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All comments by Kit Woolsey
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I can confirm that the HB story is 100% accurate. HB was a friend and occasional partner of mine from my graduate school days (sorry, not naming any names). Ron's team played the HB's team in a Swiss match, and Ron did make a $100 bet with one of his teammates at the other table (again, no names) that he could induce HB to do his thing. On the very first board, Ron declared a slam in a suit contract. As described, he won the opening lead with his “singleton” king, lost a trump trick to HB, and when HB continued the suit he led Ron (holding the ace) ruffed. That was sufficient to set HB off, and Ron collected on the bet.

If Ron were alive, I'm sure he would not be upset about the story Mike describes in this posting. He would proudly confirm the accuracy of the posting.
Aug. 20
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We open 1. I don't understand your question about continuations over responder's asks. What asks?
Aug. 20
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Most common and what I am used to is 2 0 or 1 control (ace = 2, king = 1), 2 = 2. After that, some pairs play that 2 shows some good 5-card suit, 2NT = 3 controls, 3 = 4 controls, etc. I don't have any preference. Any control-showing structure works fine.
Aug. 19
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It does on any transfer auction, since responder is showing his shape and letting opener make the necessary evaluations. And if you play 2 puppet Stayman, which I do, it is responder who is doing the describing on these sequences also.

Of course it is responder who knows the approximate combined strength, so responder guides the level. But it is opener who choose the strain, based on responder's distributional description. Also, if responder has marginal game or slam strength, responder can convey that information and opener can make the final decision based on his strength and how well his hand fits with the shape responder has shown.
Aug. 19
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I have never understood the fascination of 2 waiting response to 2, with the idea of staying out of opener's way so he can describe. It is a fundamental principle of constructive bidding that the stronger hand should be the one making the decisions, since that hand knows more about where tricks are coming from and needs less information from partner to place the contract. 2 waiting goes completely against this principle, with the weak hand saying nothing and the strong hand trying to describe.

My personal preference is control responses, since often that is all that is needed for the strong hand to place the contract. However, any descriptive bid by the weak hand is better than the weak hand giving the strong hand no information.
Aug. 19
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Thanks. Fixed.
Aug. 19
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With 5-4-2-2 (5-card minor, 4-card major) we always open 1NT if we judge the hand to be in our notrump range. If not in our notrump range and not strong enough for a 1 opening, we open 1 and rebid 1NT if partner doesn't bid our 4-card major.

With 5-4-2-2, 5-4 in the majors, of course we open the 5-card major.

With 5-4-2-2, 5-4 in the minors, we can either open 1NT or open 1 and rebid 2, depending on the quality of the hand.

A 2 opening is always 6+ clubs.

With (41)35, we open 1. With (43)15 we open 2 (since our 2 opening is multi).
Aug. 19
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Thanks. Fixed.
Aug. 19
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Even assuming that partner's queen of clubs is an honest suit-preference card, that doesn't guarantee that partner has the ace of spades. Partner might have the king of spades and think it might be important to show spade strength. Risking a sure set would be foolhardy.

I think your construction is a bad example of the question which you are really asking, which is:

Do you risk a sure set for the possibility of extra undertricks on the assumption that partner has carded properly.

There is no pat answer to this question. It depends upon how trivial partner's carding is. If it is automatic that he will have carded correctly, then generally you should go for it. If there is a reasonable chance that he might have made an error, then take the sure set.
Aug. 18
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A great idea. Everybody will approve, except for those who book rooms they have no idea whether or not they will be using and create room shortages for the rest of us.
Aug. 18
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Not a forcing pass. If partner had bid 4 over a 3 opening, we would be in a force.

