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All comments by Craig Zastera
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Prefer 2S to 1S to show the good 6 card suit, but can live with 1S I suppose. We play “Ogust” 2NT advances over 2M jump overcalls, so partner can inquire if I have a “heavy” WJO (not unusual in my methods, particularly when partner is a passed hand) if his hand has game potential.

Presumably, his 3S advance is pre-emptive (not stated), and at these colors could IMO be very weak.

Even though it is not that likely that we will buy the hand in 3S, I see no particular reason to bid 4S now–I can always bid it later *IF* they compete further.

I certainly don't expect to make 4S opposite any hand that would qualify for a favorable vul pre-emptive raise to 3S.
If partner had any sort of useful hand, he could have made a 3D jump Q bid to show a “mixed raise” (4 card support with some values, typically around 6-8 points with some shape).
Oct. 17, 2016
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Isn't the last mistake passing 3NT?
Many posters seem to be overlooking the fact that East has not shown an extra heart until he bid 3H. 2H is just a catch-all bid giving no additional info about his heart suit (although it does indicate his hand is unsuitable for a 2NT rebid, a 2S rebid, a diamond raise, etc.).

West first showed diamonds, then spades, finally confessed to a club stopper. Isn't that just what he has? Values in diamonds, values in spades, something in clubs, nothing in hearts.

As to bidding 2D first vs. 1S, a great deal of experience has convinced me that playing 2/1 it is much better to establish the game force immediately and show the spades later rather than starting with 1H-1S, after which the auction is likely to become awkward (e.g. 4th suit forcing) because responder has to somehow indicate GF values.

How would opener bid with e.g. xx-AKQxxx-xx-KTx or
perhaps xx-AKJxxx-xxx-Kxx. ?
I would think exactly as he did.
Oct. 16, 2016
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The hand is a full ace above a minimum opener. A “non-serious” slam try should show a minimum opener whose (limited) values are slammish.

The “unnatural” 2C response also strikes me as part of the problem. How does the partnership uncover club fits when the 2C response doesn't show clubs? Often, slam will make in a 4-4 minor suit fit when it would fail in a 5-3 major suit fit (because in the 4-4, losers can be pitched on the 5 card suit).
Furthermore, not knowing that South has clubs makes it difficult for North to evaluate his C:QJxx.
Oct. 15, 2016
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Bidding “non-serious” 3S with the North hand shows lack of understanding of what “non-serious” means. This hand is worth about 19 “points”, has a known 2-suit fit, controls in all side suits. How much more “serious” can a hand be?

It would be nice for North to be able to splinter raise clubs with a 3S jump, but perhaps the agreement that the 2C bid doesn't show clubs is part of the problem.

Even so, over 3H, North should continue with a “serious bid”, presumably 3NT showing a spade control.
Oct. 15, 2016
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Time to reveal actual lay-out and winning lines:
dummy: KJ8
AKT943
void
KQ82

East: 9742 West: 6
J52 Q7
963 KT8752
A96 J754

declr: AQT53
86
AQJ4
T3
6S. Opening lead CA. Trick 2: C6.
Successful lines of play, I think, involve cashing exactly one high spade in dummy, then other top club, two top hearts, and ruffing a heart in hand *LOW* (works because West's S6 has been removed). Cash DA, ruff diamond in dummy, etc.

Declarer scores:
3 spades in dummy (one by cashing, two by ruffing)
4 spades in hand (one low heart ruff + S:A, Q, T)
2 clubs (K, Q)
2 hearts (A, K)
1 diamond (A)
for a total of 12.

I do not believe it is possible to make this hand by any line that involves drawing two rounds of trump (to explicitly discover the 4-1 break).

Is the winning line the best? I am not sure. It does seem to require 3-4 clubs (may make in some 5-2 cases
where west is short and declarer can over-ruff, with hearts and spades splitting) and 3-2 hearts.
The key is to score a *LOW SPADE* in hand by ruffing.
Logically, this might be by ruffing the third round of hearts (actual case), or by trying to ruff 4th round of clubs (won't work on actual lay-out).

Note that it is not possible to make this hand without cashing *one* high spade in dummy. If you try to play 3rd round of hearts without drawing any trump, West will ruff with his S6 to defeat the slam (sure, you can over-ruff, but you have lost opportunity to score a LOW spade in declarer's hand).

Do you think that this hand should be made single-dummy on the actual lay-out? I failed when West ruffed 3rd heart with S6 (nice play–note that if West does not ruff, the slam can be made).
Oct. 11, 2016
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Thanks for the votes. I agree with the majority view that this hand should pass.

My partner held this hand and overcalled 3C.
My hand was:
AJ7-KT4-QT54-982
I thought that this was a clear-cut 3NT bid (any disagreements?).

That contract was not a success after a heart lead–in fact, I was “lucky” to get 3-2 clubs and 4-4 hearts so as to go down only one.

