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All comments by John Portwood
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Do I really want a Spade lead against 5. Pass MUST suggest a heart.
Sept. 22, 2013
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I don;t like this hand AKQXX is not a self supporting suit and could get tapped in either red suit (partner has passed and everyone bids with 12 points these days)

There is 1 unlimited hand in this auction - and it is not partner's.
Sept. 22, 2013
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Same here - I think England will try and minimise the risk of adverse swings and hence will be pretty cautious and sound in their defensive bidding. Well we'll find out in 12 hours time.
Sept. 22, 2013
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Where are the spades? I have 1, partner has 4 maximum (or presumably would have made a 2-suited overcall) - so that leaves 4-4 in a major for the opponents.

Ergo: leave them in a minor - if you bid 3 then someone (even a C player) may bid 3 since there is always 4 to run to.

Sept. 22, 2013
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England Played Poland, Monaco, and China today winning all 3 against 3 of the top 10. After USA2 they have one relatively easy match (Australia) and one where they will be slight favourites (Germany).

At the moment it is fascinating (or nerveracking) watching the scores for 6-7-8-9 fluctuating on a hand-by-hand basis.

4 JAPAN 216.97
5 NETHERLANDS 216.43
6 ENGLAND 210.97
7 CHINA 206.81
8 POLAND 206.53
9 CANADA 206.33
10 GERMANY 193.51
11 USA2 192.00

4th and 5th may be looking over their shoulders but 1-3 are safe. (USA-1 Italy and Monaco)

I will be asleep for round 19 - but wish you the best of luck for 20 and 21!
Sept. 22, 2013
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It all depends how we play 2 in this position and whether partner's hand can be stronger than a weak 5=1=4=3

4 Gives slam a chance - partner can progress if he has the controls - or still stop in 4 if necessary - but I have to tell him that he has struck gold.
Sept. 21, 2013
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We have no fourth card winners 2/3 X 2/3 = 4/9
We have two fourth card winners 1/3 X 1/3 = 1/9
We have one fourth card winners 4/9 (by elimination)

So we have at least 1 winner 5/9 of the time 55% - but with a 4-4 fit we have 1 winner 6/9 of the time - which a priori means that a single 4-4 fit scores better.

However having 2 4-3 suits reduces the opponent's chances of setting up long cards (there are 2 of them) whereas having a 4-4 single fit increases this to 3. So unless your two hands are very strong you have to factor in the increased chance of a long-card trick (or two). And it is this factor that suggests two 4-3 fits are better.

(Note that if one player has 2 cards (which they must with a 4-4 fit) then they MUST have either TWO four card suits OR one 5-card suits)
Sept. 21, 2013
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Perhaps 3 would have been better, suggesting 6-5.

Since partner could have raised hearts to game, he is obviously after bigger fish - in which case 4 seems obvious - keeps the bidding below 4

over 4NT (RKCB for clubs? hearts?) partner will bid 5 or 5 depending on which suit he thinks has been agreed (don't ask - I don't know what I would have done)
Sept. 21, 2013
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Why should he pass 2 - you are playing in a 5-3 major suit fit, a source of tricks and very few losers! I would be playing this as a maximum response and bid 2! (North has probably overbid his hand anyway with 9 losers)
Sept. 19, 2013
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Hearts are presumably 4-4-4-1 and as partner hasn't led a spade surely he must have a tenace position. Whatever heart you return declarer will cover and unless his holding is ludicrously weak (Q863 I think is the minimax) your partner will only be able to win 3 heart tricks and, presumably A.
Sept. 19, 2013
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On the system my partner and I play we always open the lower of 4 card suits and the higher of 5-card suits (partner's request, not mine) so once partner responds 2 then 5+ hearts are guaranteed. (See edited OP for inferences)

There are lots of issues re systemic openings - for instance it is pretty standard in America to open 1NT hiding a 5-card major as this results in rebid problems. Does this cause problems as in 1NT : 2 : 2 - 4 or 5? In the UK with a weak NT the problem does not arise as there will always be a 2NT rebid available showing 15-17 and then either a Wolff sign off or 3 invitational.

