Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Eugene Hung
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Alan, thanks very much for making this poll. This will be very helpful for influencing our priorities in improving the site.
Jan. 15, 2013
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Of course it's exploitable. I don't recommend this “convention” for serious play, and even with said partner, I can always break my agreement if necessary. The point of this little PASS convention is that we _know_ we don't have any agreements on what a bid means over 2NT, and partner learns that it's usually crazy to bid over 2NT. So the fact that you're bidding shows a crazy hand, and the fact that you're doubling indicates they're probably psyching.

Let's put it this way: from a theoretical point of view, the convention is ridiculous. From a practical point of view, with this partner, I am no longer dummy in 3X doubled going for too much. Some partners need training wheels, and I haven't missed any profitable situations in the meantime.
Jan. 11, 2013
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With one partner, I specifically play the convention PASS over the enemy 2NT, primarily to stop that person from bidding over 2NT. It's been my experience that for every hand where it was right to compete over 2NT, there are many where it was wrong to do so. Of course, this ratio may change if my opponents are more free-wheeling with their 2NT openers (like 6-card minors with 18 HCP).
Jan. 10, 2013
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FYI, we are currently working on opening lead polls and it will be available soon.
Jan. 9, 2013
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Correct, Tom, the names in polls are sorted in order of number of followers – the people who have more followers tend to be of more interest to our users. They are bolded if you yourself have chosen to follow them.
Jan. 9, 2013
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Yes, I tried the fancy 1 - 2 approach but it just messes up so many later auctions that it's not worth the hassle. And you're not always guaranteed to hear the “death auction” of opponents passing and partner responding in your singleton. Oftentimes, the opponents bid hearts for you and then you're in much better position to continue describing your hand.
Jan. 9, 2013
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Partner's hand is J10xxxx Jxx xx xx. Despite no singleton or high honor opposite, slam makes on the expected heart finesse and 4-2 diamond break. Meanwhile, 2 is probably 1 off.

The big hand bid 4 on his 2nd turn, which was certainly practical, but won't win any bidding contests. Like me, he was confused as to what double (or a bid of 3) would show, and decided not to throw the curveball.

I like Josh's general rule and will incorporate it into my set of meta-agreements.
Jan. 7, 2013
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It does, but you've barely discussed it. Partner would field 2NT as a strong hand (19+), but followups after that are murky, and your hand is a little better than that.
Jan. 7, 2013
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Actually, I did not hold this hand at the table, but I recognized it as an interesting problem. I was completely unclear as to the meaning of double, so I wanted to see what people would think it would mean (as well as other options). Amusingly, so far not one vote has been for the action that was taken at the table.
Jan. 7, 2013
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Double is not penalty, we are not in a forcing pass. Double simply showed a 4-card major and a 5-card or longer minor.
Jan. 7, 2013
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Discussing with teammates between matches is entirely acceptable, and if anything, encouraged. Specifically, after the scores are tabulated (with one person working on turning them in). It shouldn't go: “-800. What happened?!” Rather, it should go : “Board 1: -800. +420, lose 9. Board 2: +140. Push. (and so forth until all the boards are scored.)”
Jan. 7, 2013
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Understood, but my poll is about what to do over 2 on the second round. Now that you're in this position, are you really passing at what might be your last opportunity to bid?
Jan. 7, 2013
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The majority votes to pass but this is a hand that cannot pass. Partner's hand is unlimited and his pass is forcing. To see why, partner has told us with his double that he believes the partnership can take 7 tricks without trump. It would be inconsistent to then say that we cannot take 8 tricks on offense in a suit we like, once they find a non-spade fit. (Spades are different because then we almost certainly have to go to the 3-level, which requires 9 tricks.) So if the auction were 1 (1NT) X (2) P (2) then we are not in a forcing auction. But surely playing partner's pass as forcing over 2 is percentage once our side is known to have the majority of points.

I don't normally play Precision or open this light in standard, but I am not going to abstain, because partner knows this hand is within our range for 2nd seat. I don't think he should double 1NT with 3 kings and out opposite a Precision 1 opener – what he should double with is a hand that can guarantee the same minimum combined strength. Since my opening 1 range is weaker, partner's double is stronger, so I should not worry about the strength of my hand unless I have lied about it (and I have not).

Now, partner has made a forcing pass. While it's sometimes right to pass a forcing pass, this is not it. It looks like an ordinary minimum for my agreed range, not a sub-minimum, so I respect partner's decision and bid on. Double is not takeout, as much as I would like it to be with this hand, because double = penalty is the default agreement after we open, they overcall 1NT, and partner makes a penalty double. While I do like to play that each hand gets a free takeout double after we penalty double a weak notrump, here, we have already bid a suit, so the auctions are different.

