Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Jonathan Mestel
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3 by a passed hand seems best to me. I like double to show spades, and I don't see how passing will help. If we end up in clubs we'll be ruffing in the short hand.
July 14, 2016
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The main chance here is running spades. Declarer is more likely to have a long stop like Qxx in , whereas any stop is more likely be A or K, so I prefer a heart lead. If I lead a diamond it would be the 8. I would have bid 4 - it's what RHO doesn't want to hear.
July 14, 2016
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I don't agree that partner's double is an order not to bid on; yes he has defensive potential, x x AKxxxx AKxxx? Change his A to A and still I'm sacrificing. I'm trusting LHO here. I'll launch 7 and take the blame if it's wrong.
July 14, 2016
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Isn't partner likely to be ruffing spades here?
July 8, 2016
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At matchpoints I'm not going to give up on Kx onside nor the possible 2nd diamond trick. Not clear whether to try 5 or Q at trick 1. You don't tell us what leads they're playing but assuming it's 2nd & 4ths, I think I'd play Q at trick 1, and then subsequently a to the Q. I've gone down before, and the contract looks normal.
Feb. 16, 2016
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On these sequences I think double means “I'm going to bid on unless you tell me not to” and fits the bill here. The trouble with passing to see if partner doubles is that he is not expecting us to bid again and will likely keep quiet on many hands when we want to defend.
Feb. 15, 2016
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I wonder. Suppose East holds Q10xx Axxx xx QJx. If declarer has 9 you can see you'll be automatically squeezed so you should probably return J when in in with 10. The same may also be true without Q even, to give declarer a losing option.
Fortunately, most defenders don't do this to us.

I'm undecided between this line and playing K aiming to finesse 7. which only fails to the 3 xx doubletons with Q.

Nice problem, Frances.
Feb. 15, 2016
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I think that's premature. It'll be tough for them not to cover later in the play too, and they'll be under pressure on the run of the diamonds Kxx AJxxx x Qxxx ? Although they might have overcalled with that.

To return to the question, I think it's more interesting on an ostensibly 4th best 4 lead, but still I'd back Axxx over QJxx against most opponents
Jan. 28, 2016
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So to combine the above two comments, proper alert procedures involve semi-ology…
Jan. 14, 2016
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At this vul and scoring, I allow partner a lot of leeway. I'm passing. Clearly, the majority would bid 5 less often than I would.
Jan. 14, 2016
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No we scraped an opening bid. Actually, we were a bit incompetent (strong but not too familiar partner):

2 - 4NT (Straight Blackwood - I wanted to avoid the murk of a possible RKCB)

7 (That should be BW, but it's just possible idiot partner thinks he's showing 55 in the minors)

– 7NT (Hope he hasn't got a double void hand, but the 2IMPs must be worth it)

Some hands are just too powerful even for us to screw up.
Jan. 14, 2016
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Just last night, my partner and I held a 38 count:

Q10 AKxxx
K AQ
10xx AKQJxx
AKQJxxx –

Everything broke, so I made 7 overtricks. We gained 2 IMPs.
Jan. 13, 2016
Jonathan Mestel edited this comment Jan. 14, 2016
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I hate my double - even with FP agreements, the 6/6 bits alter things. I hope A holds and one other trick. Declarer may have A but surely not -honours, and partner's sequence suggests -length to me.
Jan. 12, 2016
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I agree. The best description, and partner likes to be involved.
Jan. 12, 2016
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debbie - I think both Andy Bowles and I do not feel it just that a careless declarer should always be made to throw the worst non-obvious-winner. (However I believe split-rules for claims are not currently permitted - that is the point we are making; perhaps they should be.)

Put the K in declarer's hand, so that dummy's last few cards are Jx – AJxx xx
Now a club pitch is if anything more natural than a spade, but you would make him go for the maximum penalty. A fairer (in my view) ruling would be 50% club, 50% spade pitch.
Jan. 11, 2016
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In my view the rules OUGHT to say that we split the score according to plausible discards. E.g. if we think J is as likely as x but x is unlikely, then we would award half of -2 and -3, rather than forcing him to make the worst plausible discard. But in this case, I do think he would throw x. He would probably admit it if asked.
Incidentally, what on earth was he playing for with 8?
Jan. 11, 2016
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In some club games, one might suspect that a club was led because leader thought (maybe subconsciously) that a club was being illicitly requested. Both oppo should be gently warned about the dangers, perhaps by the director.
Whether West asks about the 3 bid, about the auction in general, or pauses before passing it out, leader has some UI. On different occasions a C/D/S could be the correct lead, and one could come up with arguments why each was suggested by the UI, and seek redress if it proved to be successful. It cannot be right to penalises every successful choice - if EW have committed no infraction they should not be guaranteed a bad score.
I think West DOES have a problem. If double unequivocably called for a , then it is in my view a good call at MP or IMPs. This rates to be a borderline contract, and it is much more likely to fail on a diamond lead. I would not myself double 3NT, because I think double suggests a spade lead, perhaps especially if the 3 was GF. If West had Kx and A, and East led a after a slow pass of 3NT, again one might be unhappy about the tempo.
So to sum up: I think any question or hesitation suggests a possible double of 3NT, but this could be based on various hands: a lot of high cards, -honours, or a knowledge that suits were sitting badly. I do not think any particular lead is being suggested, so would award no adjustment. But if directing I would warn EW about naming particular suits and leading them.
Jan. 11, 2016
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Come on Barry, EVERYONE loves DB. You know it's true.

But if you swap 8 and 3 then EW can make 11 tricks too, I think. But not, it must be admitted, against expert play by NS.

So covering Q in that case would be the best play for 11 tricks…
Dec. 17, 2015
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Of course N can think if he wants, though it may be antisocial, and may put ethical pressure on partner. It shouldn't take North that long to work out he wants a C shift though, and so to discourage. Whether S is permitted to find it after 5mins, is a separate issue.
Dec. 8, 2015
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It's a mess. I assume if you think it's AI, then you intend to give the upside-down signals both partner and declarer expect, contrary to your agreements and what's on your card.

Then half-way through the hand, declarer glances at your cc, looks mildly surprised but says nothing. You continue to signal upside down to partner, now misleading declarer. After the hand, you move for the next round, again forgetting to tell declarer…or maybe you judge that again the carding was irrelevant and don't want to cause trouble.
Or during the play of the hand, partner starts, looks around for a director, not seeing one, picks up your cc and points out something to declarer…do you now switch back to your real carding??

Rightly or wrongly, having failed to correct partner before, I would continue to play by our agreements, and assume that partner is too.
Dec. 7, 2015
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