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All comments by David Levin
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“'Since when does X guarantee 4 hearts?'
-Since we started playing together 36 years ago.”

If RHO opens with 1 and you hold Kxxx AQx xx KQxx, what call does your partnership make?
June 19, 2015
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“I'm pretty sure John (Adams) repeatedly stated that the normal HK lead might crash the HA, which is good for you.”

I agree, but he's also said that he doesn't want what's “good” for him, he wants par. And he seems to feel that his not constraining what suit is opening-led is more likely to bring about par than if he constrains West not to lead a .
June 19, 2015
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John, if your objective is to avoid the damage to the opponents that might result if you required West to lead a , wouldn't it suffice for you to require that West not lead a ? East would then pick up the A before West leads, and knowledge of East's A would become UI to West.

The above would both adhere to the Laws and seem to put your side on par with the rest of the room.

If you're saying instead that you would prefer to allow West to lead from the suit of his/her choice (with the Laws' again precluding West's underleading the K), then I'm not sure why your request shouldn't be granted. Have directors told you that they couldn't permit Declarer to do that?
June 19, 2015
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John, when you say, “waive the penalty (after RHO has opening-led the A out of turn, thereby making it a penalty card, pending would-be Declarer's choice among the remedies in the Laws),” do you mean, “require LHO to lead a heart, which entails according to the Laws, (1) that before LHO leads, RHO must pick up the A that had been opening-led out of turn; and (2) that in selecting which to opening-lead, LHO must disregard having earlier ‘seen’ the A while it was a penalty card”? It would seem to me that this would require LHO to make his/her normal heart lead, be it K from KQx or whatever, thereby restoring the equity that I had understood you to be looking for.

If this is what you meant, the phrase “waive the penalty” is misleading. If you feel that the above “penalty” is inadequate, could you explain further as to why.
June 18, 2015
David Levin edited this comment June 18, 2015
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If a hand with an 8-card minor and a twist should strongly consider preempting at the 5-level instead of the 4-level, does that suggest that a hand with a 7-card minor and a twist should strongly consider preempting at the 4-level instead of the 3-level (which the advancer of a 4-level preempt would need to take into account)?
June 18, 2015
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Thanks for clarifying North's shape, and I agree that this makes the deal generally play much better in clubs.
June 18, 2015
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I wonder whether South might have judged 5 to be safer than 3N, as the former would be an excellent contract opposite as little as ****=x=Axxx=Kxxx. Slam might well make opposite ****=x=Axxx=KQxx if either minor is splitting (which is likely if East is 5=2 in the majors).

On the other hand, even as little as Q9xx with North opposite South's 10 would provide a stopper. And if East has five spades, then one of the minors would likely provide a ninth trick before the defenders can cash out. Finally, 3N would be more robust than 5 if North's clubs are shorter or weaker than expected.

My sense (unsubstantiated) is that North is more likely to hold a spade stopper than to have a holding sufficient for just one loser, which would make 3N the percentage call (even allowing for the possibility of a slam). But the decision is closer than I'd expected.

Edit: I'd meant to type J9xx instead of Q9xx.
June 18, 2015
David Levin edited this comment June 18, 2015
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I'll try to better define “invitational.” I think of it as partner's saying, “Based on what I infer about your hand from the auction, please evaluate it in that context and if the evaluation is favorable (however the partnership defines it), please force to or bid a (pick one from ”game,“ ”slam,“ or ”grand").

Based on that definition, I don't see South's 6N bid as even mildly invitational to a grand. It's placing the contract. If South had thought it realistic to probe for a grand, there was room above 3 to have done that. It's not that easy to construct a balanced 23 HCP hand that's a favorite to take 13 tricks opposite a random 11 HCP hand that includes five spades and two kings. The hand AJx=Axx=Ax=AKQJx is about the closest I can think of at the moment.

I'm not sure that anyone here has disputed that North has a terrific hand in context or that 7N is a reasonable contract.
June 17, 2015
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These two cases need to be kept distinct: (1) West has the lead when East has a penalty card; and (2) West has the lead when East's exposed card has previously been picked up (possibly just before West is about to lead), in which case the penalty card ceases to exist (although there are UI implications for West). The excerpt from WBF minutes posted by Benoit seems to concern case 1, but John seems to be referring to case 2.
June 17, 2015
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Agreed, “signoff” was the wrong word. I should have said, “to play.” I also concur that our knowledge that partner holds a suit of at least five cards is encouraging, being that we have a great holding in that suit.

