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All comments by Craig Zastera
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Big difference of opinion.
I “love” Love's book on squeezes. I've read it several times (first was a *long* time ago–maybe 1967).
I've also read the “updated” version which includes some squeeze types not covered in the original while maintaining the style of the original.

Maybe because I was a math major, I found Love book very well organized, completely clear and easy to understand.
Much like a math text book (not surprising as Love was a mathematics professor at University of Michigan).

That is not to criticize the Kelsey squeeze books–I've read those too and found them useful and readable.
Feb. 18
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I'm leaving town for Vancouver (WA) regional, so here is the “real deal” on this one.

My partner held this hand and overcalled 2.

I do not like that choice much as (to me) this hand is some sort of a pre-empt as essentially all the values are in the 8 card suit. I think a 2 overcall should deliver at least one significant high card outside the suit.

I wouldn't object to an optimistic 3 (bid 3N with stopped) or some more mundane pre-empt (3 or 4–not more given the vulnerability).

Anyway, my hand was:
: 74 : K762 : AJT52 : 53

West raised to (2). Now we had a small bidding misunderstanding. My belief is that our agreements on this auction are that DOUBLE is a good raise while 2NT is a surrogate for a “responsive double” (i.e. shows the red suits here). My partner seemed to think it was the other way around (not unreasonable–just not what I think we'd agreed).

So I bid 2NT and partner alerted as “good raise”.
East bid 4 (he held: AKT9832-A94-86-2) and my partner bid 5.

I don't quite remember how the auction went after that, but one of them bid (5) and I doubled (I'm trying to ignore that my partner thinks I've shown a good raise).

Partner led the K (Rusinow) and dummy hit with:
: J65 : QJT : KQ973 : 86

I played my highest (5). We play upside-down attitude and standard count. Our agreements are usually attitude at trick 1, but we have an exception–if the bidding and dummy suggest 9+ cards in the suit led between dummy and opening leader, then *count* applies.

Fortunately, I have no problem here as my high would be correct card either way.

Ignoring the UI, I would assume partner has 7+ s for his “free” 5 bid, so count would apply.
But if somehow attitude were “on”, I would still play high to discourage.

Anyway, partner could have beaten (5X) by shifting to his stiff (a play I think is indicated), but he instead decided to continue s (hoping my 5 was stiff I guess).

Of course, -650 was 0.5 matchpoints whereas +100 would have been a cold top (no one went plus N/S).

I can't say that the bidding was the cause of our zero here, but I did expect more than 8 s and out from partner for his bidding.
Feb. 18
Craig Zastera edited this comment Feb. 18
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Well, I'm leaving for the Vancouver (WA) regional soon, so I'll post the “real deal” a bit earlier than usual.

I suppose I should be pleased (and surprised) that 100% (so far) have chosen the same call I did–5.

Sadly, I must report this choice didn't work too well.
Partner held: : 9 : KT65 : AJT84 : T97

East held: AKJT76-QJ-Q953-K

I played for s to split and thereafter made all 13 tricks easily (set up dummy's long for 13). This was worth only 32% of the matchpoints. Almost half the pairs bid to 6 (some of those got (6) sacs over that).

If anyone thinks that my partner should raise me to 6, I'd appreciate a comment to that effect. Personally, I do not really think he has enough for that call to be clear.

It would be nice if I had a way to show a “good 5” bid over their (4), but I do not think that is what 4NT by me (instead of 5) would mean–I'm thinking 4NT would be primary s with secondary s).
Feb. 18
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You can't have a set of “guarantees” that leave some hands unbiddable. You have to have agreements that tells your partner what you will do with problem hands. That might be “PASS” or it might be “double”, or something else.

But if you've agreed that a negative double “guarantees” 4 cards in the (one) unbid major, then that is what you must have when you choose that call. If you want the double to be more flexible, then make THAT agreement.
Feb. 18
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I wouldn't dream of opening 2 on this hand even at favorable.

suit is not appropriate and too much HCP/defense outside the suit.

