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All comments by Leo Lasota
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“Assume standard forcing pass agreements” is hard to do when I bid 2 on 1 HCP.
March 10
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Congratulations to everyone that was elected this year.



I am especially happy to see Peter make the Hall of Fame. I do not go to many tournaments outside of the MD/VA area, but I have had the pleasure to play against Peter many times locally over the years. He has always been a gentleman and a great bridge player.

I look forward to playing against him again this weekend in the District 6 GNTs.
March 7
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You may not see the point, but the number of gains from being able to show 4+ trumps for partner's major suit is light years above the need for a value showing 2nt bid.
March 3
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I have NEVER had an auction VUL at IMPS where partner cuebids as passed hand, overcaller bids something else, advancer rebids 2nt, and overcaller passes.
March 2
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If he trusts his opponents (me and a good regular partner), he is not so sure that they are setting 3.
March 2
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Partner is not going to pass 2nt (this is IMPs; we are playing some # of or 3nt); if partner had a singleton , we will drive to 6 now (change a low to a low and 6 is a high % slam).
March 2
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4 is not forcing after 3 on their right-P-3-dbl-P- 4
March 2
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I agree with the idea of 3 as the lead direct, but believe the responding hand may be more likely to have bid 4 on that auction (looks like a double fit kind of hand for both sides over 3).
March 2
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They have 9 top tricks in or and can make 10 tricks in from the opener's side (responder had a singleton , 5 tricks and 4 tricks opposite the opener's hand in either minor). 4 by the responder's hand would require us to find a lead from our hand at trick 1 to set it 1.
March 2
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Online ACBL games is one of the very few areas where ACBL continues to bring in reasonable profit margins. There is very little “overhead cost”. The number of online players continues to grow. Like it or not, online will be a big piece of the future of bridge.
March 1
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Does that factor in the big $$ from the 3 online national events with entry fees of $40/50?

Need to continue mutually supporting Uday & BBO/ACBL by offering more “premier” online ACBL events.
March 1
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Partner made what I believe to be the winning bid of double. The auction went:

(P)-P-(P)-1nt-(2)-2-(3)-P-(P)-dbl-(P)-3-All Pass.

I declared 3 carefully for +130 and 6.5 out of 9 matchpoints. I held:

75
AJ
AKQxx
10xxx

The 2 bidder held:

Ax
10xxxx
x
KQxxx

I lost 1 & 2.
Feb. 27
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Partner made a bid that few answering the poll seemed to make when they passed and I declared the hand in 1nt. I like partner's choice of action, since this is MPs and the AQ10xxx has very much potential to be set up as a source of tricks, plus partner has a side ace.

I held:

Kxx
AQx
xx
J10xxx

The hand was cold for 9 tricks in nt, with the K in front of the AQx, and the opening bidder holding Jx. The most that the opponents could ever cash was 3 & 1, while I had 2, 2, & 5 once I lost 1 trick.

+150 was worth 8 out of 9 matchpoints.
Feb. 27
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Partner raised to 3 with this hand and it went Pass-Pass-Double by the 1 opener-All Pass. I believe that partner made the right decision. Some things that he knew about the hand:

1) I have 3+ (1 opener has no more than 4, and 2 bidder has no more than 3), so AK10 looks like a good holding to handle most of my combinations.

2) I probably have 6; if I only have 5, I would have to have a very good suit and some distribution to be coming into a live auction like this.

3) Opening bidder almost certainly has the balanced 14-15 HCP hand (the responder is marked with 5+, we are looking at 4 in this hand, so the opening bidder almost certainly has the balanced hand type. Therefore, partner will almost certianly have 0, 1, or 2 (once in awhile if the responder only has 5 & the opener has a singleton honor, we are out of luck and partner has 3 but that is rare).

4) Opponents seem likely to be able to make 3+ and/or , so down 1 non-vulnerable (even doubled) would beat -110 or worse.

