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All comments by Michael Rosenberg
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I don't think 3 is ‘correct’. Bids here are not cuebids, but tend to show length - possibly looking for 3N. That way partner has some ability to evaluate his honors. Honors in the suit you bid should be ‘good’ - whereas with stiif ace, you'd really rather partner held honors elsewhere. So start with 3.

It's not clear that opener should bid 4 over 3. He does not know partner is slamming, and 3N might well be the clearly best spot. For example, if partner has (say) Qx, Axxx, xx, AQxxx, 5 is very tenuous, but 3N is easy.

If I were going to construct an auction starting your way, it would begin 1-2, 3-3, 3N-4. Then opener, with great cards in the minors, should insist on slam.
Sept. 16, 2014
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1) You stated, continually until now, that if you played low to the J and that won you had a choice. I pointed out that was 100% false. I think you should, at the very least, acknowledge that you were having an aberration.

2) I had never stated that low to the J was the correct theoretical play. However, now I will. Steve Bloom was correct.

Taking 3 possible plays:
a)Low to K then low (if it wins);
(b) low to K then J (if it wins;
© low to J, then K regardless.

The following 17 holdings of LHO can be picked up by at least one (but not all three) of these plays: (I will assume the missing cards are A,Q,9,4,3,2

AQ43
AQ42
AQ32
A943
A942
A932
Q943
Q942
Q932
Q4
Q3
Q2
94
93
92
Q
9

Play (a) picks up 8 holdings (Q943, Q942, Q932, Q4, Q3, Q2, Q, 9).

Play (b) picks up 8 holdings (AQ43, AQ42, AQ32, 94, 93, 92, Q, 9).

Play (a) is superior to play (b) in practice, since a weak RHO or, more, likely, LHO might sometimes fail to duck with AQxx.

Play © picks up 10 holdings (AQ43, AQ42, AQ32, A943, A942, A932, 94, 93, 92, 9).

Play © - low to J is theoretically correct. Against an LHO/RHO combination that will win the ace slightly more than one-third of the time, then (a) will be more successful in practice.

So if RHO always ducks, and LHO only ducks one time in three © is still very slightly superior. Even though the number of pickups is now equal (10 to 10), there is one extra 5-1 break in the (a) play (versus one 4-2 break in the © play.

Hope I have all that correct. Steve B. (or anybody else), please correct me if I am mistaken.
Sept. 16, 2014
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Obviously if the J holds, I play the K next, picking up Qx onside.

If Ax was onside, LHO would have won the Q when I played the J. I can't reasonably play low now since that gains against Ax with RHO and AQ tight with LHO (a total of 4 cases), and it loses to LHO holding AQxx, Q9, AQ9, Q9x and Qxx (a total of 11 cases - 7 with a slightly higher percentage).

So when low to J holds, K is 100% clear - playing low or 10 is nullo (except, as I mentioned, against an LHO employing the Grosvenor Gambit).
Sept. 16, 2014
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Eric L.

You said “When the jack wins you have to decide what to pay off to”

If low to the K wins, it can gain to play low now - RHO has Ax or LHO has Qx.
If low to the J wins, when does it gain to play low now? I see when playing low loses - either opponent started with AQxx (6 cases). But I don't see any case where playing low gains - unless LHO is operating a Grosvenor Gambit with Ax or Q9xx.
Sept. 16, 2014
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I think Brad and I could have a pretty good competition as to who is more “completely unqualified to comment on the substance of this thread”. However, I'll throw in my two cents anyway.

1) The article felt to me that it was written from a pro-Nicolas Hammond and anti-ACBL stance. I don't think there is anything necessarily wrong with that. It's not true that every argument or situation automatically has two equal sides. Nevertheless, I noted my feeling.

2) I thought one of the keys to the debacle(?) was this:

“When Hammond was unwilling to renegotiate the ownership stipulations of the original contract, the negotiations fell apart and the relationship ended.”

I thought it might be interesting to actually see the original contract - if Mr. Hammond (and/or the ACBL) would permit it. Then one might judge how reasonable or unreasonable the original deal was.

3) One question that is asked in the article clearly (to me) deserves (demands?) an answer at some point:

“All of the reasons offered (by the ACBL) were true three years ago when the ACBL’s leadership decided replacing ACBLscore was the best option. Nothing (from the ACBL) explains what changed the minds of the people making the decisions.”

4) Having read the article, Mr. Hartman's reply, and the comments, I couldn't escape the feeling that someone at the ACBL (probably a lawyer or lawyers) had made a huge oversight when the original contract was negotiated. But my feelings are not always correct, and it's quite possible that there is some other explanation.



Sept. 16, 2014
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Perhaps there was some bridge club, or some other bridge organisation, that had issues with paying $75 for refreshments. But that doesn't give me any perspective on what the ACBL does or did.
The USBF is not the ACBL. If you want to give perspective, I'd recommend on focusing on something the ACBL did. That still might be a ridiculous analogy, but at least we could begin the discussion.
Sept. 16, 2014
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In Standard (even 2/1), 2 does not show 5(+)-card . Or 4-card . For some, it doesn't even promise 3-card !
Sept. 15, 2014
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My understanding of the phrase “it's a bidder's game” is that one of the ways it's ‘true’ is that bidding sometimes gets you to bad contracts which happen to make. There are many other facets to the phrase - that is just one.
So, according to my understanding, this hand is an illustration of the phrase. It's a result-oriented phrase and here, had you passed, you likely would not have achieved this result.

