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All comments by Craig Zastera
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I think this is just a guess. Partnership style has some impact.

Since we are at “favorable”, partner need have only 7 “sure tricks” for 5 to be consistent with “Rule of 2/3/4”.

So my chicken guess is to settle for 5 rather than “guess” we have a slam.
March 6
Craig Zastera edited this comment March 6
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Not enough playing strength (i.e. suit it too weak internally) for a 2nd chair unfavorable weak 2.

This is the worst seat and vulnerability for pre-empting.
Hence, I require near “perfecto” when opening a weak 2 (or 3 level pre-empt) under these conditions.
This hand is definitely not that.
March 6
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I also play what you call “mixed” signals, i.e. “upside-down” attitude but “standard” count.

But I can't for the life of me understand why others think this is “mixed” and/or a bit weird and/or “harder” to remember.

By my lights, ATTITUDE signals and COUNT signals are completely unrelated. So the protocol chosen for one type of signal (say “upside down” for attitude) seems to me to be logically unrelated to the protocol chosen for the other type of signal (say “standard” count).

After all, referring to HL = encouraging for attitude and HL = even for count as “standard” signals is merely a reference to historical usage.
There is no logical connection between that particular choice of protocols for these two unrelated types of signals.

One could just as logically choose any of the four possible combinations:
1. HL = encourage if attitude; even if count (“standard”)
2. HL = encourage if attitude; odd if count (weird)
3. HL = discourage if attitude; even if count (“mixed”)
4. HL = discourage if attitude; odd if count (“UDCA”)

So if a partnership decides that HL = discourage works better for ATTITUDE signals, they should consider which protocol they prefer for their COUNT signals independently.

Their choice of “UD” for their attitude signals does not constrain their choice of COUNT signal protocol in any way.

Regardless of which protocol is chosen for each, the partnership still needs to know whether a signal in a particular situation is COUNT or ATTITUDE in order for information to be communicated usefully.

Sure, there may be cases where one combination of protocols for ATTITUDE and COUNT might result in the same card being chosen regardless of which meaning applies. But that would just be a “happy accident.”
There could be other situations where a different protocol choice would lead to a “happy accident” where uncertainty whether signal is ATTITUDE vs. COUNT would be harmless with the same card being correct for either.

In my partnerships, the answer to the question of “what should 3rd hand play from a doubleton?” when partner leads the king (from AK, Rusinow style) is easy:
* 3rd hand's play is ATTITUDE, not COUNT
(except for special case where leader + dummy known
to hold 9+ cards combined in the suit).

So if 3rd hand wants the suit continued (say he wants
to ruff the 3rd round), he plays LOW
(“upside down attitude”).

But if he wants partner to shift to a different suit,
he plays HIGH (still upside down attitude).

* In the case where leader + dummy known to have 9+
cards in the suit combined, we have AGREED that 3rd
hand signals COUNT. Since we happen to play “standard
count”, that means high from two, low from three.
(ear wiggle with a stiff).
If we had agreed “UDC”, we could still have the count agreement,
but the protcol would be the opposite.

Still necessary to know what type of signal we are making.
March 5
Craig Zastera edited this comment March 5
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I agree that this is more than just a double squeeze.

I would use the term “compound squeeze”, although this one is a bit different from standard textbook examples.

After a lead from East, won by North, a returned by North, won by West, and a second , won by North, EAST is squeezed in three suits on partner's return.

If he parts with a , declarer just establishes dummy by playing on s first, ruffing the 3rd round. Then finesse, ruff, A, ruff (with A), ruff to dummy to pull the last trump with J and claim.

If East instead discards a on the second , declarer has 12 tricks via 5 s, 2 ruffs, *3* H, and 2 s (with the finesse late):
ruff, A, ruff, K, ruff (establishing dummy's 4th ), A, finesse, good to pitch last from hand, claim.

Finally, if East pitches a ** (his likely choice as he strives to maintain length parity with dummy in s and s), this leaves only WEST to protect the 4th round of that suit.
This will eventually expose him (WEST) to a black suit squeeze, while East is squeezed in the round suits (so a double squeeze ending):
ruff, A, ruff (isolating guard with West),
K, ruff (isolating guard with East).
Now, A drawing West's last trump and forcing a discard from East (he must keep Q) while pitching a from dummy.
Finally, North's last completes the double squeeze:
* East must pitch another to keep his guard
* Dummy pitches , and West must keep A to
guard that suit, hence he too must reduce to two s.
* finesse, then dummy's s run.

