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All comments by Michael Rosenberg
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Which is the option that says one would respond 1N on all possible hands?
Jan. 1, 2015
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Even if not playing constructive raises, I think it makes sense to bid 1N with the lighter hands and 2S with the better ones. Given the conditions, I'd bid 2 with the A or K and 1N with less. I'd never pass. I don't think there is a poll option for that - or rather I'd need two (nos. 3 and 10).
Jan. 1, 2015
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Nat:

No, it would obviously not be reasonable to specifically mention everything that has ever happened (as you well know). But it would be “fair” to say something general that would put the opponents in a position to have a better idea of what partner might have. Perhaps throwing in (where you have knowledge) a couple of specific examples. The idea is to bring them a little closer to your knowledge of partner's predilections. That's “fair”.

Kit:

To deal with your “First”, I was going by your words “In fact, I would not open a weak 2 on that hand.” I guess I should have written “Kit wrote….”
To deal with your “Secondly” partner can say whatever he knows based on his experience of your words and actions. For example, if I (who have never played with you before) partnered you, I could now say, “based on what Kit has said, I think he's far more likely to have an 8-loser hand than a 5-loser hand.
To deal with your ”Third“ (where you changed your previous stance), your partner (if he read that) could say, you wouldn't normally open such a hand, but it's possible since you are not robotic. But you'd be more likely to hold the 8-loser hand.

You seem to have taken the position that this whole ‘style’ issue is, in a general sense, ‘impossible’. I agree it's difficult. I agree it's ‘impossible’ to give a PERFECT explanation.
However, I totally disagree that there is always nothing that can be done in this area. Saying ”could easily be a 5-card suit and is more likely to be when non-vulnerable“ is woefully incomplete for someone who knows their partner well. One could say (hypothetically - I'm not talking about you) ”he's really random and flaky - both in terms of high cards and suit quality“ or ”I've never seen him do it without a good suit“ or ”very wide range - I can only guess what he has“

The point is to say something short that gives the opponents some idea of what you know. If you truly don't know anything, that's fine.
To not make this effort because it is difficult is, as Joshua
says above, a ”cop-out“.
To not make this effort because you want to gain an advantage by concealing information from the opponents is unethical.
Knowing you to be extremely ethical, I know you belong to the ”difficult" faction.

The goal is to put the opponents in the same position as your partner. Yes, I know it can't be done perfectly. But that doesn't mean the effort should not be made to make things a little fairer.
And yes, I know this ‘punishes’ those partnerships who are honest and forthcoming, and rewards those who are overly reticent (bad) or deliberately misleading (worse). Bridge is like life.
Jan. 1, 2015
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Kit:

Your partner could say "Kit would not open a weak 2 on x AKQ10x xx 10xxxx . But give him, say, xx KQ10xx xx 10xxx and he would open a weak 2.

Wouldn't that put the opponents closer to the knopwledge of your partner - and consequently be more fair?
Jan. 1, 2015
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My favorite also…
Dec. 27, 2014
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Often. But I've also often been able to switch at trick 2 because I know partner has only 4 (or, sometimes, only 5).
Also, I have known they DON'T have a 5-card suit (because they led high).

Attitude leads make things more difficult for everyone. I like to say I hate playing them, and also hate playing against them.

Of course, Slavinski leads (if that's the right name) are even tougher…on everybody.
Dec. 27, 2014
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Bernard (and similarly to Joshua, below):

I agree you will open 6 more often than I. But for these ‘almost never’ bids, i'd rather be on firm ground.
In your example of AKQJ AJ10xxxxxx, I'd worry we belong in spades. The bidding might begin 1(2m)-2, and now maybe we can get to 7. Not too difficult to construct 7 making with SIX hearts down. Believe it or not, it's even possible to construct 7 making and you misguess and go down in FOUR hearts!

If I open 1 I am not precluded from bidding 6 later. Yes, I understand that opponents are more ‘secure’ against my 6 opening. And that letting the opponents get together might work out badly. But it also might work out well. Meanwhile, there is a ‘chunk’ of hands where (a) we belong in spades or (b) partner misjudges after 6 opening (failing to bid grand).

