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All comments by Michael Rosenberg
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Bob H:

You said:

“So the only time (responder) can now have slam interest is when he has support for opener's second suit.”

That was the sentence I (and, I think, Larry) was disagreeing with.
If you don't agree that your statement was incorrect (“way off” as I put it) then you don't.

As for my structure, it was nice of you to call it “brilliant”. It would have nicer still had you actually read it - 4 is natural (and I went into some detail to explain why).

Finally, I'm not sure what your complaint is about having more ways to show a 3-card LR (though I actually have only 2 to start - not 3 as you state). Isn't it GOOD to have more ways to describe hand types and their ranges?
If you only have one way, AND THAT WAY IS 4 doesn't that make it tougher for opener (instead of putting some of the hands in 3)?

I play 4 as the ‘common-or-garden’ 3-card LR. I'd bid 3 with a very good one (5-level drive over 4m) or a bad one (which will probably be treated similar to a hand with a doubleton spade), or a concentrated one (where it really matters WHERE opener is short)

Btw, I also play 3 as 5-5 (as Phil C. mentions below). This makes things a little better (since responder is not obliged to bid 3 with 2-3 and slam interest). But the method is playable opposite 5-4.

The method is far from perfect (everything is), and certainly not “brilliant”.

Nov. 13, 2013
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Agree about the 3-card Limit Raise. Since AK10xx, AKQxx, Qxx — facing QJx, xx, AKxx, xxxx is a pretty good GRAND slam, the idea that a 3-card Limit Raise needs second-suit support for a small slam is way off.

What you should play might depend on your major suit raise structure. If you play (as I do) 3 as natural invitation and 3 as artificial Limit Raise you might want to play

3 = Preference, likely doubleton , but could be Limit Raise
4 = Artificial Slam try in
4 = Natural
4 = Natural, less than 4 bid
4 = 3-card LR, not especially good or bad or ‘interesting’
5 = Natural
Nov. 12, 2013
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I think scramble is more important here. With direct 3 being a game try.
Scramble allows you to avoid playing a ridiculous minor fit - and since you might want to double with many shapes here, that's a big help.
I don't remember ever seeing being able to bid a “good” 3m as useful on this auction. And, bidding 3m at least SUGGESTS you might have a 5-card suit (especially when partner has 2+ spades).
Nov. 11, 2013
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Kit:

If the “one flaw” is that I will play 3 when advancer has 5-3 in minors and 2N bidder has 5-4 in minors, then I have to be pretty satisfied with my methods. Either the opponents have TEN hearts (which I think is not possible), or they have 8 spades and 9 hearts. I'm likely better off playing in my 7-card fit - that's what's stopping them bidding….

Benoit:

With 3(334) over double I have to guess a bit.
With a strong 4-carder always bid it (so we play the 4-3 fit with the ruffing value).
With weak 4-card I'd usually bid 2N - Since I won't miss a 4-4 fit there.
With a weak diamond 4-carder I'd usually bid 2N and pass 3.
With weak 4-card , I'd be more likely to get myself to 3 - the suit partner is most likely to have (so I don't want to miss the 4-4).

By the way, an adjunct to this is I play that, over the double of 2, that 3 is ALWAYS a game try. To get to play 3, I fake a 2N scramble then bid 3 next.

Nov. 10, 2013
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I play:

X = 3 places to play OR red suits with better hearts
2N = 2 places to play - if red suits then better D

Over X, advancer bids 2N with 2 places to play.

This fairly simple meme has worked very well over the last 20+ years. Maybe there is some inherent flaw I don't know about.

Nov. 10, 2013
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I think Andrzej's line and Kit's line both look reasonable.

Perhaps part of the thought should be who your RHO is. If you believe RHO is the sort of player who will ALWAYS rise with K if you lead low from dummy at trick 2, then that becomes more attractive.
Basically, paying off only to some hand such as J9xxx, Qxxx, xx, Kx.

Another point is that if RHO DOES win K, it may not be clear to him or her which suit to return - I could be 3-3-2-5 - and if I have Ax (maybe even Axx) RHO would want to play a .

