All comments by Michael Rosenberg
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Here's a different argument against playing 4 as balanced.

Let's say the 1N opening showed exactly 16 HCP. I would say there are AT LEAST 3 ‘ranges’ of 16 HCP on this auction. Now go back to 15-17. There might be more than TEN ranges here. (Admittedly there is some cross-over, e.g. some 15 HCP will equal some 16 HCP.)

But I think it's nice (a ‘luxury’) to be able to bid (over 4 when hearts is trump):

4D = Medium (or max with control, planning to continue over 4)
4 = Minimum
Higher = Max. no diamond control (unless KCarding)

Dec. 6, 2013
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Something can be clearly superior, but only by a tiny amount - for example playing AKJ facing xx for 3 tricks.

Seems like the more relevant question is whether one is “provably” superior (as opposed to “probably”). And then (if provably) you can try to estimate the average imp gain when this situation arises.

4 as balanced seems more logical - especially when hearts is the major - as not having a last train over balanced seems more likely to hurt than having KC response take you too high.

But it seems to me like pretty small potatoes, so I would (and in fact do) play what my partner wants here. Especially important if there is any memory issue - because someone is ‘used to’ a certain way. Some people may prefer the consistency of 4 being ace-asking, as in Gerber.
Dec. 5, 2013
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Claiming on squeezes is actually an interesting subject. There should be a separate law to cover this - no claims when the non-connection threat(s) is(are) not an honor card should be allowed. To see why, look at this hand:

North:76, 2, A654, A75432
West: 53, 9, KQJ10873, KJ8
East: 42, KQJ10873, 9, Q109
South: AKQJ1098, A654, 2, 6

South declares 7 after West has bid and East has bid . West leads the K. Declarer wins and plays to ace, ruff a heart, A, ruff , ruff , ruff . Now play trumps and have a ‘claim’ on a double squeeze.

However, this claim should not be allowed, since it is dependent on counting (in case a defender unguards the red suit and holds clubs).

On this hand, it works either to count red suits OR to count clubs. On another hand, declarer might be compelled to keep track of the non-connection suit.

The point is that the claim requires future counting - and I don't think any such claim ought to be made. I would say that even if Helgemo, Meckstroth, or Zia were declarer.
Nov. 27, 2013
Michael Rosenberg edited this comment Nov. 27, 2013
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I would bid 4. RhO doubles. Partner has —, Kxxx, xxxx, QJxxx. to A, ruff, , ruff, , ruff, A and I still lose a trump. Down 1400. Preempts sometimes work. Next hand…
Nov. 27, 2013
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I guess how draconian depends on the meaning of the word “doubtful”…
Nov. 26, 2013
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Rainer.

Claims do not always result in “speeding up the game”. And sometimes (when they are challenged) have the opposite effect.
I have no problems with sound claims (although some theoretically sound claims are not sound in practice - I can give an example if you want).

I never said I thought false claimers get away lightly. The rules against them are very severe. I am happy with those rules - because of all the tricks they get away with WHEN THEY ARE NOT CAUGHT.

To deal with your last point, let's start with this end position:
KQ432
A
9876 J10
J10 9876
A
KQ432

Declarer says, “I have the last 6 tricks - 2 A,K Q's”. The defenders who are either scared, inexperienced or asleep throw their cards in. Yet there is NO LEGAL WAY for them to not take a trick.
But, apparently, if they stared at it and couldn't see it (either because they were inexperienced or asleep), you see nothing wrong with declarer getting that trick.

Now, that's an extreme example. Far more often, declarer is LEGALLY able to get the trick(s) (though the likelihood that it would be made if the hand is played out can be anywhere between 0% and 100%).

The question is regarding declarer's entitlement to such tricks. If declarer's claim is false, it means he misanalyzed the position - in other words he made a mistake.
And since this particular type of mistake is so frequently ‘rewarded’ (when not caught), it seems appropriate to me that it be severely punished (when it is caught). And it seems appropriate to me that the player who made a legal mistake be punished by losing tricks that he ‘should’ have made - just as ‘actually played’ legal mistakes are punished.

And it should NOT be up to inexperienced opponents - even with the advantage of double-doummy analysis - to precisely identify the problem - whether it be miscounted tricks, blockage or something else). If they call the Director and the claim is seen to be false, they should be given any tricks to which they are legally entitled.

Experienced opponents will see the problem for themselves, WHEN THEY DON'T CONCEDE. But sometimes they will concede (because the normal reaction is to ‘trust’ the claimer), and that is why I believe, for justice to be done, that the laws against false claims should be severe - as they are.
Nov. 26, 2013
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Danny:

When I said “get something”, I was not trying to imply anything nefarious. I just meant that they were trying to claim tricks.
I agree that, almost invariably, the majority of false claims are just aberrations.
Although, I think there are some who are more likely to false-claim, or lead out of the wrong hand when it happens to be to their advantage - not out of evil intent, but because of their personality-type.

Jacob:

The laws regarding false claims are pretty Draconian - which I think is appropriate. My point was that I approve of Draconian laws for false claims, but not for, say, a revoke (where the penalty is even more Draconian - it is automatic).
Nov. 26, 2013
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Zia has often said the opposite - that being doubled rattles people. Again, that's what makes horse races.
Nov. 25, 2013
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Example no: 8,532,791 of why I believe false claims SHOULD be treated harshly under the rules - as opposed to revokes, leads out of turn and other illegal plays.

