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All comments by Michael Rosenberg
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I would double at any other vulnerability. At these colors, I feel uncertain. At the table, whatever intangibles there are would likely increase the chance of my doubling.
Jan. 11, 2013
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My recollection is that, over the years in important events, it has been a spectacular success to come in directly over 2N (assuming one has reasonable justification, which is rare)). Either because, you make something doubled (or go for less than their game), or because they now wrongside 4M, or because they have some serious misunderstanding.
Unfortunately, I have zero evidence to back up this claim - and don't know how to research it.

To change the subject somewhat, there is (or at least used to be) a theory that after (2N)P-(P) you should tend to double, because it ‘always’ goes down. The one time in my life I tried this was at rubber in the mid 1970's. i don't remember my hand, but declarer's was Ax, AKx, AKQJx, xxx. NOT a spectacular success.
Jan. 11, 2013
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I think a discussion of what particular convention to play is a waste of time. It is so infrequent that it will almost never matter. The only important thing is to have a bid for the majors - preferably not 3, for the reason given by Ken.
Jan. 10, 2013
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It's important to have a way to show majors on ALL NT openings (and responses to 1m). Here, you'd probably want 3 as majors.
I would bid that, if I could. If not, I'd pass and lead whichever high spade will give me unblock jackk/count from partner
Jan. 10, 2013
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I don't think 3 “guarantees” anything - except doubt.
3 = 5- card (or very good 4)
3N = Not willing to make the ‘doubt-showing’ 3 bid
Higher = Good hand for , unwilling to play 3N

When deciding between 3 and 3N look at:

a) Club holding (double stop invariably bids 3N; king might; ace more often bids 3)
b) Diamond holding (no help and one stop often bids 3, if 5 looks playable)
c) Spade holding (partner has 4-card, so it can help in visualizing)
d) Speed of tricks (quick tricks better for 3N; slow tricks better for 5)

There are going to be some tough choices…
Jan. 9, 2013
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David, what you say is all correct. However, I think Kit's point is that disaster usually strikes when there is a major disagreement about hand type. So if partner is not sure what heart hands double 1, and what heart hands bid 2, that might not be good - but it doesn't rate to end in disaster.

Disaster tends to strike when there is a major misunderstanding. For example, suppose the bidding goes 1-1(transfer to hearts) one partner thinks the double of 1 showed diamonds, and doubles. The next hand bids 4, and now the doubler's partner, believing the double to be just a normal TO of 1-1, bids 4. Disaster!

Perhaps Kit might have added (but thought it was obvious) something like ‘all other bids are just as if the auction actually went 1-1.’ So 2, 2, and 2N all retain whatever meanings they would have - the transfer changes nothing.

That deals with almost everything.

By the way, I am not endorsing Kit's suggested method (and I don't think Kit was either). But I am endorsing his point that you should construct methods which cover whatever the opponents might do.
Jan. 9, 2013
Michael Rosenberg edited this comment Jan. 9, 2013
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You say: “Hands with K+K do not belong in 3 anyway.”

I would say that is your opinion - not a fact. My opinion is that SOME hands with the minor suit kings (and many hands with club king but not diamond king) DO belong in 3.

Also, I disagree with the idea that partner “will almost never have a double stopper against decent opposition…”

Just two of the many reasons I think the simulation you ran does not have merit.
Jan. 5, 2013
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I play 5 as a huge 3-suiter. Not sure why I'd want to bid 5N instead of starting with 4N, so I guess it should have some specific meaning. But I don't think it's productive to do much work in an area such as that - not intuitive and too infrequent.
Jan. 4, 2013
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If we're going to get into percentages, I'd guess that more than 90% of simulations prove the thing that the simulator wants to prove.
I have little faith in simulations, for two reasons. The criteria are usually inaccurate, and the analysis is double-dummy.

I'd be pretty certain that if I personally analyzed the same 1,000 hands, I'd come to a different conclusion. (Note - I am not offering to do this).
Jan. 4, 2013
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Dean:
Regarding the chess analogy, my original statement was:
“I reject the notion, commonly held by experts, that, if we reach the wrong contract, someone must have made a mistake.”

