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All comments by Lynn Johannesen
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Without knowing the pair's methods, I have to abstain. Dale and I used to play that 3 here would show this hand type–a fit jump, as Tom Townsend said. We have since adopted Bart, so 2 transfer to hearts followed by 3 is a pretty good description.

Lacking either of these agreements, I might well bid 3 anyway. I can imagine missing game opposite a number of hands on which partner would pass 2. Of course, I can also imagine going down at the 3 level, possibly several tricks, so I'd never criticize partner for rebidding 2.
Nov. 15
ATB
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Some of us play that a responsive X doesn't deny 4, but it *does* deny holding both 4@S and a stiff heart. A typical shape might be 4234, with weakish spades. This agreement prevents partner from bidding to the 5 level to force the responsive doubler to bid slam with a control.

People have many different views on responsive doubles at the 3 level. South may not have been sure what North's view would be.
Nov. 13
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Ed Manfield once kept track of his results on passouts over several years. He claimed his avereage score was 30%.

At imps the issue is a bit less clear, but my experience suggests that passing a hand that would have been a clearcut opening bid (for me) in any other seat has been a significant loser. The spade void is not nearly as bad as a small doubleton would be. If the opponents belatedly find their spade fit, they might regret it.
Nov. 12
ATB
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On extremely cramped competitive auctions, Dale and I have agreed that North's 5 bid is “a slam try without a heart control,” not a command to bid a slam with one. If North-South had that agreement, this problem would have been solved, since South should clearly pass 5.

Lacking that (admittedly uncommon) agreement, I don't think anyone did anything terribly wrong. I could justify a 3 underbid by South–weak suit, mostly soft values on the side, minimum in HCP, possibly duplicated heart shortness. I could also justify passing 4 as North. That hand has extra high cards and a good fit, but can't really see a good source of tricks. If they are off two heart tricks, a bad trump split might beat a 5-level contract. If a lot of South's values are in clubs, slam might depend on a diamond finesse that is probably a bit less than 50%.

Those would both be conservative decisions, IMO. Instead, both players made aggressive decisions. They therefore reached a slam that required a bit more than a finesse that was probably a bit less than 50% to win. I'd shrug and move on.
Nov. 11
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Our agreement is that we play attitude if dummy wins the Q or higher, and count if dummy wins J or lower. That means we'd always play the 9 here.

We play almost no suit preference signals at trick one, on the grounds that third hand rarely has enough information to direct the defense at that stage. There are exceptions, which are clearly stated in our notes, but this hand isn't one of them.

We also NEVER vary the meaning of our signals according to what declarer has presumably shown in the bidding. Lengthy experience has taught us that the opponents have no obligation to bid as we woulld have bid.
Nov. 3
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Mike, our observation is that 0 or 2 on opening lead may or may not help partner, but it almost always gives declarer a complete roadmap. I don't know a single expert partnership that plays 0 or 2 on opening lead. It might work against really bad declarers, but experts don't design their methods to work against bad players. They want to beat other experts.

In the middle of the hand, we find that 0 or 2 frequently helps with surrounding plays. Partner will often find it easier to determine whether to win the trick and return the suit if he knows your honor holding. Do you have an example in mind on which 0 or 2 would work worse than standard?

As for advance unblocking, I'm having a hard time seeing how 0 or 2 would interfere with that. If leader holds H10x, it might, I guess, but that's a fairly narrow target, and leading low would usually work fine. Again, do you have an example in mind?
Nov. 2
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As Marty says, 10 or 9 shows O ir 2 higher is one of very few conventions I'll flatly refuse to play, even with a casual partner. Dale and I do play it in the middle of the hand, however, and we play it against suits as well as NT. It doesn't come up often, but it's very useful when it does.

We play Rusinow only in suits in which we have shown length, to avoid the Hx problem, At the 5 level or higher, however, we do play Rusinow, which is essentially the same as A asks for attitude, K asks for count. We do that because we frequently want to find out whether the *second* round of the suit will cash when we lead a king, and we will fairly often lead unsupported aces at that level.

