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All comments by Michael Rosenberg
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William:

1) A “genuine fit” would normally be relevant - except that South showed a one-loser suit. So A10 doubleton is excellent suppport - and, in fact, this North hand is clearly better than a flat hand with 3-card support. Compare to Kxxx, xxx, A10x, AKJ. If South's diamonds could be more tenuous this hand MIGHT be more useful. But here, the 5th spade is far more valuable than the 3rd diamond.

2) North's 6C was mandated. He did not “push forward”. He should not hide the K on this auction. For all North knows, partner has Ax, A, KQJxxx, Q10xx and just needs to hear the K to bid grand.

6 does not commit N-S to anything past 6. And still leaves South ways to try for grand below 6N.

When partner calls you up and asks you a question, you need a really good reason to hang up on him…none exists here.
Oct. 11, 2014
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Joshua:

I was thinking about that - even before you posted. I'm not clear that 6N guarantees 12 tricks as opposed to 6.
In the first place, I didn't see the form of scoring given. If it was matchpoints or BAM that might be the reason for choosing 6N.
However, let's assume it's imps. Isn't it possible South has a hand that needed the K (or maybe the K + more), or a trick source, rather than the K? And, when the K is revealed, you just settle for 6N based on high cards? Say, AJ, AQx. KQJxxx, Jx (or take away one or both black jacks). I might be willing, over 6, to gamble 7 (where heart length or spade finesse might be a make). After all, partner's still only shown 14 HCP. Or maybe I'd be planning to bid 6 over 6. But, once partner bids 6 I want to play 6N rather than 7 facing KQx, xxxx, A10x, AKx.

I'm not clear on this. I just wasn't sure that 6N means it is “clear we see 12 tricks.”
Oct. 11, 2014
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Agree.
Oct. 11, 2014
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Kit,

I don't agree with your equating the major suit queens.
The SPADE queen (where we are known to have AK) is an extra trick - and, I believe, enough to bid grand - since I assume partner, trying for grand, can see 12 tricks.
The HEART queen (where we may be missing the king) is not a certain trick. So THAT is a case where North should bat it back with 6.
On the actual hand, south's J allows him to consider the Q at least an extra chance via a finesse.

Also, you say “On his actual hand he really has nothing extra so he will sign off.” I don't see how you can reasonably call this “nothing” extra“. If South has Ax, Axx, KQJxxx, Qx, then the 5th spade will provide the 13th trick over 80% of the time.
Also, the J has value - either as an extra chance via a finesse, or as a threat card for a squeeze.
Here is a hand I would say has ”really no extra value" Kxx, Jxxx, A10x, AKx.
Oct. 11, 2014
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Martin:

Not clear to me that grand slam is easily avoided just because South shows short clubs. From South's point of view, North could have a fourth club. From North's point of view, South could have Q (and Q hand will not be able to bid seven because, without Q, can only count 12 tricks).

“Actually after 6 South knows about 15 HCP” Not sure what “about” means here - but South knows 14 HCP. So North COULD have K. Of course, that is irrelevant because, if he does, he should bid grand himself - he can't have more.

It seems obvious to me that South, over 6, rather than bidding your 6N or the actual 7, should bid 6 of a major. This should say “I can see twelve tricks but need a thirteenth. if North has Q (or K) he knows that is the thirteenth. If he has Q or Q he can bat it back with 6.

Which major should be bid depends on whether the agreement tends to be ”showing“ or ”asking".

Here, North, not knowing of the stiff club, might hope partner has Ax and spades can be ruffed out. Or he might hope J is a trick (or there is a squeeze). Facing, say, Axx, AKx, KQJxxx, x (a hand that can only count 12 tricks for sure), grand is not too bad.
Oct. 11, 2014
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North:

1) Opened 1N systemically
2) Accepted the Transfer
3) Accept the Puppet to 2N
4) Cued to “agree” D. He has good trumps (facing semi-sold). fair controls and a possibly useful 5-card suit and J which might help.
5) Showed his KC
6) Showed his K
7) Showed his K
8) Passed (when it was too late anyway).

North is obviously blameless. The only thing he MIGHT have done wrong is posting this problem….
Oct. 11, 2014
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I'm sure that I'm not “sure” it beats the other way. Swisses often feel a bit random. And there would be inevitable ‘dumping’ problems - both in A and B.
Oct. 11, 2014
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I think it's 54. I think the way it works is top 27 of A and top 5 of B make the round of 32. not sure if there is carryover to the “Second Swiss” - or, if there is, how much. Guess we'll find out tonight…
Oct. 11, 2014
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“But here, the whole exercise is how to make eleven tricks looking at all four hands, not ten. And though Steve came up with two good variations, I asked if it might be better to take the finesse first, to cater to east having the singleton K.”

