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All comments by Brad Theurer
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well, I played this hand, and “almost” followed Kit's plan - I won A, cashed ONE top diamond in dummy, then played 3 rounds of spades. Yup, RHO overruffed with the J. “Good” news is that RHO had started with Jxx, so even cashing a 2nd diamond wouldn't have helped in this case. And, a (relatively) weak player was in the East chair - he returned a “safe” trump (which he could not have done if I'd correctly cashed a 2nd top diamond from dummy first). Now I had another chance, running all my winners and if RHO had the K and 4+ hearts, I'd make on the squeeze. Note that if RHO *did* have that hand, he needed to return a heart to break up the squeeze since no matter where I win that heart, my communication is ruined. It turned out that hearts were 3-3 (yes, RHO did have the K) so down I went. Worse, I could have made 6 on either the dummy reversal line (LHO has only 3 clubs but doesn't have the J to overruff the 4th club with), OR by putting in the Q at trick 1, but later NOT trying to ruff a spade but instead just drawing trumps, pitching a heart on the A, ruffing a heart, and throwing spade on the 13th heart.

And of course, they were in the inferior 6NT at the other table - got a neutral lead, but ducked a heart and with hearts 3-3, 6NT rolled home to lose 14 imps.

Even though I did not quite play the hand to best advantage, I'd like to think our side did not deserve to lose those 14 imps. Fortunately, despite this board we won the match handily anyway. Thanks all for your thoughts.
16 hours ago
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ahh, yes, I overlooked that, you are right.
Feb. 19
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Thanks Kit. But, doesn't cashing AQ before playing 3 rounds of spades lose to LHO having xx plus Jxx? Whereas your way gains when RHO has xx plus Jx, perhaps slightly less likely (to be shorter in both pointed suits)? But, I do agree that cashing AQ does let you find out that you can't ruff a spade when RHO has Jxxx.
Feb. 18
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4 may be going down, but the opponents don't know that. They are in a guess situation, especially if they have a big diamond fit - at these colors they know their save is cheap if 4 is making.
Feb. 14
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West probably has something like Kxxxxx and maybe has 4 hearts (another reason why he didn't want to open 2). He has to have some shape and some values outside of spades since he is bidding vul with both opponents in the auction. Good chance he is 6421 in shape. Could he have as good as Kxxxxx AQxx xx x? Possibly… then 4 would be a reasonable contract. Question is what will you do if they bid 5?
Feb. 14
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results at our club for board 23 are at:

http://clubresults.acbl.org/Results/229872/2019/02/190207M.HTM

at our table, this hand (was actually West) did open 1, North doubled (ugh!), East passed, South bid 2, and West doubled. North passed and East had a decision. He chose poorly/wrongly to bid 2, the opponents smartly did not compete further in clubs, and the 3-3 fit was not a success. As Mike says, unless the defense finds fast diamond leads, hearts will make +140 for a great score. Most in the club were in 1NT making 2 (again early diamond leads were required to hold this to 7 tricks).
Feb. 11
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For those who want to see the all of the hands from the board this problem was taken from, see board 23 at:

http://web2.acbl.org/tournaments/STaC/handrecords/2019/1902070/1902070_10M.pdf

(and yes, there was potential for another poll on followups to some of the possible auctions that would result, especially after a 1 opening bid)
Feb. 10
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Thanks for all the comments/discussion so far! By the way, this is an actual hand from District 6 STAC (morning session), not made up or modified.
Feb. 8
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Kaplan/Rubens hand evaluator does give 17.95 for this hand so your estimate is very good.
Feb. 8
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thanks I added an “other” answer for those who would not open 1 or 1NT…
Feb. 8
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I agree with Randy's preference, the minor should be at least semi-solid, so that partner can be assured it is a “source of tricks” without needing much if any assistance. That is relevant either when the major is trump or (because of weakness in the major suit fit), the minor could be trumps with enough side cards to get rid of a loser or two in the major.
Jan. 26
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For the curious/interested, here is an article I submitted a couple of years ago that is related to this one:

https://bridgewinners.com/article/view/stayman-or-not/
Jan. 19
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all good points, but again, I see more and more players (good, and not-so-good) opening 1NT as long as point count (approximate… yes some demote/promote hands not quite within “normal range”) is correct and the bid is legal i.e. singleton if any must be A/K/Q, no 7-card suits, etc. Even hands with “easy rebids” (such as what Alan mentions above, or hands with 4 spades + 5 card minor) are still being opened 1NT, either to create actions/swings or because they'd rather get the point count/balanced nature of the hand across immediately and preempt the opponents if possible. Or, just because they feel like doing it.
Jan. 19
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One consideration for this poll, I feel, is the increasing frequency of “off shape” 1NT openings. Len mentions the risk/reward of finding a 4-4 major suit fit, but with the higher frequency (for many) of opening 1NT with 5 card majors, even doing it with 5 card major + 4 card minor (yes, there are those that even do it with 4-5 or 5-4 in BOTH majors!), missing a NINE card major suit fit is even more of a concern when not using Stayman on some/all of the hand patterns/strengths Len mentions. So to me, the more often a partnership opens 1NT on less-than-classic patterns, the more you have to gain by using Stayman when 4-4 in the majors, no matter what your pattern/strength.
Jan. 19
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put it to 'em, we probably have a decent save over a game in one black suit or the other so might as well do it now and make them guess. Even if 3 was a fit-showing jump, that gives info to the opponents and they have more room. If my red suit were reversed, it would be a closer decision.
Jan. 15
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in my system I would bid 2, a “random game try”. These are becoming more popular of late. Partner can immediately accept/reject, or with in-between hands, bid a concentration if he has one. Advantage is that you give less info to the opponents, though occasionally he rejects the try with a bad hand that happens to fit perfectly.
Jan. 15
Brad Theurer edited this comment Jan. 15
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without an explicit agreement about this double, could this be one of those situations where partner looks at his hand and determines (via the number of spades he holds) whether the double is penalty or takeout?
Jan. 2
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Max excellent article! found a typo: on page 2, when you say “But there is no squeeze if my RHO had simply played the diamond through as his partner had asked for.”, you meant LHO…
Dec. 31, 2018
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John, you indicate “two kings and out” is not enough for a constructive raise by your standards. I assume this is for a balanced hand with only 3 card support? Would having a singleton and/or 4 card support alter that requirement? Of course, more players these days are jumping to 3M with 7-9 support points and 4 trumps as a mixed raise now (assuming they aren't playing some form of Bergen raise structure)
Dec. 24, 2018
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another thing that is at least slightly relevant to this hand/poll/discussion is what your partnership's game try structure is after 1-2. I have noted an increasing interest in so-called “generic game tries”, usually initiated with the next available step. I play this with one of my partners after I saw a Bridge World article on them by Stephen Cooper in the January 2011 issue. Here, of course, if partner makes *any* kind of game try you will accept. The advantage of the neutral/generic try is that you (sometimes, at least) give away less information to the opposition - the exception being when responder has neither a clear accept nor a clear reject and then will tend to try and bid a concentration of strength to help opener evaluate.
Dec. 23, 2018
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