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All comments by Spencer Hurd
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West has 11 points and no aces and a mediocre suit. His K is worthless. His partner has only a limit raise. He must signoff with 3. Question: is 3 recognizable as a mild game try with a hand not powerful enough to just bid game, or is it a slam try? It looks like East thought 3 was a slam try. So, 3 is bad enough in itself to fail for the semester (er, hand that is).
East is as great a sinner - 5 of his 9 points are not in opener's suits. His best suit is diamonds and THEY are in 4D. A double cannot be a bad choice as partner can overrule.


Not part of the poll is ability to fail North whose 4 bid is awful. It must be true that North got lost at this point. The opponents are about to bid game (or consider slam) - why give EW a winning choice of doubling you? Apparently North holds the theory that because they did not double 3, it is safe to bid 4 in the hope that partner will bid 5.
Have you heard this one? “My bid was perfectly justified. You were at fault for not holding the hand I wished for.”
Sept. 19
Spencer Hurd edited this comment Sept. 19
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To imagine this unusual endplay - for down one - and make it happen - is truly excellent matchpoint play. Well done.
Sept. 17
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There are a lot of comments for such general agreement - problems with 2 and 3.
Suppose North bids 2NT, not 2, and after South's probable 3, North now has some interesting choices all game forcing -
(1) 3 - shows 5 spades and a heart stopper. Here the purpose is to right-side the NT (if necessary) and to suggest a better hand than 2 followed by a 3NT bid, and leaves a slam try available.
(2) 3 - something different from 2 immediately and again getting the NT from a sensible side.
It seems to me that Lebensohl itself can be another choice in the original question - that is, a 4th source of blame (because the convention needs to be developed more fully and with general agreement).
Sept. 15
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I like fit showing too, but surely that is misleading in this case since the clubs are so bad. A 4 bid should show good 8 to 11, maybe
86 Q876 86 AQ876.
Now South's double and lead of K are more appealing.
BTW, North should not pass the double with original hand given.
Sept. 13
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You never really know how good a percentage estimate is until you can see the dummy. Mathematically, in terms of strategy, it is clearer - you migh gain of lose 11 imps with a slam. So 60% is not a bad answer to the question.
Not many experts will tell you that their target is 60%.

Why you see risky slams - hard to determine percentages, and other factors intervene - how is a match going (or do you need a top).
Sept. 13
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Many years ago, I did not play 1NT forcing - but I played a 2/1 as not game forcing. There were easy rules. But - playing 1NT forcing avoids many ludicrous contracts. (Certainly not all.) The weaker your opening bids of 1 and 1, the more likely you are to run into terrible 1NT contracts. 1NT was an imposing contract when 14+ points were the norm for opening bids (in 1st and 2nd seat).
Look at it this way - “the field” will be playing 1NT forcing and will not be in 1NT when you are. It follows that you will get lots of bottomes on hands for which you took an anti-field position. So, matchpoint players in pair games have more to think about.
I am not sure about the best argument at IMP scoring. If the goal is merely to get a plus score, where 90 = 110 = 140 (essentially), then maybe 1NT forcing is not particularly necessary, but I have seen authors state that the forcing notrump bid is essential if you want to play 2/1 GF.
Sept. 1
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Clearly EW had a poor mutual understanding of their bids and-or the situation. Still for the problem as posed, I think West should bid once again - the player with 22 points has the primary responsibility for getting to slam. If West had just KQ75 then 6 still has some play. After 3, East could wake up and bid 4. That might get West on track.
Anyway, what is needed is a clearer understanding of “Advanced Lebensohl”.
Aug. 31
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Maybe this kind of 1NT opening with a 4-4-1-4 inhibits an easier natural slam auction:
1-1, 1-3, 3-4, 5-6, P

