Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Kit Woolsey
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I think the answer might depend upon how the opponents define the double of the splinter. Some play it calls for a lead of one of the other specified suits, in which case the chance of a club lead on the actual auction is higher. Some play it calls for a club lead (or at least says he can't stand anything else), in which case the chance of a club lead on the actual auction is lower.
May 24
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Splinters take priority over exclusion.

That says it all.
May 24
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I'm not exactly sure what the difference between “penalty” and “penalty oriented” is at this level. The double simply says that, within the context of the previous auction, you believe your side's best result will be to defend 4 doubled.
May 24
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I am always on the lookout for the 13-card straight. To my knowledge, I have held it 5 times in tournament play. Quite likely I have held it more often and not noticed.
May 24
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Shows 4 spades. But having shown them, I won't be bidding spades later since partner might have only 3. If he has 4, it is his job to bid spades later.
May 23
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I am looking at this particular hand. I am looking at the ace of diamonds and the queen of spades, so declarer can't have the hand you suggest. As far as I can see, there is no hand where playing the jack of hearts (as opposed to playing the 9) can cost the contract.

The general principle is: If you intent is to signal with a high card, always signal with the highest card you can afford. As to what you can or cannot afford, each situation must be analyzed on its own merits.
May 23
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When my partner invites game, I accept unless I have the worst hand I could have in the context of the previous bidding. I could have a lot worse hand than the actual South hand for this auction.
May 22
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John,

Playing UDCA, I would play the jack. Same reason. Partner will know it is my highest heart, so it can't be a doubleton.
May 22
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The one thing you must prevent is partner continuing hearts from AKxx, playing you for a doubleton. You avoid this by playing your smallest heart, since you can't have a doubleton when you do this. If he has AKxx, your 7 of hearts will be readable as your smallest heart.
May 21
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Marty and I are on the opposite sides of the fence here. I believe it is a fundamental principle of game and slam bidding that the weak hand should be describing and the strong hand should be guiding the ship and making the decisions. The partner with the high cards is much better placed to find the right contract than the partner who has almost nothing. In addition, the partner who has almost nothing doesn't have many things to describe so he can do so easily, while if the partner with the high cards is doing the describing he often can't get his full message across.

As to what responder's bids are best used for, that could be debated. I prefer control responses, with perhaps some bid (such as 2) to trigger showing some good suit. But I think any kind of structure where responder's bids mean something is better than having responder “always” bid 2 and letting opener describe.
May 20
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4NT is not an “exploration” for slam. It is a slam drive, but just checking along the way to make sure we aren't off 2 key cards. If we aren't off 2 key cards the 4NT bidder has mentally committed to bidding slam – if he isn't bidding slam, he made a mistake bidding RKC. Bidding RKC and then signing off when not off 2 key cards is a major sin in slam bidding.

I don't think the hand is worth a slam drive. Picture partner with an everyday minimum such as Axxxx Qxx xx AQx. Slam is pretty hopeless, and even 5 is in jeopardy.

Mu judgement would be to pass and not move for slam. But if you do want to make a move, RKC is definitely the wrong route. You should make some 5-level bid (doesn't matter much which you choose) and give partner a chance to look at his hand. If he likes his hand in the context of having already shown a minimum, he will drive to slam opposite that. Otherwise, you will stop in 5.
May 20
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I think what happened was that when East discarded the 2 of hearts West thought East started with a doubleton heart. There was nothing inconsistent about this, since West has no idea that declarer has 7 spades. East should have discarded a diamond, after which it would be easy for West to continue hearts.
May 20
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It's not obvious to me why you would want to be doubled with this hand.
May 19
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We can't automatically penalize a player for thinking when he has a problem about which card to play. If a player has a legitimate problem, he is entitled to think about it. He can't be required to play in tempo simply because his card is some kind of signal.

What we can and should do is come down very heavy on the partner of the player who gave a slow signal. If the tempo suggested a particular action (and I agree with Peter that it often does), then if the player takes that action it has to be a 100% clear play. If there is any possibility that an alternative action could be right, then his play is not permitted.
May 19
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If the intent of your signal is to play a high card, always play the highest card you can afford.
May 19
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I can argue the other way: I can't construct a deal where the trump shift lets the contract make while cashing the ace of clubs defeats the contract.

The point is, if you cash the ace of clubs is it totally clear that partner's play is suit-preference? Might it not simply be a current count card, to let you know whether you need to cash out or if defending passively is okay.

With the trump shift, you can be pretty sure that partner will mean his club play as suit-preference if declarer leads the queen of clubs.
May 18
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I don't see any reason to commit now. I would shift to a trump. If declarer wins and puts down the queen of clubs, partner's play will be a very unambiguous suit-preference signal.
May 18
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West might have bid 2, but the 3 call is reasonable. East's 4 bid is pretty clear – he could be a lot worse for the 1 response.

Anyway, I've been in a lot worse contracts. Maybe I'll get a heart lead from the king. Maybe I'll get a diamond lead, and the ace of clubs will be onside. While of course I'd be happier stopping in 2 on balance, getting to 4 is no sin.
May 17
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It isn't that difficult to work out the heart suit possibilities, or at least make an accurate approximation. The real difficulty is to recognize that there is a problem in the first place. When you have AJxx of hearts and declarer leads low towards dummy's Q8x, 99% of the time your correct play is going to be to play small. You will do this automatically, without thinking. One would really have to be in the zone to find the master play of the jack of hearts. That is why the actual line of play has a very good chance of succeeding, even though against perfect defense it might not fare well. Even the best experts will probably not get the defense right at the table, simply because they don't realize there is a problem.
May 17
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If you can't find a better use for the call that might be okay. Keep in mind that you are giving the opponents another artificial call to double. In addition they are doubling at thee 3-level, and against a hand where your side has minimal game strength, so the risk of being punished by a redouble is much less than when they double something like Stayman. Consequently, they can double a lot more freely. I doubt if that is a worthwhile tradeoff.
May 17
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