Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Craig Zastera
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I don't play Bergen raises, so may not understand them.
My plan is to start with 3C Bergen, but I will bid 4S even if partner tries to sign-off in 3S. Is that legal?
Sept. 19, 2016
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Shocked at all the 3H bidders unless they think their call is forcing (I don't).
My thoughts were whether to merely bid 4H or to do something stronger, e.g. 4C splinter raise of hearts. I finally decided on a conservative 4H.
Sept. 19, 2016
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3D at other vulnerabilities, but not at unfavorable.
Sept. 19, 2016
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This is a simple problem to solve using simulations.
I did a 1000 deal simulation with opposite hand being 15 HCPs balanced (i.e. the ones where partner presumably would not accept a 4NT invite).
6NT was makeable on 563 of these deals.

I did a similar 1000 deal simulation with same paramaters except that opposite hand was required to have at least one ace (i.e. eliminating deals where two aces are missing which could be discovered by starting with Gerber).
This time, 6NT made on 578 deals–not a whole lot of improvement made by ace checking.

Still, these results suggest (should probably do a larger simulation, e.g. 5000 deals) that one should just bid slam here (or bid Gerber first if you want) since 6NT is making more than 50% of the time on deals where partner would reject an invite.
Sept. 19, 2016
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4S here shows minors. 4NT is Blackwood.
So only issue is whether hand is good enough for 4S (if not, then simply overcall 3C).
I find that these “leaping Michaels” type 2-suit bids are frequently made on hands that are not as strong as one would like to hold for the call, but seem to work out OK most of the time anyway. There have been a number of similar problems in MSC–right shape for a 2-suit “trick” bid over their pre-empt but very marginal in overall HCP strength. Usually, the panel gives the 2-suited bid the plurality vote.
Got to play with your toys even if the hand isn't quite perfect :-).
Sept. 19, 2016
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I think the auction is perfect through 3H, including opener's 2NT rebid (always good to establish NT playability early in 2/1 auctions).
But North's 3NT over 3H is terrible with this control rich maximum (and with only Ax stopper in the unbid suit too).
North should bid 4D over 3H to show his support and slam suitable cards. I can hardly imagine a much more ideal hand for this sequence (perhaps SA and DK instead of SK and DA).

South's 3H bid is excellent–it shows clear slam interest (North has denied four hearts with his 2NT)
and indicates a “help suit” where values will be useful.
Sept. 19, 2016
Craig Zastera edited this comment Sept. 19, 2016
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I would have:
(a) opened 1C–I like “rule of 2/3/4” for pre-empts
This hand doesn't have 7 playing tricks, hence,
not a 3C bid at unfavorable vul.
Also, the spectacular support for spades is a big minus
when considering 3C

(b) jumped to *5H* over 3S as an obvious splinter.
With this hand and having opened 3C, I'm definitely
not worried 5S will be too high.
Should partner interpret 4H as a splinter in support
of spades? Not clear, although I think it certainly
should at least be taken as some sort of a control
bid agreeing spades as it can hardly be an offer to
play in a previously unbid suit (and thus has the
advantage of leaving room for partner to bid RKCB).
Sept. 19, 2016
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Good to have the agreement that just as jumps in new suits after a Jacoby transfer are splinter slam tries in auctions starting with 1NT, e.g.:
1N-2H-2S-<4C/4D/4H>
so too should jumps in new suits be splinter slam tries after Jacoby in auctions starting with 2NT, i.e.:
2N-3H-3S-<5C/5D/5H>
and
2N-3D-3H-<4S/5C/5D>

After Jacoby, *non-jump* new suit bids are natural (second suit), GF, perhaps suggesting slam interest (degree of slam interest required subject to partnership discussion–particularly after 1NT opening, new suit after Jacoby is just defined as “game forcing” as it can be important to explore alternative strains for game.)
Sept. 19, 2016
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This hand must at least make some sort of a slam try. Consider the ancient (and slightly conservative) adage that when (game or slam) is “cold opposite a perfect minimum”, then one should invite that contract.
Here, 6S is cold opposite a subminimum like Kx-xxxx-AKxx-AKQ, so at least a slam try is clearly indicated.

The slam try I prefer is a *splinter*:
2N-3H-3S-*5H*

In case any of you fear that forcing to the five level might be risky, here are the results of a 1000 deal simulation with this hand opposite random 20-21 HCP balanced hands (and random E/W hands).

Number of tricks available in spades with the strong hand playing it:

# of tricks: 13 12 11 10 9
frequency: 168 479 294 52 7

So, committing to the 5 level costs on fewer than 6% of the deals, while slam is makeable on 65% of the deals.

These results made me wonder whether it may be too conservative to merely *invite* slam. Perhaps we should make a Texas transfer, ask for key-cards and bid slam whenever fewer than two keys are missing.
So I did another 1000 deal simulation where the opposite hand was constrained to be 20-21 HCPs, balanced, with either all four of the missing keycards or with any three of the four.

This time, the results for number of tricks makeable in spades played by the strong hand were:
# of tricks: 13 12 11 10 9 8
frequency: 180 577 215 27 0 1

So slam makes 76% of the time when not more than one keycard is missing.
This strikes me as good enough that probably the Texas then RKCB approach is warranted.
Sept. 19, 2016
Craig Zastera edited this comment Sept. 19, 2016
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Should have bid 2H (Michaels) originally. Failure to do so has put you in an awkward position as you cannot now correct for an earlier error, so have to pass now and hope for the best.
Sept. 16, 2016
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I think this hand is a bit too good to risk stopping in 3D vulnerable at IMPs. Give partner an unappealing minimum like xxx-x-KQxxx-AKxx and you will likely make 3NT (or 5D).
Sept. 16, 2016
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Your definition of 4S as “for play” doesn't really make sense. How can you know how strong partner is?
4S merely says that you have relatively minimum opening bid values with four spades (and 4+ hearts). If partner wishes to proceed on that basis, he certainly can (and should).