The 2S bidder's hand was:
QT952-A853-9-JT4
2S would have been -2 (100 for us) with good defense, although the only pair who actually defended against 2S beat it only one.

We got a cold “0” for -50, but even +100 for beating 2S two tricks would only have been worth 2 (8 top).
Oct. 10, 2016
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So far, none of the suggested lines will work on the actual distribution. This of course does not make them “wrong” on a single dummy basis. I also went down at the table.

I will post the actual lay-out and line(s) that will succeed against it after everyone who's interested has had a chance to suggest their best line.

Then, you can tell me whether or not this hand should be made against the actual lay-out.
Oct. 10, 2016
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Hard to answer as it seems so clear to open 2NT.
But having opened 1D, there is no way I am going to make a bid that can be passed below game, so 2NT rebid is out.
It seems weird to me to jump shift to 3C when I hold 3 stoppers in (what would be) the unbid suit.
That leaves a jump to 3NT, which is supposed to show a different kind of hand (long, solid or nearly solid diamonds with stoppers in the unbid suit), but I got myself into this by opening 1D, so 3NT now seems like the practical choice.
Oct. 9, 2016
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A is a help suit slam try–likely to have A or K in spades but not guaranteed.

B is just a “return game try”, i.e. a buck passing bid.

C is ambigous. Could be a control bid, but might also be value showing in an attempt to reach NT.

D is like A–natural, length/values showing. May be attempting to reach 3NT.
Oct. 8, 2016
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You say only that 3C is NF, so I presume that 2NT is forcing. If so, I bid that. If not, 3NT.
I don't like your system w.r.t opener's new major rebids.
Oct. 8, 2016
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It is not partner's “familiarity with the concept” of pre-balancing which is at issue. What matters is whether your partnership has the agreement to play “OBAR BIDS” doubles. That is, an explicit agreement that a direct double over RHO's raise of his partner's opening promises only the appropriate *shape* for a take-out double and high card strength sufficient for a *balancing* double.

If so, then this hand would (barely IMO) qualify for such an “OBAR BIDS” double.

I generally play “OBAR BIDS” only when our side is NV.
Oct. 8, 2016
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Traditionally, bidding 2H here shows considerable extras–perhaps enough for game to be possible opposite a hand that is limited to 8 “support points.”

But I think a more modern view is that raising to the two level here (in competition) merely confirms *4* card heart support (you might have doubled with only 3 hearts) and “sound minimum” values. Such a raise is supported by the LOTT (assuming partner actually has four hearts for his forced bid). With such an agreement, this hand would be a fine competitive raise to 2H.

Playing this way, with true game-invitational values, it is necessary for doubler to jump to 3H. Not too different from the “equal level conversion” agreement where doubling (a major) then pulling clubs to diamonds promises only minmimum take-out double values (with a strong hand, doubler must jump).
Oct. 8, 2016
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Good job of constructing a hand where all of pass, double, 3S, and 3NT are unappealing. I feel I can't pass with this much strength. One not hold-up-able club stopper doesn't seem enough for 3NT with no trick source.
Between double and 3S, double seems more flexible, although 3S obviously could be right. I'm a fan of “good suits” for high level overcalls, and this one doesn't qualify, so double by default.
Oct. 8, 2016
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Overcaller should not be risking a plus score frivously here. The jump to 3H should be pretty close to 9 tricks in hand. Thus, in my view, West has a clear-cut raise to 4H.

I had a similar situation last Sunday in a Swiss teams where my partner made a vulnerable DONT double (single suited hand) of their 15-17 1NT in balancing seat. When I removed to 2C (what's your suit?), partner jumped to 3H.

My hand was roughly T8xxxx-xx-KJx-xx. I thought this close to a raise to 4H as I have heart tolerance, likely useful values in diamonds, and a possible ruffing value. As this was a new partner, I took what I thought was a conservative view and passed. Down 2. Partner had unexciting shape with fair high cards but obviously nowhere near enough playing strength to be issuing what I considered to be a very strong game invite. His excuse was that merely removing to 2H promises very little, and he had a decent hand. True, but that's the way it goes with DONT–not the world's most accurate game bidding convention.
Oct. 7, 2016
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Well, nobody picked the call I chose at the table–2H.

My view is that the “obvious” 3S jump rebid is (fatally?) flawed because the spade suit isn't good enough. I spend a lot of breath trying to convince my partners that the essence of a jump same-suit rebid is a “very good suit.” In considering bidding on, they are not supposed to worry about weak trump support (even a singleton), because my suit will always be excellent.
Thus, I cannot risk destroying any faith I may have succeeded in building up that my suit will always be excellent by jumping to 3S with KQ987x.

But even after eliminating 3S, it is not clear whether the best choice is 2D, 2H, or 2NT. I suppose 2D is the “orthodox” choice amongst “scientists”, but I thought the strength disparity between my red suit holdings made 2H more attractive.

