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All comments by Craig Zastera
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Leonard:
The ties occur (in this case) when both 1NT and 2 go down the same number of tricks.

Steven,
I can definitely do a simulation which includes hands with stiff spades. But the problem is I would have to specify exactly what hand types (shapes, HCPs, suit qualities) qualify for such 1NT rebids. This would undoubtedly vary quite a bit from partnership to partnership (in fact, I'll bet many partnerships could not even specify exactly which hands qualify in *their* partnership).

Thus, any conditions I specified would likely not be acceptable to many. That is one reason why I did not attempt to do this.
The other reason is that in *my* partnerships, rebidding 1NT with a stiff is *so rare* that the possibility can essentially just be ignored in the auction. With such agreements, I have found that it is clearly better (at least statistically speaking) to remove 1NT to 2M with a 5 card suit.
I am occassionally tempted to violate this guideline as responder when I have both maximum HCPs (not to invite game–say 10 or so) and a so-so 5 card suit. In these cases, I sometimes tell myself that 1N might make on power while 2M would be down because partner has very poor support (say “xx”) and/or a very bad trump trump split occurs. I must report, though, that my results on even these limited “experiments” have generally not been favorable for passing 1NT.

If I wanted, I could probably add some very specific, narrowly defined hands where we actually would rebid 1NT with a stiff which I might do for my own edification, although it would probably have value only to a few others.
April 19
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Eric,
I don't think 4 is that horrible a choice. In fact, I considered it. At this level (in the auction, not talking about levels of bridge ability), I don't think such a cue-bid promises a great deal of extra HCP strength. It merely says opener has enough for game but is unsure of which game it should be, i.e. he sees two or more possible strains.

Here, he is primarily interested in spades vs. clubs, but it is possible that even 4 could be right (imagine responder with something like x-KQJxx-xxx-A9xx which he might deem insufficient for a GF 3 at his first turn).

The problem with 4 is that it uses up a lot of the little remaining room, and it is not clear to me that it will help much in finding the best strain.
For example, if pard continues with 4, would you really be confident that his hearts were long and strong enough to make 4 the best spot? I wouldn't.
Will he know that your spades are so good that stiff Q or “xx” would be adequate support for 4, hence he would choose that call? I doubt it.
Will he know to bid 5 with x-KQxx-xxxx=KQxx?

Thus, to me, 4 seems like the more practical choice as it emphasizes our extra length/strength in spades together with sufficient values to try game.

BTW, I think this hand is a fairly good example of why it might be a good idea to play 3 and 4 by opener as *forcing* when partner makes a *3 level* negative double. True, this sacrifices the ability to “stop on a dime” in exactly 3 or 4, but it gives opener several more descriptive “probing” choices when he is willing to play game but stilil needs to investigate strains.
April 19
Craig Zastera edited this comment April 19
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Thanks Eric,
Your answers all agree with what I happen to play. Perhaps that is because we are in the same geographic area where I think the answers you gave would be quite common among good players.
Still, I am quite sure that there would be significant numbers of good players elsewhere who would have different answers to some or all of these questions (for example, look up “Thrump doubles”).
April 19
Craig Zastera edited this comment April 19
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I don't understand why, in general, West's double of 3 should confuse East. It is a penalty double pure and simple.
If you are saying that you think a penalty double is a poor choice with the actual West hand, and that he should have bid something else, that is certainly a reasonable opinion.

But it is possible (in fact, I'm almost tempted to say “likely”) that South's 3 is a psyche with a hand always intending to play in spades. Imagine if South had chosen to bid 3 instead of 3–would you still be critical of a penalty double (of (3)) by West?? The double might be the best way to expose such a psyche. Certainly other tactics are possible, but I can't see any real objection to West's choice of showing that he has long, strong clubs without wasting any bidding space.
April 19
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Donald,
Doesn't really take tech savvy.
All you need is a commercially available program called “DealMaster Pro.”

This allows you to easily generate simulations with thousands of deals (or less if you want) where you can specify all kinds of paramters (shapes, HCPs, controls, etc.) and even enter specific hands for any of the positions (with the rest of the cards randomized automatically).
Specs are entered interactively through a very simple input screen.
There are included analysis tools (for example, the data can be collected and dumped to an Excel spreadsheet).

I'm sure there are other similar programs available. Some may even be better. There are a few deficiencies in DealMaster Pro (for example, although you can specify number of “controls” for hands, there is no way to specify number of “quick tricks” which, IMO, would be much more useful), but by and large I have found this tool very useful.

If you're interested, you can read about it (and order if you wish) at:
http://dealmaster.com/

BTW, I believe this runs only on Windows.
April 19
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I would credit South for his 3 which threw a monkey wrench into the E-W auction. I wonder if 3 instead would have worked as well?

I don't like North's 1, but that certainly didn't cause any problems on this deal.

East's 2 seems clear-cut.