I'm not saying your approach (or Joshua's) is inferior. as I said, I think it's a matter of personal philosophy. When I have one of these freaks, I focus on getting to our best contract.
Dec. 24, 2014
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I would not like “taking a chance” on a hand like that. For me, it's too unilateral. Partner (me) might have a huge hand and we might have 20 tricks in a heart contract, but be stuck in 6.
I understand this is a matter of personal philosophy - mine is to keep partner in the equation. Maybe your suggestion is more ‘practical’.
Dec. 24, 2014
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This bid shows a solid hand missing A. Old theory was missing A OR K - but that is theoretically unsound. If missing K, either partner has few enough hearts that grand might reasonably be cold in another strain if I have singleton or void , or enough hearts where he must worry we have a 12-card fit.

So partner has AK, KQJ10 eleventh. Or maybe AKQ and ten hearts. If the latter (or 4-9), 6N is best, and avoids the risk of a spade ruff on this wild hand.

I guess partner might be ‘taking a shot’ with AQ, and 11 hearts missing A. 6 is cold and 6N will fail if my LHO has A and RHO has K. Or if West, with heart void, hits upon lead fron non-king Whether that's a greater risk than a spade ruff, I don't know.

I would certainly pass unless I've discussed this opening with partner. At imps, I would probably pass even playing with my clone.

Dec. 24, 2014
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The “Standard” meaning for that sequence is 4-5 invitational (with direct 2 being 4-4 invitational).
However, I have never heard of it being considered forcing (which I think is what you are suggesting), though I guess you could play it that way.
Playing it forcing, you lose when opener had 4-card and a minimum and 8 tricks are the limit.
You also lose when opener is forced to raise to 3 with 4 trumps and now, since the range for 3 is wider, opener guesses wrong.
You also lose when opener has a hand with 3-card that would like to pass - say KQx, Qx, xxx, KJxxx (or slightly better if you play a sounder opening style).

The last example is the reason why (with 2 NF) the 4-6 hand is a problem. Facing AJxx, KJ9xxx, x, xx you wouldn't mind being in a heart game, while even TWO spades is in some jeopardy. But facing AJxx, KJxxx, Qx, xx 2 is clearly high enough.
Dec. 23, 2014
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Jan. I meant 4-6 in the majors.
Dec. 23, 2014
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I don't play XYZ. But I would think this auction is needed for 4-6 invitational. Any other way of bidding that hand seems basically flawed.
Dec. 22, 2014
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The question of whether double of 2 should be at least invitational is one that I imagine most partnerships haven't discussed. I know I have never discussed it - or even thought about it.
I'd like to go back a week and ask Fred what he'd with xxx, QJ10x, J109xx, x. I'm just not certain Kit and Fred really have this agreement, or it's just what Kit thinks.
Fred, here's your chance to call out Kit! Color me impressed if you guys actually had this covered.

While I'm ganging up (by myself) on Kit, I'd take issue with this:

“Overcalling 2 with this weak suit and balanced hand is clearly wrong, as is a takeout double”.

I agree about 2. But I think double is a reasonable way to go. If you accept (as I do) that pass is too “risky”, then double affords a way to avoid getting frozen out of the auction, but carries a little less danger.
The reason for this has to do with ranges. There are some hands in the 8-9 HCP range that would double 1N, but would not redouble 1. Maybe even some stronger hands with 3-card support. So, when you are outgunned, you may ‘escape’ a little more often.
Another advantage of double is that you may rightside 3N. Let's say partner has Qxx, KJx, Kxx, J10xx and opener has AJ10xx, Axx, xx, Kxx. 3N only makes from partner's side.

I'm NOT saying I think double is correct. I might well bid 1N myself. (It would depend on my knowledge of how solid their opening bids are). I know there are arguments that can be made on the other side.
I'm saying I disagree with the “clearly wrong” designation of double.
Dec. 20, 2014
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History repeats itself. About 40 years ago, Avarelli made a similar play (running the 7) against Barnet Shenkin and me. This allowed him to make his contract (which I think was 4 doubled) when Barnet also failed to find the difficult play of covering. Interestingly, Avarelli led the EIGHT (rather than trying to ‘sneak through’ the seven). I guess he thought that an opponent would not want to be ‘induced’ into covering.

Dec. 20, 2014
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My favorite example of this situation is Allen Kahn against Alan Sontag. Perhaps someone who knows the facts of that case really well will tell the story….
Dec. 20, 2014
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The message I get from the auction is this: “I definitely do not want to play 3N if you have a void or small singleton . Otherwise, use your judgment.”