My partner's hand was 2-KJ93-J943-KQ43. Over my 2H rebid,
he jumped to 4H. In my view, that is a clear overbid (consider how his hand would play opposite a typical minimum for my 2H rebid like KQxxx-AQxx-xxx-x to see why).
In my view, 3H by him would suffice, after which the auction
might continue: 1S-1N-2H-3H-3S-3N.

Interestingly, though, even with the 4-3 fit, 4H appears to be the best contract (at least at IMPs).
I did a 1000 deal simulation and found 4H making on 728 deals while 3NT made on only 656.
4S (which might be the contract reached after a 3S rebid) made on only 289 deals.
Over the 1000 deals, 4H enjoyed a 1314 IMP advantage over 3NT when not VUL (1628 VUL).

At matchpoints, 4H outscored 3NT on 457 deals, while 3NT came out ahead on 531 (the remaining 12 being exact ties).
This was due to the large number of deals (363) where both contracts made exactly 10 tricks.

The fact that my 2H rebid choice seems to work OK even when partner has four hearts and overbids to 4H (instead of raising only to 3H which gives a chance of still reaching 3NT or 4S when those contracts are right) suggests that it is not a bad choice.
Oct. 6, 2016
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Hah–the other post was by my partner. I hadn't seen that.
He got the vulnerability wrong though. We were not vul, I remember that clearly because his pass of my 5D cost “only” 11 IMPs (the amount by which we lost the match). Also, the format was a 7-board Swiss match, not a K/O.

BTW, my hand was xx-Qxx-A9xxxx-xx. The D:Kx was offside, so 12 tricks was the limit.
Oct. 5, 2016
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no–he could have passed and taken a sure plus. His bidding 5D means he has sufficient values and diamond length to expect to make this contract.
Oct. 5, 2016
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I like to play “advanced Ripcord” (Danny Kleinman invention I believe). Everything from xx through 2H is a transfer (xx transfers to clubs). That allows escaping into any strain with 1NT opener declaring.
Additionally, after XX is removed to 2C, responder can continue with 2D to show 4=5 majors or 2H with 5=4.
Also after 2C is removed to 2D, responder can bid 2H to show 4=4 majors.
There are some other fancy details–2S shows 4 spades with a longer (ideally 6) minor (and a good enough hand to be willing to play 3m if opener doesn't fit spades).
2NT shows 4 hearts with a longer minor (and a decent hand..)
Sept. 24, 2016
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In my methods, both 3H and 4H would be fit showing (3H is only game invitational). But I wouldn't choose either of these because when partner continues with 4S (as he likely will), I either have to pass (uncomfortably as we may still have slam), or continue unilaterally with RKCB. If I'm planning on the latter, I may as well jump to 4NT now (if that is RKCB) or simply cue-bid (3C) and follow with 4NT.

Instead, I start with a 4C splinter. If partner bids 4D over that, I'm off to the races with 4NT RKCB. But if he bids 4S (or 4H–cue bidding shortness but denying diamond control), I will probably settle for game.
Sept. 24, 2016
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I'm assuming the double is take-out. I know some texts have a rule about interpreting double as penalty if doubler is behind overcaller and take-out if he is in front, but I believe that in an auction like this that is a silly way to play. It is highly unlikely that a very limited hand (the 1NT opener) can have a penalty double of a 2 level contract opposite a partner who may have nothing.

What the 1NT opener can have where “double” makes sense is a max (or near max) hand with weak/short spades and support for all the other suits, i.e. a hand where it is likely to be right to compete in the suit of responder's choice.

The really interesting point here, IMO, is whether North's 2NT now should be Lebensohl or scrambling.

Lebensohl could work well on a hand like North's here–a maximum pass of 1NT that might possibly make game when opener is maximum with a good fit.
Playing Lebensohl, North bids 3H to let his partner know that he was just short of game invitational strength. That way, we might occasionally be able to use the opponent's balance to find our way into a good game we would never have reached without his assistance.
Maybe opener has something like:
xx-KQxx-KQx-AKxx
With a weaker hand, North would bid 2NT Lebensohl, and then either pass 3C or convert to 3H for play.

On the other hand, playing North's 2NT here as scrambling can be very useful when he has two 4 card suits (as here) and wants to ensure reaching a 4=4 fit rather than a 4=3.
His “scrambling” 2NT would show 2 places to play and ask partner to bid 4 card suits up the line.

My opinion is that the scrambling interpretion of 2NT is probably more useful here to ensure that we find our best fit. It will be rare that we can back into a successful game–even here when North is maximum for his pass of 1NT, game in hearts is probably not better than 50-50 even when partner has a perfectly fitting maximum. On the other hand, ensuring we find a 4=4 fit rather than languishing in a 4=3 could often be the difference between winning the board and losing it.
Sept. 24, 2016
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