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All comments by Kit Woolsey
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Richard's point doesn't apply only to slams. Games and partials present the same problem. For example, suppose 3NT is cold for exactly 9 tricks, while 4 will almost always make 10 or 11 tricks but on a bad day it can go down on ruffs. Which contract to you prefer at IMPs? Not clear.

The issue exists in the play and defense. You are in a normal game, and have a 100% safe line of play but a different line is a big favorite to make an overtrick (or two), but there is a tiny risk to the contract. Which line do you prefer? Not clear. Similar problems exist when defending.

The obvious solution is to simply assign a flat score for undoubled partial, game, small slam, and grand slam making, regardless of strain and regardless of overtricks. For example, we might have:

partial: +140
non-vul game: +420
vul game: +620
non-vul small slam: +980
vul small slam: +1430
non-vul grand slam: +1510
vul grand slam: +2210

In the case of a doubled or redoubled contract which makes, revert back to the current scoring.

The above numbers might have to be tweaked a bit to get the desired odds for various IMP decisions, but there should be no problem coming up with something reasonable.

One main advantage of this modification is that it greatly speeds up the game. Many contracts are obviously cold as soon as dummy appears or after a couple of tricks have been played. Since overtricks in undoubled contracts don't matter, declarer can quickly claim and get on to the next hand. Also, both declarer and defenders can focus solely on making and defeating the contract, which is as it should be. I would estimate that for a 16 board segment this modification would speed the play up by about 1/2 hour.
June 9
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We play that double of 4 is always penalty oriented. Doubles of other 4-level contracts are relatively normal – basically takeout/responsive, but of course will often be passed.
June 9
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Thanks. Fixed.
June 8
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Only if double shows a good 5-card heart suit.
June 8
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It was none vul. I had bid 4 as a likely decent save more than to make. In fact, 4 would have gone down unless I made an inspired guess. Bart might have doubled 5 with AQx of diamonds and ace of clubs – it was sort of random.

Zia's 4 call gave me a chance to clarify that I had a club fit which might have helped our decision later. If Zia had bid 4 I could only have bid 4, and my hand type would not have been known.
June 7
Kit Woolsey edited this comment June 8
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Andy,

No, only to 4 of a major.
June 5
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North shouldn't be showing anything. He is in the captain's chair, and should be taking charge of the auction.

A normal start with most sophisticated pairs would be 2, GF checkback. South would bid 3, which has to show this exact shape since it shows 5 diamonds while denying 3 spades, 4 hearts, or 4 clubs.

After that, I think North can reasonably drive to slam via RKC. But if North goes slowly with a 4 call, South will cooperate with 5 and then certainly North can bid slam.
June 5
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As always, if a 4 of a major call can logically be an offer to play, that's what it is.
June 5
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I don't see why any special tools are needed. A straightforward auction such as:

1-1
3-4NT
5-6NT

Looks perfectly adequate.

The only key is for North to understand what AKQJxx is called and not foolishly raise spades.
June 5
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Regarding #2, I was on the committee, as were two other players who were at the tournament site. There was not the slightest doubt in any of our minds that North had nodded confirmation about seeing the alert. You may disagree with our interpretation of what we saw, of course.

Regarding #4, I didn't see the video. I am only going on what I had heard.

Regardless of whether or not one agrees with the interpretation of any given video, there can be no question that having the video is better than having a he said she said situation.
June 4
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If you drive this hand to slam, it isn't difficult to get to 6. East can easily see the potential for playing in a possible 4-4 (or even 4-3) diamond fit and at the end bid 6 as a suggestion to play there.

Realistically the two hands don't have enough strength to expect to make slam and the normal 4 contract will be reached.
June 4
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The 2-level starts at 2 and ends at 3.
June 3
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I also would open 1NT, although obviously the hand doesn't evaluate to 10 HCP. The reason is that the only other choice is to pass, and that should always be avoided when there is a reasonable alternative available. Getting in the first blow and robbing the opponents of their free ride in their constructive auction is worth a lot.
June 2
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Opening 1 is just as descriptive as opening 1NT. Partner assumes you are 13-15 balanced until proven otherwise. In fact it is more descriptive, since partner knows you don't have a 5-card major, which is not true if you open 1NT.
June 2
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If North has the king of diamonds instead of one of his aces, 5 could easily be making. However, North knows what he has. South should let North make the final decision here.
June 1
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One shouldn't be making a takeout double of 1 of a minor without at least 3-card support for both majors. Thus, East must get to spades.
June 1
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No. Remember, the queen of hearts was ducked. So, declarer has 7 tricks, 2 heart tricks, 2 spade tricks.
May 30
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We play that 2-(2M)-2NT = same as if no overcall. Perhaps that “doesn't make sense”, but it is simple and consistent. If you can think of a better use for the call, go for it.

We play that 2-(2)-2 or 2-(2)-3 is to play. Might be based on a very long major. Might be that you have enough length in the overcalled major that you know it can't be partner's suit. Might be some flight of fancy. Whatever it is, the multi bidder shuts up regardless of his hand.
May 30
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Michael,

While I agree that the trials events should be the highest quality events, the problem with what you suggest is that the trials are events to determine the teams which will represent North America in the world championships. This could lead to a bad situation.

Suppose a sponsor hires Meckwell to play in the senior trials after Meckwell has won the open trials, with the understanding that if they win the senior trials Meckwell will drop off. Meckwell play every board of the senior trials, play lights out, and the team wins. This team likely would not have won the trials without Meckwell, so the team which will be representing North America will likely not be the strongest performing team.

I have no problem with a sponsor hiring a top professional pair to play in the trials. If the team wins, more power to them. But the team which represents North America will be the team which performed best in the trials. With your suggestion, that would not be the case.
May 30
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From my 20 years experience with multi, I totally agree with everything Stefan is saying. The cost of being wrong when the overcall hits partner's suit and you don't know it is huge. The hand doesn't have to be as extreme as Stefan's example. Let's suppose you hold xx KJx Axxx Kxxx, and the auction goes 2-(2)-?. If partner's suit is hearts, which it will be most of the time, you certainly want to compete to 3. However, if partner happens to have spades, bidding 3 turns what would have been a great result into a catastrophe. It just worth this risk for the rare penalty double of 2M.
May 30
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