Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Kit Woolsey
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
If South did alert the 3NT call (which indicates that he did interpret it as showing 5 spades), and if they were able to produce notes showing that this was the partnership agreement, then I don't see what the issue is. Passing 3NT would not be anything resembling a bridge bid. Whether South should bid 4 or 4 of something else might be debated, but he definitely shouldn't pass. Therefore, South was simply bidding his cards. Pass isn't remotely a logical alternative, and there should be no adjustment.

Even if it weren't clear that this is the partnership agreement (say South didn't alert this until after the fact), it still isn't clear to me that there should be an adjustment. Suppose you held the South hand, heard the bidding go as it did (along with the hesitation), and the rules were changed so that you were permitted to take advantage of any unauthorized information. What would you do? It isn't at all clear to me. Thus, it isn't obvious that the unauthorized information even suggests bidding 4. And in fact it didn't, since responder had only 4 spades.

Suppose the action had been the same (including the huddle), but South passed 3NT. This time North has 5 spades, but a bad split dooms 4. Might not a committee now decide that the huddle (along with the partnership agreement) suggests passing, and that South should be required to bid 4? It can't go both ways.

For the record, North happened to have Ax of hearts and AKJ of clubs. If it had been the other way around North probably would have made the same 6 call, and now the slam wouldn't have made while 3NT would have been the winning contract.
May 7, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Nice concept Joe. However, you don't say much about what happens after the Grue 3 bid, particularly when the 3 bidder has a real club suit as opposed to just trying to get to 3NT. If his partner bids 3NT it is easy, of course – he just bids 4 and nature takes its course. But what if his partner is unable to bid 3NT?

What I would suggest is that if the partner of the 3 bidder is unable to bid 3NT, he bids as though the 3 bidder has made a natural club call. Thus, he bids 4 as a club raise (not showing a club suit). His other calls are as natural as possible, but deny club support. This way the 3 bidder will be better placed to continue the auction sensibly.
April 26, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
While everybody's calculations are correct, I think a more interesting question is: How might one come up with the answer at the table. Unless you are a whiz at mental arithmetic, you need a methodology to get a decent estimate. Here is how I would tackle the problem.

What is the chance of 7-2-2-2 vs. one of the 6-3-2-2 shapes? I don't know, but clearly it is pretty small, since 7-2-2-2 distribution is a lot less likely than 6-3-2-2. I'll give it a 10% estimate, leaving 90% for the 6-3-2-2's.

Assuming 6-3-2-2, how often will the tripleton be in hearts? Obviously less than 1/3 of the time due to your heart length, but how much less? Ratio of 35, 35, 30? No, it feels like the bias will be greater than that. Ratio of 40, 40, 20? No, that feels like it is overemphasizing the bias. So, somewhere in-between. Take a guess at 25%, midway between 20 and 30. If that is right, then the answer would be 25% X 90% or a little less than 23%.

As it turns out, my estimate was off by about 1%, which isn't surprising. One needs to do the detailed calculations to get the precise answer. However, this does illustrate that with the proper methodology and sensible seat-of-the-pants estimates one can get in the ballpark pretty well.
April 24, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I cannot imagine any hand where an opening 1NT bidder would correct a natural 4 call to 4. Even with 5 spades and 2 hearts, it would be an automatic pass.

So, what is the interpretation of the “impossible” 4 call. As I see it, there are 3 possibilities:

1) Partner thought 4 was a transfer.
2) Partner did something weird (perhaps mis-sorting his hand), and that is the reason for the correction to 4.
3) Partner really likes his hand for hearts, and decided to risk a 4 Q-bid.

while 1) is probably most likely, responder isn't allowed to make that assumption after the alert unless it is the only conceivable interpretation. Between 2) and 3), I would consider 3) far more likely. That is at least a bridge reason for the call, even if improbable and perhaps wrong, rather than a mechanical error.

If partner's 4 call is a Q-bid slam try, then South is certainly making the correct bridge bid by signing off at 5. Therefore, I believe that call is justified even with the unauthorized information. 5 is South's proper bridge bid. Passing 4 is not.

Once North bids 6, it is clear that the wheels have come off in some way. Clearly South is justified in passing this.

Thus, there should be no adjustment.
April 24, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Michael,

All you say is true. Obviously a 3 opening on the West hand has a lot of flaws. My judgment is that it is a percentage action. Your judgment is that it is not. Fine and good.