Anant, the way the the play went, the continuation seems clear. Win , cash hearts to strip LHO and exit with a . You will only fail to make if RHO has K AND LHO has a - when you couldn't really make anymore.
If LHO has 4-card (so you are forced to cash all of them), you theoretically need to be a little careful discarding from hand. In this ending:

10x


A94

K5


Q108

At trick 9 (after 4 rounds of each red suit) when LHO cashes the last , you pitch a spade from dummy and TEN from your hand. Then when LHO plays a club to RHO's king, you drop the QUEEN. Now there is no further problem - assuming the A is onside (which is very likely - LHO did not overcall 1). A club return gives you 2 club tricks.
Nov. 4, 2013
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Hey! are you located near the MBOTM club?
Oct. 31, 2013
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That was my main purpose, David….
Oct. 30, 2013
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Another really interesting and well written-up hand - which is now passe for Kit.

I was thinking that you might want to have some theoretical differentiation between the slam tries that occur after 2-3, and after 2-2N, 3-4, 4-4. Maybe one of the auctions should guarantee good trumps? Just a thought.

I noticed in your RKC relay structure, you play 4 KC in and 4N KC in . Since some pairs go out of their way systemically to play 4 is KC in (to save a step), I was wondering why you did this.

By the way, it's about time the bridge world settled on a name for this thing you call RKC relay. I've heard it referred to, among other things, as, “Lost in Space”, “Berk” and “the 4-4 thing”. In my partnership, I call it “Howie” which I got from Bobby and Steve. I think Steve told me the source of “howie” - but I forget.

I think Meckwell also play a version of this on some auctions. Since Eric produced so many new names in his book (my two favorites were the “Intrapop” and the “Martellian Squash”), I'd be willing to let him decide this for the entire bridge community.

Oct. 27, 2013
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I deliberately avoided (but wondered if somebody would bring up) the subject of signaling to ‘show’ something in clubs. Because if you do this, and can be relied on to do it, that means declarer can make the same inference - which might take away his guess completely
Oct. 24, 2013
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I've always been aware of this hand-type from declarer's viewpoint. It comes up a lot. In my career, I've played for someone to have the 5-card suit, the ace and the length dozens of times (and a few times it's actually worked!).

On this hand, make North the declarer and have a spade lead go to the Q and K and you'd see another example. If you play West to have started with Q-fifth, A, and length, and he's got that, he's toast.

But the title of the article was deliberately misleading - I'm really more interested in the defenders' problems here.

While I'd also always been aware of the defenders' issues and options here, I had never really gone into them. When I did (because of this hand) it started making me a little dizzy.

The first part is pretty obvious: if a squeeze exits, you want to make it appear there is a blockage, while if a blockage exists, you want declarer to think he has executed a squeeze.
The second part is that there are holdings where a certain number of cards must be discarded yo create the squeeze illusion. If declarer has Axx facing Kxxx that number would be 2.

In the actual case, where defenders have Qx facing Jxx, a club must be discarded sometime by someone - otherwise there is no guess. This was Rainer's main point, and all the above was known to me before.

On the actual hand, West held Q1098, 8xxxx, xx, Q8. He doesn't discard his blocking spade (because he sees partner will be squeezed). He doesn't pitch another worthless heart. Instead he pitches from Qx - and (on this hand - see below) it is the only chance to defeat the contract. Now that's a DE-fense!

Clearly, if West had Jx rather than Qx, a club discard would be 100%. But I think Rainer missed a problem with discarding from Qx - what if declarer had KJxxx? Now you give declarer a lock (assuming that hand at least MIGHT qualify as “minimum”).

What would declarer (with KJxxx) do after seeing the spade discard on his right and heart on his left? Well, he might decide East was squeezed with 5-2-3-3 and play a heart. OR, he might think East is being tricky with Q and just take a finesse.

By the way, a side issue here is that if West had KING he would discard 8 - telling East it was safe to pitch a club.
Another side issue is that if E started 4-2-3-4 with A, he must pitch at least one black card

But back to the main point. How can West tell if partner has Jxx or xxx? Is it best to discard from xxx (to prevent partner making the fatal discard from Qx) and hope declarer plays you for 4-2-3-4?

In the actual case, whether declarer should play for the diacard from Q8 and play a to 10 (or as Steve B. prefers, a heart) or play them for Q1098x, Axx, xx, QJx (which might well have overcalled) is a tough choice. In practice, the squeeze is probably more likely.

