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All comments by John D'Errico
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You might be right about getting to 6♡ over a double.

But when asked to choose a major, North chose spades. A TO double also asks partner to name a suit to play in. I'll argue that the same North will still choose spades over a double.
April 24, 2018
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4♣ is not the end of the world. It may miss a great diamond slam. It avoids partner passing a TO double, which may be the right thing on some hands.

But partner has bid spades. Now South decided to mistrust that they have found a fit. Could North have only 3 spades? And this is why 4♣ was the wrong choice. South asked for partner to bid a major. North did, and South did not trust the answer. So why ask a question if you won't like or accept the answer?

Double seems a more flexible choice to me. Now South need not worry so much that North actually has a spade fit. Given that when South made a cuebid, North chose spades, I imagine that North will still choose spades over a double. That would get you to 6S, since North needs little more than a spade honor to make slam a reasonable shot.
April 24, 2018
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These were exactly my thoughts. It seems logical. After all, how often has a Lightner double come up for you recently? In my case, about the only one I can think of was a psychic Lightner double, where I pushed them INTO 6NT, a contract against which I did have two sure tricks.

But as Paul says, while the CSD sounds interesting, once you think about it, the gray areas become the devil. Is that sure trick really a trick? Have you now told them how to play the hand?

Is pass with 0 or 1 defensive trick alertable? Probably a post alert. But this may well tell them how to play the hand, especially if that explanation comes in every competitive slam sequence.

What defines a competitive sequence anyway? How many times must your side have bid for this to apply?

Does this force every competitive slam auction to be either played by your side or if they play it, they will be doubled?

I suppose if your partnership carefully defines things. When does it apply and not, with careful, clear rules. It could work. Especially valuable is if partner is the understanding type, when it gives the show away.
April 17, 2018
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So what are you doing now? Following me around and insulting every comment I make? Do I have a stalker?

As far as your comment goes, you are again going overboard. When did I call 4♠ terrible?

As far as your comment goes, I don't really care about K&R points. Unless of course you are the Walrus, who knows nothing more than how to count points.

I said that Of the two people, N&S, that South was the one who was more off base than North, that South was the one here who had some expectations that this hand would not play well. South has SLOW values outside of spades, that are far more likely to be of value on defense than offense. So to complain about the result here, South is the one who took a risk, and therefore, South is the one who needs to take the blame, NOT push it onto North.

What I did NOT like here was the behavior of South, who took a result that they did not like, and blamed partner for the result, when it was South who was in the driver's seat.
April 14, 2018
John D'Errico edited this comment April 14, 2018
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Gatlinburg must be one of the best regionals to attend. Low entry fees. Pretty darn good hotel rates. A nice place to visit overall. Probably why it is so well attended every year. Way to go Gatlinburg!
April 14, 2018
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In first or third seat, I would seriously consider opening that hand 1♠, although you never know about the value of a stiff king. 1♠ or 2♠ both seem reasonable, depending on your bidding style.

In second seat, 2♠ seems about right for me. Partner should trust me to have a little extra.

If any poll did apply here, it would be for South. And one of the poll options should be if North should look for a better partner. Thus one is not critical, since South was arguably the person who committed the offense here.

South has a hand with slow values that are terrible for 4♠. So NS cannot make 4♠, but it looks like they have 4 tricks on defense against a heart contract.

So this looks to be a case of how to win the postmortem for South. Be aggressive. Blame partner when South was the one who was more wrong. Keep partner on the defensive.
April 13, 2018
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Everyone makes plenty of close calls, in every game. What would you report on this hand? That East made what may be a good decision in context of the bidding? That West slightly overbid? That West might have done something wrong had the bidding gone differently or if they had a different hand?

Perhaps we should look carefully at every call I made in the last game I played. Feel free to file a recorder memo for every time I overbid. Or every time I chose a conservative action. All based on the opinion of someone else as to what was an overbid or a conservative call?

If you did this for me, I'll bet I'd have a dozen recorder memos filed against me for every session I play.

Look at it a different way. Consider any hand that appears in a Master Solvers Club in any magazine. On every hand, we can see world class experts completely disagree on the proper bid on any hand.
April 11, 2018
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There is a line to be drawn there, and I'm not going to say it is an easy one to draw. That is why we pay our directors the big bucks. (Oh, they don't get paid big bucks?)

Had you passed, and West took another call on a marginal hand that is still just a basic limit raise after a tank by East, then you would have had reason to call the director. It happens all the time. Then the judgment would lie in the hands of your able directors. So, had events gone totally differently, this would be a completely different question. How can you be surprised?

