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All comments by Leo Lasota
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I made a great mistake on this hand when I bid 2. I thought too much that my holding could not be much better on the auction, since I showed 1 or 2 with the 1nt and I hold Kx. I thought that if partner only held 4, there was a decent chance that they may have 4 and could convert the contract to 3 (they would be 100% sure that I have 4 or 5 on the auction, as I would always sit for 2 doubled with 4+ ).

I had an honest blind spot and did not realize that 2 is the right bid if I am going to pull the double. Partner would know that I have exactly 4, and would never pass 2 unless they held 3 or 4 in hand.

Partner bid 2nt over 2 by me. I played it there and quickly claimed down 2 (-100) when the opening leader led two of their top from AKQxxx. I have 6 tricks off the top with AK, AK, 2 tricks with KQJ after giving up the ace.

-100 was worth 1 matchpoint out of 9, which I definitely deserved for my incorrect 2 bid.

If I pass 2 doubled, we would almost certainly set this one for +100 and 7 out of 9 matchpoints.

If I bid 2, it will get played there and partner will almost certainly make 2 for +110 and 8 out of 9 matchpoints.

Partner held:

QJxx
Kxx
10xx
AJx

The 2 bidder held:

109x
Q109
AKQJxx
10
Jan. 21
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I made the decision to try for 6nt, 7, or 7nt when I heard partner overcall 4.

I chose 5, over which partner bid 6. I then signed off in 6nt.

Opening lead from the 3 preempter was the Q, and dummy tabled with:

void
983
AQJ987
KJ64

Trick 1 went Q-3-4-Ace (std carding for the opponents).

I ran my (pitching 5 & 7 out of hand). I then cashed my A, followed by AK. In the 3 card ending, I knew that the 3 bidder had 1 & 2 left; I knew that the other hand held the Q10 and 1 more . My only hope was for a defensive slip, where the hand with Q10 mistakenly kept the bare K OR they held the singleton Jack and their partner held the K10 and would not work out to just sky the k when I led 6 out of my hand. I led the 6 out of hand and was fortunate that indeed LHO held the K10 and played the 10 after some thought. Their partner was endplayed with the J and dummy scored the last 2 tricks in .

+1440 was worth 7 out of 8 matchpoints (one pair bid the cold 7 grand).

I felt that partner would bid 6 over my 5 if they held 4 . I had no way of knowing that they only had three cards between & and everything else could be ruffed out in my hand.

Partner elected to bid 6 because they were worried that 6 may be taken as more encouraging by me. I believe that 5 by them already put the brakes on, and 6 would just be pattering out (plus the fact was they held 4 decent ).
Jan. 21
Leo Lasota edited this comment Jan. 21
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I was very tempted to double with the hand, since it sounded like terrible splits for the opponents with partner doubling 3, I hold a side ace that is far from necessary for a favorable preempt, and I only had a 5 card suit (which makes wanting to defend more likely than partner competing in possibly).

I decided to pass, and the auction went all pass. I decided that I did not want to bury partner for doubling 3 with great . In addition, I figured that if partner had a real sound defensive hand, they could still double 3 themselves. Specifically if partner holds a 4 card suit, I felt that they would likely double off 3 also.

Partner's hand was:

AK
Jxxx
xxx
KQJ8

The dummy came down with:

Jx
AK10x
KQJx
xxx

We defended accurately for down 2 +200, and a tie for a top with one other pair. The hand can be limited to 7 tricks in or for the opponents.
Jan. 21
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At the table, I bid 4 in my usual tempo (very fast). I saw positives and negatives to bidding 4 and 4.

Bidding 4 by me would not have denied a control on this auction, but it would have put the brakes on my expectation of moving towards slam.

There are possible hands from South that would equate to a no-play slam; there are hands from South that would equate to a laydown slam; there were hands that may fall on a finesse or partner being able to select a correct line of play from multiple options.

I really felt like it was close to flipping a coin if there would be a decent slam available, but was confident that partner would find the right line to make if it was a guess and may be able to deceive the opponents into letting the slam make when it shouldn't.

Over the 4, partner bid 4nt RKC, I bid 5 (two keycards w/o the queen), and partner bid 6. A trump was led and partner held:

KQ9xx
Qxx
AKx
xx

Partner drew 2 rounds of trumps (which split 22), then led small out of hand. His LHO skied the A and returned a small . Partner's only hope was for the Jack to be with his LHO also. Unfortunately this was not the case as his LHO started with:

xx
KJxx
xxxxx
Ax

It was an unfortunate poorly fitting hand from partner. Only one other pair bid 6 and went down 1; the other 7 pairs bid 4 and made 5 so we got a tie for a bottom on the board.
Jan. 21
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I am referring to the clarification from my explanation of what constitutes a balanced hand on this auction. “No; 5 card suit 5422 5332 5431 with singleton A or K”.
Jan. 21
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“Normal methods” may not be having 3nt to play.