But then, I started thinking of even weirder ideas. what if West (when squeezed with 5-3-2-3) defended this way (club pitch, then honor) from Jxx? FROM QXX? These hands are less clear overcalls. Just as it was ‘wrong’ to play the honor with QJxx (since declarer is about to go wrong if you pitch a low one), maybe it is ‘right’ to pitch the honor from Hxx? Now Steve B. will play a heart and go down?

This is where I start getting dizzy. There seems to be more possible defensive options than I thought. Either player might discard one or drop an honor (although some variations are pretty futile).

Anyway, I thought I'd share this hand. I think there were some ‘new’ card play ideas here, which I always find fascinating. And it's likely I'm wrong about something, or missing something even MORE interesting.

Oct. 24, 2013
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Sorry, Jeff. I did not mean to rub salt in your wound. I just thought the hand was interesting - and did not intend to mention the actual play….
Oct. 23, 2013
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Let's say West started with Q1098,Axx,xx,QJ9x. He would certainly pitch a club at some point. But why would he ever drop the Q under the ace?
As Steve Bloom pointed out “The main hope from the start was that one player held five spades, the heart ace, and club length.”
So if he just followed with the 9, you would surely play him to start with Q1098x,Axx,xx,J9x, and go down. But if he plays the Q, he has you thinking about his failure to overcall with the same hand and Qjx - now you might (for whatever reason) go right.

So, coming to that conclusion, declarer plays a second club from dummy and RHO plays the 9. This is the final question. What now?
Oct. 23, 2013
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In my opinion, an even better book to read for this purpose (or maybe a follow-up book) is my favorite bridge book - Diaboliquement Votre. This is a compilation of about 12 single-dummy problems and about 42 double-dummy problems (many from Bernasconi).

The hands are amazing. I solved the single-dummy, but actually gave up on 6 of the double-dummy. (This was the only time I ever really gave up on bridge problems).

The book is in French, which may seem a bit of a drawback. But basically that just meant I learned some French, too!
Oct. 21, 2013
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Ah - well there is no reason to do that. And it is the legitimate thing to play for after the second spade holds (RHO has Q10 or more than 4-card ).
Oct. 16, 2013
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Rainer,

Regarding the variation where declarer, after winning two spades, switches to hearts to try to squeeze RHO in the blacks, you write that this will work:

“Only if West is a poor player and returns a diamond in the five card ending you show.
If he returns a club, communication to hand is cut and since the diamond ace in dummy has not been cashed yet no squeeze.”

I'm not understanding this. Aside from the fact, you can now double finesse in clubs, would you not make anyway (if RHO had Q109 and declarer AK8) by cashing 5th heart, crossing to A and cashing A?

Maybe you were thinking a round of clubs had already been played?
Oct. 16, 2013
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I think what you mean is that a player who has unfairly USED is considered to be that thoughtless. Before that, we actually want the player to be ‘thoughtful’ as to what he would do with no UI.
Oct. 11, 2013
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If N bids 5 and S bids 6, N will think (assuming no UI) that S has 4 KC WITHOUT Q.
Oct. 9, 2013
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“So you agree that it is theoretically correct to bid 5? (guarding against the 1% chance that partner has only 1 keycard) rather than playing for the 99% chance of partner having 4 keycards and asking for the queen of trumps in search of a grand.”

No, I don't agree. It is correct to bid 5 and, if partner has 4 he bids on and shows the Q.

Come to think of it, I'm changing my mind about the AK seventh and two aces hand. Since you and I agree that AKQ sixth and two aces is too strong for a 3 rebid, it means that North CAN find the AK seventh and two aces hand (since over 5 partner will show the Q, knowing you know it ‘MUST’ BE LENGTH.

I don't see any flaw with your ‘mission accomplished’ scenario. It just means you get rewarded for making the correct technical bid (the bid you should make without UI). Virtue is sometimes more than it's own reward….or maybe it's just a rare and lucky coincidence.

The actual North did (I think) none of that. He used the UI and jumped to slam - just as players who bid P-1M, 2(Drury-not alerted)-3 always jump to 4M. The only time I ever saw a player bid anything other than 4M on this auction was behind screens….
Oct. 9, 2013
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I believe it was already stated that North and South each had over 10,000 masterpoints.
Oct. 8, 2013
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