Of course, each partnership can have whatever style it likes.
So hopefully in yours this is the hand partner will expect?
Feb. 17
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I don't think this auction is fundamentally different from
(1)-1-(1NT) (with or without some intial PASSes), or any auction of the form: (1X)-1Y-(1NT).

In those auctions, I think most would play that advancer's double is “extended Responsive” or “extended SnapDragon” or whatever name one chooses to describe a TAKE-OUT DOUBLE for the two unbid suits.

Here, East's PH natural 2NT shows a point more than a (max for) a 1NT response. But that is compensated for by West's being a 3rd chair opener.

So I think that a fair hand with 5=5 majors is exactly what partner should expect for DOUBLE here. The majors because it is “extended Responsive”. 5=5 because good shape is needed to justify 3 level competition with both opponents showing values.
Feb. 17
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I (almost) agree:
A strong hand with 3 card support, but I do not think 17 is enough.
Should be more like 19 minimum (maybe shaded to 18 with some guilt) and could be stronger.
Still, it is obviously not forcing to game if advancer has a Yarb.
Feb. 17
Craig Zastera edited this comment Feb. 17
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I agree that it is often a good idea to make a GF 2/1 into a good 5+ card suit even with 4 card support for partner's major.

The idea is to show a big potential trick source.
(Usually) plenty of time to show the support later.

But I agree that a suit like AQJxx or AKxxx is much better than actual KQJxx since the ace will often be easy to find out about later.

And that OP hand isn't appropriate for a later “picture bid” jump to 4 is another drawback to delaying showing the support.

Still 2 start would usually be OK with this hand, but the nasty opponents have pointed out another (possibly unanticipated) drawback of failing to start with 2NT.

Now I think this hand is too good for a mere 4 bid.
So I guess I start with 4. Had I supported s earlier, 4 now would be Kickback, probably a reasonable choice.

But on this auction, I think 4 is just a cue-bid with my strain intentions unclear.
The meaning of 4NT is even murkier–perhaps 6=4 minors?

So 4 now and 5 next time. Sure wish I'd started with 2NT.

Even though PASS would be forcing, I do not see how that choice now would help extricate me from the hole I've already dug.
Feb. 17
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You couldn't be more wrong about the meaning of “guarantees” (verb).
It's meaning is something like “make the strongest possible assurance”.

“Suggest” on the other hand means more like “tends to be the case”, i.e. is likely to be true but is, well, not guaranteed.

I am not here expressing an opinion about whether or not I think it is a good idea for a partnership to agree (as BW Standard does) that a negative double *guarantees* 4+ cards in the unbid major (when there is exactly one).
I am merely stating the meaning of such an agreement is that a negative double *promises* 4+ cards in the unbid major, so that some other call needs to be chosen when that condition is not met.
Feb. 17
Craig Zastera edited this comment Feb. 17
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I don't understand why opening 1 and rebidding 2NT should increase the number of opponents.

It is a simple matter of hand evaluation.

If you think this hand is worth 15-17 HCP, then open 1NT.

But if you think (as I do) that it is worth 18-19, then open 1 and rebid 2NT.

If your evaluation is correct, then partner should be more likely to do the right thing than he would had you misrepresented your hand's strength.
Feb. 17
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I just don't consider this hand good enough to reverse.
For me, an absolute minimum reverse with 4=5 shape would be 16 HCPs essentially all concentrated in the two suits:
xx-AKQx-AKxxx-xx
would be dead minimum.
As you can see, OP hand falls well short of that.

After opening 1NT with this hand, I would not be accepting any game invites.
Feb. 16
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As a guy who really hates “funny” 1NT openers ….

I open 1NT anyway on this problem hand (while holding my nose).

It's just not good enough for a 1 then 2 reverse.
And 1 then 2 doesn't appeal.

The case for opening 1 is that if it is your birthday and parnter responds 1, you will have a nice descriptive raise to 3. Still, my partners are seldom so co-operative.
Feb. 16
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Various simulations one might do to try to shed light on this problem.

But we all know that the North hand is an obvious raise of a 2NT opener.

So I tried the following:
East: 5-6 s with 9+ HCPs (how light might he open in 3rd seat VUL?).