The point I am trying to emphasize is that this sort of call is far more likely to be successful at favorable vulnerability than at any other vulnerability. I consider it a marginal action at favorable vulnerability, but would definitely not open 3 at other vulnerabilities.
April 23, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Eugene,

Every situation is different. I do not agree that encourage necessarily means that West should cash. I'm simply saying that with this particular dummy, East should always discourage if he holds the ace of hearts or the king of diamonds if it is possible that cashing the king of spades is wrong.

Suppose instead dummy has a solid 6-card minor, and East does not have an ace. Then East should definitely encourage holding Qxx of spades. He will have to hope that if West has a choice between continuing high or underleading that West gets it right.
April 20, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I don't see the problem. If East has either the king of diamonds or the ace of hearts, he should discourage if he has any spade holding where it could be costly for West to continue with the king of spades, since a heart shift will probably defeat the contract. Since West encouraged, continuing with the king of spades has to be right. On the actual layout, East blundered by encouraging.
April 20, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Meike,

In addition to the points which Michael makes, there are other theoretical arguments against your suggestion:

1) The partner of the 4NT bidder may have a hand which is worth going to slam in a minor if the 4NT bidder has a 2-suiter, but not worth going to slam if the 4NT bidder has a weak 5 call. With your suggestion he cannot find out which hand type the 4NT bidder has in time. If he bids 5 of a minor and the 4NT bidder has that minor, the auction ends. If he drives to slam, he is too high opposite the weak heart 1-suiter

2) If the partner of the 4NT bidder bids 5 and the 4NT bidder coverts to 5, the partner doesn't know if it is 1-suiter or a heart-club choice. That information may be important to making a slam decision.
April 16, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Danny,

Our agreements are:

If we have bid a suit, immediate 4NT is RKC and delayed 4NT is regular Blackwood

If we have not bid a suit, immediate 4NT is regular Blackwood, and delayed 4NT is takeout
April 15, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Michael,

Perhaps we are just talking semantics. When I bid 3NT over my partner's 3 opening bid, I fully expect him to pass. However, when he chooses to bid 4, I do not think that he has violated any understanding or necessarily made a bad bid – he has simply exercised his judgment.

By contrast, when I bid 3NT over my partner's 2 opening, I would be shocked if a good partner bid on. Here there was room for me to offer him a choice of games, and when I didn't do so he must pass. That sequence is in my mind the same as if he had opened 1NT and I bid 3NT – he must pass.
April 13, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Michael,

I don't agree. I don't think it is a question of partnership agreement. I think it is a judgment call.

If I opened 3 on QJ109xxx x x xxxx and partner bid 3NT, I would judge that 4 is more likely to be the right contract and I would bid 4, regardless of any agreements or what partner might think. You might disagree with my judgment, but that is another matter. If I find partner with, say, x AK AKQJxxx QJx and the opponents take the first 4 tricks while 3NT was laydown, then my judgment was wrong. But if I find partner with Kxx AQ10 QJ10x AJ10 and a 3-0 spade split defeats 3NT while 4 makes, then my judgment was right. I think responder is likely to bid 3NT on both of those hands, regardless of any agreements.

I would agree that when responder bids 3NT he expects it will end the auction. However, that is quite a bit different from an auction like: 1NT-3NT, where the 3NT call does end the auction.
April 12, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Of course opener can bid 4. All the 3NT bid says is that, in responder's opinion, given the range of opener's likely hands responder believes that 3NT is a better contract than 4. If opener's hand is unusually suit-oriented for the 3 opening, opener can express his opinion that 4 will be better. 3NT is not a bar bid. It is simply an expression of what responder thinks is the best contract. This has nothing to do with partnership agreement. Opener is simply making what he believes is the percentage action, based on his hand and the auction he has heard.

It should be noted that this auction is far different from 2-3NT. This is a bar bid. The reason is that here responder had a way to bring opener into the loop by bidding 2NT, then 3NT, which would logically give opener the option of correcting to 4 with a suit-oriented hand. Thus, the immediate 3NT call over the weak 2-bid ends the auction. But after the 3 opening, responder does not have a way to differentiate between a hand he thinks belongs in 3NT and a hand he is sure belongs in 3NT.
April 12, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Jacco,

Our agreements on when we are in a force are basically as follows:

When one of us has bid a voluntary non-preemptive game (as opposed to a game which was bid under fire in order to compete), that creates a force.

