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All comments by Craig Zastera
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My partner passed with this hand.
The opponents duly reached 4 as expected.

I was on lead with:
95-K52-T8-T86532
and could not find the heart lead necessary
to hold them to 4 (I led T instead)

Declarer's hand was:
AKJ873-87-J96-Q7
Leaving dummy with:
T642-943-AKQ2-KJ

Sure, I might have chosen to underlead my only value, but a 3 call would have guaranteed the right lead.
On this deal 3 actually makes, but IMO the opponents will never double 3 when they know they have a game in spades, so I consider the lead directing 3 call to be virtually risk free.

-650 was worth only 2 matchpoints (9 top), whereas
-620 would have been 4.5.
May 15
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Thanks for the votes.

My partner's actual hand was:
Qx-AKJxx-QJx-Axx
Diamonds were 3-0 on my left. LHO also had the SA.

Over pard's 3H, I raised to 4H. In retrospect, perhaps 3NT would have been better (I don't care for 3S).

4H was -1 as my RHO had H:QTxx.

3NT is beatable on a club lead (removes the entry from my hand. LHO can hold up his DA till the 3rd round, etc.).

5D is cold.

At the other table, the auction went:
3D 5D
May 7
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Must abstain as this hand seems to me to be clearly worth a 3 jump rebid.
May 2
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I voted for “other” because I think this shows a good hand with values (i.e. stopper(s)) in clubs but not necessarily club length.
This follows general rule that when our side has two unbid suits (regardless of whether opponents have bid none, one, or both), a bid in one of these suits shows values/stoppers in that suit but generally not in the other (unbid) suit.
I can't see why this bid should show three card spade support–with that I would either pass or raise spades depending on how strong my hand is (and whether the 1S advance is forcing).
April 17
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My preference would be for *4D* to be Kickback for clubs.
I don't think looking for a new trump suit (diamonds) at the 4 level is often going to be necessary.
But it is important to be able to ask for keycards with clubs agreed, and it is now or never as anything above 4D (e.g. 4NT) is simply too high to be useful.

But it is also useful to be able to suggest slam interest in clubs without taking over with Keycard (often, because of an uncontrolled suit).
Therefore, I would use 4S to suggest slam interest with spades controlled and 4NT to suggest interest in a club slam without a spade control.
5C would therefore be natural but showing closer to minimum values.

We had a similar problem in the GNT district finals playing with a first time partner.
Our auction was:
me LHO pard RHO
1C 3H 3S P
4C P 4H P
4S all pass

I held: Tx-A-KJxx-KQTxxx
pard held: AKQxx-xx-Axxx-AJ

The other table reached the (almost) cold 7C (I know not how).
But the interesting questions on this auction is what do
partner's various bids over my 4C mean?
4D? 4H? 4S? 4N? 5C? 5NT?
My view is that 4D should be Kicback for clubs.
4H should be ill-defined until follow-up–it might just be a “choice of game cue-bid” (e.g. if followed by a pass of 4S as in our auction).
But 4H might also be a hand with club support too good for a mere raise to 4C (if partner's 4S is followed by 5C).
Ideally, this 4H then 5C should be a slam try with a heart control, while 4NT over 4C should be a strong raise of clubs without a heart control.

Although I'm not advocating 4D Kickback with partner's hand (because of the two dead hearts), notice how well that choice would have worked here–after he learns I have two keys and the CQ, he can bid 5D to ask for specific kings. Then over 5N (DK), he can bid 7C with great confidence. Of course, if I show only *1* KC over 4D, he will have to guess what to do.
April 11
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A treatment I play which works well on this hand type (and others) is a variation of “2-level Smolen”:
After 1N-2C-2D:
2H is a relay to 2S. Opener must bid 2S
So responder can bid this way with 5=4 majors and
a weak hand–if opener bids 2H or 2S, responder passes.
If opener bids 2D, responder bids 2H and passes the
forced 2S reply.
After 1N-2C-2D-2H-2S(forced), responder may also bid:
2N: 5=4 majors, game invitational strength
3N: 5=4 majors, GF strength
3H: 5=5 majors, light invite (e.g. K 5th - K 5th)
3S: 6=4 majors, game invitational
3C/3D: can be used as 5S=5C/D Game invitational,
*or* 4=4=1=4 / 4=4=4=1 slam try
4 level: 6=4 or 5=5 major slam tries
After 1N-2C-2D:
2S by responder shows 4+ spades = 5+ hearts
with hearts longer than spades (e.g. 4=5 or 4=6)
with game invitational or better strength.
Opener replies according to his heart length
and strength–2N, 3N, 3H, 4H typically with
2H & min, 2H & max, 3H & min, 3H & max
Other 3 and 4 level continuations can be
defined usefully too.
April 10
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Is it possible that passing (1H) but then balancing with 4S over LHO's jump to 4H should show exactly *4* spades with a (very) long minor?