The opening lead was a small trump, and I held:

AKQJxx
xxx
xx
xx


Looking at the two hands, it would appear that I will lose 2, 2, and likely 1 as well, which would be down 1. This would be fine since the opponents cannot possibly lose more than 4 tricks (2 & 2) unless the QJ of are both in front of the AK10, but that would mean that we can make 3.

I cashed trumps (they split 31 with the responder holding a singleton), played out of hand, and the opponents cashed their 2 before playing 3 rounds of . I ruffed the 3rd , cashed the 5th trump in my hand, and led to the 10. This won the trick (the opening bidder started with QJxx) and the result was +730 for a top.

The responder's hand was 1354 shape with KQJ10x & Kxxx.
Feb. 27
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I made the aggressive choice to bid over 2nt with this hand (most 4 counts vul at IMPs you just blast a game, but this was a 4333 shape without any Kings or Aces).

This was the final board (board 12) of the 1st quarter in a GNT match. Boards 8, 9, & 10 all felt like losses as there was a 1nt partial that partner and I let slide home but could have set 1, partner went down in a partial that seemed like it would make at the other table, and partner went down in a vulnerable 4 contract that certainly should have been made. It felt like we lost ~23 IMPs on those 3 boards. I then bid a grand on board 11 that made (which was likely to be a push, but may be win 11 IMPs).

On this hand, I raised partner to 4 and he caught a real lucky distribution of the opponent's cards.

Partner held AKxx, and his LHO held the QJ doubleton.

Partner held the AJxxx and led to his Jack, eventually finding the honor doubleton to be in front of his AJxxx. He only had 1, 1, & 1 to lose and went +620.

At the other table, they played the contract in 3nt. The declarer did not work out the exact layout on the hand and went down 1, so we gained 12 IMPs on the board. It turned out that both game contracts were aggressive, but 4 was slightly superior.

It also turned out that board 11 was worth +11 IMPs, as the opponents only bid 6 at the other table.

We ended up losing 6, losing 5, & losing 12 IMPs on boards 8-10, but gaining back 11 IMPs & 12 IMPs on boards 11 & 12, so they were a wash.

We ended up losing the 1st quarter 38-40, lost the 2nd quarter by 4 more IMPs, but then ran away with the match in the 2nd half and won the match by 56 IMPs.
Feb. 20
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I bid 2nt at this point (my passed hand could not be much better, but there was still some uncertainty on partner's configuration). Partner raised me to 3nt and I played it there.

Partner held:

KQxx
K
Qx
AJ8xxx

Opponents led Q, which I won in dummy and played a small to my Ace. I led 9 now to the Jack, and cashed A. split 22 with the opening bidder holding Kx. I reentered my hand with a small , cashed my A, and played back to dummy in . +660 was worth 13 IMPs for our side. This board was late in the 2nd quarter of a tight match at the time and was key to keeping us down just single digits at the half. We ended up running away with the match in the 2nd half and winning by 56 IMPs.
Feb. 20
Leo Lasota edited this comment Feb. 20
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I bid 4 and played it there, hoping to catch a dummy that would require some guessing on my end. Turned out that I caught a dummy that made the play no problem when opponent led K at trick 1, trumps split 31, and there were no terrible splits in or :

Qxxxx
K10x
J10xx
x

This was a slightly aggressive bidding move by both me and my partner, but partner & I both knew that he was making his weakest game try available by just bidding 3. I figured that even though I only held 15 HCP including a doubleton KQ, I had enough controls and wonderful spots that I may find play for the vulnerable game at IMPs.

Turned out that this board was the board that lit a switch in our match and my partner and I were on fire the rest of the match and blew away the opponents. This was the 29th board out of 48 (5th board in the 3rd quarter). It turns out that we were down 8 IMPs for the match over the first 28 boards.

We gained 10 IMPs on this board, then continued with many sizable pickups and ended up winning the match by 56 IMPs.
Feb. 20
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I chose 2 on the hand and played it there. The opponents are in a known 8 or 9 card heart fit; partner has <5 since they passed 2, but the odds favored finding them with 3 or 4 .