Some of the above might possibly be simplified if declarer takes a finesse at trick 2 and *then* plays the from dummy. Assume West rises and returns another .

Now, the case where East discards a proceeds slightly more smoothly than above–North basically just ruffs out two s as in the other variants.
March 5
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1NT has no appeal for me at all.

But I'll admit that I “want” to open 1 with this hand, but would struggle to resist that temptation for sake of partnership peace (we play 5 card majors).
March 4
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While I think 3 is “acceptable” in that partner will expect exactly *2* s (can't start with 1NT with 3 s when it is only *semi* forcing) for that call, I think 3NT is quite a bit more descriptive given the strong (for NT play) red suit holdings.
March 4
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Don't see how E/W can be “damaged” by South's failure to treat North's 4 as a “slam try” since 6N makes (East comes under unbearable pressure in 3 suits).
March 4
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6N is unbeatable (even) on a lead.
North just gives up a .

Even if West wins and plays another , North can still ruff *2* s in dummy (using A to get back to hand).

Then K and a ruff back to hand. Now, when he pulls the last trump and continues trump, East will be squeezed in s and s for declarer's 12th trick.
March 4
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I think you need to ask your questions separately for ATTITUDE signals vs. COUNT signals.

I suspect that for ATTITUDE signals, there is probably a small objective benefit to upside-down signals. I think this benefit is much smaller overall than advocates like to claim as in many cases (i.e. specific spots held) the benefits of one approach (e.g. upside-down) are balanced by corresponding benefits from the other approach when a different (complementary) set of spots are held.

But in the case of COUNT signals, I suspect there is no overall advantage to upside-down signals. That is not to say that one cannot find specific examples (i.e. particular deals) where one count signal method shows an advantage. But I think there will be other complementary deals where the other method will gain.

In addition, upside-down count suffers from a reluctance (sometimes justified, sometimes not) to “waste” one's highest card from *three* “just” to signal count.
This results in upside-down count players too frequently playing their *middle* card from three in hopes that partner will be able to “read” it as high (odd).

Unfortunately, this hope is often unjustified. If one plays “M” from “HML” tripleton as a “high” (odd) count signal, how can partner logically know that “M” is not low (even) from an original holding of “HM” doubleton? In general, he cannot.

I find this occurs so often that I have (happily) abandoned upside-down count in favor of “standard” count (while retaining upside-down attitude).

Advocates of “upside-down” count sometimes object to this point by claiming an analogous problem playing “standard” count when holding HL doubleton. Won't there be a similar reluctance to drop “H” just to show count?

I think the answer is that this problem does not occur nearly as often. Since “H” will drop on the next round anyway, it is more frequently OK to play it the first time to signal count.

All I can say is that I rarely seem to be fatally mislead by partner's failure to play the correct count card playing “standard” count, but found that such occurrences were annyoyingly frequent when playing “upside-down”.

Even if partner strives not to choose “middle” from 3 unless he thinks it is absolutely necessary for trick preservation purposes, making that determination often requires a lot of analytic effort that could better be spent on other issues.

It just seems that being able to play “low” from three when following to declarer's leads is so much easier and clearer.
March 4
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I think the partnership needs to know agreements as basic as whether new suit advances of overcalls are forcing or not.
March 4
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But doubling (2) is not an offer to defend (2) because their side is not showing s–the (2) bid was an artificial raise. So doubling (2) (if it shows s) must be an offer for our side to play in (at least) 3. Thus, it must show long s.
March 3
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Stupid question without specifying methods.

If 2 is NF (even if constructive) as most (I think) play, then it would seem obvious to pass 2 with this minimum overcall with a poor suit but some tolerance for s.

But if 2 is forcing, then we have to bid something. I suppose 3 would be the least foul among unpalatable alternatives.
March 2
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“They” haven't shown any s at all.

North's 2 bid was a 100% artificial raise and says nothing about his holding.