What did happen here is East made a judgement call. As I said, those long broken hearts are a clear recipe for disaster at a high level, unless partner has a big spade stack. But most of the time a cue bid in this sequence has 3-4 trumps, and you really don't want to be anywhere close to game if partner has a scattered 10 count with 3 trumps with this hand. That is the conclusion East came to, apparently after some thought. It is a conclusion I personally agree with.

You can't claim that East did anything in the least wrong here. Simply thinking before you make your bid is not illegal or unethical.

Likewise, you cannot claim that West did anything wrong here. West has 3 card trump support, a singleton and a doubleton in side suits, and serious length in the 4th suit. Calling it a limit raise in spades is not out of line. My personal assessment is that 2♡ is an overbid for West, but that is a judgment call too.

Might they have done something wrong had you not doubled? If West had a different hand? Anything is possible. But it seems you are getting upset at something that might have happened. West might have jumped on the table, playing the bagpipes while dancing a jig.
April 11, 2018
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Hi Don,

While I did not originally check K&R on the hand when I wrote my response, a quick check in my own K&R eval tool shows it to be around a 9 count, which makes complete sense. The A and K are in 3 card suits, with no honors below them. Separated honors, scattered around the hand. 4333 shape. UGH.

So if 1NT goes up to a 10 count, then 1NT is probably the best description of the hand. (One reason I asked what 1♢/1NT shows.)
April 11, 2018
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Personally, I think that while East does have a decent hand, it is not good in context of the auction.

North opened the bidding 1♡. East overcalled 1♠. Did you raise hearts? Nope. So South has short hearts. Possibly as few as zero hearts. That means East will need a lot of ruffs in dummy in a spade game. East might not even win a trick with the ace of hearts.

How many trump could East expect to see for a cue bid? 3 or 4. With 5 or more trumps, West might have either jumped to game, or at least has a chance to bid again, despite East just returning to 2♠.

East has a nice suit, but it lacks the ace of trumps. So it is entirely possible the defense might start out with a couple of quick trumps. Now how many heart ruffs will East get in dummy opposite what might be a 3 card raise?

We also don't know if you might have shown some body language here. Some people are pretty good at reading tells. If you looked hungry, East might have seen it.

Was the West hand really worth showing that hand as a limit raise+ in spades? It seems a little pushy, but not that far off. And, no, I would not bother to show the club suit. Make one noise, support partner, but then be willing to subside from the auction.

So East thought about how the play will go in a spade game for a few seconds. You are allowed to think. East retreated to 2♠, which tells the story that in the his/her opinion they were not interested in going further. 2♠ does not say that West could not bid again. Maybe that limit raise+ hand that West has announced is a real monster? Fine, but then West can take another bid.

At the end, you made a double, and defended poorly. You would not be complaining had you gotten a good score for setting the contract.
April 11, 2018
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Since the CoC were not matchpoints but IMP pairs, will your opinion change?
April 10, 2018
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While you told us much of what you are playing, you have not said what 1NT would show here. Thus 6-9? Since 2♢ is LR+, it must be forcing for at least one round. Would 2♢ be forcing at least to 2NT, or to 3♢?

It seems you have two equally descriptive choices, with a subtle distinction between them, thus 2♢ or 2NT.

2♢ would tell partner about the diamond fit, and I might guess is forcing at least to 3♢. It has the virtue that if partner does have a huge hand and a good suit, that 5♢ or 6♢ are still there to find. On the other hand, your diamonds are poor, so if this is forcing to 3♢ (as is not uncommon) then 2NT is out of play. And if partner may have a random balanced collection of crap, subject only to the requirement they have 4+ diamonds, then two 3343 hands with 11-12 points each may play poorly in a 9 trick contract.

2NT, assuming it is passable, is the best way to stop short in what may be a safe place in case partner can be a balanced 12 count or even 11 as is not uncommon these days. In that event, 1NT would be safer yet, but would significantly misdescribe your hand.

So I see this as a question with insufficient information to provide an answer. What are the lower limits of partner's hand to open 1♢? How far is 2♢ forcing? And finally, are you an optimist or a pessimist?
April 10, 2018
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“And, it might confuse the Fantasizers trying to pick Bye vs. Bye.”

Worse, I might get that one wrong too. How embarrassing would that be?
April 4, 2018
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1♣ is not as wide ranging as an 11-24 point 1♣, that promises nothing about the hand.

What is the probability that you will have say 16+, as opposed to 11-24, with at least 2 cards in some suit? You are overloading the 1♣ bid, which makes it too vulnerable to a preempt.

So you will indeed get much interference over 1♣, once people start to see that it works well against a bid that says literally nothing about the hand.