The false claimer is automatically benefiting himself or herself - and is looking to ‘get’ something.
To restore equity for this, I want extreme punishment when they get ‘caught’
Virtually everyone has, at one time or another, been guilty of making or accepting a false claim. To counterbalance somebody getting away with making a trick(s) that they might (or definitely would) not have made, I want it to be that they are in jeopardy of losing a trick(s) that they likely would have made.

Somebody who makes an illegal play is, almost invariably, not trying to ‘get’ something. So, if there is no damage, I see no need for redress (though any doubt should be decided in favor of the non-offenders).
Nov. 25, 2013
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I think this is Kit's point. If they make a doubled partscore, nobody dies. It's not a ‘catastrophe’. it's just a bad result compared with other results we might have achieved.
At matchpoints, everybody can see that. But even at imps, it may well be there is too great an emphasis on not defending doubled partscores.

The thing that always worries me the most is that my alternate ‘bad’ result might have been a winner if my teammates have a good result. But the doubled partscore may turn a win (even with my alternate bad result) into a loss.

I've had good teammates over the years…
Nov. 24, 2013
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My imp philosophy has always been not to double in this type of situation. I have no idea whether that is mathematically justifiable.
I do see that Kit's philosophy makes him a tougher opponent in this type of situation. His opponents have to worry about getting double a lot more than mine do.

I do take issue with at least one statement Kit made in the comments. He said:

“North did catch his partner with the right distribution in the minors.”

Did he really “catch” it? Or was it not a virtual certainty after 2N and that free 3 bid?
Nov. 24, 2013
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My vote is that it's TO - I might double with a 4-2-2-5 medium - or even a suitable minimum.
I might also double on some maximum hand with 3-card - if I think continuations will be acceptable - and hoping partner will occasionally pass on the ‘right’ hand with 3-card .
Nov. 24, 2013
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When I talk about “theoretical minimum trump length” I'm speaking about partner having some idea of what he is supposed to do.
If the double is ‘auction-ending’ - say opponents bid 1N-2C, 2S-3S, 4S and now either hand doubles, the theoretical minimum is zero. You could double with 5-card spades. You could also double with a void.

Minimum length could be zero, one, two, three or 4 depending on the auction. I think you can't sensibly have, as part of a ‘conversation’, “I would like to defend 2D doubled” if that can be 2,3,4 or 5-card diamonds. Partner needs to know the expected minimum. He needs to know when he is expected to pass.

It may be, as you say, that double is better played as penalty on the auction in question. But I'm not going to make a different rule for every auction. So my rules make it not penalty (but guaranteeing at least a doubleton). That goes with my general philosophy of having a way to bid non-penalty hands. If your philosophy is different, you should construct rules that jive with it.

The important things, as usual, are being on the same wavelength with your partner, and having agreements that you both find easy to remember.
Nov. 22, 2013
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For a low-level double to be penalty, it needs to fall under some rule - or have no other possibility. Here, that is not true for me - I would expect something like 4-2-2-5.
Similarly, opener's double of 2 would not be penalty - and I think it's logical that opener and responder's doubles of a new suit be somewhat consistent.

By the way, I've always had disdain for the term “Optional Double” - since I think it's meaningless. All doubles below are ‘optional’ - unless partner is barred due to some infraction.
Similarly, I've never liked the phrase ‘do something intelligent’ (here, I'm not quoting the poll - but I've often heard that - and also consider it meaningless).

Doubles that might end the auction should have a theoretical minimum trump length.
Nov. 22, 2013
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Sorry Dale. I meant to comment again on this hand after others had responded, but when almost nobody did I forgot. Worse, looking at my comment, maybe it discouraged others.

The whole concept of this hand is brilliant - it required deep and logical thought to come up with it.
The ‘actual’ hand solution is pretty also.
Nov. 19, 2013
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Agreed
Nov. 18, 2013
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I think Kit's last part might not be true. Since RHO may be able to win HA and lead a spade squeezing dummy. Also danger of a pseudo-squeeze if both red aces are with the long spade
Nov. 18, 2013
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I'm surprised nobody mentioned North's final pass - not that it should affect any ruling, but it does show there was one further advantage to not doubling 5. North just had to follow this reasonable rule.

“If partner raise me and then doesn't double them, and I have two voids, then I bid one more”

Nov. 15, 2013
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I disagree that it is only opener who has slam interest. When I have QJx, xx, AKxx, xxxx (or either of the 2 “great hands” cited below), I immediately am thinking “good chance we have a slam”. To me, that's even more than just “slam interest”. With this hand, if my partner shows short clubs I have a hand to drive.

In any case, I don't see it as “masterminding” to not want to make the same 4 bid with QJx, xx, Axxx, Axxx or KJx, Kx, Axxx, xxxx (great hands)- and also with normal hands - and also with bad hands.
Nov. 13, 2013
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First page felt like it was written by Rod Serling…
I like the concept of taking these “good plays” one step further….
Nov. 13, 2013
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