Therefore, if our partnership had agreed that doubles of their artificial bid show the suit doubled, then if East were to double their artificial (2), I would expect that s would be East's primary suit and he would be inviting me to compete in s. If he later bid s, I would expect that to be his second suit, not longer than his s.
March 2
ATB
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John,
w.r.t “good/bad” 2NT, in general I do not agree that it only applies when the partner of the G/B 2NT bidder has shown values in the auction by doing something other than passing.

For example: 1-(1)-P-(2)- now 2NT vs. 3 or 3 would be used to distinguish merely a *Good* hand (2NT planning on 3 or 3) vs. bidding 3 or 3 which would show a *great* hand (e.g. 19+ or some such).

Obviously, in a case like my example, opener's bidding again at all must show a “good” hand (since responder may have nothing). But still it is useful to be able to distinguish just a good playing strength hand from one with really massive HCP strength as well (e.g. that was planning a jump shift rebid).

Now just because I claim some cases where G/B applies without partner having promised values doesn't mean that the OP auction is or should be one of those cases.

But let's look at OP auction. I don't think West's re-opening double of (1) promises any real “extras” at all. Just the normal choice with short s.

Now, when partner (responder) admits to some support via 2, I do not think that West needs a great many extras to compete to 3 over South's (2)–just long s.
Something like void-KQxxxxx-Axx-Axx would seem like enough.

Thus, I think it *is* useful on OP auction for opener (West) to be able to distinguish between a mere competitive 3 (long s, not a lot of extra HCPs) vs. a hand with significant extra HCP values where game might be in the picture.
The value lies in cases where East *might* well have some values (as in OP) that he could not easily have revealed earlier.

Conversely, I see NO need whatsoever for West to have a “natural” 2NT available on the OP auction. Nor do I see any alternative conventional use that appeals more than “G/B.”

Thus, I conclude that “G/B 2NT” should indeed apply for West over (2).
Feb. 28
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Closer to the 1/2/Pass cusp than the lopsided vote suggests IMO.
Feb. 28
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Seems like the right time for 5NT “pick a slam”.

Want to give our side a chance to reach a *club* slam, which I suspect might be best, without risking 5 or 6 directly.
Feb. 28
ATB
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I settled on “mostly East”, but with the right E/W agreements, I could be persuaded I should have voted for “all East.”

Seems to me that this is a good auction for one of my favorite conventions–good/bad 2NT.

But there are several problems to sort out.

First, East passed (1) with quite a bit. Doesn't seem too unreasonable on its face, but this sort of situation comes up a lot and the problem with an initial “pass” is that it might later prove difficult to express the rather significant values without risking possibly getting too high when partner doesn't have all that much and there is no real fit.

That is sort of what happened here–East might have tried something more aggressive than 2 (which promises NOTHING) over West's balancing double, but he feared that 3 or 2 might get the partnership too high if West's were more of a “courtesy” balancing double.

So perhaps it would have been better for East to have “stretched” a bit with a negative double directly over (1). But given that he lacks 4+ s, one can have some sympathy for his decision to “lurk” initially.

But what of West? Well, if the partnership plays “Good/bad” 2NT (as I would) in this situation, then his 3 is perfect–it shows real (invitational) values. With just a desire to compete to 3, he could have bid a “bad” 2NT over (2) and then 3.

But if this partnership (as I suspect) does not have “G/B 2NT” available here, then I think West's 3 bid is an error as it does not clearly express his strength.
He has an entire array of possible alternative calls over (2) from which he might have selected to express game interest now that East has shown some support.

Exactly which alternative among DBL, 2NT (not GB), 3, and 3 West should have chosen to best suggest his game interest may not be entirely clear, but one of those alternatives would surely have been better than 3 assuming that said 3 did not express any interest in reaching game.
Feb. 28
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over 2: 2
over 2m: 3m
Feb. 26
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If “double” is a support double here (I play support doubles at the 3 level showing extra values), then I would make that.

But I don't play a “strong ” system, so perhaps that affects the value (i.e. reducing it) of playing support doubles at this level as opener will not so often have a hand strong enough for such.

Since opener must have in mind a place to play if responder has only four s and a minimum hand, I would think this double if played as “support” in a strong system would strongly suggest long s.
Feb. 26
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I not afraid of “the bear” when our side has both majors and his has the minors. Prefer to explore for our best strain.
Feb. 26
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