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All comments by Kit Woolsey
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Both sequences land in 3, with no other options to play a partial. Logically, one of the sequences should be stronger, since it doesn't make sense to have two sequences mean the same thing. In general, when there are two ways to make what likely is a final call, the faster one is considered the weaker way.
3 hours ago
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In fact, in my partnerships we do not use any good-bad after the 1 opening. As Mike says, sorting out the minor-suit situation is more important. Also, due to the limited opening bid one doesn't really need good-bad.
5 hours ago
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Ed,

Don't you think my writing here is lobbying for it? Don't you think my alerting these bids at the table is lobbying for it?

David,

That can be a problem. Fortunately, in almost all of these cases the bid is at least known to have some kind of artificiality, which is all that really matters. Also, most of the time the opponent isn't going to need to know right away – if he wants the lead, he can double. Obviously I explain the meanings after the auction is over. The only time thee can really be a problem is when the bid sounds natural (which is very rare in my methods) and the opponent wants to double if artificial but not if natural. When this happens I generally don't alert. My hope is that my opponent gets screwed. If that happens, I will encourage him to appeal. Hopefully the case will become well-known, and the publicity will cause the regulations to be changed. But it hasn't happened yet.
5 hours ago
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The queen of spades lead is certainly a singleton, otherwise the lead makes no sense at all. Would West make this lead if he had Kx of clubs, on an auction where we appear to have a problem in one of the red suits for notrump and attacking that suit may be key? Probably not. If West has a singleton club or xx, the spade lead is more attractive.

Also, when I lead the queen of clubs at trick 2, might not West cover with king-doubleton? He shouldn't, since on the auction I must have at least 4 clubs, and I wouldn't be leading the queen from Qxxx. However, players do make mistakes, and that has to be taken into the equation.

All things considered, I believe I would go up ace when the queen isn't covered.
6 hours ago
Kit Woolsey edited this comment 3 hours ago
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Very simple. I alert it.

Somehow it turns out that my opponents don't complain about knowing what my bids mean.

As to what bids the ACBL specifically tells me not to alert, I don't know what they are Probably most players don't know either. Has everybody read and understood the supposed regulations.

Of course if I alert and it turns out that my partner and I aren't on the same page, then my partner has UI. He deals with that appropriately, which isn't a problem. If he has to take an action which leads us to a bad result, so be it. Next time we'll try to be on the same page.

Is there some penalty for alerting something which the ACBL regulations say I'm not supposed to alert? I have no idea. If there is and somebody calls me on this, I guess I'll just have to accept the penalty. In all the years I've been playing, that hasn't happened.

I want my opponents to know what I am playing as best as possible. I think full disclosure is necessary for the game to be played fairly. If the ACBL regulations prevent full disclosure, then they are wrongly written.
6 hours ago
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Dave: I'm assuming that 1 shows 2+, since that is what I play.

Mike: The sequence you give is a classic example of what I call a low to high pull. It is more common at a higher level. For example:

1-(1H)-2-(4);?

Assuming you play 4NT is pick a minor, it follows that 4NT followed by pulling 5 to 5 is a slam try in diamonds, since otherwise why go through 4NT. Immediate 5 is just competitive.

I'm not sure I've ever seen it discussed at a lower level, but it is logical and even without discussion a good player should work it out at the table.
7 hours ago
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David,

The 1NT response says there probably isn't a game. Once the opponents are in the pot, the entire emphasis must be on the part-score competition. Just forget about a magic hand for 3NT. This is just percentages about what is important.

For the record, after the 2 overcall I play that 2NT shows both minors, while 3 shows clubs. Keep in mind that on this auction the minor suits are basically equivalent.
20 hours ago
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You don't need to be a mind-reader. You know very well what bids your opponent might not be able to guess at the meaning. Note that I didn't say would not be able to guess at the meaning. That I agree would take some mind-reading. I said might not be able to guess at the meaning. If there is any such possibility, you alert.

I have been doing this all my life. If there is any doubt in my mind about the opponents knowing the meaning of my partner's bid or inferences involved which would be particular to our agreements, I alert. This does not take any extra time. If they ask, I can give a quick one sentence explanation which is usually all that is needed. Following this procedure has never caused any problems. I can't remember even having a director call involving my alerting or not alerting.
April 6
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If you are doing some math, you should look at the probabilities on responder's shape. If you assume he is 3-3 in the majors (which he doesn't have to be), see how often he is 1-6, 2-5, 3-4, 4-3, or 5-2 in the minors. I'm sure you will find the chances of 1-6 is very tiny, and of 2-5 pretty small, compared to 3-4 or 4-3.