South: actual hand
North: 0-5 HCPs with 4-5 s, fewer s, and < 4 s.
(I figured with 6+ HCPs, even a chicken North would screw up his courage and raise to 3NT if South doubles and then bids only 2NT over North's 2).

The question the above is trying to answer is whether South should “upgrade” based on his great s and gamble a 3NT rebid (after doubling) rather than just bidding a systemically correct 2NT.

Here is the frequency chart for tricks in NT by South:
< 7: 9.7%
7: 15.3%
8: 33.8%
9: 26.0%
10: 13.7%
11: 1.5%

So 3NT makes only 41.2% of the time.
To me, that suggests that South is correct to double and then rebid (only) 2NT, at least at matchpoints.
I suspect that at IMPs, both N and S might have been more aggressive.

So if there is any blame, I believe it is North's for failing to raise to 3NT with a hand that would obviously have done so over a 2NT opener.

Still, at matchpoints there is a case for “going low” on marginal game hands. And admittedly the “expected value” for South's sequence is slightly lower than for a 2NT opener as 19 HCPs is included in this one whereas the 2NT openers start with 20.
Feb. 16
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Just not quite good enough for a double of (1).

If you reversed my majors and they had opened (1), then I would squeek out a TO double.
Feb. 16
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2 is GF while 2NT most definitely is NF.

I think the choice is between 2 and 3NT. I'm not quite sure what I will gain by bidding 2, so I just bid a simple 3NT.

If I played a “light opening” style (I do not), then 2NT might be reasonable.
Feb. 16
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Well, this is either 1NT or 1 then 2NT.
I did a simulation–1000 deals with opposite hand always a balanced hand with 7 HCPs (could have a 5 card major).

From my database of average performance for balanced
hands opposite balanced hands, no 8+ card major fit,
I know that:
17 HCP balanced opposite 7 HCP balanced
makes 3NT: 36.43%

18 HCP balanced opposite 7 HCP balanced:
makes 3NT: 55.56%

19 HCP balanced opposite 7 HCP balanced:
makes 3NT: 74.14%

THIS OP HAND, opposite random balanced 7 HCP hands:
makes 3NT: 57.6%

So that suggests this hand is easily the equivalent of an average balanced 18 HCP hand (even a tad better).
Put me down for 1 then 2NT.
Feb. 16
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You will find an extensive discussion of “LackWood” in Fred Gitelman's series of articles “Improving 2/1”. This 3-part series can be found in various places on the Internet.
For example:
http://www.bridgeguys.com/pdf/GitelmanImprove21.pdf

The stuff on “Last Train” and “LackWood” is in part 2, but if you haven't read these articles before, there is much of value in all of it.
Feb. 12
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I get tired of the criticisms of accurate bidding on the basis of “information leakage.”

I am sure there are situations where an opaque bid may gain through a poor opening lead (or even an error in later defense).

But in general good bidding is about describing your hand in sufficient detail (when possible) to allow the partnership to reach superior contracts not found by the “field” which tends to bid much more crudely (i.e. just take a shot at the most likely contract and don't worry about it when you miss the target).

Here, opener has marginal strength to accept the invite and an obvious undisclosed feature which may be extremely relevent to finding the best final contract (stiff ).

That feature can be revealed via 3. This choice is “multi-dimensional” as it allows for several possible final contracts, both games and partscores, in various strains.

Sure, I suppose if partner just continues with 3NT, then we may have been better off just bidding it ourselves (or passing 2NT). But I think that often enough the 3 continuation will allow us to explore sucessfully other possibilities that will not be found by many others.

Of course, these alleged benefits are very dependent on trusting your partner's judgment in using the extra information intelligently. I suspect that some who fail to pursue the “3rd path” do so out of fear that partner will not be up to the challenge of using the info to make a better partnership decision than we might “guess” on our own.
Feb. 12
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I definitely would have bid at least 6 the first time.
Feb. 12
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I too think the North hand is a marginal opener.
It does pass the “rule of 22” (barely) but includes weakish holdings in both majors (and no defensive tricks outside the long suit).

Thus, I think there is a lot to be said for passing the North hand.
Feb. 12
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