Notes: 3 = 6+ diam, forcing to game (applying xyz). 3 = stronger than 3NT. 4 = natural, describes 6-4 in the minors. 5 = confirming 4+ clubs, 6 = confirming 4 cards in clubs. North prefers clubs because of intermediates in clubs and so as to have a spade lead come to hand. A 6 bid might be make at the end with slightly different cards. From South's point of view North could be 3-4-1-5 or 4-4-1-4.
Aug. 28
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Not only was this one close but their previous win which versus the Bulgarians was very close. I suspect there are 100 hands where either they or the French can think, “If only I had… we would have (or might have) won it all.” Our guys played well enough despite the champiuonship play by the last two opponents especially.
Now two frightening thoughts: The French have a lot more fine young players who will be available for the next 30-40 years. And we are training a generation of European players in our own tournaments.
Aug. 27
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If we can send two teams, why can't Europe send a team and also the current World Champs if from Europe?
Aug. 27
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In most situations, the danger is suddenly falling in love with your weak hand just because partner balances. Say Partner doubles as a balancer aqnd you bid 2 and they compete to the 3-level. You should pass.
Aug. 11
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Amend this to: “Never balance with shortness (2 or less) in the unbid major.”
Aug. 11
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My partne, a fast improving young player, in 4 got the deadly J lead and considered the heart play carefully. He spotted the danger and decided the ace-fourth with South was more likely than a stiff ace with South because the stiff ace is only one of five possible singletons. So it follows that a singleton in hearts is far more likely with South. He explained this to me at the end of the hand.
Aug. 3
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I like this problem and like the insightful comments. First, as to why West might bid 2NT, he can mention it very conveniently at the 2-level, and partner might be fishing for a good spot with points not hearts. Though aceless, he still has a robust 14 points. Now East should bid 3 confirming his limit raise. Finally, for the reasons given by Nigel, West should return to 4. Perhaps East is not so blameless. We were in 4, down one because of the 4-1 trumps, and it is no consolation that 3NT was a worse contract. Some did not get a club lead and were able to get a club loser away on the 4th spade making 620.
The real hero is North - he put the J on the table, leading partner's suit, and that lead set the contract.
Aug. 3
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Yes, my son john and some of his teammates play this, sort of. After 1C, a response of 2D is 10-15 with clubs and 2H is 16+ with clubs. Similarly for diamonds. A sort of Modified Criss-Cross. Thank you for the reference.
July 14
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Yes I see your point. I wonder if this can be done after Opener's 1NT bid - Responder follows that 1NT with a jump to the 3-level.
I appreciate the ideas. There is a lot to digest at this point.
July 14
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Here 1C-1H 1NT-3C this is weak with clubs (usually 5).
Also, 1D-1H 1NT-3C again weak with clubs (usually 6)
But 1D-1H, 1NT-2C 2D-3C invitational with clubs (opener has at least 2 clubs so this might be passed.
1C-1H 1NT-2C 2D-2S here responder is 4-4 or 4-5 in the majors with invitational values, and if opener signs off with 2NT, then I would say 3D shows the 4-4-4-1 hand with singleton club and I expect 3D will be passed.
The benefits (over ordinary NMF) seem to me to leave problems on hands where game is not a good idea. But I haven't been playing this long enough to have encountered them.
For your question, it seems good to allow opener to quit with Responder's 2NT (since 2C by Responder is inv and 2D by Responder is GF). Why would a relay to 3C be needed?
July 14
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With 5 in responder's major, the auction goes differently-
1D-1H 1NT-2C 2D-2H
Here 2C forces 2D and 2H shows 5 with about 11 points (say 10+ to 12-). Now opener places the contract. This is part of 2-Way. Both responder's 2C and 2D are artificial. 2C (for invitational sequences) forces 2D, and 2D is artificial and game forcing.
July 14
Spencer Hurd edited this comment July 14
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Difficult hand for all. I got the K lead (I opened 1NT and played 2 after a transfer). I won the A, won the club ace, ruffed a club. Led to my K and ruffed a 3rd club. I pulled a 2nd heart and led a third trump. North tried the underlead of a spade and I went up with the king and scored 11 tricks. Wish we had bid game.
June 29
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In the context of a big club type system, passing 1 can be a challenge to the unwary opponents with up to 8-9 points. But yes, I agree with YS and KB, trying to improve a contract you will not play anyway is not wise - and 1NT doubled may have nowhere better to go, and partner is likely to want to run from 1NTX to 2. Partner here has 13 points; if 1NT could have as much as 12, I can see bidding 1NT can have other bad results - the opponents may pass or dbl your side when their game contract will fail.
June 18
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