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All comments by Jonathan Mestel
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Why so optimistic!? You might even go down in 4. But add A to that collection and 6 is massive. To me it feels with the odds to wheel out Blackwood.
It's possibly relevant that if they find the best lead we may well make a trick fewer than the room even in 4.
April 21, 2017
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..and partner should doubtless be able to read us for 2 1st round controls and a 5th trump, and can infer which major we prefer.
Isn't his last pass encouraging us to bid?

Incidentally, what's the record for the greatest number of forcing passes in an auction?
April 21, 2017
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So would I. Now we have to guess, and I guess 6.
April 21, 2017
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The idea is that if we bid 4, partner can bid 5 over 4
with x Axxx KQxx xxxx when 6 is rigid, or double 4 with x Axxx xxxx KQxx when 5 is down.
April 21, 2017
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Well, I'd be willing to invest some matchpoints to teach him not to bid 4NT on that in future. He knows by counting up to 14 I have an ace. And he can trust me not to bid just 4 with AAA K or whatever you think he was hoping to find out with 4NT. He would bid either 5 or 6 with that hand.

Partner has involved us in the decision by describing his handtype. He has Ax x (or Ax A) in the minors, either way round.

Yet the majority are passing 6. I am baffled why.
April 21, 2017
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6 could have more chances e.g. KQJxxx AJ10x x Ax, but surely at pairs 6NT is clear?
April 21, 2017
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For me, it shows a 2nd suit, so 4 must be better, involving partner in future discussions.
April 21, 2017
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I was sent this hand independently, and was informed that in fact the big hand had passed slowly. Partner felt constrained to pass.

My view was that being a passed hand, partner should act even with the UI.
April 20, 2017
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6 could well make opposite a stiff and a non- lead, but I'm content with 5, quite possibly doubled. LHO doesn't know about their heart fit. If he bids 6 I shall double, but if they reach 6 I will try 6. I don't think I should redouble 5
April 7, 2017
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Well, here's something NOT to do:

When I was younger and having an off patch at chess, on occasion I would bemoan my stupidity in front of people who, even on their best days, played considerably worse. It was only when the slump wore off that I realised my insensitivity. (For clarity - I'm not suggesting you're doing that! Just something to be wary of. This was in my original post but in square brackets, so it got missed.)

At bridge, one's bad spells correspond to simultaneously playing poorly AND being unlucky. At least one of those will wear off soon - statistics don't lie, they just get misinterpreted! So even if you do nothing, things will improve… (Cue twee motivational quotation.)
April 6, 2017
Jonathan Mestel edited this comment April 6, 2017
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Well, rebidding 2 over a 2 response isn't ideal.

Tempting as it is to blame our current predicament on our previous (in)action, it would still be a bit awkward if partner had opened in 1st seat.
April 6, 2017
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Nice article. I have played a version with two relatively inexperienced players South and West wherein I would bid North and East. One of them would declare (if necessary swapping hands with their “partner”) and I would then defend with the other. This works quite well educationally, as you can teach bidding, play and defence. It is also surprising how often you can control the play to reach an interesting end-position without it being too obvious what you're doing. You can then hold a post-mortem on the entire hand. I recommend trying this - though it can be quite intensive!
April 4, 2017
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I think a trump is clear. To me the only question is whether Q might be better than 10, which may deny declarer a convenient entry to dummy to lead a singleton through partner. Regrettably, I think it's just about possible partner has a stiff K. And I suppose I might want to ruff with Q on the 4th round of spades some days. So 10 it is, but if 10 is right, there probably would not have been much discussion…
April 3, 2017
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Jonathan - that's very interesting. Thanks.

I originally included the 8-0 perturbation to make the problem more interesting. It didn't occur to me that it might actually rupture the solution topology. Your solution (always cross to table with KQ7x, and only half the time with KQ10x) is even further from conventional wisdom and practice than mine!

On reflection, I think what I was describing is actually part of a dynamical process in which (p,q) are continually adjusted. Starting from the assumption that most Easts play the 9 too infrequently, declarer crosses to table always. As East learns, and p increases towards 1/3, presumably the dynamical trajectory gets close enough to my proposed equilibrium strategy for the 8-0 possibility to become significant, whereupon the trajectory heads slowly off towards your genuine static solution. Do you agree?
Jan. 12, 2017
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Be careful, Michael. if you make this Grosvenor with probability greater than a third, declarer will play you for it! But this way lies madness…
But the paradox remains: now that I have publicly declared that I play the 9 from J9xx with p=1/3, there is arguably no reason not to lead KQ10x from hand against me. There's every reason to lead towards KQ7x, especially if I'm partnering a Grosvenor addict.

Perhaps I should have made it clearer that the entire discussion was intended as theoretical.
Jan. 11, 2017
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Maybe because it's an attractive suit to make trumps? Or maybe because it's purer theoretically and more interesting when it's not safe to cash side suits and discover the actual lie…
Jan. 11, 2017
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I wasn't aware of that article - but I'm glad we agree on the outcome! I do find the paradox, whereby you gain on the hands you don't actually hold, appealing.
Jan. 11, 2017
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Why do we assume declarer it is ok for declarer to lie about his intentions? He intended to play 10, and should admit this, and it should be played however he called for the card. If we even admit for a moment the possibility that declarer should “get away with it” because of his form of words, we are encouraging dishonesty, in my view.
Nov. 16, 2016
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Even when it's partner's lead?
Nov. 16, 2016
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Declarer knew which card he intended to play (presumably D10) and on being asked by the director should admit it. He would only discover the contract when he tried to lead from table at the next trick. Surely declarer did not deny that this was his intention?
If declarer were to lie about that, the ruling may be harder, but wouldn't that be base cheating?

Suppose partner leads A in which dummy is void. Dummy plays a heart, while I and declarer follow small. Declarer now leads from table and I play. We then ascertain that hearts are not trumps. Is my card a penalty card? Does declarer suffer any penalty for doing this?
Nov. 16, 2016
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