Partner may or may not have 5-card .
Dec. 20, 2014
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Your hand in the article has 14 cards - 1-5-1-7 - please fix.
Dec. 20, 2014
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Kit:

Yes. Even though the claim is not 100% (the return to the J109xxx hand could theoretically be ruffed/overruffed), the TIMING of that claim makes sense.
Another (more complicated) case comparison;

Case 1, declarer has AKQxx facing xxx and needs a 3-2 break to make a claim/concession. He plays AK, both follow, and he claims without saying drawing the last trump. The most a defender should do is say “make a statement” (and now declarer should immediately say, “drawing the last trump” - if he does not, the Director should be called). By the way, I'm not recommending declarer do this (claim without statement after two trumps) - but I know it is what most experts will do.

If, on the other hand, declarer claims after ONE trump (Case 1a), the claim is an aberration. He couldn't know the suit was not 4-1. Just because they are 3-2 does NOT mean the claim now becomes valid. The aberration may well be that declarer thinks there are only 4 trumps outstanding - so if there is any way he can lose another trick due to not drawing the last trump, he should, in my opinion, lose that trick.


Case 2, declarer has AKQJx and needs a 4-1 break to make a claim/concession. He plays A, both follow, and he claims without saying drawing the last thee trumps. Here, again, the timing is good and the claim is acceptable (though you can ask him to make a statement).

If declarer claims/concedes without drawing ANY trump (case 2a), his claim is false (this is like the example I gave earlier in this thread). Obviously he will lose at least one trick if they are 5-0. But, in practice, that will be the only time his claim costs - he will be allowed to draw trump if they are 4-1. However, I say this is open to question; how do we know he did not believe he had a 9-card fit? In which case he might ‘forget’ to draw the last trump (when they were 4-1)?

Another question (for me) arises (in Case 2b) if declarer draws TWO trumps. Now the Director might be called, because the timing is off. Declarer could have claimed after ONE trump - that would have been fine. We know declarer is having an aberration, but we don't know if it is a minor one (unnecessary extra round of trump) or a major one (thinking only 4 trumps outstanding). I doubt if any Director would force declarer to go down in this situation.
I'm not sure I like the rulings that would occur in Cases 2a and 2b, but I accept them. There are more important battles.
Dec. 20, 2014
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Yes, I'm not arguing what the Law is. I'm arguing what I think it should be.

In the way Ed Reppert's describes the current Law, or in Ken Rhodes' suggested amendment, there exists the following problems.

1) Declarer might get UI from dummy's reaction at some point and change his course. (One could even argue that it's unfair if he gets information from an opponent's reaction.)

2) A defender might not discard optimally due to planning the ‘wrong’ number of discards. (This could be true even if the suit is running, if declarer is allowed to change his mind.) The defender might also go wrong because he now believes something about declarer's hand which is not true.

All the above seems unfair to me.

In my suggested change to the Law (declarer has to follow through on any statements made), I see no issues that could damage the opponents.

Declarer's statement is an error. Furthermore, we all seem to agree that this is a practice we wish to discourage. The best way to send the message that will discourage this practice is to have the Laws be stated in such a way that saying this, and being wrong, is a mistake like any other mistake.
The current (or Ken's) way does not do this. My way does.

Chris:

I think claims should be accurate. I think we should be pedantic about claims. My reasoning is that the claimer is often trying to ‘get’ something (I'n not saying unethically). And, more often than you may think, false claims are accepted. To balance the number of false claims that gain, I believe that when a false claim is caught, the rules should be strict and should be applied strictly.

The Laws should discourage inaccurate claims. I know they do, but they could be stricter.

So I sort of like your “None: delete it”. However, I'm willing to listen to a hypothetical example where you think this is unfair to the claimer.

Yuan:

Under current Law it would be apparently be irrelevant, since declarer is not bound by his statement.
Under my suggested change, it would be too late. Declarer would be committed to his stated line of play.
Dec. 19, 2014
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Ed. I never suggested anything like what you said.
What I said was when declarer claims with AKxx opposite J109xxx it's clear he's having an aberration.
The claim is false - for all he knows Qxx is offside and he has a sure loser. But we don't know what aberration he is having.
Therefore we assume his aberration is that he believes only Qx is outstanding.
Therefore he has no reason to return to hand to take a marked finesse.
When he claims, play is over. The ruling is that he has to play AK.
That is what I am saying. If you don't agree with that then (as usual) we will have to agree to disagree.
Dec. 19, 2014
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