Perhaps the area where we disagree isn't substantive, but pertains to how to interpret the word, “invitational.” I think of it as meaning an action in which the invitee would accept around half the time, as in the sequence 1N-2N (natural). This doesn't seem to be the case here: we just happen to hold an uncharacteristic (for the auction) amount of playing strength.
June 17, 2015
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I'm baffled as to how partner, if he intended 6N as a grand slam try, could have expected us to know to pass 6N with KQx=AQ=Ax=AKQTxx, for example. That on the actual layout, we happened to hold all four aces, doesn't seem to me to increase the reasonableness of 6N as a try for seven. I agree wtih Frances's interpretation, that 6N should be a signoff after opener's not superaccepting the transfer.
June 17, 2015
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If North had the A and KQJ, then the J and Q would constitute the only side-suit HCP that Declarer might hold (and given East's length, that hand would seem likely to hold the Q). If that were the case, it would seem that Declarer would be less likely to have opened 1.
June 17, 2015
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If Declarer is 8311 and West returns a at Trick Three, couldn't Declarer ruff in Dummy, cash the Q for a pitch, ruff a , ruff his remaining , ruff, and draw trumps? But if West returns a instead, it seems that Declarer will be stuck with a loser. A return seems to work also if Declarer is 8221.
June 17, 2015
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To infer that we're not off a cashing ace, partner would need to hold a minimum of 15 HCP. To infer that we're not off the queen of spades, partner would need to hold a minimum of 17 HCP. But he can't, because we hold 24 HCP.

Edit: Another possibility is that partner has at least 15 HCP and a spade holding that makes a spade loser unlikely or impossible, such as K-eighth. But if that were the case, partner could count 13 tricks and bid 7N.
June 17, 2015
David Levin edited this comment June 17, 2015
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I agree that (2)-4 implies a self-sufficient suit, unlike the suit in the hand I gave. I'd be interested in how you would bid a 5-5 hand that you deemed too strong for Leaping Michaels.
June 16, 2015
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Dave Waterman said,

Marc: “is this bid forcing?” No, It is descriptive of a hand which is willing to play at the 4-level in one of the rounded suits opposite zilch help from partner.

Labeling it as forcing or non-forcing is moot.

—–

Perhaps the question should be framed, “At what point is a hand having the right shape for Leaping Michaels too strong for that action?” For example, with x=AKQxx=Ax=AKQxx, intervenor might try 4 over 2 (which shows a strong hand), planning to bid 5 over 4.
June 16, 2015
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LOL! At least bridge has a finite number of possible layouts and auctions, although even if you could manage to build an electronic storage device sufficient to hold all of the cases, just building the index would take a REALLY long time.
June 16, 2015
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East's bidding 5 over the double would be the Law-abiding action. 8o)

(“Law” refers here to the Law of Total Tricks.)

Edit: What I wrote isn't quite accurate. Competing to the level where the number of tricks equals one's side's number of trumps (here, 11 tricks with 11 trumps) is actually a corollary to the Law of Total Tricks.
June 16, 2015
David Levin edited this comment June 16, 2015
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“…why commit yourself to ♥ with say a 4 card suit, when you have a 5 or 6card minor, the 11 tricks are many and you care a lot more to be in the right strain”

If South bids 4N holding 1=4=2=6 and North then bids clubs, how would South know whether to pass (as North might hold 2=5=2=4) or to correct (as North might hold 3=6=2=2)?
June 16, 2015
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If N/S don't play a two-suited convention over West's 2 bid, how about this auction:

(2) - 3 - (4) - P
P - X - P - 4N
P - 6 - etc.

With West's having announced a two-suiter, North and South can envision a decent fit in one of their suits. And South's pulling the double suggests extreme shortness in spades to go with his implied lack of tolerance for hearts.
June 15, 2015
David Levin edited this comment June 15, 2015
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