Again, as Marty says, we always lead standard in suits partner has bid.
Nov. 2
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We play ace asks for attitude, king asks for count at the 5 level or higher. That's because we will lead an unsupported ace fairly often at that level, so the attitude we are looking for is on the king. We lead king from either AK or KQ because in either case, what we probably want to know is whether the second round of the suit will cash.

At lower levels, we play Rusinow in our own suit, standard in partner's suit, and otherwise A from AK. The major objection to Rusinow is that sometimes you want to lead an unsupported lower honor, such as Q from Qx, and partner will always get it wrong when you do. If you have bid the suit–or, as we play, *promised* length there, perhaps by making a two-suited takeout bid–partner will get it right.

Against NT, we lead A from AK, and otherwise Rusinow down to the 9. It works much better than standard for us. The objection to Rusinow doesn't apply, since we don't typically lead from Kx or Qx against NT, and partner's signals will be easier when he knows what honor you are most interested in, which is typically the one immediately below his lead.

(Edited to correct typos.)
Nov. 2
Lynn Johannesen edited this comment Nov. 2
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We play only one-way Drury, and our 1 openings are fairly sound because of other systemic consideratiions. Therefore, we do play fit-showing jumps by a PH, but we play that a 2NT response shows the fit with clubs, and a 3 bid is invitational with clubs. The reason is that our invitation is typically invitational to 3NT. If we are going to bid that, it should be played from opener's side. When we have a major suit fit, we probably don't want to play in 3NT opposite a two-suited hand. Opener will often want to play 3NT opposite an invitational hand with a minor because we play weak NT. I'm not sure how likely it would ever be playing strong NT, so Kit's approach–that the 3-level jump in a minor is just “to play”–may be superior.

With two-way Drury, I think you could use the same approach. After 2NT, opener can bid 3. With the club suit, responder will bid 3M. With the diamond suit, he will rebid 3. That way opener can make a game-or-no-game decision with the needed information.
Nov. 2
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Our notes on preempts begin: “Preempts deny defense. Offense is desirable, but sometimes they don't deal it to you.” Opening 3 is a great way to trap partner into making a mistake.
Nov. 1
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Chris, there is a place on the convention card to describe your preempts as sound or light. That seems to me to be sufficient “pre-alert.”
Nov. 1
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As Robb says, this is a truly impossible problem. Everything you might do, including pass, is an underbid, and overbid, or a misbid. I also agree with Robb's solution. Eric Kokish once observed that overcalls on this hand type work surprisingly often.

The worst thing you could do, IMO, would be to double after a long hesitation. That is overwhelmingly likely to show lack of spade support, so partner will feel compelled to bid as if you have spade support. A long hesitation followed by an overcall doesn't allow such easy inferences.
Nov. 1
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Michael is right, of course. But if opener rebids 2 or 3, responder's 3 bid will show the 5-card suit, and the pair will still reach 4 when it's appropriate.

Patrick, I don't understand what shape you are talking about. If responder has 4 diamonds, he'll raise diamonds. Opener will then bid 3NT with a heart stopper. If you mean 4 hearts and 5 clubs, we would typically rebid 2NT and await developments. With some hands we might rebid 3 (our 2 bid doesn't guarantee 5) or 2 (with Hx). In general, we don't refuse to rebid NT with *four* cards in the 4th suit, even if they are weak.

