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Thank you for your answers. For me it seemed equally clear to pass, and opp 4NT at the other table looked a bit like lunacy. However partner had -,QTxxx,Jxxx,KQxx so both 4 and 5 depended on a red queen finesse. Both contracts went one down, but both could have made with a slight change in the opponents hands.
Feb. 3
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As far as I know, the standard situation where the bid means “we have 9 tricks if you have spades stopped” is as a direct overcall, i.e. (1) - 3.

Well, first may be is not so standard and second a more precise definition should be “we may have 9 tricks if you have spades stopped, and they actually lead spades, and they do not make a nasty switch after that”.

Edited: seems already commented below … I should be a little less lazy and read all comments.
Jan. 11
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True.
But the risk of bidding 2 is that partner can raise. And 5 may be down (as it was the case).
Jan. 4
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Thank you for all the answers. At the table 3NT was the winning choice, partner had the hoped/expected club complement. Of course it had a risk but also other options (maybe a different risk if you bid 3).
Dec. 19, 2017
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How do you call a 7 card suit headed by AKQJ?
Trumps.
Dec. 15, 2017
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Paolo, what I meant is that apart from being the best play for 3 tricks in hearts, rectifying the or count is good for may squeeze possibilities. For instance if the RHO guards and LFO then you have the double squeeze (assuming they do not return another after winning the 9). And as Steve said if RHO has H9x(x) then it will be a show-up squeeze on him.
I did not mean to say that you could “combine” the chances of RHO having H9x(x) plus a squeeze; independetly of how you call it I think that running the 8 is the best play, particularly at the table where defense is not double-dummy.
Dec. 9, 2017
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At IMPs the best line appears to be running the 8; thanks to your 6 you can play for H9 onside for a third heart trick to add to your other chances. Additionally this rectifies the count to setup various squeeze possibilities, although for that you may heve to read the distribution to some extent.
So, win in hand, cross to the Q and run the 8; it is true that RHO can make life difficult for you by covering but in real life doing this with Qxx or Jxx is not so easy; also, if the 8 loses to the 9 LHO can return a heart limiting your timing for possible squeezes as it may force you to cash your too early. But this play is also not obvious to find at the table.

At MPs this is not so clear; since I have good changes of a 12th trick in or giving up on the 13th trick does not seem to be a good idea in a perfectly normal contract. If one of the suits breaks 3-3 or the J falls, a double squeeze may easily give me the extra trick (LHO guarding clubs as expected and RHO guarding the other pointed suit).
Dec. 9, 2017
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Thank you Kit. As always your hands are most interesting.

But kindly allow me to be like the Secretary Bird and correct a point of the highest importance; the actual quote from Oscar the Owl is “Curious hand, both sides can make 4 hearts”.

It was hearts, not spades. For a Victor Mollo fan (actually the first bridge book I read!), unforgivable :).
Dec. 2, 2017
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Thank you for all the answers and comments. And for the correction in the title as well :).
Nov. 29, 2017
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No matter how many times you rebid your s, partner will never play you for 6 after opening 1.
As no system will reasonably describe a 7-6, I prefer to open 1 and rebid s forever.
Nov. 6, 2017
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Then East surely mis-clicked ….
Nov. 6, 2017
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There is a funny duality in this problem; for me there are only two alternatives with the East hand, 4 or pass, as 4s should suggest better and no prospects of playing in a different suit.

Assuming partner was not thinking about where he left his car keys, most probably he/she must have been thinking about one of

a) Show his suit by bidding 3.
b) Raise my .

If the hand is a close call between my two logical choices, then if he was thinking a) I should tend to bid 4 not to be influenced by the fact that now it is less probable that he has a suit; but if he was thinking b) then I should pass, not to benefit from the hesitation.

Of course I would have no idea what he was thinking about and would make my 4 call; but then if I guessed right I would get the cops. And same if I pass. So it seems to be a lose-lose situation.
Oct. 25, 2017
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Had we bid 5 at our first turn then it would be the opponents the ones to guess.
Oct. 10, 2017
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Let me share my thoughts. I do not think it is easy to know what is the best line, since in cases it may depend on how the defenders react and that is not always possible to quantify.

It is true that the Q in dummy help us in not being tapped and that is one key element in the hand. We can lose two trumps and a club, so if we lose the first trick to West it seems we are safe. But many things can happen.

For instance, we play a club to the Ace and a trump. East pops up with the A and plays a heart then if trumps are 3-1 and West can get in with a club we are down … even if East plays low and we misguess then the defenders can beat us by returning another trump to East who now plays a heart (maybe a not-so-easy defense to find).

Ruffing the three hearts seems good at first but then West can get in with a club and play a heart that will promote the 7 (again with trumps 3-1). Or we may promote it ourselves if clubs are 3-2 the unexpected way.

All this risks seem to be avoided if we take away West club entry first, by playing A and a low club (with the advantage that East may go up with the K and crash his partner Q). But this opens other risks and again East 7 may come into play …
Oct. 9, 2017
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Something does not add up. If partner had a hand like the one given above, then opponents would have a 9 card heart fit. And they are about to play 2?
Of course if you switch two small red cards the hand can still be a take-out double of hearts.
Oct. 8, 2017
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Alex, I do not think there is that much to disclose. A long suit trial bid means I have losers in that suit and I need partner to help me cover them. Whether I have AJxx or Jxx is my business and is just bridge. Of course when partner thinks his Qxx is golden, that is also my business.

As long as I explain the meaning of the bid, and the inferences from bids that were not made, there is no need to show my cards to the opponents. There are many similar situations where the range of possible hands behind a given bid is quite wide.

Going back to the hand, for me the driver is whether partner has 3 or 4 card support. I have four losers in the minors and can hope partner to cover two of them, but I still have work to do in the majors. That will change dramatically if partner has 4 cards, for instance: Qxx,xxx,Axx,Axxx has prime cards and a fitting honor in , but game is very poor. Change it to Qxx,xxxx,Axx,Axx and the odds are very much better.
Oct. 7, 2017
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If I plan to invite after 2, I would prefer to bid 3 instead of 2.
Not only I need help there but it may stop opponents to lead that suit. In even if pd has the worst possible holding (i.e. xxx) it is not the end of the world.
Oct. 7, 2017
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Having shown 24-26 the hand is not as good as it seems. Of course we want to play 4 but for slam to be good we need two red key cards. Partner should definitely make a move with that, so I think 4 is sufficient.
Oct. 6, 2017
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Thank you for your comments. You are right, pass over 5 should not necessarily be forcing (unless agreement) as the NS auction is basically 1-2-4.
I was influenced by the fact that South probably intended his pass to be forcing (as otherwise it seems reasonable for him to bid 5 with a 7 card suit and no losers in or ).
Sept. 25, 2017
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This hand could even try for slam opposite a 1 oppening. So starting with a weak 2 in seems a bit too one-sided even at MPs.
Sept. 13, 2017
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