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All comments by Craig Zastera
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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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After a specific king ask and reply, if the reply shows a particular king and does not deny some other king, then asker's non-trump continuation asks about a second king.
Here, the 5S reply to the 5D SKA shows the SK and denies the HK (because the 5H response was skipped over). However, replier could additionally have the DK (stiff). If asker continues with 5NT over 5S, he is asking replier to bid 6D with the diamond King. But that is not safe from asker's perspective because if replier holds AKxxx-xxx-K-AJTx, then 6C is the limit for the hand (6S would have some play, but would not be a good contract).
It is true that with East's actual hand, he would no doubt
reply 6S (if not 7C) to a 5NT continuation because if has to be clear that the undisclosed spade values must be at least as valuable as the DK, but as asker cannot handle a 6D reply, he is forced to sign off in 6C over 5S.
Aug. 30, 2016
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West would be unlikely to make a 2/1 in less than a 5 card suit unless he had spade (3+) support and was planning to set that suit as trump with his second bid.
And certainly he would not continue with an immediate key card ask over the 3D splinter with less than a 5 card suit (he might well have 6).
We play 1NT response to 1M as *forcing*, so can handle balanced hand types up to perhaps as much as a “soft” 15.
Aug. 29, 2016
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If playing Namyats, this might be an acceptable 4D opener, but personally I prefer Namyats opening not to have two outside high card controls (hence, I'd open 1S even playing Namyats, but that is a detail for partnership agreement).
Aug. 29, 2016
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I'm not sure why it is so important to scrutinize the minutiae of the ACBL Alert regulations du jour on questions like this.
The spirit of bridge ethics is that the opponents are entitled to all relevent information about our agreements and understandings during the auction.
The spirit behind the Alert regulations is to explicitly advise the opponents when a call we make has a meaning different from what they might otherwise assume.
So if your 2D overcall of their 1D (could be short) opening is *natural*, then act ethically by alerting them that they may wish to inquire about the call to avoid possible misinterpretation.
Simple.
Aug. 29, 2016
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This hand has way too much slam potential to bid 3NT.
Give partner a (likely): Ax-KJxx-AQxxx-xx
and 6D is excellent.
Giving up with 3NT here instead of probing for a very possible diamond slam (and without even going beyond 3NT) is definitely not the way to win a bracket I K/O event!
Aug. 28, 2016
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