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All comments by Craig Zastera
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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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The phrasing of your question is ambiguous w.r.t the two choices given as possible answers:
“Is this auction forcing or non-forcing ..?”
and then my choices are “yes” or “no”. Illogical.

Anyway, I voted “no” after interpreting the question as
“Is this auction forcing?”.
How can opener who has already made a strongly limited, non-forcing rebid of 2D now suddenly produce a *forcing* bid at his 3rd turn?

The real question is whether opener's 4D bid is “sign-off”, i.e. 100% “for play” (“our auction is now over partner”), or
whether the 4D is passable but forward going (i.e. opener would welcome a raise to 5D). Personally, I think it is essentially a sign-off since responder's hand is sharply limited by his non-forcing 3S rebid.
Sept. 12, 2016
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As a matter of logic, when opener started with 1C, he had a rebid in mind over partner's possible 1M responses. If that rebid was 2D (reverse), why should he not be able to make that same bid (with the same meaning) now that partner has shown his major (hearts in this example, but could be spades after 1C-(1H)-DBL) via a surrogate?

So it is clear that opener's 2D should have the same meaning when partner bids 1M via a surrogate (negative double) as it would if he actually bid 1M.

This talk that the double shows diamonds is crazy–the double shows the unbid major. Period. Sure, responder *might* have diamonds, just as he might have diamonds when he responds 1M to a 1C opener, but his negative double does not suggest diamonds any more than an uncontested 1M response would.

Would anyone seriously argue that 2D in the auction
1C-(1H)-1S-(P)-2D
is a normal reverse (extra values, forcing, etc.)
but that 2D in the auction
1C-(1H)-DBL (4 spades)-(P)-2D
should suddenly somehow now be a weak, non-forcing bid just because partner showed his spade suit via a double?
Makes no sense to me.
Sept. 12, 2016
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Actually, I thought even 5H was fairly agressive as partner might hold:
xxx-KQ-Kxxxxx-KQ
and we'd be in slam off two aces.
Sept. 1, 2016
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As it turns out—-no.
This hand was given to me by a friend from the Sunday Swiss Teams at the recent Seattle regional.

I'll admit that I chose 4S as did most here on BWs.

My friend informed me (gleefully?) that
“4 spades is an unfortunate choice.
Your RHO has AQ109x .
my pard bid 4 hearts, and the opponents phantomed
in 5d for -500.
My hand Void QJ98xx KQTx Kxx.”

Of course, I protested that his hand wasn't much of a 3H
overcall, and that I thought the actual lay-out was way against the odds (“overcaller will almost always have
at least a stiff spade honor, usually more length”).

But the fact remains that 4S does carry the risk of a huge disaster (as would have been the case on the actual deal),
whereas 4H, while perhaps often not being the optimal spot, will at least always be a *playable* strain.

Food for thought?
Sept. 1, 2016
Craig Zastera edited this comment Sept. 1, 2016
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I'm not sure why you think 5H would be “likely to fetch 5S” from partner. 5H sounds like a virtual demand to bid a slam with a club control. Since partner has a stiff club, I would expect him to bid 6D.
Sept. 1, 2016
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(a) the 3D splinter does not show extras. In fact, extras are a bad thing w.r.t splinter bids–splinter bids should generally be limited as they turn control over to partner.
This is not a criticism of the splinter on the actual hand–I think it is OK, but would also splinter with
AKxxx-xxx-x-AJTx.

(b) a splinter is a strong statement about strain (here, clubs). Is it possible to play in another (non-NT) strain after a splinter raise? Maybe, with appropriate agreements.
I think that if responder goes back to opener's suit directly over the splinter (e.g. 1S-2C-3D-3S), that is a statement that responder always intended to play in spades, and still is interested in that even after the splinter.
A return to spades 3S such as this should definitely guarantee *at least 3* spades, hence is inappropriate for the actual West hand.
Aug. 31, 2016
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Why wouldn't I bid 2H now? Describes my strength (still game potential), my shape, my honor location, my worry about one of the black suits.
Aug. 31, 2016
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There are interesting questions here, like what would be the difference between bidding 5H now vs. passing (forcing) and then pulling partner's double to 5H?
Of course, if we pass first (trying to send some fancy message), and partner bids 5S, we lose our chance to bid 5H.

It seems to me that an immediate 5H sends a pretty clear message that I want to be in slam if partner controls clubs, so that is what I bid, not worrying about FP subtleties.

It might be important to play the slam in *diamonds* when partner has something like:
xxx-AQ-Kxxxxx-Kx
Hopefully, over 5H, partner will bid 5NT with such a hand (to show the guarded club king), and we can convert to 6D (or even 6NT).
Aug. 31, 2016
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(a) 3H serves no useful purpose. Even if you are paranoid enough to worry that opening bidder might not have a control in his own suit (spades), bidding 3H over 3D won't (necessarily) solve that worry because opening bidder's cue-bid in his own primary suit promises two of the three top honors. Hence, his failure to bid 3S over your 3H would not mean that he doesn't hold a spade control.

(b) if 4D (key-card ask) “takes up a lot of room” as you say, then surely the 4NT you recommend “immediately over the splinter” takes up even more room. Further, you apparently don't know what such a leap to 4NT (directly over the 3D splinter) even means, because if you did you would see that it is totally inappropriate for the actual West hand.
Aug. 30, 2016
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Sathya,
If East had solid spades (AKQJx), he should already have bid a grand slam directly over the 5D sp. King ask (as I believe he also should have with his actual S:AKQT9 “close enough to solid”).
Aug. 30, 2016
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Jeff,
I stated in the original post that the 5D specific king ask guaranteed that the partnership holds all the keycards AND THE CLUB QUEEN, so your example hand is not possible.
Your first example hand (with only 4 clubs) is not a 2C response–I'd simply start with a forcing 1NT.
Aug. 30, 2016
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West would not usually make a 2/1 response in a 4 card suit unless he were very strong (15+ at least).
Aug. 30, 2016
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