Whether one should bid 2 on the actual hand is, as Kit says, a matter of opinion. As is whether it is a bidder's game….
Sept. 14, 2014
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The question posed is a bit of a trick question. 3 is, for the moment, a Choice-of-Games, but that does not preclude slam values. Or even preclude a slam when the 3 bidder has not much slam interest.
This is similar to the constructive auction 1-2, 3 in Standard. 3 is COG - but MAY include a slam try (or better). So responder will often cue with a suitable hand for slam - fitting major cards and a minor suit ace.

The main difference in the two auctions is that the 3 bid basically must include 6-card (since partner might raise to 4) whereas the 3 (game try or better) can be ‘messing around’ somewhat, since spades are higher ranking and opener is ‘in control’
Sept. 14, 2014
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Even if the lead is a , if North's trump x is a possible entry, you are in very good shape: A, to A, to J, ruff high, to k, ruff, trump to x (assuming they were 2-1), ruff (assuming they were 4-3), Q, claim.

There can also be a rare show-up squeeze on West, East having started life with 2-Axxxxx(x), Qx, xx(x).

I'd put this slam at close to 80% in practice.

North seemed not to appreciate the power of his hand. He has slam facing x, Axx, xx, Axxxxxx.
Sept. 13, 2014
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David Y.

I DID see the above. I was thinking that some of “us” might want you to try a proper apology - one without any reservation or qualification.
Sept. 12, 2014
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David Y.

Re your Al Roth comment:

I don't know who the “us” was supposed to refer to in that (to put it mildly) insulting quote, but I'm pretty sure there are a lot of “us” who think it was in extremely poor taste.
I'm pretty sure if Dean Pokorny said that (or anything approaching it) it would lead to another suspension for him. There are probably some of “us” who think that might be a good idea for you…
Sept. 12, 2014
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1) “RHO is a good player.” Not on this hand he isn't - a good player would have had his trick 2 play ready smoothly

2) In the discussion between Kit and Eric, Kit's example looks far more reasonable to me. Aside from the fact that declarer might well have bid 3 with a lot of those spade void hands, there is also the issue that he might have just responded 3N. Once he bids 2N, there is always the possibility that partner would correct a later 3N to 4. With a void, East would not want that.
Sept. 8, 2014
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In the article, you say “The problem is that the opponent who has the ace of spades will be able to deprive you of a spade entry by playing his ace of spades at the appropriate time”… and later…“the defenders will realize what your problem is and prevent you from reaching dummy with a spade in the important variation where the spade finesse is offside and the clubs are 4-4.”

But it's not quite that bad. The A may be doubleton and, in some variations, that will suffice.
Sept. 6, 2014
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I don't consider 2 a “sign-off” - just any hand not good enough to invite. And I think I need more to invite facing a balancing double.
Sept. 3, 2014
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Aviv,

You asked me what I would do with that hand and I told you. I don't think “Standard” exists after partner continues with 2N over 2. However, i'm pretty sure that it's “Standard” to bid one's longest suit over partner's TO double - especially below 3N, and especially when that suit is TWO cards longer than your next suit.

Even if I hit partner with a “short club” hand, the long suit will sometimes play better. For example, Axxx, AKJx, xxx, Ax facing x, xxxx, xx, xxxxxx - I might have an easier time in 3 than in 3.

Still 2 will work better if partner is coming in spades - not that unlikely - so 2 definitely has merit. And, if you had the agreement that a subsequent 3 shows no values then it's preferable.
Sept. 3, 2014
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Another agreement I find useful is “unclear bids below game are forcing.”
Of course, Jeff Rubens believes in exactly the opposite agreement - “Natural and NF if that is a possibility”

The trouble is that people don't always agree on what is “possible”….
Sept. 3, 2014
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If I remember correctly, in that problem partner had not bid 2N…
Sept. 3, 2014
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Aviv,

I was wondering about that hand type, and think it should probably bid a Lebensohl 2N to get to 3
Sept. 3, 2014
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There is no reason to think that doubler has 3-card . with, say, 4-2-3-4 and 20HCP, partner has little choice but to follow this auction.

There is a case for playing 3 NF and also a case for playing it forcing. Saying that you can bid 3 to force is meaningless to me, since partner bids 3 or 3N and then what? You still could have a big club fit - but you might not.
If I play 3 as forcing and I'm dealt a 4-5 bad hand, I have no real idea that 3 will be better than 2N. If I have a 5-5 bad hand I'll be stuck (and may guess to bid 3 (or 3) anyway and pray).
But since the consensus on NF 3 is that I hold 4-card it's not like NF does so well in that caae anyway.

Bottom line for me is that NF is too narrow a target. This is my general philosophy on removing 2N - may not be correct on this auction, but it's consistent with how I usually think.
So I would play 3 as forcing with 5(+)-card and 4 or 5-card . I answered “other”, because the choice was only given for “longer clubs” not ‘equal or longer.’

I believe in giving partner a fair bit of leeway on balancing auctions, so I can have a decent hand here, e.g. x, Qxxxx, xx, Axxxx seems good facing Axxx, AK, AJx, KJxx - reasonable play for a grand.
Sept. 3, 2014
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