It was indeed sarcasm about 2♣. But 2♣ has better uses available for it, than a bid that arises once a year.
March 31, 2018
John D'Errico edited this comment March 31, 2018
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So both 1♣(11-24) and 1♢(11-21) are wide ranging, as short as 2 cards, are both essentially forcing. (1♢ is passable if responder is VERY weak.)

Then 2♣ is used to show that very common hand type, with 25+ HCP.

And 2NT is also strong.

Did I miss any other strong, forcing opening bids?

I think you are aiming too much at the big hands. Yes, slams are nice. But the bread and butter comes from bidding games at bridge. And hands with 12-13 opposite 12-13 points are much more common than hands with 24 points opposite 2.

For me, the system is a quick pass. Your opponents will quickly learn to bid aggressively, particularly against 1♣. A very wide ranging bid that may show essentially nothing useful in the suit is a lightning rod for aggressive bidding.
March 31, 2018
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So every time someone gets something right, they must be doing something “suspicious”?

Declarer has 8 tricks on top.

West led a low spade from a collection of crap, so they did not have a better choice of lead. If West did have a collection of 4 clubs to the king, they might have led one instead. (Unless of course, West is a bot.) That increases the odds slightly that Easy has the club king. And given the initial lead, you have time to play just a bit in clubs.

A low club off dummy tests the nerve of East, especially if you think they are at least a slight favorite to hold the king. If East pops the king, you have found a 9th trick, and can still play for more. If East plays low, in case they held the jack, then your 10 will force the king. Again, a 9th trick. So a low club from strength in dummy has much that can go right there.

Instead, leading a club to the queen is staking a lot on a finesse, especially if you think it is at least a slight favorite to lose. And a low club from dummy does not prevent you from taking a club hook later. It also helps you to pick up the suit in case clubs are 3-3.

So personally, I think the play of a low club from dummy was a reasonable shot.

When East does pop the king in second seat, you still have time for another play in the suit. After all, one possibility is the clubs may split 3-3. But what holding is East most likely to pop up with the king from? Someone who has a doubleton king might have something to fear. If East plays the 9, and you do have the jack and it wins, then you might even guess to drop their king on the next round. So it takes nerves to smoothly play low there. It is much easier for East to duck if they have length in clubs.

If they have a doubleton, what doubleton might East have? East certainly did not start with KJ doubleton. Ok, if East is Zia, holding the KJ tight, popping up with the king in second seat, to then win the jack later on a finesse would get you into the bulletin. But assume East is some random club player. If they play the king, they do not have the jack. So you know that West has the club jack. The one initial holding that can pay off nicely, in case you are hoping for some luck, is to find East with K9 tight.

So I see nothing that declarer did that was not just sound reasoning, with just a hint of prayer thrown in.
March 29, 2018
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Yep. Lets say you are playing in the club, and an opponent does something insane. Well, you might get a laugh about it with friends in the bar afterwards, but it will stop there. If a bot did the same thing, immediately someone will post the action on the BBO forums or BW, and everyone will be commenting on how bad the bots are, and bemoan that we cannot use some other bot on BBO.

Admittedly, my partner is still peeved at one of our ops who decided to pass a 4NT Blackwood ask, because he did not like his 10 point hand. Everyone else in the club was in slam, going down, because of a bad trump split. She may never let that one go.

Club players do as many strange things as the bots, and more. People forget things. They miscount a suit. Bots do none of that. Yes, they have some quirks, and you can learn how to deal with them, just as you learn which club players will ALWAYS cover a jack when you lead it. The better you understand your opponents, the better will you be able to play bridge against them.
March 26, 2018
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I can just hear the bots screaming DIRECKTOR! They have an “undisclosed” agreement to use Brozel, when I assumed they were using Cappelletti.

What does a bot scream sound like anyway? 101110111100111010111011011011011111101?
March 25, 2018
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There are a lot of things to learn about BOTS. It does not take Zia to win, but if Zia did spend the time to learn to play against them, he would do well. It is not just the leads, but to learn things like which situations involve restricted choice. And there are many situations that might not seem like a classic RC play.

AJxxx

Kxxx

Suppose that is your trump suit? You are missing the QT32.

Cash the king, see the 32 appear. Now, lead towards dummy, the 10 appears? What are the odds that RHO has the queen?

2-1. This is a case of bot restricted choice.

Left bot, if it had both the queen and ten, assumes that you will always get the finesse right, because it assume double dummy play on both sides. So IF left bot has QT, it will play randomly from the two cards, because it sees that the cards are effectively equals. That means if it does play the ten, then right bot is a 2-1 favorite to have the queen.

Of course, this is not true when you play against human opps.
March 25, 2018
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I agree that it would be interesting. But it might also just reflect on the bot play skills of the opponents. And since most people don't have those skills, it would not be a truly fair test.
March 25, 2018
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