The logic is that any hand with 5+ spades that could possibly balance with 4S would surely have taken some action directly over (1H)–either some spade overcall or a 2-suit bid.
April 6
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I'm too cowardly to bid 3C at this vulnerability, so 2C for me.
March 23
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The double is take-out and promises extra values. Of course, doubler heard the 1NT advance showing values and something in diamonds, so advancer can “convert” the double if he has a suitable hand (and doubler knows this).
March 20
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Because of my partner's (South's) hesitation before winning the HK, I knew immediatly with 100% certainty that
(a) he had another heart, so they were playing a 4-3
(b) a spade return (low is best but any works) would
defeat the contract.

If he had played low in tempo, if this were presented as a bridge problem, I might well work out the actual situation (because declarer leading H6 at trick 2 from H:AT62 would seem very strange). At the table, who knows if I would take the time to figure this out?

Further, it is logically possible that declarer's hand
might have been:
ATxx-AT62-Kx-ATx (or C:A9x or C:AT9)
in which case only a diamond shift at trick 4 would guarantee
a set (else he sheds a diamond on dummy's 4th club).

Thus, I felt compelled to return my D8 at trick 4 despite knowing that a spade would set the contract.

Declarer's actual hand was ATxx-AT6-KQ-Axxx, so he made 4H.
You might note that 4H is unbeatable if declarer had ducked
the opening lead (but that would fail if spades were 6-1).

Some of you commented that a great player (think Michael Rosenberg) sitting North should be able to return a spade despite partner's hesitation since he would have “figured this out” anyway, but that a lesser North, knowing that he would have or might have failed to infer the 4-3 without partner's hesitation, is ethically obligated to return a diamond (knowing that this will fail) because of partner's hesitation.
This seems wrong to me–how can two different players have different obligations w.r.t U.I. based on their relative abilities? I know that ability confers advantages, but I don't think lesser obligations w.r.t U.I. should be one of them.

There is also the issue that on this hand there is a logical possibility of declarer's holding a hand
(ATxx-AT62-Kx-ATx) where a diamond shift could be right.

This would seem to make the case that North ethically must return a diamond (since it is a true “logical alternative) stronger.
But what if analysis would reveal that leading a spade back could never cost the defense (even when declarer has four hearts) and might be necessary (if they're in a 4-3).

Would it then be OK to return the spade despite partner's helpful hesitation?
I actually think the answer is still ”no“ because without the hesitation, it would require thought (mental effort) to work out that a spade return couldn't cost.
But with the hesitation, it is immediately obvious with virtually no thought at all that a spade return will set the contract (because it promotes a trump for me).
Thus, returning a spade would still be benefitting from ”U.I", and, hence, would be wrong.
March 20
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Congratulations, Cristal.
March 16
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I think it is essential that responder's 2NT be asking opener to pick a minor rather than being natural.
Thus, if responder instead picks a minor himself (e.g. 3C in the example auction), he should be showing 5+. So if opener then removes to 3D, he should be showing extra values (with a minimum 5=5 or better, he'd just bid 3D directly).
March 14
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It seems to me that since RHO's double suggests length (4) and strength in the majors, responder ought to have a pretty decent major if only 4 long to bid it.
Hence, with, e.g. AQJx-xxxx-xxx-xx, I would surely respond 1S after 1C-(DBL) rather than 1H.

But if the two suits were roughly equal or both at least decent (even, e.g. KQJx-QTxx-xxx-xx), I would go with responding 1H just as if RHO had passed.