When partner makes a wide ranging Michaels bid, it is tough to know that you can take a stab at 3nt.

I like playing the method where 4 here by the advancer would be pass or correct for the overcaller's minor with competitive values. 3nt is unlimited and shows near an opening bid or better, asking for overcaller's minor suit also.
Jan. 21
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Given that you do not tell us what methods we are playing, I will play my methods of balancing 2nt = 2 lowest suits.
Jan. 21
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Part of this depends on how well I know my opponents tendencies.

With no other information to go on, I would play the opening leader to have the singleton Q and finesse their partner for the J. Keep in mind that from QJ doubleton, you would often lead the Jack instead of the Queen. There is the inference that their only choice was the Queen if that was a singleton.

There is some uncertainty because all the opponents did was bid 2, even though they have a 10 card fit and are favorable vulnerability. If both opponents are considered moderately aggressive, for example, I would be more inclined to play for the trumps to be 22.
Jan. 20
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(1)-3 overcall by us shows a long suit.

Vulnerability impacts how good of a hand partner expects when they hear 3 from us.

Non-vul vs non-vul does not promise a sound hand.
Jan. 20
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Normally in methods I use with Wolf Sign Off, responder's 3 bid = slam interest+ in at least one of the minor suits (/).

3 asks first for 3 card support in responder's major (the “sign-off” auction is passing the opener's 3 response when they show 3 card support over 3, or bidding 3 to play after:
1-1-2nt-3-3-3).
Jan. 18
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No; 5 card suit 5422 5332 5431 with singleton A or K

People need to understand that the system used enables the opener to differentiate 6+ card suits/singletons or voids/strength.

Serious/non-serious 3nt is used in many game forcing auctions for this partnership. In modified Jacoby system, serious/non-serious is not necessary as it is described through other means.

When the responder asked with 3, they do not have a dead minimum GF hand. They have a hand that is suitable for some slam opposite the right fitting suitable minimum.

With 17 support points plus some spot cards, the responder's hand here is suitable for small slam against many hands opener may hold and a grand slam opposite a handful of hands the opener may hold when they bid 3.
Jan. 18
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balanced means no singleton, except for maybe a K or A, and no voids
Jan. 18
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This is a hand where a preempt from the opponents puts a lot of pressure on us and makes us guess.

Many hands we can scramble 9 tricks in 3nt. Opponents may need to find a lead to set 3nt, but it may not be obvious with the hand that they hold. Partner may have a hand with 3/4 where 3nt is better than 4 if they hold the bulk of their values in /.

At least if 3nt is going to go terribly bad for our side, it is only -50 for each “under”trick unless the opponents find a double. Given that I hold KQ KQ & and an Ace and the opponents opened 3, the likelihood of double from LHO is very small.
Jan. 11
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5 means you should get a different partner. 4 or 4 by them would have been cuebids with 3 and a maximumish hand. Most of the time when they hold a prime 16 count or decent 17 count, they will have something to cuebid 4.
Jan. 9
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I had the fortune to play against John Adams many times while he lived in MD and played in the Washington Bridge League. He was always a very tough opponent to play against. It was very rare for him to not play well. You had to play well to have a chance to beat him.

I also had the fortune to partner with John Adams for awhile. We only played in a handful of national events, but came close to winning an open pairs together.

He was a great partner for many of the top players in the WBL. He adjusted the bidding system that he played based on what was preferred from his good partners.

I have no doubt that he will eventually become a Grand Life Master if he is able to partner with another top player.
Jan. 4
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3 rebid by us last time would have allowed room for partner to bid 4 with the A. 4 by us implies a problem in or that we need to hear partner's cuebid in.

We have a hand that has 1st and/or 2nd round controls in all 3 of the side suits.
Jan. 3
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Why did we take up bidding room without reason last time by bidding 4?
Jan. 3
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This hand shows a case where deciding to open Multi can cost 10 IMPs. With 5332 shape (friendly for the opponents), it turns out that we push them into a vulnerable 3nt that they would never come close to bidding without the Multi 2 preempt. Turns out that this could result in -600 for us against a partial for lose 10 IMPS.
Dec. 29, 2019
Leo Lasota edited this comment Dec. 29, 2019
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Debbie, Thank you for the tremendous efforts that you have put in and continue to put in to junior bridge. Thank you to each and everyone of the individuals that have volunteered in support of this cause with you.

My only gripe about this article is that you mention pizza party 33 times.

Could some healthy food options be given to the students? May there be a pleasant route that could be walked by some of the students along with some of the mentors? An active body often leads to a more active mind. It would be great if some mentors could take questions or talk through some concepts with the students while they go for a walk together.
Dec. 26, 2019
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I would use puppet stayman and then confirm slam try for partner's / if they show a 5 card or suit.
Dec. 22, 2019
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