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All comments by Michael Rosenberg
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Jeff:

If you were talking to me, I should have been clearer. i didn't mean I agreed with Rainer there - simply that I didn't want to argue about it.
Jan. 30, 2015
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Rainer:

You say “West should know that you are not doubling on a trump stack here and the double might in fact help him to bid on when that is right)”

Now I'm not arguing with you about whether or not East should double here. But I am arguing about the idea of West EVER pulling this double. You are vul. vs. not. It's matchpoints. You passed over 3. Preempter's double is not an ‘action’ double here - he is raising 2 levels from his previous bid.

And, while West knows here you probably don't have a ‘stack’, that would be far less clear if he had a stiff. The trump length promised by opponents here is unclear. This is not an auction which comes up a lot. They could be in a 4-3 fit (not likely, but not impossible) or they could be in a 10 card fit.

My point is that this double is auction ending - and we don't know what it's based on (especially at matchpoints for the reasons you gave). It might be based on a heart void.
Jan. 30, 2015
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There is no “Standard”. If you bid it without prior discussion, you are risking disaster - especially if you plan to pass 3N (unless you have 5-6 with very good spades - at least partner might then be on a similar wavelength.

I play it as shortness. The hand David Libchaber gives above would be a good candidate for me.

But I stress (especially to USBF Juniors!), don't make bids such as this unless a firm agreement is already in place.
Jan. 29, 2015
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I have a memory of Rubin-Granovetter had some ridiculous streak with Ultimate Club in CTC - scoring about 90 every month for months on end. Not sure when that was.
Jan. 27, 2015
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In addition to being one of the best behaved and most sportsmanlike players, Howie is also one of the most thoughtful. He somehow manages to combine being extremely ethical and extremely tricky!

I also want to thank Howie for his stellar work with juniors - he is a very valuable asset to the the USBF Junior Training Program.
Jan. 27, 2015
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I don't expect this player to have what I would have. I would ask questions, as Kit suggested.
Jan. 26, 2015
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Looks to me like ‘normal’ defense would yield down 4…
Jan. 26, 2015
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If I bid like South, I'd likely be 4-3-3-3 with good hearts, baddish spades, Axx. A hand that looks like it might be 9 tricks in NT and 5 might not fetch. Say, Jxxx, AKx, Kxx, Axx. Facing (say) Qxx, Qxxx, AQxxx, x 3N is where we want to be. But if partner has KQx, Qxxx, QJ10xx, x we'd rather be in 5.
Jan. 26, 2015
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“How about you… what are your goals for this year?”

To win every event I play in - strangely, that hasn't happened yet. I always need to reset that goal - many times….
Jan. 26, 2015
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Your basic line looks pretty good for those of us (like me) who would be more worried than Kit was about 6-1 break. If trumps break, you can ruff the, draw trump and guess whether to play a club to endplay RHO (correct if LHO is 6-2-2-3) or a diamond (correct if LHO is 6-2-1-4 - don't tell me you forgot to unblock the 10 at trick one three!). Based on East's failure to pitch a club at trick two, one would probably go with the club - saddened that the unblocking play in was just cosmetic.

Other flaws. If LHO is 6-1-2-Kfourth, you can't make any more (whereas Kit's line would succeed). Also, (unless I'm mistaken): if LHO shows out on 3rd club (no Kx) you are down if he is 6-1-4-2; if he is 6-2-3-2 you have to guess who to play for Q. If he's 6-3-2-2 you are fine. The ending is what I would call a show-up strip squeeze. Don't remember seeing that before.

I think this hand is a pretty complicated single-dummy problem. There are several possible lines. Given that Kit was confident in his read, I can't argue with his line.
Jan. 26, 2015
Michael Rosenberg edited this comment Jan. 26, 2015
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Kit:

Just because you can produce a hand that is uncomfortable, it doesn't change the fact that 3 forcing is Standard. Or the fact that you might need it to be.

In Standard, over a 2N rebid, ABA is forcing, and AAB is NF. ABB requires discussion, but most experts play NF.

On the given auction, some pairs play a convention to help things a little; 1-1M, 2C-2N, 3oM is a GF hand with 5-5 in minors. (Barry Rigal said this already.) Without this convention, it's probably better to play 3 as forcing also.

