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All comments by Craig Zastera
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I'm surprised that you don't offer an option of “two” as that is the number I consider borderline for bidding 6.
With the K, I would definitely bid 6.

I'm imagining pard with something like xxx-AKQxxxx-void-AKx, where Q would suffice.
16 hours ago
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Pardon me for lack of Precision knowledge, but could you clarify the shape(s) shown by responder's double of (2)?

You say only “5+ HCPs”.
Am I to assume, then, that this double is merely “strength showing” and says nothing about length in the majors, i.e. therefore not like an ordinary “negative double” playing non-strong methods?
16 hours ago
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If there is any “blame” for defending (2) undoubled, I would have to assign it to South who might have doubled at least in pass out seat.

However, after such a double, it is not at all clear to me that N/S will reach 3NT. The 3rd time around balancing double will sound to North like South is bidding a lot of North's cards.
I don't think he will be at all likely either to pass (2X) or to bid 3NT. Quite likely, N/S would “languish” in 3 for a worse score than they'd get from defending (2) undoubled.
Oct. 15
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Not sure where you're from, Michael, but I'd bet that a majority of US players would open 1NT with this North hand (playing some sort of “strong” 1NT range).

Personally, I think I'm in the definite minority these days as far as being reluctant to open 1NT with a 5 card major, but even I would strongly consider it with this hand, although I might convince myself that after 1-1 I'd be content with 2 and after 1-1N(F)-2-2 be OK with pass.

As far as “DONT”, I think that or the similar Meckwell version are pretty common defenses over strong 1NT, although I'd not go so far as to claim that a majority play one of these (recently, “Woolsey” has been gaining ground).

I suppose nearly every East playing a “DONT” variant would try 2 with that hand under the stated conditions.
Oct. 15
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Tough problem if 3 rebid is NF (as I play it).

I chose 2. Most economical bid, correctly shows values in s and suggests more than a minimum. Forcing but not to game.

Of course, my problems may not be over.
Say partner rebids 3. What now? Probably 3NT.
If he rebids 2NT or 3, I raise.
Over a (somewhat unlikely) 3 (or 3), I try 3NT.
Oct. 15
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I find this kind of thinking to be all too frequently wrong.
Just because LHO opened 1, it does not follow that he has AQJxx behind us making our king worthless.

I don't want to give away the show on this deal until I collect more votes, but I will say that this time partner's holding was :Axx, so our K is not so bad after all.
Oct. 14
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If I judge the hand good enough to bid twice, I start with 1 so I may be able to conveniently bid 2 later.

I do judge this hand good enough, so 1.

With a stronger hand, one could consider a cue-bid (2).

The cue-bid is “nice” as it immediately gets partner to choose a suit, so finding the “right” major (if there is only one) will be easy.

However, if you start with a cue-bid you cannot pass partner's 2M reply, so there has to be some minimum strength requirement for the cue-bid even when your primary intention is to find the better major suit fit.

If you cue-bid and then raise partner's 2M to 3M, he will consider this invitational to game and, hence, will raise to 4M with 15 playing points for sure (perhaps with 14).

Thus, you need about 10 “playing points” for the cue-bid to be viable.

This hand is clearly below that minimum strength requirement, so the cue-bid is out.
Oct. 14
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Depends on your agreements about negative doubles in this situation.
My experience is that partner will expect four cards in the unbid major when I double a (2M) overcall of his 1NT opening, and choose that strain like a shot when he has four.
Oct. 13
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I did a couple of simulations.

One shows that (2) makes well over 50% (58%) of the time while 3 makes about as often. This suggests to me that competing is a better idea than passing.

The other simulation involved looking specifically at partner's 1NT hands with exactly four s.

If you double, he will surely choose 3 with these hands as he expects you to have four.
But in this simulation, 3 was much better than 3–3 made 59% of the time while 3 made only 24%.

From an IMP perspective, 3 beat 3 by 1.852 IMPs / deal on average when opener has four s.

This suggests to me that 2NT, planning to pass 3 will likely work better than a negative double.
Oct. 12
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The general rule is that bidding immediately to the contract to which our previous bidding has forced us is the *weakest* action.

There may be specific auctions where that rule makes less sense than allowing “PASS” to be weakest.
Oct. 11
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Assuming your partnership uses “support doubles”, I would be confident that is what North's double of (2) is even without explicit discussion.

I chose 4, but perhaps an immediate leap to 5 would have been better.
Oct. 11
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My partner held this hand and chose to rebid 2.

We had had no discussion of this sequence, so I took this cue-bid to show some sort of maximum hand needing more info from me rather than as a natural passable call.

My hand was: KT932-A7-QT765-2,
and I chose to rebid 2.

Now partner continued with 2 which I raised to 3, passed out.

Although Deep Finesse indicates that 3 is makeable, partner failed by a trick. At the other table, 2E made with an overtrick for a 5 IMP loss for us.

Deep Finesse also indicates that 4W, 3, 3, and 2NT are all makeable by our side, so this shouldn't have been a “problem” deal as we can make most anything reasonable, but somehow we managed -5 IMPs anyway.