It is true that occasionally the opponents will have enough shape to make their high-level contract after we double them. There are worse fates in life. The cost of doubling when they make (instead of selling out and defending undoubled) is relatively small. It is more important to focus on the decision of whether to declare or defend. That's where the big IMP swings are.
April 12, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Noble,

Interesting solution. It is true that on the rare 25+ hands it is extremely unlikely responder will have a positive, so little is lost there. If we decide that opening 2NT showing the minors is a loser, then we will probably adopt your suggestion. However, our experience has been that it is a winner.
April 12, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Darin,

Of course one can do that. However, the loss of opener's natural 1 rebid and the loss of responder's natural 1 bid over 1 is IMO much greater than the gain of stopping in 1NT with 20-21 opposite a yarb. Finding major-suit fits or lack of them early in the auction has priority.

Joshua,

Of course we lose something. As discussed, the rarity of the 25+ balanced makes the loss infrequent. Not having Kokish costs some, but not a whole lot, since quite often that sort of hand belongs in 3NT even with an 8-card major-suit fit.
April 7, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Joshua,

Not really. 1NT rebid is 17-19. 2NT rebid is 20-21 (just like standard 2NT opener). 2 (artificial biggie) followed by 2NT over 2 ask is 22-24 (just like standard 2, then 2NT). We do lose out on Kokish for the 25+ hands, but those are so rare that the cost is very small. Otherwise, we are exactly where Standard players are when partner makes a negative response on the 20+ hands. On the 17-19 hands we are in better shape, of course, since we can stop in 1NT or 2 of a suit when responder has a yarb.
April 7, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Jeff,

The reason 2NT wasn't opened is simple. We don't play a strong 2NT opening bid. We use it to show both minors, less than an opening bid. It isn't that there is a great gain for such use. The reason we do this is that we don't like opening 2NT when we have a strong hand and can open a forcing 1. In fact, we would rather never open 2NT than open it with a big balanced hand.

Why is this? If partner has a negative 1 response we rebid 2NT showing a normal 2NT opener, and we are back where everybody else is. However, if partner has a positive response we are way ahead of the field. We have established a game force at a low level, which gives us a lot more room to explore slam possibilities. Furthermore, the strong hand is able to take control of the auction, while after the bulky 2NT opening the weak hand has to take control. It is a fundamental principle of constructive bidding that that slam auctions generally work better when the strong hand is captain. That hand is looking at most of the high cards and the source of tricks, and knows what fillers he needs to make slam good. When the weak hand is in control he is operating pretty much in the blind, and has to go mostly on sheer point count and his own distribution.

I have never understood why most strong club partnerships retain the strong 2NT opener. No matter how good their 2NT structure is, slam bidding has to be worse than if they had started with 1 and gotten a positive response. It is true that the opponents aren't going to be able to compete over a strong 2NT opening, but when you have a big balanced hand enemy competition over a strong 1 usually isn't difficult to deal with anyway. Big distributional hands are more vulnerable to preemption, since you haven't started to bid your suit or suits.
April 7, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I think an improvement would be to lead a club from dummy at trick 3 after winning the second diamond. Unless the diamonds are 5-2 and East has the ace of clubs you are going to need a heart miracle, so you might as well play for that layout. When this succeeds, you are better placed for future squeeze-endplay on East. For example, as the play went going up 10 of hearts would succeed assuming you read the distribution correctly, and you wouldn't have to pay off to West holding J8 doubleton. There are other possible variations, but in all cases I think it can only gain to get that club trick by East early.
April 6, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Jess,

I simply disagree. If you must tell a lie, it is almost always better to lie about your strength than your shape. If you are missing a king and get overboard because of it, there is usually a chance to recover – you might play the hand well, you might get some help from the defense, or you might catch a lucky lie of the cards. But if you are missing a trump and get to the wrong strain, usually nothing will save you.

In your example, failing to reverse is not lying about your shape particularly. Partner knows that if you have a singleton spade you may be strapped for a rebid if you are 1-4-5-3, and that you will have to either rebid 1NT, 2, or 2.
April 2, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Your report of the facts is misleading. The auction was not cleaner at the other table. Gitelman-Moss had the same horrible sequence to luck out in 3NT. The favoritism shown here by not including them is awful. This should have been the first double UFR in the history of BridgeWinners.
April 2, 2012
.

Bottom Home Top