One might say that I was stating the bleedin' obvious - after all everyone knows we can't always get to the right contract. But I think experts often forget this, especially in the ‘heat of battle’ (including post-mortems) - unless the bids are clear.

So often, the question posed on a hand was “whose fault was this?”, when the correct question is “was this anybody's fault?”. So I thought it important to remind everyone of this.

I did not see any purpose to your chess analogy. And while I was pretty sure you were not serious, I was concerned that this would not be clear to all readers here.

* * * * *

You said:
“ by repeating the theory of perfect bidding leading to wrong spots you give impression that you agree with doubt-showing 3 being a better rebid than 3NT”

Sorry, I did not mean to give that impression. In the original email thread I was only asked about responder's hand, so my comments here have focused on that.

However, I have made several general observations about the 3 bid, both in the article and in comments. Those interested can read them.

I think of bidding as a conversation.
The message of 3N over 3 is “In light of the bidding so far, I think this is likely to lead to a better contract than a doubt-showing 3
The message (at least for the time being) of 3 over 3 is “in
light of the bidding so far, I am unwilling to bid 3N”

* * * * *

Since you, and at least one other person, have expressed a desire to know my opinion of Bobby's 3S bid on AQJ Q109x K10 Kxxx, I will now give it.

Let's say I bid 3N, and partner has Kxxx Axx QJ9xxx –. I will clearly reach the wrong contract IF partner passes (5 is the only game). Change a heart to a club, and he WILL pass - and 5 is still best.
How about I bid 3S and partner has Kxxx Jxx aQJxxx —? Or Kxxx Kxx AQJxx x? Or xxxx, Ax, AQJxxx, x? In all cases, partner will/might go past 3N - the best contract although other games have play).

So whatever I do might lead to the wrong contract. If I bid 3N, it is quite likely to be final. 3 asks partner's opinion. If he has the club void I think he has, he will almost never bid 3N. Is that good or bad? And what if he now goes past 3N with a stiff club. Can I stand for that to happen?

I think the answer largely depends on what partner will do over 3N on, say, Kxxx Kxx QJ9xxx –. If he is going to pass, playing me for, say, Axx Jxxx Kxx AKx, then I feel as if I should bid 3 on AQJ Q109x K10 Kxxx.

I do not, and never did, think the message of 3 was “worried about club stopper”. Rather, I think 3N shows a notrumpy holding (2 stoppers, or one in a notrumpy hand).

I think Bobby was perhaps thinking “I don't like 3N much opposite a void, and my partner will probably bid 3N with a stiff if that is right.” 3N looks like the more ‘practical’ call. But I think 3 may well be correct - perhaps too perfectionist. I really do not know.

I am much clearer about responder's actual hand. I don't see any game having fair play except 3N. And, if partner has such a good hand for me that we can make 5, he's probably not passing 3N (or would not have bid 3).

Jan. 4, 2013
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What is written below assumes no slam aspirations by advancer.

In Standard-world, where double is TO, 4N over 4 is any 2 places to play - not 3. Over 4N, partner begins by choosing his better minor - unless his inferior minor is longer than his hearts.
In other words, with 4-4-3-2 advancer bids 5. But with 4-1-6-2 bids 5. If partner has the minors, tough. That's why they preempt.

In Kit Woolsey-world, where double is penalty, I don't know what happens. I'd better let him explain it.

The reality is that 4 opening can put you in an impossible random situation - where whatever you do (and whatever your methods are) you might have a total disaster.

Also, I think one's philosophy should be dependent (as Rob says) on vulnerability - and somewhat tailored to both current preempting style and one's particular opponent.
Jan. 4, 2013
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Dean:
I think your chess/bridge analogy is really poor. It would take more time than I am prepared to spend to point out all the reasons I think this - and I don't think it would illuminate those reading here (which is my primary reason for posting).

I don't know what percentage of the time ‘correct’ bidding leads to an inferior contract - but I know it is FAR from zero.

