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All comments by Esko Pikataival
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Actually I considered it. The reason why I thought he would lead the diamond was that he, at that point, was holding only diamonds in his hand and the laws require him to play something.
June 13
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One of the drivers towards 6-4 was the possibility of RHO showing both majors with 5-4 even though his hearts were better. With 6-4 RHO would surely bid the hand as a one-suiter. My guess was something like 40-60 against showing majors with 5-4 as his spades were so bad.

As the defenders' identity was disclosed below, you probably can understand how hard it was for me to picture that LHO still had a heart in his hand. Against many other players the A would have been a no-brainer.
June 13
Esko Pikataival edited this comment June 13
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Thanks. Fixed.
June 13
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There is a limited set of combinations, where there is a balanced frozen suit threat for the defenders, leading to a situation where declarer can either solve the suit or endplay the defenders. AFAIU, the conditions are the following:
* both defenders need to keep the same number of cards to have a combined stopper in the suit
* the declarer distribution cannot lead to a position where declarer gets endplayed
* the loser count and distribution must be such that the defense cannot cash out too many tricks (with one loser it's a sure thing; with 2 losers declarer needs to exit in the suit where there are 3 cards remaining to prevent discard on the first suit and transport and cashing of two in the other)

At least the following combinations qualify:
—-QJ9
Txx —- Kxx
—-Axx

—-J9x
Txx —- Kxx
—-AQx

—-AJx
Txx —- Qxx
—-K9x

—QT
Jx — Kx
—Ax

As long as the declarer can reach a position where they have the combination and one loser, the declarer wins either by exiting with a loser or by solving the suit, if the defense has weakened the position. There is no way the defense can attack the position as the suit is frozen. For multiple losers the success depends.

Note that AQ9 vs Jxx has the same characteristics but the defense can survive the endplay by locking declarer into their hand by leading from West and ducking to the 9. However, this could be reduced to the the initial KJ position by taking the Q finesse earlier. Similarly all the KT-related positions above can be reduced to the initial KJ position by taking an early finesse.
June 2
Esko Pikataival edited this comment June 2
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1st/2nd position: 4m opening
3rd/4th position: requests partner to display another green card
May 29
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I met Margie at the bridge table at the time when the boards were manually duplicated. The tournament was probably some Fall Nationals side game in 1995 and I was playing with the late Raija Reisig. We were newbies in the ACBL etiquette and when facing an obvious pro client pair sitting NS we probably broke the code when we duplicated the boards as EW.

Margie thanked us and later we had a chat and she told a bit about the pro life. I can still remember her telling about the visits to multiple cities, where she had watched so much the hotel channels presenting the attractions of the venues that her feet hurt.

Short moment, lasting memories.
May 23
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If the treatment of 1NT would be the cornerstone, the rest of the framework should rest on that.

What about 1NT as unlimited relay to 1M opening; that would leave natural suit responses as NF (or something conventional or whatever).

However, in many frameworks the 1NT structure is forced - it needs to cover certain holes in the rest of the framework. It seldom becomes an independent choice or matter of style.
May 17
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The full context matters as systems should be harmonized frameworks instead of collections of random conventions and/or treatments.

When I play 2/1 type of system, single jump 3x is invitational with 6+ cards and 2/1 is FG without exceptions. In this context I play 1NT as forcing; it can include a balanced 3 card support FG hand.

When I play weak openings with 4 card majors with 2/1 F1R, I play 1NT as NF.

Without the full system context, this poll is quite meaningless, unless you consider this specific sequence as the cornerstone for the framework building.
May 17
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From 1993 Europeans:

I held ATxxxx - AKxxxxx - and opened with one Precision diamond. LHO bid 4 and the tray went to the other side. When it came back, partner had found 4. I raised to 7 and LHO tore a sheet from the explanation pad and wrote 8 on that and placed it above his 4 and pushed the tray to the other side.

At that point I knew that he was not going to ruff a diamond lead. :)
May 15
Esko Pikataival edited this comment May 15
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Copy-paste from some of my old comments:
—-
The late Eric Jannersten (the guy behind bidding box manufacturing and the founder of the largest bridge equipment manufacturer in Europe) tried to popularize Rex Bridge in the 1950's.