The real difference in our viewpoints is that we don't play FSF and totally artificial when a game force has already been established. In those circumstances, we bid naturally whenever possible. Some hands with 3 small hearts create problems, but if opener raises, showing 3, we just bid 3NT. The opponents won't often beat you in hearts. Sometimes the suit splits 4-3, and sometimes the suit blocks when it does split 5-2, and sometimes they don't lead hearts at all. Hands with xxx opposite xxx in the 4th suit and no real fit elsewhere rarely play well in any strain other than 3NT.
Oct. 31
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My “Other” vote means that I think North was 35% to blame, South was 45% to blame, and the system was 20% to blame. You could easily convince me that the system was 100% to blame, as I think Gary Hann is arguing. Dale and resisted playing 2/1 GF for a long time because we thought too many slams were missed when neither player could ever show extra values. We eventually decided that 2/1 made choosing the best, or at least better, game contract so much easier that it was right to switch. Having done so, we worked on ways to allow opener to show extras below 3NT.

Michael Rosenberg has done a good job of describing what we play. Opener's 2 rebid denies 4 cards in hearts. Therefore, responder's 2 bid tends to suggest either 3 hearts or 5 hearts. With the 5=3=4=1 hand–which is the only case in which it's important for responder to show his 5th heart–opener can raise 2 to 3. After that, responder can bid 4 with no slam interest and 4 with a slammish hand in hearts. Like Michael, we play all jumps to 3M when 2M would be FSF show 5-5 or better in the two suits, usually with slam interest. On this auction, the jump would imply good suits.

We think that playing all jumps to 3M when 2 of the same major would be forcing show extra length is a good rule in general. The value of splinters in support of minor suits below 3NT seems to me to be overrated. If the player feels strongly enough about playing in the minor, he can splinter at the 4 level. If he doesn't, he can simply raise the minor to 3 and let the auction develop naturally.
Oct. 31
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Leo, as I noted in my response, if pass-andpull shows a better hand, then pass is quite clear. I do think you should havve mentioned that in the OP. Most respondents seem to have assumed that agreement applied. I thought you would have mentioned it if it did.
Oct. 31
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When an occasional partner proposed this agreement, I responded: “I'm not opposed in principle, but I KNOW I'll forget it.” Her husband said, “We have a solution for that. The auction 2NT-3NT-4M-4NT means ‘I forgot.’”

That is what we played, and we did put it on our convention card. The effectiveness of doing that was never tested because the convention never came up.
Oct. 29
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It sounds to me as if partner has a heart void. If he had stronger ways to bid 5–pass and pull, for example–then it's jpretty clear to pass.

Since the OP didn't mention any such options, I'm assuming that they weren't available. Most of the hands on which partner would bid 5 seem to me to offer decent play for slam as long as I'm right about the heart void. Bidding 6 has another way to win: the opponents might save against it.
Oct. 27
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The “perfect” shape for this double is 1=4=3=5, although 1=4=4=4 is possible. As long as the doubler has sound values, the bid can work well. The opponents typically have an 8-card spade fit, since partner didn't overcall 1 when he had the chance, and we may need to compete for the part score in clubs, or even diamonds, as well as hearts.

If I were dealt x Axxx KQx KQ108x, I would overcall neither 1 nor 1NT, but I'd still want to let partner know that we might belong in the auction.
Oct. 26
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This is such sad news. Dale and I knew Beth when she was a young player just starting to become a star. She was a tough opponent, but always a gracious one. Away from the table, she was a pleasure to be around. We will miss her.

Condolences to Bill and Julie, and to all her many friends.
Oct. 3
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David said, “In answer to you main question, I will reference Belladonna-Garozzo. When partner has cue bid, you MUST (emphasis theirs) co-operate below the level of game, except when partner has previously limited his hand an you know slam is impossible.”

I'd argue that partner HAS previously limited his hand. He overcalled 1. Most of us don't play absolutely unlimited overcalls. Ours can be pretty strong, but at about an 18 count, we start finding alternatives to a simple overcall.

Thus I don't think the answer to whether advancer should cue bid over 3NT (assuming it actually is a serious slam try) is not so simple. Yes, partner could hold a perfect hand that makes a slam. A couple of previous commenters supplied them. In my experience, trying to be sure you always reach slam when partner holds the perfect hand leads to bidding an unacceptable number of no-play slams.
Oct. 1
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