Also, one thing not usually considered are the (many) occasions when the ‘wrong’ bid led to the optimum contract, whereas the ‘correct’ bid would have failed (these go unnoticed, due to lack of post-mortem recriminations).

* * * * *

You say:
“I must admit that I have very hard time in saying that with:
Axx AKxx xxx Axx and
xxxx Qxx AQxxxx - or Kxxx Jxx AQxxxx -
I would rather play 3NT than 4 or 5.

Or you think that the latter hands should decline 3NT after 3

I feel as if you haven't been reading what I have been writing. My major point has been that Steve's hand is so weak that no game other than 3N is likely to fetch. So I would bid 3N DESPITE the club void telling me not to.

With your second example hand for responder, I would certainly go past 3N. This is a MUCH better hand for D - while only being slightly better for 3N. I expect to make 5D (I would not try to play in 4H). (However, I note in passing that I would sometimes be wrong. For example, facing, say, AJx, Axxx, Kxx, Axx I'd prefer to be in 3N.)

Your first example hand for responder is less clear to me - I might well go past 3N.
Jan. 1, 2013
Michael Rosenberg edited this comment Jan. 1, 2013
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Dean,

Part of your discussion is about whether Bobby's bid is correct. My entire discussion was based on analyzing Steve's bid over 3S.
I have still offered no opinion about Bobby's bid. Originally, I was not asked about that.

While I have not apportioned blame, I point out that I reject the notion, commonly held by experts, that, if we reach the wrong contract, someone must have made a mistake.
I believe that there are hands that will not reach 3N when that is best AND hands that will reach 3N when that is not best. To prove that is true, I can wait to see what you will bid with various hands, then keep changing the opposite hand.

What one should be looking for is the action that will overall produce the best result, and I believe 3N over 3S is that action. You do not.

You said:

“Since 3D is lower than 3NT, bidding 3D doesn't reject 3NT as the final contract, it merely rejects to say “I'm pretty sure we belong in 3NT”. And why isn't responder pretty sure 3NT should always be the final contract? There can be only two reasons for this - he has a hand that suggests:
a) another game could be better than 3NT (with main reason for this - not having strength/runningness to collect enough tricks in 3NT), or
b) slam could be on if opener holds the right hand.”

I agree with this, more or less. But I would ask you this:
couldn't one make basically the same statement, substituting ‘3S’ wherever you have ‘3D’, ‘opener’ wherever you have ‘responder’ and ‘responder’ wherever you have ‘opener’?

* * * * * *

I think we may have been having a misunderstanding on Axx, AKxx, xxx, Axx. I was not saying that hand should bid 3N. I was saying that hand should bid 3S, and that Steve's hand should bid 3N. Yes, I'd rather be in 5D. Bidding is not an exact science.

You asked “what about 4H”. 4H is a terrible contract with Steve's hand - and indeed rates to be opposite any hand that did not bid 3H.
It's the “lack of strength” of Steve's hand that makes me feel that 3N has the best chance.

* * * * * *

You say:
“You don't have D.xxxxxx/D.Hxxxxx very often”

Not sure what this means, but I think that's part of what 3S is searching for. Part of what 3S says is “I'd rather not be in 3N if you have, say, QJxxxx, but I'd be ok with 3N if you have good diamonds that are or might be running - especially if the rest of your hand says we can't make 5D (or, maybe, 4M)”.
Jan. 1, 2013
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I don't think Phillip's Vul-NV argument is valid here. It might work facing a ONE-level opening, but not here - at least in my style. There are definitely hands that I would think “might well have good play facing a vulnerable preempt” where I would also think “likely has no play facing a non-vul preempt”
Jan. 1, 2013
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Jim, your examples all hold the spade ten. Perhaps you did not notice the given hand holds it?
Jan. 1, 2013
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Dean:
I will try to respond to all your comments in this thread here.