Playing with the robots on BBO - presumably the usual system in America - I am amazed at the number of bids that have to be made when the suit is not natural. (I am also amazed at the inability to make penalty doubles - it looks as if every double below 7NT is for takeout!)

However at most levels of bridge it is NOT what the system used promises - it is whether both members of the partnership agree on what it promises.

(Having witnessed the UK going for 800 after a protective take out double when the other side had bid the other three suits, I think that judgement and logic is also as important.)

4th suit forcing at the 2 level is forcing for one round. It is up to the responder to best describe their hand. At the three level it is forcing to game.

A response at the 2 level is only forcing to 2NT unless opener just rebids their suit (showing 6 card suit and 10 - 14points)
Sept. 19, 2013
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South has

T9764
53
AT
AT53

leaving East with

AK32
K76
J9852
8

And 3NT or 5 (even 6) makes.
Sept. 18, 2013
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Just remember that in England 1 could be a 4-card suit, that this hand is very balanced (no ruffing values) and anyway I like to take things slowly.

1NT in the UK normally shows 6-9 points (we play it differently, rather like a Jacoby 2NT but with possible lower values)

However this hand is becoming a very good hand - your clubs should fill any gaps in partner's hand and it looks like you have a six card heart suit with extra strength opposite.

So: is it worth a mild slam try (6H 4C 2S = 12 tricks for instance)? Obviously you can't bid Blackwood with no diamond controls.
Sept. 18, 2013
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East has

QJ85
JT42
73
Q92

so may pass, bid 1 or 1. (probably bid 1 since a 1NT rebid by west would be strong)
West will (if East bids) respond 1 or 2

Partner MAY protect on 1 - P - P with 1 so you have the following possibilities to consider

1 - P - P - 1 - P - ?
1 - P - 1 - P - 1 - ? (most likely)
1 - P - 1 - P - 2 - ? (already answered - However you know that partner has at least 4 spades (actually 5 to the T9) - will he bid a minor suit or pass the double?)
Sept. 17, 2013
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The law is clear that, providing the card hasn't been played, declarer can change their mind. “Run the clubs” is not binding.
Sept. 16, 2013
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If partner ‘hesitated for 2 seconds’ then I do not think there is any problem at all. All plays are supposed to be made in tempo.

Also: partner would not have tried for a ruff had he held KX in the trump suit. This is AI. (He would also be 5-5 or something like that and might have bid differently)

Also: partner might have been concerned with crashing your QX in Spades or giving declarer a losing option if, say QTX were in dummy and you had JX. It might have taken a couple of seconds to consider this and then reject it. If this is at all possible then there is again no ethical reason not to play for a ruff.

I don't think that the same rules about LAs apply for play as for bidding. However have you polled anyone what they would do if the King had been played without delay?
Sept. 16, 2013
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Or Helen Sobel http://www.kantarbridge.com/humor_stories2.htm (near the bottom)(sorry for the pun)
Sept. 16, 2013
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I would have opened 5 as I have seen better major-suit holdings.

As for the 4NT response - I think that 5 is the best policy - the void may be worthless and could force a 6 contract off two cashable honours.

(Who knows, partner may have been after a GS)
Sept. 14, 2013
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Easy for me : in the UK you ‘announce’ your 1NT bids - ours is “12-15 could include a singleton”. I gather there is no announcing process in the ACBL?
Sept. 14, 2013
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'Skid' Simon complained about this back in the 1940s.

It is perfectly ethical to take advantage of opponent's hesitations - but it is not ethical to randomise your hesitations to prevent declarer spotting the important ones.

All you can do is try and anticipate what may happen during a hand and have your plan ready-made. That is what the pause at trick 1 is for.

(There is also an amusing Bolls Tip about shuffling your hand after the play - before such became recommended)
Sept. 13, 2013
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