West's double of 3 must be right given that clubs is the best strain for E-W to play in (5 makes by E or W and 6 can make if the wrong lead is made).

I'm not sure why North should remove to 3, but again that didn't hurt.

East's double of 3 seems bizarre to me. Maybe if his black suits were reversed, that call might have some merit.
I think his choices are among 4, 4, 4, and perhaps 5.
I actually like 4 best.

Finally West's pass of (3X) seems wrong even though he clearly thinks his partner has made a penalty double.
He still knows his side has a 11 card diamond fit. I think he should pull to *5*.
April 19
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I'm at a loss as to what the issue is here.
I've raised to 2. I've got the minimum trump length I've shown, pretty near the minimum HCPs, no shape at all. Why would I bid again with partner having done nothing to suggest I do so?
Sure, it is possible that some action could produce a better result than defending 3 undoubled, but there is nothing about my hand beyond what I've already shown, so I see no justification for acting again.
April 19
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It is clear we want to investigate 6 as it would be good opposite as little as, say, xxxx-x-Axxx-Axxx or
xxxxx-x-AQxx-Kxx, or xxxx-x-QJxx-Axxx (after a heart lead).

The question is how best to proceed.
If I bid 4, this is surely forcing, but partner will definitely not know that I want to play in spades. He will read this as natural with long diamonds, not as a cue-bid in support of spades.
I might be able to handle the continuation if say, after 4 I bid 5. But my intentions might not be clear.
And if he raises 4 to 5, now what?

What if I start with 4 instead? Now if partner just bids 4, I can try 5 and I suspect he will understand that I'm trying for a spade slam but need a club control. That seems like the best course.
April 19
Craig Zastera edited this comment April 19
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Good problem as it really focuses on the issue of whether it is better to first show a huge potential trick source where a single fitting card (CK) will produce 6 tricks vs. first establishing the trump suit (via. 2NT or 4 splinter).

I am firmly in the camp of showing the trick source first via 2, but was quite surprised that this view is polling in the majority (I would have bet that most would prefer some sort of GF spade raise).

I definitely do *NOT* plan to jump to 4 next time as that would deny a diamond control. No, I merely plan to raise spades at the minimum level and (hopefully) develop the auction to investigate slam (nearly cold opposite a balanced minimum such as AQxxx-Axx-xxx-Kx).
April 19
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A quick 1000 deal simulation of these two hands with the defensive hands distributed randomly has 6 making on 737 of the 1000 deals (74%).
So I would say the answer to both your questions is “yes”
April 19
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Really, the OP should have specified all of the following:
1. is the double expected to deliver 4+ hearts?

>> promising 4+ hearts is by no means the way everyone
defines this “negative” double (although I do). Some
would play it as asking (almost demanding) that opener
bid 3NT with a diamond stopper and only consider
other calls when he lacks one.

2. what is the minimum strength promised by the double?

3. Would 3 by opener be forcing?

4. Would 4 by opener be forcing?

I believe that a poll would show significant disagreement
in the answers to all the above questions. Without knowing
what agreements exist in the OP's partnership, it is really impossible to give a good answer to his question.
April 19
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funny–I would say the same thing about 2.

For me, it is normal to correct partner's 1NT rebid to 2M after 1x-1M-1NT on most hands with a 5 card major and insufficient strength to try for game.

Of course there are hands (not uncommon) where 1NT will do better than 2M, but my experience is that when responder has a 5 card major, there are more hands where 2M outscores 1NT.

Again, this opinion is based on partnerships where it is very unlikely that the 1NT rebid will contain a stiff in responder's major.
April 19
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The answer here depends both on partnership methods *and* on tendencies.
In my partnerships, opener is *very* unlikely to have a stiff spade for his 1NT rebid (in fact, I have one very good occassional partner with whom rebidding 1NT with a stiff is absolutely forbidden). We prefer “anything else” to rebidding 1NT with a stiff (but, I'll admit that for me it is possible to construct a hand with a stiff where 1NT rebid seems unavoidable).

Anyway, I did a small (500 deal) simulation where East can have any of:
(a) 12-14 HCP balanced with exactly 2 spades
(b) 3=3=4=3 with 13-14 HCPs
© 3 spades, balanced hand, 13-14 HCPs with
a strong doubleton (headed by A or K)
(I assumed with these shapes and only 12 HCPs
opener might just pass 1. With a weak
doubleton, he would pass 1 or raise to 2)

The results of this simulation suggest that *at matchpoints*
it would be best to remove 1NT to 2.
A head-to-head BAM type comparison between 1NT and 2 gave:
1NT beat 2 on 211 deals
2 beat 1NT on 274 deals
1NT & 2 tie on 15 deals

This gives 2 a 56.3% victory vs. 1NT using BAM scoring.
BTW, 3NT made on only 22% of the deals and
4 made on only 14%. Of course, this simulation is not about the merits of inviting game, because opener would not accept the invite on many of these.