Partner held:

KJx
10xx
xxxx
Kxx

Opponent led a away from their KJx at trick 1. I immediately went about setting up my suit and played a to the king at trick 2. RHO ruffed this and returned a . I knew that RHO must have started with 3 or 4 at this point (since they had 0 ), and so I cashed K, then A (all low from opponents on these), and continued Q . When LHO took the Ace, I claimed 3 (stating that I would just run my winners at this point (if LHO tapped me in , I just had winners that I would play and the A winner and the opponents still get a and the high trump). Turns out that RHO (a known aggressive bidder) opened 1 in 3rd chair on a sub minimum with 4540 shape.

+140 was worth 5 IMPs for our side.
Feb. 20
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Kit, I agree completely with your analysis that LHO had more potential 3 card layouts to play from than RHO's 2 card holdings. These were sound card players, but I felt that LHO was not good enough to think through the importance of randomizing their plays from the 247 if they held it. In addition, I did not feel that RHO would actually play the 8 from the 87 SUBSTANTIALLY more than they would have played the 7 if they held those 2 cards.

My belief that RHO held the Q was ~85% considering the subtle plays that each may have missed in the 3 card end position.

The game is not just about the pure odds of card combinations. It is also about putting yourself in the minds of what your opponents may be thinking (or not thinking) when they play their cards.
Feb. 20
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At the table, I had the exact same thinking as Kit states in his response when it comes to handling of a potential 50 break or 41 break. I won the 1st trump in hand, cashed a 2nd rd of trumps (they split 32 with it seeming that LHO had a doubleton at this point). I went about ruffing 2 rounds of in hand as Kit states (A, K, then ruff, return to dummy in , ruff last , then return to dummy with ). LHO showed up with 2 & 4 (RHO held 3 & 3). Each of the opponents had only 6 known cards in those 2 suits. No one pitched any on the hand (RHO pitched a on the 4th rd of ; LHO pitched a on the 3rd round of trumps; RHO pitched another on the 4th rd of ; final pitch was another by LHO on the 4th rd of ). I read the end position to be 3 in LHO's hand (the hand looking at KJx of was on their left), 2 and another in RHO's hand (they were looking at the KJx of on their right).

Based on the 32 split alone, we would say it is 60% that LHO holds the Q. However, I was able to gather some more information from the suit before making the final decision. I was in dummy at trick 10 when I cashed the final . I led the 3 to my Ace at trick 11, then led a out of hand back towards the KJ in dummy at trick 12. The extra piece of information is that I saw RHO play the 8 at trick 11 when I led dummy's 3 ; I saw LHO play the 2 & 4 at tricks 11 & 12. Therefore, RHO was known to hold a doubleton , and it was either the 8 & 7 OR the 8 & Q. The opponents certainly were good enough to falsecard, so RHO would certainly consider playing the 8 from the 87.

Put yourself in RHO's shoes for a minute:
-If they held the 8 & Q and the declarer leads a small off of the dummy at trick 11, they would always play the 8.
-If they had the 8 & 7 and the declarer leads a small off of the dummy at trick 11, they could play either spot card. Unless we assume that RHO would play the 8 from the 8 & 7 100% of the time (as they would if they held the 8 & Q), there is a greater chance that their remaining card is the Q since they never would have played it.

Even if you believe that an opponent would play the 8 100% of the time from 87 and the odds alone “break even” on whether they hold the 7 or the Q still, you factor in restricted choice as well. I believed the odds to be ~85% that RHO had the now bare Q, and therefore I played the K at trick 12. This was correct as I dropped the doubleton Q and brought home the grand.

It turns out that getting the hand right was worth +10 IMPs for our side; getting it wrong would have been -14 IMPs for our side (Other table was in 6nt making 7).

We won the match by 21 IMPs, so this board alone could have altered the outcome of the match. However, this board occurred in the 1st quarter. It is very possible that me and my team would have been slightly more aggressive in the later quarters if the match had been tighter.
Feb. 19
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