Opening bidder's (North) hand was:
Q764-K83-K4-AT84
Oct. 11
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I'm a very infrequent psycher, but decided that this hand and circumstances called for one.

My choice was to open 1 (chosen by no one on BWs).

The full deal was:

North: KJ3-K8-AKQJ2-A98
West: 75-T632-T9865-QT East: T964=Q95-7-KJ543
South: AQ82-AJ74-43-762

The opponents quickly reached 6NN (North doubled, South cue-bid 2, etc.).

Naturally, partner led a low , after which declarer easily made all 13 tricks.

North can always make 13 tricks in NT, but perhaps would not after some other lead (a would be nice).

-1470 was worth 9% of the matchpoints.
Even 3NN+4, -720, would have been a below average result for E/W on this deal.

So the 1 psych clearly was a loser this time.
Oct. 11
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I play “good/bad” regularly.

For a moment, I too thought that even with “G/B”, 3 here would not be forcing.

But then I re-considered and decided that 3 needs to be forcing, although 3 would not be.

If 3 were not forcing, then what is opener supposed to do with a strong (say 19+, GF) minor 2-suiter?

Surely we don't want to lump all GF hands into the 3 cue-bid.

Also, we don't want to have to jump beyond 3NT with a GF hand.

Hence, playing good/bad, I think 3 needs to be forcing while 3 shows a hand that would have jump rebid 3 in an uncontested auction (hence not forcing).

I can see that this idea can lead to problems, though.
Suppose opener bids a “bad” 2NT.

How is responder to know if this is a “bad” (i.e. minimum opener) hand with s (6+) or a better (but not enough to GF) hand with both minors?

Suppose responder “likes” s. Since he doesn't know if opener has a minimum / 2-suiter, a / 2-suiter with some extras but not GF strength, or a minimum with just s, the best responder can do is bid 3 to indicate he likes s better than s (opener can correct to 3 if he has a minimum hand with just s).

But then opener with a / 2-suiter with some extras but not GF has to guess whether to pass 3 or bid again (and if so, what?).
Oct. 10
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We play that over our 3 openers, responder's 3 is artificial and asks opener for a *3* card major.
The replies are:
3: 3 s
3: 3 s
3NT: no 3 card major
4/4: both 3 card majors (min/max)
Oct. 10
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Shouldn't you tell us what partner's 4 is??
Normally, when opponents bid a suit, splinters apply only in their suit.
Other (new) suit jumps are fit showing.
If you play differently, I think you should tell us that as part of problem statement.

Anyway, none of your choices match my view.

I would “raise” to 5 thinking partner has support and s and a strong hand.
But I do not think partner must have 5+ s–he could have only 4.
Oct. 10
Craig Zastera edited this comment Oct. 10
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5: Q and K
5: denies Q
5NT: shows Q, no outside king(s)
6/6: Q + King in bid suit, no K (or K for 6)

6: Q plus trick source to support 7/7NT if partnership
holds all key cards.

The last one is most important. Responder does not know if
partnership has all keys, but asker does. Responder with trump Queen needs a way to suggest a grand *if* all keys are held.
Oct. 10
Craig Zastera edited this comment Oct. 10
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I actually held this hand and passed, so I will vote for that action here.

As I recall, the auction continued with LHO raising to (2), and that was passed to me.

This type of balancing double usually shows TO double shape but too weak for a direct double of (1).

But it can also be an off-shape hand like this one with good strength but wrong shape to double (1) directly.

Anyway, as I recall this *should* have worked out OK but didn't as partner got confused and bid 2NT thinking it was “good/bad.”

But that treatment doesn't (or at least shouldn't) apply when both of us have passed several times and the double is just a balance.
Instead, his 2NT should have been “scrambling”, suggesting that I pick a minor.

I was about to pick 3 when RHO bid (3) ending the auction.

Unfortunately, as I recall, partner was 0=4=4=5 and we can make 10 tricks in either red suit.

Worse, we defended poorly and set (3) only 1 trick instead of 2 which was possible.
Oct. 9
Craig Zastera edited this comment Oct. 10
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Yes, this is an A/X pairs event at a regional tournament.
Oct. 9
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But if your partnership actually opens 1M significantly light in 3rd chair as mine do (because we play sound openings in 1st/2nd), then there is probably no PH that will always be safe at 3M.

Therefore, it is best to start with 2 Drury.
We use the 2M rebid by opener to show a hand that would not have opened in 1st/2nd chair.
With a better hand that is not good enough for 4M but is a full opener, opener rebids 2 over which responder has a complete structure of rebids to show his hand type (min balanced, max balanced, splinters, fit-showing with a good side suit, etc.).

If opener is stronger still (slam interest), he can either use the 2 inquiry *or* make a natural slam try by rebidding above 2M (other than 4M which is for play).

Making an immediate jump shift (other than 2 over 1, which is safe because light 3rd/4th 1 openers promise support) is unnecessary and potentially unsafe.

Of course, if your partnership doesn't open really light 1M in 3rd chair, you may not need all this if you think that PH responder can have good enough hands to be safe at 3M opposite even the worst 3rd chair openers in your methods.
Oct. 1
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