I don't know whether 2NT or 2 is right, but I do know PASS cannot be right. All partner's pass did was deny 4 hearts, his range is a good 10+ to infinity. Passing violates partnership discipline and makes it harder for partner to cooperate in the future when he has a good hand without heart length.
Dec. 31, 2012
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Click the spade button in the editor to get a wizard to help create hand diagrams. We're working on adding buttons to create suit symbols.
Dec. 31, 2012
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Note: when transcribing from email to web, the suit symbols were added to make it clearer for readers. The original emails use SHDC, or no letters at all.
Dec. 30, 2012
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Disagree strongly with evaluating this as a heavy 2 overcall. The perfecto of Axxx Tx xx Txxxx makes 3NT utterly cold, and you'll miss 3NT opposite stronger, less perfect dummies (think 6-7 counts with 0-2 hearts). You have to get your values off your chest with double or you'll miss too many games.

xx in spades is not a death holding: xxx or Qxx are far worse. xxx in clubs could be good or bad, hardly a death holding. If anything, AKQJx of hearts indicates you should be bidding more, not less. If hearts are trump, you can even survive bad breaks, and you're unlikely to be doubled since they won't have trump tricks.

Compare this hand with Kx AJxxx AQx KQx. Despite the same shape, point count, high-card composition, the current hand is much better – there are no 4-point misfit hands opposite where 3NT is cold, and even many 6-counts need help (or a minor-suit source of tricks).

I'm all for overcalling 2 heavy when your suit is bad, your shape is poor, you have just a little more than the maximum, and you have negative values like slow spade cards, but this is not that hand. The only negative feature is the 5332 shape. Your suit is excellent, you have no wastage in spades, you have significantly more than the maximum, and you even have 3 fast tricks on the side. Double, planning to bid hearts.
Dec. 19, 2012
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This is a good problem illustrating a common theme that took me a while to learn. Don't double a contract just because you think it is going down. Double when you have (1) equity to protect, or (2) when you KNOW it's going down (for example, holding QJTx of trumps and some aces). This hand is full of values that can be destroyed on defense by shortnesses in the red suits, and partner has promised nothing. It's not a certainty that 4 is going down, so (2) does not apply. If 4 is not making and 4 is also not making, then beating 4 undoubled should be a good position anyway. For (1), you need to double when 4 is not making and 4 is (the equity you need to protect).

How to tell? Partner knows a lot more about your hand than you know about his. You know that 2 showed roughly 4+ hearts and 0-7 HCP, but he knows you have a hand that wanted to try 4 even opposite the bottom end of his range. Thus you showed him lots of hearts and offensive values – the hand you currently hold. Since partner knows more about the combined partnership assets, pass and let partner decide:
- With 4-5 hearts and a maximum, he expects to make 4, so he knows there is equity to protect, and he will double or bid 5 depending on his hand orientation.
- With 6 hearts (the hand he held), he will bid 5. You were willing to try 4 knowing of just 4, and his hand is 2 offensive tricks better than your expectation, so clearly 5 is right.
- With a hopeless hand and 3-4 hearts, he will pass. This is exactly what you want. Rarely, you will beat 4 a trick opposite a hopeless hand, but turning +100 to +200 when you didn't have a game is not a huge win (if they are just down 1, you are not buying the hand in 3 for +140). More likely you are turning -620 into -790.

Pass is not forcing but it's consistent with your leap to 4. If you think it's unbearable to let them play in 4 undoubled, even opposite partner's hopeless minimum (0-count with 4 hearts), then you needed to cue-bid 3 to set up a force on the previous round, so that you could involve partner in a double-or-bid decision. Once you decided that it wasn't worth that (which I agree with), pass and accept defending undoubled when partner has the hopeless hand.
Dec. 19, 2012
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Andrew, I think Kit's point is that if the Schuler shift ends up hiding opener's 6-card major on a subset of hands (the hands where you do not rebid 2NT because it's anti-positional) you end up losing the main advantage of the Bergen style, which is distinguishing between 5 and 6 cards in the opened major immediately.
Dec. 18, 2012
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I don't think 5 making is very likely. But it's in the range of non-ludicrous outcomes, say, 5%?

By “bidding errors are over” I think Michael means : “bidding when you should double” or “doubling when you should bid”. If they stop off to double you for +200 when 5 is a make, it's a big error to pass. If they bid 5 and go -100 when 5 was going for +200, it's a big error to double. So it doesn't matter if you are a robot who always doubles 5 and never bids 5-over-5 : you will still make a bidding error when 5 was the right call.

Bidding 5 has two ways to win : you guess right, or you guess wrong and the opponents guess wrong after you. Passing only has one way to win : you guessed right to pass.
Dec. 16, 2012
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I think this problem highlights the importance of discussing what a cue-bid means after we act over a preempt. Abandoning the philosophy that a cue-bid shows a strong raise can handle many difficult hands, but will leave you wanting when you have the strong raise. What's important is that the partnership be on the same page. Absent discussion, I would assume a cue shows a strong raise, so I will make the least ambiguous bid of 5NT – the world-class players I know would all treat this as pick-a-slam.
Dec. 15, 2012
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