On Bob H.'s auction of 1-1N, 2-2N, many players play a 3 puppet bid to separate forcing and NF 3M bids. (The 3 bid can also be natural(ish) if followed by 3N.)
Jan. 25, 2015
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Agreed - I just though that needed to be said. It's not just a matter of guessing between 6-2-1-4 or 6-3-1-3 as I felt you implied.
Given that Kit believed he could read the spots correctly, I think you would agree he was correct to cash the K if that would reduce later guesswork.
Jan. 25, 2015
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You need to cover 6-1-2-4 and 6-2-2-3 also - at least
Jan. 25, 2015
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They are entitled to “know” you have hearts to the same extent I “know” it.
Anyway, if I think the probability is that you have hearts I would alert. if asked, I'd say, we play transfers, but didn't discuss it after the double. I don't see the harm in that.

But they would likely assume transfers without the double. So not really an analogy, I think. They have no way of knowing what you play by UPH over 2N rebid. If you played 3C natural by UPH, that would be totally consistent with no alert now.

I still don't see the harm in saying “alert” to 3. If you can show me that, maybe I could come round to your way of thinking. I usually agree with what you say.

I'm not vilifying the player for not alerting (even though I think he should). In fact, by not alerting he might be putting himself in jeopardy.

But, as I said, my major concern was with the post-auction conversation.
Jan. 22, 2015
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I think the assumption should be that conventions are on by a PH unless that doesn't make sense. NMF makes sense by a PH. So, barring a specific agreement to the contrary, there is no reason to “believe” that 3 is natural. Ergo, I think it is alertable.

But my main concern was not whether 3 is alertable. When the 3 bidder turned out to be declarer, that was not relevant. My main concern was the declaring side's idea that opponents are not entitled to know, or need to pry out, the information that 3 by UPH was NMF.
Jan. 22, 2015
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“didn't feel she was entitled to any additional information.” If by that the player meant she was not entitled to know the UPH agreement, the player is WAY off base.

Also, it is clearly an alert if it is an alert by UPH. If asked you can say what you know.
Jan. 22, 2015
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It's possible that Garozzo has been reading this discussion. My son just told me he picked up Jxx, Axxxx, Kx, AK10 and the bidding went (P)P-(1S) to him.
He doubled and finished in 3 making 4. Had he overcalled, he might well have played there, down at least two. Partner had a weak 2-1-3-7 hand. (Of course, Kit will be asking “why didn't partner open 3 - though I think it might have been tough to go plus after that.”)

Curious coincidence..or maybe the bridge gods working overtime?
Jan. 18, 2015
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Benoit:

I would bid 2 with either. The reason I don't apply the same principle when they preempt is because there is an advantage to advancing economically. Partner can plan to bid (2)X-(P)2, 2 with 5-3-1-4, but may not be willing to bid 3 after (2)X-(P)2 with 3-5-1-4. So, over a preempt, I tend to bid hearts with 4-4 in majors.

This does not apply at the 1-level. Any 3-5-1-4 hand not strong enough to bid 2 over a 1 advance would overcall 1. But there is serious risk in overcalling 2 over 2 (or 3 over 3).
Jan. 17, 2015
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There is no real “harm” in alerting. But I think it's probably better as a practical matter to post-alert (which is what I do).
You and I would both like everything to be announced. But, given we don't have that, I like it when saying “alert” carries one most likely meaning. Here, it would be ‘Strong-No trump". It just feels like a better ’flow' to me. Post alerts save a little time.

Your point about opponents wanting to know in the auction is one I have never seen be relevant here. (Different on the ‘1 shows shape’ rebid. I have seen that be relevant, and I do alert it.)
I've never seen the hand that couldn't bid 1 and wanted to bid 2 but wouldn't want to if declarer MIGHT have 4. Any real player would ask if they cared - and they would need to ask, since the Laws would not protect them.

Still, your way is theoretically better - just in case that ever happens.
Jan. 17, 2015
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My point on (4) is that you should not have said “definitely”. You did not address that.

On (5) you say “Declarer knows his exact assets, and he can see that he is cold by going up queen of spades on the second round of spades. No competent declarer will ever get this wrong.”

Couldn't one make basically the same argument, substituting the word “partner” for “declarer”?

I have seen expert declarers who made worse plays than not covering with Q. In fact, I've made them myself. It;s a game of blackouts.
As I said, I agree with A play - for the reason I gave.
Jan. 17, 2015
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