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All comments by Michael Rosenberg
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I don't know what the laws say. Hopefully, no Director would permit it.
March 11
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But, apparently, with A10x opposite QJx, your attention IS “entirely focused”.
March 11
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David B: “…this is where the real trouble lies.”

We agree.

The place where my line is drawn, while subjective, is clear. Any sign oif blackout.
Whereas your line is drawn where…well I have to say I still don't know where your line is drawn.
March 11
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David B: Ok, so you allow A10x opposite QJx (if you hadn't, my next question would have been A10x facing QJ9), but not AJ10 facing Qxx. Good to know.

Of course, in A10x opposite QJx anyone of the following ‘low to the 10 blackouts’ might have been about to happen:

1) Declarer thought he had A10 doubleton
2) Declarer was sure (because of the earlier bidding/play) king was offside so didn't think it mattered
3) Declarer got a trick ahead of himself and ‘imagined’ he'd already led the Q.

For me, any of these blackouts (or, at least, the sum of them) seems at least as likely as not leading the Q with AJ10 facing Qxx in dummy for the last time a 4-card ending. But, I guess, each to his own.

As I've said, for me the determining factor is not the exact combination. It's ‘any sign of blackout’. I see the ‘sign’ clearly with your AQ10x opposite J9xx (no thought/mention of the ‘cute’ play of running the 9), and with your KJx facing Axx (no thought/mention of stiff Q possibility).
But I don't see the sign with AJ10 facing Qxx with what was said in the OP.
March 11
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David P: : “Tell me what you do when you very innocently say this to someone and they equally innocently , mistaking your question and trying to be polite to a very good player, answer honestly ”No I just have the ace“ ? ”

I would only do this against somebody I was sure would understand this fairly simple situation.

“Also you say that the declarer understands that all there is to this hand is the KJ guess, but the defender is not in a position to know this. The defender is now put in the position where he must accept declarer's analysis that this is true or appear churlish.”

First, I see nothing “churlish” about saying nothing - I already said there is no requirement to answer. Second, if I was wrong and there WAS something more to the hand, then any possible damage should be decide against me.


“What do you do when you pose this question and the defender replies that they don't have AQ. But the way they reply gives you a strong feeling or ”read“ that they have the ace.”

I give up bridgw and open a “Psychic Readings” shop?

“I obviously think that you taint the hand as soon as you ask the question. You provoke all sorts of reactions and body language from the defender that might be considered to have helped you if you guess right.”

But, your honor, I was just trying to save a couple of minutes. Maybe the the table is in time trouble, and it's my opponent's fault, and I'm doing them a favor.
March 11
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Christopher M: you didn't answer my last question:
“And what if you follow the same philosophy with 3-card - only doing it when you're ‘stuck’?”

In addition, what about 1(2m)-X(P), 2? Do you think that needs to be alerted if it might be a 3-card suit?
March 11
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Michael A R: Ithe partnership agrees (1)1N or 1m(1)-1N can be routinely bid with no stopper, don'y you think that should be ‘more alertable’ than 1m(1)-X(P), 2 which could sometimes be a 3-card suit?
March 11
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shoulda given KQJ,KQJ,KQJ,xxxx….
March 11
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The point of the AQ question is that declarer knows that's all there is to the hand, but the defender does not. So the question is purely an effort to save time - to avoid going over everything that happened on the hand to help with the guess. No intent of gamesmanship.
March 11
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David B: Still hoping to hear your answer on this. If the OP situation had been A10x facing QJx? Or Axx facing QJ10? How would you rule in those cases?
March 10
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John L: That is exactly my point. “One step further” describes it well.
March 10
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And what if you follow the same philosophy with 3-card - only doing it when you're ‘stuck’?
March 10
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Christopher M: What if you agree that it's Ok, after 1(1)-X to bid 1N without a stopper in their suit? Does that also require an alert?
March 10
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Adriano: Good question. Obviously the Law SHOULD state that you can't ask the question and take advantage of the answer. The question SHOULD be the equivalent of a claim, and play should be curtailed.
I don't know what the Laws actually do state.

One ‘question’ situation I've seen (and even asked) is when declarer has a guess of (say) KJxx facing xx and the whole hand is about this guess. Declarer leads from dummy's xx (or rHO leads through declarer's KJxx and declarer says ‘if you have the AQ it doesn’t matter - if not I'm going to think about it.
Now the player with the AQ shows or answers ‘I have both’ and this speeds up play.
Howver, I don't think the player is required to answer the question, even with AQ. There are some questions it would be silly to answer (ones that shouldn't be asked!) so one might decide on a non-answering policy.

For example. declarer has AJxxx facing K10xxx and says I'm cold if trumps are 2-1. If you always concede when they are 2-1, but hold your cards when they are 3-0, declarer could now employ the strategy of leading low to the jack!
Of course, this is an old joke. But it does make the point that some questions are ‘legitimate’ - others, not so much.
March 10
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Dave W: The logic of playing new suit NF over double of a preempt is clear. You don't want tha double to go all pass. And, with a forcing hand, you have choices (jump or redouble). But you need a way to escape.
Whereas after a pass or overcall there is no urgent need for NF.

All this was figured out well over 60 years ago - which is how it became Standard. I'm not sure why everyone doesn't see the logic.

(The other possible method - reedouble puppetting next step - was either not contemplated then, or never became Standard).

Originally, in Old Standard, the same rule was used (even at the 1-level) - new suit NF. But then the experts agreed this was unnecessary - opener could always run if he needed to. So it became Standard that 1-level response was forcing - to try to investigate our best trump suit. New suit at the 2-level remained NF.
This change was logical. But, since a preempter is never going to run, no change to Standard was ever contemplated there.
March 10
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David B: “To me, anything not covered by a clear statement that should have accompanied the claim is a potential “blackout point”.”