You say: “When opener rejects to bid 3NT and bids 3S instead, (a) few things should be clear…:”

There is validity to this, but it also must be considered that RESPONDER “rejected 3N and bid 3D instead”. This gives the entire situation a different context - even more so if you consider Martin's position that one should double with 4-3-5-1 shape.

You said:

“A reasonable partner cannot put opener on (Bobby's) kind of hand absolutely never. Much more likely he would expect something like:
AKx
AQ9x
Jxx
Qxx
or
Axx
AKxx
xxx
Axx. ”

On your first example, with the stopper being Qxx, there is a good case for opener to NEVER suggest 3N (with a good hand for D) - since the club suit might be run. So I think that hand should bid 3S but then pull 3N.
Your second example is interesting. 3N and 5D are both basically 20%. True 3N might go down more (though it might not), but I think this exemplifies my point about responder's hand. It's so bad, you are unlikely to make any game - but overall, 3N is the best possibility.

You said:
“The main strength that makes our hand a GF hand is indeed the club void.”

That may have been true when an 8-card major fit was a possibility. Now that it is not, the main strength of your hand is A SIX-CARD SUIT THAT MIGHT BE RUNNING. And that says go for 9 tricks in 3N.
The club void, facing value there (likely the ace) does not make one think we have the values to make 11 tricks in diamonds.
Dec. 31, 2012
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I think the double of 3C is an interesting and important discussion. I hadn't brought it up in the email thread, because my entire focus was on responder's bid over 3S - the question I was asked. (I also have not given any opinion about Bobby's actual hand that bid 3S.)
I used to think like Brian - that, generally, double should, as much as possible, deliver a doubleton in their suit. But I changed my philosophy a few years ago for two reasons. First, there are many auctions where you MUST double with shortness (although, obviously, this is not one). Second, and more importantly, you are more likely (assuming sane opponents) to get a penalty when you have shortness.
Take the auction (2M)2N-(3M). Here, I play double suggests shortness, while 3N is what I would usually bid with 2+ in their suit. Usually, advancer HAS shortness (just as in our actual auction).
I think this is the best approach against most opponents…
Dec. 31, 2012
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Jim:

Stopper is defined as if they lead it and RHO has the missing cards. A, Kx, Qxx, Jxxx are all stoppers.

Mike Ma:

Not a guarantee. One might certainly double with KJ109x(x).
Dec. 31, 2012
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J. Diamond:
One could certainly make the agreement you suggest. But “Expert Standard” says “bids below 3N are interested in playing 3N” (the exception being when we have already identified an 8-card major fit). So the 3S bid here should say, I'm not sure about 3N as opposed to other games (and maybe slam). Perhaps this is semantics.
In the auction you give - 1N-2N, 3m-3H, I would have thought 3S was, at least for the moment, some interest in playing in spades. Since responder might have doubleton or tripleton spade, this seems relevant. With strong interest in spades (5-card or very good 4-card), opener could jump to 4S . But he might like a way to make a more mild suggestion, and that's what I think 3S is (for the moment) without discussion.
Dec. 31, 2012
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M. Askgaard:

You say:

“A TD/committee must be able to specify what the UI was, if they are to adjust the score.”

Is that actually a rule/law, or are you just stating your opinion and framing it as a rule/law?

Here is my answer:

IF IT IS NOT A RULE/LAW:

I disagree with your statement. I think the TD/committee's job is to determine whether there was UI. If a blatant action (in the case here, there were two) confirms that there was, that is enough evidence.

IF IT IS A RULE/LAW (which I think is less likely):

We should try to reword the law. Until we do, we could say this to West.
“Your table actions were ‘impossible’. So if you had no ‘normal’ UI (such as physical reactions or out-of-tempo bids) we think it must be that you and your partner have some illegal code you are using to cheat. We are going to form a C and E committee to investigate this.

Obviously draconian, and one would have to be absolutely sure before making such a threat. In the present case, with the facts as presented, I have zero doubt (which is unlike me).

Maybe I'm still ranting, and should just stick to ”We should try to reword the law"…..this case got under my skin. AND they took his money!
Dec. 30, 2012
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