In Rex Bridge, there was an additional denomination Rex between spades and NT. Rex was like NT but aces were the lowest cards of the deck. In addition you get bonus for bidding and making 4NT or 5M; going one down undoubled was partly free; you could bid 8 or 9 etc…
—-
For bidding and making 7 in NT/Rex you get 3200; for going one down undoubled in 8 the declaring side gets 2600; in case of a doubled undertrick 200/300 is deducted from the score depending on vulnerability. One down in 7 still scores 1950.

Declaring side goes minus in case the contract goes two or more down. Undoubled undertricks cost 200/300 for 2, 300/450 for 3, and thereafter 150 more per undertrick. Doubled undertricks double the score.

So against making 7NT (3200) one can take a 7 down sac for 1800 in 8 of suit. Against the 1800 sac it is profitable to go one down doubled in 8NT to score 2400 (nv) against which it is still profitable to take 8 down sac of 9 of a suit for 2100.
Jan. 25, 2017
May 15
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The top contract is, of course, 6NT with the following solid tricks (with safety play in clubs): 2 spades, 2 hearts, 3 diamonds and 5 clubs. However, 6NT is not on North's radar.

South's hand is not very exceptional (even with 17 hcp) and South's rounded suit fillers are not so great that South should take control. IMO, South should bid 4 in response to North's 4.

After 4 North knows that South's hand is suitable for slam. North also knows that South does not hold the magic Axx KQxx Axx Qxx because that hand would have been perfect for 4NT (South can show the Q for 7 by 5-5NT-6(K)-6(in theory, asking for K) to let North bid 7 knowing that clubs are covered).

Based on the above, North probably should jump to 6 over 4 to give South the final choice of the trump suit. Note that 6 is solid unless the defenders can take a ruff. If South picks 6, that's life; we all have made worse slams.
May 10
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I thought that I made it quite clear that 3NT as serious is IMO overbid and 4 as non-serious is quite ok.
May 9
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IMO serious 3NT shows extra values and an active move towards slam. OTOH, non-serious cue tells that my hand is suitable if partner has extra values and wants to move on.

This had is minimum with good shape, fitting club card and two key cards. I would be happy to cooperate but not willing to move towards slam facing a minimum 2/1.
May 9
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With 10 hcp in partner's suits I considered 4NT to be a bit too pessimistic. 4 is slammish so my black fillers are of known value. We managed to reach close to 96% grand slam and could have reached even a little better one, if I had had the guts to take a deeper assessment of the sequence. One of the key bids finding that grand was 5NT telling partner of that good black stuff.
May 1
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This 7NT is hypothetical. The actual 7NT received a diamond lead.
April 30
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Without strong club or Gazzilli the sequence must be limited to 4522 hands with adequate power. I'm ok with the first 3 calls.

The rest depends on the chosen N-S strategy: if N-S have agreed that rather 480 than -50, it's ok to pass; if N-S prefer -50 to 480, South should move on with two working kings and 5th trump.

IMO, it's about a coin flip situation; the first flip is that you might end up in (close to) no-play contract or you might end up in a (close to) cold one (like here). The next flip is that you might end in a slam requiring a finesse.

My guesstimate would be that it's EV0 with huge variance for either decision.
March 20
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I was trying to point out that one good team is enough; assuming that the selection method is such that randomness gets diminished e.g. method that has long KO matches (like 128 boards).
March 11
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You need only six players who can form the team together. If there is only one team, that wins by default.

The target of team selection is not to play high quality bridge but to select one team.
March 11
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What would be the problem with teams of six competing in a seeded KO?

That would allow the players to get team mates they like to play with. Typically the top players know which pairs are hot and have suitable chemistry to form a team with.

In case there are sponsor issues, require each player to play roughly 2/3 of each long KO match to be eligible.

That mechanism would, of course, make the selection committee redundant as the team is chosen only by the KO result.
March 11
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That was the idea.
March 6
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