I guess that's where we disagree. It's going to take a sea change to get players to make ‘perfect’ statements.

“If in the OP declarer was always going to run the queen of hearts from the table, why wouldn't he just run it?”

Good question. It was really dumb not to.

“Or at any rate, claim while stating that he was going to run it?”

He should have. My belief is that he simply spoke imperfectly.

“David Burn rulings are consistent and speed up the game”.

I'm not certain. I still think you're line-drawing - just at a different place. You'd allow (as, of course, I would too) Ax opposite KQx for 3 tricks. And AKxx facing QJxx for 4. But you won't allow AJ10 facing Qxx saying ‘finessing’.
How about A10x facing QJx? Or Axx facing QJ10? What happens on those in DBW?

It seems to me that your way is MORE difficult/subjective. Every suit combination/hand needs to be parsed. Whereas, in MRW, my rulings ae simply based on whether there is any indication that declarer is having a blackout.

Debbie R: Yes, whenever there is subjectivity, there could be a problem of ‘practicality’. But the only way to avoid that altogether is to go with ‘no claims allowed’ or ‘one hand absolutely high’ claims. I don't want that. I don't think you want that. Right now, I don't know of anybody who wants that.
But unless we have that, or unless the powers-that-be put together some comprehensive guidelines, subjectivity exists and the line must be drawn somewhere. I draw it at ‘hint of blackout’.
March 9
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My point was that the holdimgs were really ‘different’ - no matter who is declarer. As a Director, you would never face the AQ10x opposite J9xx situation (but if you somehow did, you should rule down one - no matter who is declarer); but you MIGHT face the AJ10 facing Qxx situation. And I would let declarer succeed there - unless I saw some hint of a blackout. Whereas you and David would not.
March 9
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David B: Ok. But I think

“Do you have the king of hearts? I am taking the heart finesse, and if you have the king I am down one”

followed by

“Oh for goodness sakes. Of course I am leading the queen.”

DOES indicate that this declarer was thinking ‘sensibly’.
March 9
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Debbie R: Do you think there is ANY chance I would claim on the finesse with Qxx facing AJ10, without saying I'd play the Q?
Do you think there is ANY chance I would claim on the finesse with AQ10x facing J9xx, without saying I'd run the 9 and follow with the J?
The former is really unlikely, but within the bounds of human possibility. The latter could simply NEVER happen.
Anyway, it's FUN running the 9. Why should I deny myself the fun?
March 9
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David B: Here's what I see as the difference between the OP situation and your Axx facing KJx with stiff Q situation.

In your situation, where declarer asked if the queen was with LHO, declarer was already on the threshhold of blackout - not thinking about stiff Q (which exists as a possibility).
If the defender (correctly in my view) answers ‘yes’, and declarer doesn't immediately say ‘Ok, I lose a trick to the Q unless it’s stiff', then the blackout is confirmed and (for me) the trick is lost.
If declarer somehow ‘discovers’ the Q was stiff and then argues/complains ‘of course I would play the ace first’ then his argument should fall on deaf ears.

(Side point: If this were the original declarer-dummy holding, and it's a 4-card ending as in the OP, it means RHO already discarded at least two of this suit. That should have raised declarer's awareness of the stiff Q possibility - and increases the degree of blackout - not that it matters.)

But in the OP case, nothing declare did was, to me, actually suggestive of a blackout. Nothing suggests (to me) that he would have led low to the J. So I'm happy to take the trick from the declarer in your example, who did not know what was ‘going on’, but far less happy to do it in the OP example.
To show how much I'm on ‘your side of this argument in general, I’d rather take the trick from the OP declarer than give the trick to your declarer.
But I like some indication of “blackout”.

I think the laws should go one of two ways (both of which are more severe than what we currently have).

!) The “David Burn” way. You can't claim unless one hand is absolutely high. I know this isn't really what you've said, but any less than this leaves it open to subjective argument about how bad a play declarer might make, or an argument about parsing the words of his statement.

2) The “Michael Rosenberg” way: If there is ANY sort of indication that declarer is not sure what is actually happening, then any doubtful point is decided against declarer.

Elsethread, you mentioned Ax opposite KQx and you said you'd accept that claim for 3 tricks. But why? Why couldn't it be that they THOUGHT they had Axx facing KQx and started low to the king - and then discovered the other small card belonged to another suit?
So, if you're drawing the line SOMEWHERE and allowing this, the only question becomes where. The line is subjective. You think the OP case is on the wrong side of the line. I don't.

Where I draw the line is where I see ANY sign that declarer was or might have about to go wrong.
The classic case, for me is J10xxxx opposite AKxx in the trump suit. In case A, declarer plays the A and, when both follow, claims by putting his hand down with no comment.
In Case B, declarer claims by putting his hand down with no comment.

It turns out Qxx is onside.

Case A is, for me, a ‘sound’ claim. Trumps have not broken 3-0.
Case B is, for me, an ‘unsound’ claim'. Yes, apparently declarer WOULD make by crossing to hand and finessing. But the claim itself indicates that declarer is having a blackout. Since his return to hand could theoretically be ruffed, the failure to mention the Qxx possibility (in EITHER hand) suggests a blackout. For all we know, declarer thought he had an ELEVEN card fit - and would just cash the K nest.
Had declarer instead said ‘making unless Queen third is offside’ THAT claim should be accepted - unless there is some return to hand thast would actually be ruffed.

I have little doubt you are in agreement with all that. Where I think we disagree is that you want the words spoken to be ‘perfect’. Wheras I am willing to accept something slightly ‘flawed’ - as long as there is no indication of ‘blackout’.
March 9
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