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All comments by Jonathan Mestel
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If you have a clear, preferably written, agreement, that 3 is natural, then you have no problem, whatever the merits of such an agreement. But ACs can be suspicious when such an agreement is claimed without evidence when it happens to let an offending side off the hook.

A possibly useful tip: If you say “Ghestem” to anyone who has served on ACs in the UK, they'll likely run away screaming…
Aug. 10, 2016
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Well, it's a better description of his hand than the 1NT opener, the 3 bid and the 3 bid is of theirs! How would you bid that hand, playing a natural 2 overcall? You're trying to reach 3NT, of course, after partner's raise.
Aug. 10, 2016
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In the UK, at least, while his partner's actions are plausible within his original misunderstanding (AKxx xx AKJxxx x perhaps?) he is not meant to “wake up”. This is because in practice he often wakes up because of partner's reaction and realises what is going on. If partner makes an impossible bid, that is different. One would have to assess how “impossible” 3 was.
Aug. 10, 2016
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I agree the 2 bid was ill-advised, but that is not the issue. It is clear to West that at least one person probably does not have the values for their bid. But unless there is any reason to believe otherwise West is ethically bound to assume his vulnerable partner is not psyching. He has (we believe) made a natural 2 overcall, and when we raised it he introduced a new suit at the 3-level. Would you not play that as forcing? At the very least it is a game try. Bid 3NT if you prefer, but you cannot possibly pass it. West may very well have picked up something from the vibes at the table that something was amiss, but he is not allowed suddenly to remember the 2-convention and pass.

I was not at the table; maybe the 3 was indeed bid for unethical reasons, but that doesn't mean it is the wrong call. And it should have led to a greater penalty. I am very unhappy with the idea that is ok to try to get away with a smaller penalty by passing 3. To summarise, I believe:
(A) Bidding over 3 is a logical alternative to passing
(B) Passing 3 undoubled is in fact the call suggested by the UI
(C) Therefore bidding 3 (in the expectation of -1100) is the ethical choice.
Aug. 10, 2016
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What a minefield it all is! I actually think that the vast majority who pass 3 are not behaving ethically, although I fully accept that they all are trying to. We should assume partner has understood our 2 and in context 3 by a passed hand really has to mean pick a major. The UI tells us we are booked for a disaster, and to pass before we are doubled is in my view very close to using the UI to our advantage! (I repeat: I accept that everyone is trying to be ethical - but in my view the ethical path leads us deeper into mire).

I haven't noticed any comment about West's pass of 3 in the auction. How can this not be forcing? West has a clear raise to 4 in my view, and I would have adjusted the contract to 4x.
Aug. 10, 2016
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Why isn't one of your options make a slam try with a singleton heart?
Partner has either K or A. If I show a stiff heart, (s)he will give up with K, but will be encouraged with A and a -fit, both of which are fine. I may even avoid a singleton -lead against 4 this way, and won't opponents be cross.
It is doubtless because I make bids like this that you haven't played with me for ages…
Aug. 9, 2016
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I felt the odds favoured bidding 6, but I seem to be out on a limb here.
Aug. 9, 2016
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I don't like the auction as a whole, but provided 5NT guaranteed all key cards I don't see why it attracts so much criticism - partner could have held a solid D-suit. Now we just sign off. Is Axxx AKx AKxxxx – enough for partner's bidding? 7 is reasonable except on a -lead. Or Axxx AKx AKQxx x ? Now 7 is poor. But why speculate? We obviously can't bid anything but 6 now.
Aug. 9, 2016
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Is the problem that systemically I should have bid 2, and now have to bid 3 or 2 or 2NT to recover? I'll bid 2. Maybe partner will forget the system too.
Aug. 9, 2016
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Nasty problem. At the vul we can't even rely on opponents having 10hearts. I shall pass reluctantly.
Aug. 9, 2016
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2 in any partnership seems a much clearer way of proceeding.
Aug. 9, 2016
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Had this happened, I'd have gladly bought you a beer for that 7!
July 31, 2016
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Although we have the values for 4, I think 3 will tempo better.
July 31, 2016
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Sorry I wasn't clear. You said North shouldn't bid 3 because South would have to bid 3NT with 4 spades. But with a nonpositional stop South can bid 3 if North is expected to offer 3NT without spades. Just an idea; the actual sequence felt a bit uncomfortable.
July 30, 2016
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Having denied a -stop, why can't you bid 3-3-3NT? Does that show half a stop?
July 30, 2016
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@Richard If some degree of card reading or timing is required then I agree with you; but if the extra trick would automatically have fallen into declarer's lap then he should still be given it.
The fundamental point is that claims are usually made to save everyone time and effort. A slightly sloppy claim doesn't make the perpetrator a villain. He should still obtain what he deserves, if he plays routinely, with any doubt going against him. Hence my AK10 example.
July 30, 2016
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Well, that's what happened. Declarer made a claim, the defence pointed out that he could have made an extra trick. Despite not having noticed the possibility declarer called the director. The committee decided that had play continued, declarer would in fact have made the extra trick and so awarded it. I was responding to your response to my earlier comment.
July 30, 2016
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@Ed Say declarer has AK10 in a suit and concedes a trick. The defence accept, and comment that QJ are doubleton but do not concede the extra trick. Declarer then summons the director. Even if this possibility had not occurred to him, he is entitled to his extra trick, even if he is an unpalatable character. In borderline cases, a ruling has to be given. If everyone agrees with the ruling, then it isn't a borderline case…
July 30, 2016
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To me, “what would have happened” is critical. South was about to exit with a low diamond. I don't think it would be irrational for declarer to follow with the 10 from hand and play small from dummy. His stated line is to try to cash 3 heart tricks. It would be ridiculous to make him block the heart suit by playing the ace first, but I don't think it is ridiculous to make him block the diamonds as above. He cashes J and learns he has a -loser. Probably he would now realise that cashing K was a sensible move which could not cost, but he might reason “I still have a chance if North has K. But I must keep K in dummy as entry to A, so that I can avoid going two down if South has K.” So he crosses to A and finesses K. As luck has it, the finesse wins. As he succeeds after the only plausible alternative line also, my inclination is to go with the committee on this one. Being consistent, had South held a stiff K I would not allow declarer to drop it on a show-up squeeze, in contrast to those who argue “declarer may not take a finesse he didn't state om his claim”. (This would spoil a few victor Mollo stories…)
But it's close - putting it to a committee makes some sense.
July 29, 2016
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A great enthusiast indeed and no small loss.
July 29, 2016
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