Also, if responder is 3-3-1-6 there are other things he might have done. If you play 3 is to play, he could and probably would have bid that. Otherwise, he might have responded 1, which is relatively safe provided opener needs 4 hearts to raise (as we play). This makes it even less likely that responder has the total death distribution.

Bridge is a game of percentages. You don't go around worrying about the less than 5% (or whatever) of the time that responder is exactly 3-3-1-6. You pay off to that, and cater to the far more common distributions. If you do this, it will be clear to bid 3.
April 6
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I wouldn't call you a coward. I think it is very brave to pass, taking the position that both 2 and 3 are going down being more likely than both 2 and 3 making. My 3 call on opener's hand is the coward's bid. I would be too afraid to take the position that you took.

I do not understand why you feel that bidding 3 feels so wrong. It looks automatic to me.
April 6
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No, not 3 of a minor. Just 3. If we want to play 3, we simply transfer here. There would be no point in going through Puppet, since the response won't tell us anything of value.

We use 1NT-2;2M-3 to show a GF hand with a 4+ card minor and a longer minor (opener can bid 3 to find the minor if he so desires). This is necessary since the 2M call crossed responder up from his plan of showing his major.
April 6
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These arguments may be valid, but so what. The number one goal of bidding is to get to your best contract, and 2 figures to be better than 1NT. Also, if they balance into 2 you will be able to describe your hand perfectly with a 2NT call and get to clubs if you belong here, while if you pass and they get to 2 you won't be able to show this exact distribution.

Read carefully what Steve said. Bidding 2 is way better than passing.
April 6
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On the second hand, it was partner who didn't follow the Law. He knew the opponents have at least 8 spades, since you didn't respond 1. He also knew that your side is a big favorite to have at least 8 diamonds, and might well have 9 diamonds, since you are marked with at least 7 minor-suit cards. On that basis, his lawful call is 3, not pass.
April 6
Kit Woolsey edited this comment April 6
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The chance that they don't have an 8-card spade fit is small. While we may open 1NT with a 5-card major, we try to avoid doing so unless the hand has notrump written on it or there would be a difficult rebid problem from opening 1 of the major. I would estimate that a 1NT opening contains a 5-card major less than 10% of the time. So, on less than 10% of the hands you have to play in 3, while if you were transferring to hearts you would have been able to stop at the 2-level. This involves a very small equity loss.

When the opponents do have that spade fit, it is more dangerous for them to overcall immediately vs. a puppet 2 than a transfer. The transfer might be weak and seldom has 4 spades, while the puppet 2 call will almost always be at least invitational and can easily have 4 spades. It is true that they can pass and then balance, but now the other side knows exactly where they are at, making this a more dangerous action.

Take the actual hand. E-W do have an 8-card spade fit. Will they find it if North bids 2 and passes 2? Not a chance.

In addition, the opening 1NT bidder might have a diamond fit, allowing him to compete to 3 if the opponents balance with 2.
April 5
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And LHO was right.
April 5
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I don't understand your arguments. Suppose you had the same hand with the red suits reversed – i.e. stiff spade and 5 hearts. Would you ever pass 1NT because if you transferred that makes it easier for the opponents to get to spades? I don't think so. Why should it be any different just because your 5-card suit is diamonds?
April 5
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I don't understand your question about 3M is to play.
April 5
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Granted that pass is an offer to play, what does that mean? If the next hand passes, what should responder do?

Does the pass show a unilateral ability to play 1 doubled, such that responder passes it out virtually regardless of his hand?

Does the pass show a good spade suit, such that responder passes it out unless he has a singleton or void?

Does the pass show a playable but possibly 4-card spade suit, such that responder passes it out only if he has 3+ spades?

Does the pass show ability to play 1 doubled only if responder has a spade suit of his own?

I don't know the answer. But I'm sure that the pair who has the agreement that “pass is an offer to play” does know the answer in their partnership. This understanding must be conveyed to the opponents, in the form of an alert of the pass followed by telling the understanding if and when an opponent asks about the alert.
April 5
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David Burn says:

Alerting any call just means “you might not be able to guess what he has”

That sentence says it all. If the powers that be understood this, all the thousands of pages in the regulations on alerts could be torn up and replaced by that sentence, and problems involving what should or should not be alerted would virtually cease to exist.
April 5
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Simply to play, unless opener has an unusually strong or distributional hand (the first not possible in a limited system). No particular definition on HCP, other than less than limit raise values.
April 5
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