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All comments by Craig Zastera
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I always assume matchpoints (since that is what I mostly play) unless the problem specifically says otherwise.

There are many, many sequences (both competitive and not) where the best definition of a call is probably different at matchpoints vs. IMPs, and all too few partnerships seem to change their methods to account for this.
April 5
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I think a reasonable case (with examples) can be made for either take-out or penalty interpretation. Since our partnership generally plays low-level competitive doubles as take-out whenever that makes any sense, I would stick with that here.
As others have shown, West can easily have a hand where TO makes sense, e.g. KJx-Ax-KQxx-KQxx. With a balanced hand in the NT overcall range, it is often better to start with 1NT to show the hand type and strength rather than with a take-out double (particularly with only 3 in the other major).

And while it is easy to construct examples where West can beat 2 in his own hand (pretty much necessary for a penalty double to make sense here), how likely is he to hold such a hand when South has freely bid 2 after hearing that his LHO has a strong hand with heart stopper(s)?

Further, even with TO interpretation, since East knows West has a (near) max 1NT overcall with at least one heart stopper, he is free to convert when appropriate.
April 5
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Our agreements are that the only reverse that can be made with only 4=4 in the two bid suits is 1-1-2 to handle precisely the very strong 1=4=4=4 hands (with any other singleton, a jump shift to 2M is available after partner responds in our singleton). Sometimes, the relative suit strengths may not be ideal for this (as here), but I think this is better than having the shape shown being suspect for more reverse auctions.
April 5
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Double dummy, the best contract at matchpoints is 6.
On a 5000 deal simulation, it made 2533 times, just over half.
6NT made only 1831 times by West (1855 by East) so it loses
big time to 6 (or 3NT or 4).

3NT beats out 4 handily (3NT wins on 2958 deals vs. 4).

However, double dummy analysis generally shows declarer
making more often than he will in real life on slam level contracts, and I suspect this deal is no exception (because double dummy declarer will do things like drop stiff offside honors, etc. that a real life declarer would not).

Thus, in real life, 6 will probably make less than 50% of the time.
So, I suspect in real life, 3NT will be the winning matchpoint contract.
April 5
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Leonard,
No, a spade opening lead is necessary (and if South is on lead, it must be the SQ).
Say, instead, some passive lead like a heart. Win in East and lead a club. South must duck, else, E/W have 2 spades, 4 hearts, 3 diamonds (via two diamond finesses), and 3 clubs for 12 tricks.
After South ducks the CK, West wins CQ, takes a diamond finesse, returns to hand with HK for another diamond finesse.
Now, a total of 7 red tricks (4 hearts, 3 diamonds) forces South to pitch a spade (else, he would have fewer clubs then East, so a club duck would establish a 12th trick in that suit).
Then, SAK reduces South to only clubs, whence a low club from West and East puts South on lead and forces him to lead a club into East's C:AJ for E/W's 12th trick.
April 4
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Doesn't responder have “maximal overcall double” (of (3)) available if he wants to invite game? If so, I see no need for his pass to be forcing (he could choose MOD if he wanted to invite game while offering (3X) as an alternative.

Now, if partnership wanted to define responder's double of (3) as *penalty*, then it might be useful define his PASS as forcing, inviting game in hearts.
April 4
Craig Zastera edited this comment April 4
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If East were to play 6NT, then only specifically the SQ opening lead will defeat the contract (double dummy, as the cards lie).
April 4
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I'm not a strong clubber, but if 1 shows 16+, I'm not sure why West, with 15 and not particularly exotic shape should open 1–are the two 10s enough to upgrade?
But this is presumably at worst a minor transgression.

But it does seem to me that West with his stiff heart, support for all other suits, and knowing his partner has values, surely ought to double 4 for take-out rather than passing the buck to his partner. And is that pass forcing? That is certainly a critical question.

