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All comments by Kit Woolsey
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As usual, inviting on distributional hands is wrong. Partner can't evaluate accurately. Just do it!
an hour ago
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Declarer clearly has a doubleton diamond, since partner wouldn't be leading a diamond from a 4-card holding. Also declarer has 4 hearts, since with KQxxx of hearts he wouldn't have blasted to 3NT since there might be a better 5-3 heart fit. Declarer's likely shape is 3-4-2-4.

Consider a typical hand such as 109x KQ10x xx AKQx. I have to worry about my discard on the fourth round of hearts. Suppose I exit with a heart. Declarer knocks out my ace of hearts, and I now play a club. Declarer wins, and cashes the thirteenth heart. I can't pitch a club, so I must pitch a spade. Declarer can now arrange to safely duck a spade to me, and he will have 9 tricks.

If I return a club, it is another story. Declarer wins, and attacks hearts. I take the third round of hearts, and play another club. On the fourth round of hearts, I pitch a spade. What can declarer do? If he cashes the queen of clubs before giving up a spade trick, whoever wins the spade will have the setting trick. If instead declarer ducks a spade without cashing the club, a spade return knifes his entries and he will not be able to enjoy both the third spade trick and the third club trick.
9 hours ago
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My rule is that if 4NT would have been RKC for spades, then 5NT is GSF for spades. Otherwise, 5NT is pick a slam.
20 hours ago
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Simple. Guess well.
Jan. 26
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Bilal,

You might not care for our methods, but these are what we play and it would be wrong to violate by bidding 2 which would show a completely different hand type. While North is minimal for the 3 call, he does have roughly what South is expecting.
Jan. 26
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Multi is quite legal in knockout team games in the ACBL, and in fact we play it. We use 2 for the short diamond hand.
Jan. 26
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Our 2 opener is always 6+ clubs. It is true that if opener happens to have a singleton spade he could be 1-4-3-5, but for South's evaluation that is the same as 1-4-5-3. The point is that unless North is 4-4-4-1 or 1-4-4-4, he will always have a 5+ card minor, and South's Qxx will fit that minor well.
Jan. 26
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No. It is the simple raise, showing a balanced hand with 4-card support, which is 11-13 vul and 13-15 non-vul.
Jan. 26
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Not at all. If West had done something other than pass, the 3 call would have the same meaning.
Jan. 26
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My rule is: Unless there is a specific definition otherwise, double of an artificial call shows that suit.

Might not be optimal on some auctions, but avoids mixups.
Jan. 13
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I'm curious – was the 1 opening a strong artificial call or a natural call? That isn't obvious looking at the hands. The fact that the 1 call was a transfer suggests that the 1 call was artificial, since I don't know of any pairs who play transfers over a natural 1 opening. However, we are not told this in the explanation of the auction.

There is no question that there was MI.

It looks clear that the MI made it less likely that E-W would reach slam. They could not possibly diagnose the heart fit. In addition, West had every reason to believe that his heart honors were of little value.

The question is: How likely is it that the slam would have been reached with the correct information? That is anybody's guess. Evidence from results of other tables is meaningless, since the auctions would have definitely started differently. I would guess that slam is about 50% to be reached, perhaps a little less, so I would make a weighted ruling of 50% 1430 and 50% 680. However, if I knew the meaning of the 1 opening that might affect my estimate.
Jan. 13
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David,

All of the hands in my articles are real hands, with the bidding and play being exactly what actually occurred.

I do not understand your objections to the 2 call, either on the actual hand or if West in addition held Qx of diamonds. I agree that E-W are likely to be due a plus score looking at the West hand, but bidding 2 doesn't commit to a minus score. The hand has so many losers that opposite a passed hand there is unlikely to be a game unless East has shape plus a heart fit, and if East has that he will probably have a 4 call. If East has support but no great shape he will compete to 3, and that will likely make or be a small minus score vs. an enemy partial. Otherwise East will be passing, and that will be the best shot at a plus score.

Whatever you think of the 2 call, you will have to agree that in practice it generated a plus score while a 1 overcall would not have done so. Yes, perhaps South shouldn't have bid 3. However, the 2 call created a problem for South which a 1 overcall would not have done. If you don't give the opponents problems, they won't get things wrong.
Jan. 13
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Andy,

Great point about both the jack and 10 of diamonds appearing on the first round of diamonds. I was wondering if anybody would pick up on that.

If West had a better diamond spot, such as K1098, he could safely play the 10 on the first round of diamonds, creating the position which Andy is referring to. In theory he could do so with K1094, but it is unlikely that would be found.

However, if West had K10x or KJx, he would have to make the remarkable falsecard of the 10 or jack of diamonds on the first round. In addition, East would have to play the 10 from 109 doubleton, or the jack from J9 doubleton (safe once West has played the 10).

If a pair of defenders found these sequence of plays, I would just pay off. I couldn't imagine it happening in real life.
Jan. 13
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Perhaps you are right. However if North has something like AJxxx xx Qxx Qxx he won't consider bidding game opposite a 2 call, and a fine game would be missed.
Jan. 12
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What good (or difference) would that make? If East withholds the 9, that means that West will perforce be playing the jack or the 10 on the second round. In that case I have a lock by ducking (assuming West has the king, of course). The only layout my play loses (when another play would have succeeded) is when East has J10 doubleton.
Jan. 12
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Assuming East has 6 hearts, the normal play is to win the ace, diamond to ace (East might have stiff king), cross to a club, and lead a diamond up.

Ducking the first heart risks West discarding the king of diamonds from king-doubleton on the second round of hearts, the right play if East continues a suit-preference middle heart.

Winning the first heart risks the hearts being 5-2. I would have to know the opponents to judge which is more likely – a 5-2 heart split or the parlay of West having king-doubleton of diamonds and finding the king of diamonds discard.

When you lead the second round of diamonds, if East played the jack or 10 of diamonds on the first round your percentage play is to duck. This gains when East started with singleton 10 or jack, and loses only when East started with J10 doubleton.
Jan. 11
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You make the statement that 3 goes down 1. I'm sure that is what Deep Finesse says. But Deep Finesse assumes best play and defense, which in this case is a heart lead. Is it so clear that West would lead a heart? I could easily see West leading a club, after which I believe that 3 would make.
Jan. 11
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No great insight. Just use common sense about how you think the defense should go. Every hand is different. From 10xxx Axx Axx Axx I would lead a small spade. From 10xxx AQ109 xxx xx I would lead a high spade.
Jan. 10
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Even if that is the only layout, it is enough. If partner can't read the club position and can't see a way to beat this contract, you aren't beating it.
Jan. 10
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Sure. Some balanced 12-count with a double spade-stopper but not a spade stack. A natural invite.

As I said, such a hand probably can't exist as a passed hand. However, since we don't have any other use for the call we don't bother to change the definition.
Jan. 10
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