Anyway, depending on how likely you think it is for opener to have a stiff spade on this auction, the results might be shifted enough towards favoring 1NT if you think a stiff spade is a significant possibility.
Also 500 deals is a fairly small simulation (I'd prefer 5000), so there could be a significant random statistical error here.
April 18
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3 is too much of an underbid here, presuming that it is played as non-forcing (which is what Marty Bergen strongly recommends in his book on negative doubles).

If 3 is *forcing* (which is not standard, so it should have been so specified in the OP if it is), then that would be a good choice.

3 is consistent with a minimum hand lacking four hearts, a diamond stopper, or four clubs, e.g. AKJTx-Qxx-xx-Qxx

Anyway,partner should have *at least* 10 HCPs for his double of (3) (Bergen–some might think more is required for the double, especially if they think opener's 3 rebid would be forcing).

Thus, this hand needs to take the pressure off partner by jumping to 4 to show the good 6 card suit and extra values (the stiff diamond is a big offensive asset).

The biggest risk is that we belong in clubs.
But would a 4 rebid by opener be forcing?
Again, Bergen says “no.” (and I think this view is consistent with requiring only 10 HCPs for the double, as Bergen does).
So partner would likely pass 4 with e.g.
xx-KQxx-xxx-KQxx, and good games in either black suit will be missed.

Again, if it were specified that 4 by opener would be *forcing* that might change my choice.
April 18
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I'm confused.
First, the last few replies here have used the word “inadvertent”.
But the word used in the Laws as cited is “unintended”. The Laws also use “intended”, presumbably to convey the opposite meaning.
The OP is even more confusing as it uses both “inadvertent” and “intended” as if “inadvertent” is assumed to be the opposite of “intended” (rather than using “unintended”).
Seems best to stick to the words used in the Laws.

Second, is it known that the word “unintended” as used in the Laws is meant to describe purely mechanical errors, e.g. reaching into the bidding box to grab the 2 card but due to physical or visual error grabbing and displaying some other bidding card instead?
If that is the case, it seems relatively unlikely (though not impossible I suppose) that playing the 1 card when *“intending”* to play the 2 card is purely a mechanical error as those tend to involve playing an adjacent card (e.g. 2 instead of 2) rather than a card in the intended strain but not at the intended level.
That is, I think playing the 1 card is much more likely due to overlooking that 1 is insufficient rather than intending to play the 2 card but, due to some purely mechanical malfunction, grabbing the 1 card instead.
April 18
Craig Zastera edited this comment April 18
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I'm not sure that 4 is best at opener's 3rd turn.
That ought to deliver at least H:Kx and may well have 3 hearts. After all, responder has not guaranteed even 6 hearts, much less 7, with his 3 rebid.

I would think that 3 rather than 4 would be better.

This time, though, because of responder's extra heart length, opener's 4 made it easy (or should have) to reach the good 6.
April 18
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Fortunately for me, I play that double here shows hearts, so not too much of a problem.

A recent BW poll suggested that many do not play that double on this auction promises (at least 4 cards in) the unbid major. Rather, opener is supposed to bid 3NT whenever he holds a stopper in their suit in preference to bidding the (previously) unbid major with four.
I would think that those who play that way would have a real problem on this hand.
April 18
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Ray,
I am certainly no authority on NLTC and use it in my own bidding only occassionally to resolve what seem to me to be close decisions.
I think NLTC is intended to be applied only when an 8+ card fit is known to exist, so I don't think minimum opening bid requirements are normally defined in terms of NLTC as no fit has yet been discovered.
However, I do seem to recall that a typical minimum opener counts to about 7.5 “new” losing tricks,
e.g. Axxx-Axx-Axx-xxx = 1.5 * 3 + 3 = 7.5

Anyway, your 15 HCP example does seem to count to 8.5 “new”
losers. I seriously doubt, though, that even the most devoted NLTC acolyte would fail to open this hand.
Also, I think that there are supposed to be some adjustments for jacks (which do not figure in the basic NLTC calcuation). Perhaps one is supposed to deduct 1/4 loser for each jack.
If so, your hand with *4* jacks might therefore have an adjusted NLTC count of 7.5.
April 18
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Since 6 would be good opposite as little as
x-Kxx-Axxxx-AQxx
(far less than partner has promised with his bidding)
I cannot imagine why anyone would quit at 4 with this hand.
April 17
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Not a legal type, but it seems to me that “Law 27” ought to apply here rather than “Law 25” because “Law 27” is more specific–it applies only to insufficient bids.

But “Law 25” applies to any unintended call–presumably it is primarily about legal but unintended calls, including PASS and DOUBLE. Thus, it is more general than “Law 27”.

So I think “Law 27” should take precedence over “Law 25” in cases of calls that are both “unintended” AND “insufficient.”

In the actual case, the 1 call was unintended ONLY because if was insufficient.
April 17
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