Thus, on the given example hand, if choosing to bid at all I would surely bid 1H, not 1S.
With a bare 6 count, I think it would be OK to just pass the double, but I don't mind bidding 1H so as to let partner know we have a little something (but this hand would surely be the worst with which I would consider bidding directly).
March 14
Craig Zastera edited this comment March 14
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Must say that I agree with that. If the DQ were the DA, then this might be a UNFV VUL 4D opener.
March 13
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One deal proves nothing, of course. But on this one, our side is cold for 2D …..

but, their side can make 2S.
Partner (north) held:
KJ3-K9843-97-A93
But East held:
Q642-AQT-53-KT42
so probably would have made balancing double over 2D opener,
allowing them to reach 2S with West holding:
A987-752-K86-865

This time, passing the hand out was worth 19 on 25 top.
If allowed to play 2D, would have scored 23.5 for +90.
However, -110 for defending 2S would have been only 10.5
Feb. 17
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Well, sorry to see overwhelming vote for diamond lead (in our methods, low would be the choice if leading a diamond).

Partner's hand was:
Q9-AQx-AJ9x-T9xx
while declarer held:
Tx-KT9xxxx-KQx-A
leaving dummy with:
Axxx-xx-Txx-Qxxx

As you can see, diamond lead is only one (other than CK) that allows declarer to make 9 tricks (but 8 are always there).

Bidding was also flawed as our side can make 2S (or 3C from opener's side). Thus, hand with short hearts should probably have competed over 2H (double if take-out, else 2S).

My partner led diamond (2) also.
My view is that one ought to lead from where values are held which will likely combine with partner's (he did rebid 1NT after all), so I would guess between the black suits (either is OK here as it turns out).
Feb. 17
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Playing transfer advances of overcalls, the transfer into overcaller's suit substitutes for the “cue-bid” playing natural advances, except that (with non-forcing natural new suit advances), the cue-bid occassionally shows a strong hand without support, whereas the transfer advance into overcaller's suit always shows a strong (limit raise plus) hand with support. So 10 HCPs would be the typical minimum.

With suitable good hands with support, advancer also has the options of:
(a) making a fit jump in an unbid suit
(b) making a splinter jump in opener's suit

When overcaller's suit is a major, some would also use a 2NT advance to show a 4 card LR+.
Feb. 10
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I don't understand your comment about “no urgency to lead a diamond” (vs. 6S with late knowledge about 2D being Drury).
It seems to me that I have a choice between red suit leads (partner not having doubled the artificial 5C).
The fact that 2D had been Drury has no particular bearing on choice of lead. If partner had the DK, say, he certainly would not have doubled 2D on this basis (i.e. without length in the suit).
A diamond lead seems better, to me, than a heart lead since I can contribute an honor in diamonds which might combine with one in partner's hand to produce a set. For a heart to be right, partner needs more than one honor in that suit.
Jan. 26
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No one asked about the 2D during the auction. I'm guessing that East's jump to 4S over West's 2NT might have “woken up” West that 2D had been 4 card Drury (they clearly *had* that agreement).
It also seems not unlikely to me (but admittedly I'm speculating here) that East might have jumped to 4S (rather than bidding an obviously forcing 3S over West's “slam try” 2NT) just to make sure there was no disaster given that there had been no alert of the Drury call. That is, over 2D Drury, 2NT is a 100% force showing slam interest, hence no need for responder to leap to 4S (especially since they acknowledged they had no agreed distinction between 3S vs. 4S on this Drury auction).
But over a “natural” PH 2D, one might suppose that opener's 2NT would just be natural, invitational but not forcing.
Jan. 26
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I posted this entry to determine whether a significant percentage of respondents as South would have bid 2H over a 4+ card Drury 2D but not over a natural PH 2D.
The results of the poll indicate that this is the case (with a minority that would bid 2H regardless, another minority that would never bid 2H, and a few who would have opened 2H).

This is relevent because of a later director call on this deal. I will describe this in another post together with additional questions about the director's ruling.
For those reading only here, the final contract was 6S by West on the bidding:
E S W N
P P 1S P
2D P 2N P
4S P 4N P
5C P 6S all pass

2D was not alerted, but when the auction had reached 4S, west indicated that 2D had been 4 card Drury. In that context, 2N was described as forcing with slam interest. They were not clear about the difference between East's actual jump to 4S vs. 3S instead. 5C showed one keycard.
The full deal was:
East: KT76-Q8-K53-KT53

me: 3-T762-Q9642-J86 partner: 985-AK543-87-942

West: AQJ42-J9-AJT-AQ7

Against 6S, I found the unfortunate lead of the D2 which both solved declarer's problem in that suit and allowed him the timing to eventually ditch a heart on the 4th round of clubs when that suit behaved for him.

Obviously, the director call involved the claim that had 2D been alerted as 4 card Drury, partner might have bid 2H which would have caused me to lead that suit instead of a diamond with a much better result for the defense.
Jan. 26
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