FWIW, my forcing pass agreements are not related to vulnerability.
Aug. 18
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He will have time to play the queen and 10 of hearts, since declarer has to cash the ace and king of hearts before completing the run of the clubs. Michael will be aware of the position, and his carding will tell Pepsi whether to play him for the 10 of diamonds or the 9 of hearts. Pepsi just played too quickly when the ace of hearts was cashed, and then had no choice but to hope Michael had the 10 of diamonds.
Aug. 17
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If declarer had held the 10 of diamonds and Michael 9xxx of hearts, then the right defense would be to unblock the hearts and retain a small heart for an exit. Pepsi should have dumped the queen of hearts on the first round of hearts. He could then be guided by Michael's carding as to which red card to play Michael for.
Aug. 17
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While there are many possible routes, I think your auction was reasonable until East's 5 call. East had already shown a minimal opening bid when he bid 4 rather than something more constructive, and West is still interested in slam. In that context East has a very good hand, with good trumps and a great source of tricks. East is definitely worth at least a 5 call, and maybe worth driving to slam himself. Of course if East does bid 5, West will bid the slam.
Aug. 16
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Suppose East's hand were something like: xxx Ax AKxxx xxx. The same scenario, and again East tells the director he would have doubled 4 and then 5 if he had known the proper meaning of the 2 call. And, as it happens, both 4 and 5 are down.

Well, I can take a look at the East hand and know that what he said is BS. He is taking a free shot, since if 4 does make it can't hurt him – he will get -620, not -790 since the auction can't be backed up far enough to give him a chance to double.

With the actual East hand, clearly he might have been inclined to double 4 with the proper information.

With a hand somewhat in between the actual hand and the BS hand, who knows.

That is the purpose of a poll – to try to determine if he would have been more inclined to double 4 with the correct information.

Whether or not the director chooses to take a poll is, of course, up to the director. But if the director does take a poll, this is what the pollees should be looking at.
Aug. 15
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Of course it should be alerted. Even if one considers it a “common” treatment, the opponents would not necessarily expect that the bid could be made on a minimal takeout double with 4 spades and 5 diamonds.

As usual, if you feel you have to ask whether or not something should be alerted, the answer is yes. Whether it is on the convention card or not doesn't matter.
Aug. 15
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Your methods put too much of a strain on double followed by 3, which might be 65432 or AKJ1098 of spades. As usual, invitational sequences go to the back of the bus, particularly in competitive auctions.
Aug. 15
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You are right. I made it too easy for them. Better is to lead the 10 of diamonds off dummy without cashing the ace. Now East has little information to go on, and it will be extremely difficult for him to duck his king.
Aug. 15
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I don't think you have the transportation you need. Say East wins and continues spades. You ruff, diamond to ace, trump to hand, diamond ruff, and king of hearts. If the hearts are 3-1, you are in serious danger of a club ruff.

If you are going to adopt this approach, I think leading the 9 of hearts to your hand and ducking the diamond is better. Now East might not be able to safely continue spades.

However, I would just cash the king of hearts at trick 2. Assuming both follow, I would play ace and a diamond. More than half the time East will have the king (it is more than half since if West has KQ of diamonds he probably would have led a diamond). If East does have the king it will be pretty difficult for him to duck, and if he goes up I am basically cold. If West does win the diamond he will have to shift to a club to damage me, which won't be all that obvious, and then they would have to get 2 club tricks and a club ruff which is well against the odds.
Aug. 15
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Let's suppose that upon being called away from the table and being asked what he would have done with the correct information, Brian said that he wouldn't have doubled 4. Then the director would never adjust the score, since Brian had himself said that the MI didn't make a difference.

Brian doesn't have to be a rocket scientist to realize this. He can tell that it is to his advantage to say that he would have doubled 4 with the correct information. This puts him in a heads he wins, tails he breaks even position. If 4 makes he isn't going to be held to doubling it after the fact, so his score will not be -790. But if 4 goes down, he now has the possibility of getting a favorable adjustment which he would not have gotten had he said that he wouldn't have doubled 4.

I'm not saying that Brian was lying when he said he would have doubled 4 with the correct information. I'm sure he fully believes that to be the case. Quite possibly he would have doubled 4. This is something which he can't really know, since he didn't face that problem and who knows what he would have done at the table.

The point is that Brian does know that it is to his advantage to say that he would have doubled 4 with the correct information, and that makes his statement a self-serving statement. The director should not be putting Brian in such a position. The cards should speak, not the player. It is the director's and or committee's job to examine Brian's hand and make the determination about whether or not he would have been more likely to double 4 with the correct information.
Aug. 15
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