I suppose one could criticize East's initial choice of double to show values rather than 2. But his spades are anemic, he has a much stronger and only slightly shorter second suit (diamonds), as well as a stopper for NT. Without x-ray vision, the choice of doubling to show values doesn't seem that unreasonable to me.
April 4
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Also, your reasoning would require that the vulnerability be taken into account to determine whether PASS is forcing or not because, if VUL, 4CX -1 would be a disaster as would doubling a making 3, hence FP would definitely be unjustified if VUL.

Even if not VUL, playing FP requires the partnership to *guess* whether to defend 3SX (a huge risk if it might make) or concede a minus score in 4. By playing PASS as NF, the partnership can defend 3 when it thinks there is a reasonable chance of beating it without committing to -530 if they happen to be wrong.
April 4
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Yes, 3 by East as a FNJ (fit non jump) is right out of Robson's book and perfect for this hand. I suppose one could complain that the diamonds should be better for this bid (e.g. change the SJ to the DJ), but 3 FNJ must be better than an opaque 3 underbid or a 4 overbid.
April 3
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I love to comment on (potential) FP auctions, but the vote suggests that one is not needed here :-).
April 3
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Nice to have a way for opener to say “I've got values enough for game with no clear direction.”
I think Bergen's book on Negative Doubles says this is GF.
April 3
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April 2
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That's why I specified a seat (1st) for both problems, as well as vulnerability (also highly relevent) and type of scoring (matchpoints here).
March 31
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It looks like you are choosing to believe what you want to believe. A hand with 5 card trump support and 5 HCPs is a pre-emptive jump to 4M, *not* a limit raise.
A limit (major) raise is supposed to be 10-12 points and four card support. This accords with the “range just below an opening bid” definition.
I don't think there is a hard and fast HCP range, but 10-11 (even 12) HCPs without much shape would be normal.
With shape (e.g. a stiff), I think few would shade the range below perhaps 8 HCPs.

If you want to bid 1M-3M with less than that systemically, then I think the opponents deserve an explanaton that the call could be based on e.g. 5-7 HCPs as they will surely not expect that if the explanation is just “limit raise”.

We include “limit raises” in our 1-2NT (and 1-2) strong raises. We describe 1M-3M as “pre-emptive” as those bids typically show around 4-7 HCPs with 4 card support.
March 31
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Must have four card trump support.
Usually 10-11 HCPs, but might shade to 9 with a side singleton and e.g. three kings: Kxxx-x-Kxxx-Kxxx would be adequate for a LR of partner's 1.
March 31
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Play 3 as a transfer to diamonds instead of Stayman.
Use cue-bid of their suit as Stayman.
Other 3 level suit bids as transfers to the next higher suit except that 3 of the suit below theirs (3 in your example) transfers *through* their suit to the next higher (i.e. clubs in your example).
March 28
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hmm, 1DXE would be -800 on a part-score deal for N/S, but North's hand is “not even a remote approximation of a penalty pass of 1 doubled”. Right.
And North should have bid 1 over the double on a 3 card suit when the opponent's can make 2. Right.
March 28
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Glad to see this little problem generated so many different answers.
Here is the actual full deal:
………… North: T8-K97-986532-32
West: Q972-J542-void-J9854 …..East: AJ43-A863-KT74-Q
………… South: K65-QT-AQJ-AKT76

N/S can make 1, 1NT, and 3
E/W can make 2 and 2
1DXE is down 3 with best defense

So South's best action would have been 2 (or 3), natural (IMO) after North's pass of (1EX) has shown length in that suit.
Alternatively, a 1NT bid by South would at least have made.

Actual South jumped to 3 when West's (1) came back around to him. This was -1 (defense was not optimal).
March 28
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Not only is East's pass not forcing, it is a statement that he passed West's (take-out) double of (1) with a lot of diamonds, no other suit to bid, and very little in the way of HCPs–more of a desperation pass than a “get rich” one.

If East had passed (1X) with good HCP values as well as a bunch of diamonds, he is obligated to act over (1) to indicate that he has (HCP) values.
March 28
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