2D followed by a minimum spade bid should show a hand too good for 4S. Is this hand good enough? I don't think so–it is an 8 loser hand with some non-slammish values. But if you think this is significantly more than a minimum range opener with spades and hearts, then go ahead and start with 2D then spades to suggest some mild slam potential (but after that, do nothing aggressive in the ensuing auction).

A jump to 3S should be reserved for a very pure strong hands with serious slam interest–i.e. nothing like this one.
Sept. 16, 2016
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I voted for “penalty” because I think that is by far the mainstream view. Mainstream view would be that double is “game-try” only when their suit is the one immediately below ours (so that there is no other game try available).

However, personally I like “double” to be game-try even when their suit is more than 1 step below ours. That way, we have more descriptive game tries available. Playing this way, choosing to make a GT double when other game try calls are available most definitely is inviting partner to consider passing for penalties (as opposed to simply returning to 3 of our suit) when he does not wish to accept the game invite.
Sept. 15, 2016
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Jess,
That is incorrect reasoning. It is analagous to the following (also incorrect) argument concerning the classic “Restricted Choice” situation of:
dummy: AT8x
declarer: K97xx

Suppose you lay down the king from hand and RHO follows
with the queen. Thinking along the lines you suggest, one might reason “RHO can only have started with QJ (doubleton) or Q (stiff). He cannot have started with the stiff Jack because he didn't play the jack. Therefore, since a (specific) 2=2 break is more likely than a specific 3=1 break, when I lead low from hand on the second round and LHO follows low, I should play the ace from dummy, hoping to drop RHO's remaining Jack (from an original QJ doubleton)”

But as we all know from “restricted choice”, this is incorrect. To see this, one must consider all relevent original holdings:
1. xx QJ
2. Jxx Q
3. Qxx J
RHO's play to trick 1 (dropping a “quack”) is consistent with all three of these holdings. But since a second round finesse wins in both cases (2) and (3), while playing for the drop wins only in case 1, it is clear that it is better (by almost 2 to 1) to finesse on the second round. It would be totally incorrect to (mentally) “eliminate” possibility 3 on the grounds that RHO played the Q on the first round, hence cannot have started with the stiff jack. One must look at all *original holdings* that are consistent with what one has seen, treating the Q and the J as “equivalent” cards.

The situation in the current problem is similar. The small spot cards (6, 5, 3) are all essentially “equivalent”. Thus, one must consider all three relevent original holdings:
1. A96 2. A65 and 3. A63
from which East might have played the 6 on the first round as a suit preference signal. Since in two of those three cases the 6 is “high” (heart suit preference), that interpreation is more likely correct (by 2 to 1 odds) than than East had the one (out of three) holdings where the 6 was “low” (club suit preference).
Sept. 15, 2016
Craig Zastera edited this comment Sept. 15, 2016
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Assume we're only considering cases where East started sith D:Axx.
The D6 can be high (suit preference for hearts) from two original holdings: D:A65 and D:A63.

But the D6 can be low (suit preference for clubs) from only one original holding: D:A96.

Thus, the odds are 2/1 in favor of playing East for the heart Ace vs. the Club Ace.
Declarer's play(s) are more or less irrelevent in that unless he is stupid, he will do his best to give you a “losing option” (that is, he will try to make it less than 100% from your perspective whether East's card is his highest or his lowest if he can do so).
Sept. 14, 2016
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close between 2S and (invitatonal) 3S. As partner's major suit residue is much more likely to be short spades and long hearts than the other way around, and this is matchpoints, I opt for the conservative 2S.
Sept. 14, 2016
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Jumping to 6H here (my choice) is ugly.
I think Kit Woolsey often deprecates such leaps (and rightly so) because they are “unscientific” and can easily miss a cold grand.
Normally, I condone such leaps only when I have a void in an awkward hand which I think will be difficult or impossible to describe scientifically.

Here with no undescribable void, it is probably technically better to start with a 4S cue-bid. Perhaps that is what I'd do with a (hypothetical) partner that I trust.

But as a practical matter, I think the auction is likely to get confused if I start with a cue-bid because partner will not place me with such spectacular hearts after, e.g.
(3S)-DBL-4S-5D-5H.
I suppose I could cue-bid and then leap to 6H, but that might lure partner into supposing I have first round spade control.
Sept. 12, 2016
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Many would have opened this hand (not me because of the weak spade Jack–move that jack to hearts and I open).

Double now is out as that is “responsive” showing the red suits (I think that is how most, at least in US, play it).

2C is out as that is a strong 3 card raise of spades (3C would be a 4 card “mixed raise”).

Pass does not appeal with a hand that is (nearly?) an opening bid with two bullets.

That leaves me with an ugly 2S. I'm not a fan of raising on doubletons, but here maybe the extra HCP strength and the stiff diamond will compensate (or overcompensate).
Sept. 12, 2016
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3NT. Can't partner have something like:
AKxxx-xx-xx-Axxx ?
Sept. 12, 2016
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I assume that 3S is non-forcing (for play). How else does responder get to play spades when he has very long spades and no hearts? Thus, opener, who has already described his hand (exactly 6 hearts, 5-10 points, no spade fit) should pass.
Sept. 12, 2016
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