If the “whole exercise” is double dummy, it doesn't make much sense to be talking about catering to other distributions.
I think it would be better to clearly separate this into two discussions: one double-dummy and one single-dummy. And always have it be clear which one you are talking about.
Oct. 9, 2014
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Your line has south ruffing three spades AND playing two trumps….
Oct. 9, 2014
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“After the last trump is drawn the hand is essentially a double-dummy problem.”

I think you meant “single-dummy problem”
Oct. 9, 2014
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The structure certainly affects the possibilities. Iif you have a mixed raise but no preemptive raise then 3 sounds like it might well be preemptive raise. If vice-versa, maybe a ‘bad’ Mixed raise is possible (since a good one would at least try for game).
Oct. 8, 2014
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I believe that Standard is, or at least was, that, when Opener redoubles after 1M-2M, it creates a force ON RESPONDER. If Opener passes to Responder, he must act. Opener can have ‘anything’. But if Responder passes to Opener, the latter is allowed to let it go. Responder's hand is fairly well defined.

I think this makes even more sense when 1M-2M is constructive - since opener might want to redouble on a lesser hand. (I know this is not relevant to the auction posed, where 2 was bid competitively.)

I'm not saying that this is the best way to play. It's just what I think the majority of experts would have believed 20 or moere years ago (I'm less sure about today).
Oct. 8, 2014
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I strongly agree with this except for the parenthetical comment. You certainly don't need (“at least”!!) 4-card support AND spade shortness to bid 3. I would turn “and” into “or”. I think (say) 1-3-5-4 might well bid 3.

Oct. 8, 2014
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Perhaps if West had only 4-card , he'd be more likely not to play a second club and find the shift. We KNOW he's missing the 9…

If I were to make up an alternate reality on this hand, I'd have declarer to misread the shape and play the last trump. Then to change his mind and K and a spade after cashing the last trump - only to see West claim the last two tricks with A and a club…
Oct. 7, 2014
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It might have been better for declarer to play A then Q. Aside from avoiding the disaster of East having a singleton (especially singleton K!), there is also the advantage that if West switches to a low trump on the actual layout you can make. Win in dummy, ruff , ruff , ruff , to A, pitching heart.
On the actual hand, West would need to shift to a HIGH trump to defeat you. And (I think) that's only because he has KJ10x. If E had 10x or Jx, you would still make by ruff , pitching .

It may be that playing A first makes it a little easier on West to find the trump shift. But I don't think the high trump is ever going to be “easy” for anybody. So A looks correct to me.

By the way, I like to define a “great play” as a play that defeats a good play. So I could not apply it to declarer here. I could apply it to West's trump 10 shift after winning the second
Oct. 6, 2014
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Ron Z.

First, you're suspicion is correct.

Second, of course it is not 1-4 KC and the K counts. I just messed up.
How best to show the Q's in Double Key Card is not clear. Some prefer to have one suit bey the ‘key’ suit - so there are 6KC and the q of that suit. the other Q is shown as a ‘King’ in response to the next ask (such as 5N).
My preference is to show Q's as none,lower, higher, both. If you show 1/4 or 3/0 that's how you respond to Q ask. If you have 2KC you show Q's right away.
So, on the above hand, the response I gave should have been 5N - 2 with higher Q.
One big advantage of DKC (as opposed to single) occurs when the Blackwooder has the K of the second suit. Now, when he shows all KC, the answerer is better placed to act. Without DKC, the answerer would need to be concerned that the Blackwooder was LOOKING for that K.
I don't know a good article on DKC. If you play it, I strongly recommend that you identify EXACTLY when it applies.
Oct. 3, 2014
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First things first. Line (1) isn't really a line at all. If you are going to lead to the K, it must be right to lead the JACK anyway - just in case. Even a pretty strong player might cover with Q10x on an off day.
By the way, there is no possibility of ducking the Q to play for the overtrick (as was mentioned). That would result in disaster (instead of a make) when LHO started with AQ10. And it's no use saying that is ‘impossible’ on the bidding. If that were so, it would be clear to start with low away from the K.

So the question for declarer is this? Do you try to analyze their cards on the bidding/lead? Or do you play for the defensive error from Q10x?
The stronger they are, the more you should want to go with the analysis-based option. But it's matchpoints, so East may have just been randomly trying for the magic 200.

In the situation given, I would definitely lead J to the K. it would take world-class opposition to make me think otherwise.
Oct. 1, 2014
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Mohit:

Not correct. If East ruffs, you overruff and claim - there are no trumps left and the fourth heart can be ruffed in dummy.
This is as it should be. Opponents should not be gaining by randomly ruffing their partner's winners!
Sept. 30, 2014
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4N would be minors for almost everyone in Standard. It ‘should’ be 2 places to play - just as it would be if they raised to 4. There is no reason why responder might not be psyching with 4.
Sept. 30, 2014
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