 4, I think partnership bridge was over. He might have had QJx QJxxxx KQJ, x and North has to believe South has what he says he has and not what he “must” have to have opened.

So, within the agreements of this partnership, South seems to me to be the culprit. That said, the partnership needs some better methods to make these hands easier. If looking for an element to fix, focus on that 4M rebid and find another use for it, so that this hand could rebid 3 if you wanted to treat it as flat and then use Frivolous 3N by either partner as a way to try to avoid cue bidding when it will only help the opponents. I learned that here at Bridge Winners – we used to use fast-arrival self preemptive methods.
April 8
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I have held this hand so often that it gives me the creeps to see it. This was a theme at one nationals. For about 7 or 8 times in a row, I doubled and got a bad board every time. Either 1 or 1N will let you find a 5-3 major suit fit (at least some of the time), but double will goose pard into bidding 4 card suits until he runs out of them. I've seen this movie and it has a bad ending. Put me down for 1 with second choice 1N (at imps, I'd probably rate them the other way). Not that I think double won't work in some parallel universe, but in the one I inhabit, I have given up on it ever working for me.
April 7
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Short hand doubles; long hand leaves it in.
April 6
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I prefer to play transfers over their 1-level take-out doubles. Here I would redouble to show 4+ diamonds and then bid 1 over their 1 if partner passed it unless our agreement is that the diamonds-then-a-major sequence forced game, in which case I'd have bid 1 to show 4+ spades instead of showing the diamonds. Over the diamonds-showing redouble, partner likely would have bid 1 with 3 diamonds, 2 with four, 1 with four if they passed. Over 1 it goes exactly as it would have gone had I bid 1, forcing and natural. I stop the transfers at a transfer to 1N (showing 6-8 OR 12+ HCP). Bidding 1N can be a way to show 9-11 constructive. Transferring to 1N then rebidding a lower-ranking suit (or taking any free bid in a competitive auction) is the way to force game with length in that lower ranking suit. This replaces the power-showing redouble, at least when your length is in a lower ranking suit or you have no length worth showing.
April 6
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I have been accused of “bidding like an illegal alien” (no green card). And now I'm trying to convince my nationals partner that we need to open flat hands one HCP lighter than now because we pass too many hands. :)
April 5
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Is the partnership desk still open?
April 5
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We play 2N is Minors (weak or strong) or diamonds (strong). We learned it with 2S “size or clubs” as “Boston Jacoby” back in the early 1970's. Good idea – but not original.
March 28
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No.
March 28
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Wow– we just went back to Westy's to have their catfish for the second night in a row and it was fantastic. We remembered it from 2012 as fantastic. But food poisoning is scary.
March 25
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If you are going to bid 3N with only Qx in LHO's bid suit, you have to be able to do it “in tempo.” I'm not saying faster than usual, but I am saying that if you do it slowly, it won't work.
March 24
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Warm, but not the boiling hot that our age group often demands. VERY good room for playing, BTW. Quiet, enough space, enough light, bathrooms close and adequate to handle the demand, free coffee and temperature is bearably warm.
March 24
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Overcaller is the only one in the partnership who knows whether he bid 4 to make. Impossible for him to force a preemptive raiser in that context!
March 22
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“I've Been Living on the Wrong Side of Memphis” by Trisha Yearwood is a favorite of mine.
March 21
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“Chicken EHAA” used 3 as a strong forcing bid. Or you can just bid games at the go. Or you can play that 1X is forcing but not necessarily strong?
March 21
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How about being in game opposite some average 6 counts? If you back your judgment and rebid 2N over pard's 1 response, he won't be passing 2N with a decent 6 or any 7, much less a dreadful 8 count. Do you want to be in 2N opposite pard's 5 count? How about 3 opposite his 5 count and 5 bad hearts? Pard will invite game with a “decent 8 count,” at least at IMPs.

I think many/most who think this is too strong for 1N plan to rebid 1, especially over a 1 response. Now, far from having shown a flat 18, the hand will have been lumped in with shapely 10 or 11 counts with 4-5 or 4-6 in the blacks. Poor partner is then being treated like a mushroom (fed BS and kept in the dark). At least 1N is respectful of partner, as it makes him captain, knowing within a jack of how many walrus points we have and knowing the location of 8 of our 13 cards.
March 20
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I guess Bridge Winners must be a weak field chock full of walruses. :) At this point, the vote is 42-16 in favor of opening 1N. Maybe everyone is out of step but Johnny? Lucky for me that when playing 2/1 these days, or when playing Meckwell Lite, my opening 1N range is 14-16, so this is a non issue.
March 19
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Rebidding 1 with this hand seems to me to be both an underbid and a misdescription of shape. 2 rebid seems both an overbid and a misdescription of shape. A 2N rebid works over a 1 response, but over a 1 response? Opening a flat 17 count with a 15-17 1N, however, just gives us a chance to have an extra ten spot in our opening bid for once in our lives. This is matchpoints, where finding a game with a bad 8 count opposite a good 17 count isn't as important as protecting our plus and staying with the field. IMO, we should try to beat them with our play, not by going all in on an anti-field opening bid choice.
March 19
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You would “go out of your way” to randomize the result being compared to other tables? Really?
March 17
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Or ignored.
March 17
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Ah, the recurring disagreement about take-out doubles and about how strong overcalls can be. :)
March 17
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