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All comments by Max Schireson
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I am strongly opposed to your second option :)

I would be very very happy if every tournament were played behind screens.
2 minutes ago
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Dan,

At the table I passed and would not have done so without the T.

As is often the case with bidding polls there was more to the story… my concern about spades was misplaced, full article here https://bridgewinners.com/article/view/reflected-ui/

Thanks everyone for your poll responses. As I suspected passing was a minority action but had some supoort.

– Max
37 minutes ago
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John,

I don't think asking bids like this are psyches per se, because I don't think they promise anything. In principle you might gain information on how high to compete; for example holding 6 spades and nothing outside when pard opens 2S, if he responds 3D (bad hand good suit) to Ogust, you can expect they are likely making a slam and might be making a grand, but if he responds 3H good hand bad suit and you are looking at the SA you know partner has some cards outside.

That said, I think the lion's share of the benefit is opps getting confused. I think that in this way they are similar to psyches, and I would avoid them against newbie opponents where it feels unsporting.

I would feel differently if the 2N bid were electable when it had an unexpected meaning, but in the ACBL it is specifically not electable regardless of meaning. Since it isn't alertable, I feel that making the call against opps who would't have the experience to consider this possibility is taking advantage of a loophole where a bid with unexpected meaning is not alerted and tricks them.

Overall I agree with Ellis on the letter of the law but I agree with you in spirit.
13 hours ago
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Something like: In law the near cause is looked to not the remote cause.
July 14
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Partners legal call is itself always authorized, without need for that law. I think (and could of course be wrong) that law makes the circumstances of partners call (oneself being barred for one round) authorized as well.
July 14
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Shiang

First I think it can be really tempting to spend mental energy adding conventions. There is a feeling of something being accomplished. It feels like you are making rapid progress.

I think past a certain point the time is much better spent learning to play and defend well and improving ones judgement. But that is hard, and often feels like two steps forward and one step back. Do it anyway.

Second, I think fewer gadgets known more deeply will get you further than more gadgets superficially. Be certain you are on the same page as your partner a few rounds after the gadget has come up.

There are lots of things that are suboptimal about my system and lots of gadgets that would “improve it”. But when I look at why I lost in the USBC round of 16 that had nothing to do with it. I blew a few hands that I should have made and lost my mind in a couple auctions. Fix that and I am in the quarterfinals. Add some great gadgets to my system and I am still eliminated. I know what I am gonna be working on.
July 14
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Correct. 2N ask here is *not* alertable. The responses are.

I have bid Ogust to learn if my partners hand is pure to understand how high to compete in a similar situation.

Ellis, if you are gonna get a psych reported against you with that hand might as well bid 3H :)

Edit: clarified slightly
July 14
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John,

I was under the impression (perhaps incorrect) that the procedural requirement of his pass was AI to partner.

Some people consider me perverse because I think my knowledge of my partners UI from eg my BIT should be UI to me (say I make a slow pass and my ethical partner bids - I know they must have a clear cut action but I believe that should be UI to me later in the auction and in play).

Even to me requiring partner to bid spades when the auction reopens seems perverse. The UI from the original bud remains, but I think the fact that they were barred when you made the 2H call is authorized for them, and should be. What you describe seems unnecessarily punitive.

I believe this is what is intended by 16A1c “…information arising from the legal procedures authorized in these laws…”.

Is there something else in the laws that you think contravenes this, or do you read it differently? Do you think the situation you describe *should* be the law, even if you think it is the law?
July 14
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Richard,

To get to a 13 card hand we could remove a heart :)

I think some might bid 4S with the H9 added if playing fast arrival, even if I don't like it, but I was mostly being a wise-a** with that hand.

In all seriousness, I strongly suspect the missing card was the club A which makes the 5H bid much more reasonable
July 11
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For sure they do. For example the 3 small stiff spades in the E are reduced by the likelihood of a spade lead. Also I caught KQ tight of spades W but I am sure I missed other special cases and some squeezes. Here 300 to 224 seems clear enough that these issues are unlikely to swing it…

As I said I very much doubt I would calculate 224 at the table.

The good news is that the closer these things are the less our choice matters.

I like Phillip's logic above; his ability to eliminate enough cases from consideration to make the answer clear is much more useful than my approach. I hope that as I gain experience I will be able to eliminate cases like that myself.

…but since the word math was in the title I couldn't restrain myself :)
July 11
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Yeah, I don't think I would be likely to make the spade calculation at the table.

That said in a long important team match where one can pause for a couple minutes it's not impossible; there are only 4 relevant hand shapes and each one is calculating applicable layouts in 2 suits and multiplying. But I am a math geek and I recognize that not everyone shares that.

Note that the percentages are not needed; 300 layouts vs 224 is all you need.
July 11
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I think the issue which is much more important than any increase in the odds of clubs breaking is the decrease in the odds of the spade play when the diamonds are 42.

The spade play (roughly) requires the T onside and split honors or better. Normally this is 50% and 75%. However, when the vacant spaces are 5:7, the finesse drops to just over 40%, and the split honors drops as well. By my manual calculations the odds of the spade play working is 224/792 or 28%.

Fwiw my calculations had the clubs splitting about 38%.
July 11
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Richard,

Sorry, I am not good at making 14 card hands!
July 10
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you don't want to be in slam opposite
QJTxxx, Kxxx, KQ, Qx? What are you afraid of, you have good play for down 1 if they misdefend!

I think the example is awful but the treatment is in principle pretty normal even if some of the details are not quite right (see below).

Edited to give my example hand only 14 cards to go with partner's 12 :)
July 10
Max Schireson edited this comment July 10
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I should add that when there is not a single unbid suit, eg:
1H 3H
5H
Some people play this as a trump quality ask. 2 of the top 3 might be a reasonable standard for that, but that treatment is much less likely to be necessary with RKC and may be a carryover from old-fashioned-Blackwood days?
Regardless of how common that treatment is absent a single unbid suit, I don't think it is standard when exactly one suit is unbid.
July 10
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Do you mean 5H rather than 5S, and do you mean 6H instead of 6S?

I think when they have not bid a suit and your side has one unbid suit asking for a stopper in the unbid suit is pretty standard. I agree with the 5NT bid.

I think it is standard to distinguish first vs second round controls. I think 6H normally would show any non-positional second round control - either a singleton or a holding with KQ.

I think 6D would normally show a first round control - either A or void.

I suppose you could have agreements to distinguish x from KQ and A from void, but if you are going to have those agreements you need to have a way to show both. I really dislike using 5N equally for Kx and KQ, since partner might often prefer to play 6H if he knew the diamond control wasn't positional.
July 10
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David,

Are you referring to the fact that with xx and esp x you might have seen a spade leads even with spades being bid from KQTx(x)?

Even without that inference, a priori there are 6 layouts of Hx spades each of which goes with 15 clubs (6 ways) for 36 total layouts, vs 3 spade layouts with xx east each also times 6 club layouts but the three small stiff spades each require 06 clubs so these are 18+3 total layouts?

I definitely agree xx and x E are less likely, but I am curious if you think a possible spade lead is a big consideration here too?
July 9
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Craig,

Sorry I wasn't clear.

The first calculation was 33 club layouts - 20 ways for the clubs to be 33, times 15 ways for the spades to (of necessity when clubs are 33) be 24. This gives 300 total layouts for the remaining cards where clubs are 33 and you will make the hand playing on clubs.

The second calculation (with multiple lines and including various club splits) is layouts where you can play low to the 9 then low to the J and pick up the spades. Mostly these are (H)HT(xxx), but you also pick up KQ tight. Each of these layouts is accompanied by a club break, which might be 33 (just when there are KQ or HT tight), 24 (for 3 spades W including HT), 15 clubs when 4 spades are in the W etc. In this way I enumerated all the layouts where finessing for the ST then for a spade honot makes the contract, which total 224.

Does this help explain my previous post?
July 9
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I found Phillips methods here educational and thought provoking, and I am happy when players sometimes share interesting alternative methods even if another method is specified in the problem.

I don't know what the history is between you and Phillip, who I don't know so I can't speak to his actual motivation, but I am glad he shared his methods here.
July 9
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To your first question I should add that I think in general spots like this are slightly non-random:
1. Sometimes opps won't be signalling and thus they will be at least approximately random
2. When opps are signalling, often a middle card will have no meaning, which means you won't see a 7 from 876. When you see a 7, you can then infer that the player who held it does not have both the 8 and the 6 (if that is the signalling situation). When you see the 8, you know it more likely that it is from (x)876 than it would be otherwise (assuming the 8 is a possible signal from that holding given what you know about the hand.

What's far more important imo is to remember to e.g. not show an odd count with the 7 from 872 playing upside down. I did this once, and later my expert partner got a count on the hand and, after putting the 8 in declarers hand “knew” I had the Q. From the auction this then gave declarer the Q in another suit for their 1NT opening, which then led my partner to misplay the hand!
July 9
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