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All comments by Michael Rosenberg
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East passed 1H doubled, so I thought the chance of him holding AJx, or even Axx was almost zero.
Sept. 9, 2012
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I think a more ‘normal’ looking line of play in 3S is to ruff in dummy at trick 2, play a spade to the queen, and lead a club. And, if West ducks, continue with a low club from dummy (West is pretty much marked with 1-6-4-2 shape on the bidding).
I think this pretty much guarantees 9 tricks,without taking risks like the spade jack or split D honors.

Stefan's idea of playing the S8 is excellent technique. But the idea of playing for an overtrick with the 8 to the TEN looks silly to me - why risk losing to the jack at this point. Surely 8 to the queen is better?

Once you play 8 to the queen and a club, you still have chances for ten tricks - I haven't analyzed all the variations.

But it seems to me normal technique for declarer to attack clubs.
Sept. 8, 2012
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A pretty end position, but…..

Henry said that “two top clubs can wait” - but this is contrary to the ‘normal’ technique for a crossruff - cash enough winners before embarking on it.
Also, I'm not certain, in the hypothethical HA, ruff heart, trump line, what Gabrielle's plan would be had RHO not shown out on the first heart.
Presuming it was to ruff a second heart, lead a club to the ace and ruff the last heart, this leads to the problem of how to get off dummy.
There are a lot of variations, depending on what they followed to, but there is clear risk. For example, if East is 2-4-6-1, there is no longer any way to make (West ruffs a D, and gives his partner a club ruff).

Just as it's normal technique to cash winners before a crossruff, it is also normal technique to clear a path for entries when trying to ruff your losers in dummy.
So, the normal technique, after HA ruff a heart, would be to play a DIAMOND. Now (say), ruff the diamond return, heart ruff, club to ace (dangerous entry first), ruff heart high, draw trump and claim.

This line basically succeeds unless LHO has a singleton or doubleton club - when he can pitch down to a club void.

Now, I am not saying this is the correct line. Knowing the correct line might depend on knowing with what hands East would bid 3D with. On the actual hand, I think 3D was strange, with both 3C and 3N being more mainstream.

It IS fascinating (to me), when East shows out on the heart, that a spade to the king is clearly correct;

a)If East shows out in spades, play as Gabrielle suggested
b) If West shows out in spades, ruff a heart high, draw trump, concede a D to East, win the return and West gets squeezed in the rounded suits.
c) If nobody shows out in spades, the club ace-king MUST cash (unless E has 5 diamonds and 6 clubs).

Anyway, my point is, far from not being a ‘hard start’ (Henry's comment) that heart ace, ruff a heart, spade is not really a cogent line of play. You have to plan out the whole hand. It is only when East surprisingly shows out on the heart that the trump play becomes irrefutably correct.

Planning HA, ruff heart, spade with no further thought is really just looking at all four hands, and then coming up with a play that works.
Sept. 1, 2012
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If opponents bid 1N-3N, the most normal lead is your stronger major. If partner doubles, you instead lead your weaker major.

Here, where partner opens a nebulous diamond, partner could theoretically have a strong 5-card holding in either minor. I think that's why he is doubling - that seems like the only way he can know it's going down if he gets the lead he wants.

Partner hopes your hand will guide you as to which minor he wants.
Your hand suggests he wants a club lead - your diamond holding is too good. Even if partner had AKQxx he couldn't be sure of success. Whereas with a club holding of KQJ109 and the DA he has a lock (after your bid).
Also, if RHO had no diamond stopper, wouldn't he at least ask a question about the double?
Aug. 31, 2012
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The theory adopted by the cognoscenti many years ago was that “huddles show extra values”. While this is not universally the case, in my experience it is mostly true. And it jives (I think) with what David suggests above.

So, in the 1S-3S case, a Director, and committee, would tend to disallow a close 4S bid, whereas would tend to allow a close pass.

Where I am different from most committee members is this: if I believed that the the pass is “abnormal” (i.e., 4S is “normal”), but pass was made with the intent of trying to winningly take advantage of the huddle, I would also disallow a successful pass.
In other words, I don't allow any successful action that I feel is taken BECAUSE OF THE HUDDLE.

This is quite likely not legal (what I think and do), but I am trying to follow a principle I have held for many years - PLAYERS SHOULD NOT DO WORSE THAN THEY WOULD AGAINST ETHICAL OPPONENTS.

Of course, if a player takes advantage and bids 4S in either case, and it makes because of a revoke then you get no redress. Your bad result was not a CONSEQUENCE of the infraction - it was a consequence of the revoke. Your bad result merely came SUBSEQUENT to the infraction.
Aug. 29, 2012
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This part of the argument finds me in agreement with Andy - perhaps partly because I'm having trouble constructing a hand where Henry's parameters could exist.
The slow double must suggest something. Maybe, facing the slow double, you should consider what you would think might be successful facing an out-of-tempo fast double?
Aug. 29, 2012
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Andy and Henry:

Great discussion, guys. Andy, if the Lawa had stated “some WOULD select it”, I would agree with you. Since the Laws say “some MIGHT select it”, I agree with Henry. I know this is delicate parsing.

Aug. 29, 2012
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Phil C.

I appreciate your kind words, and am happy that you believe your POV has been modified.

You say “ The EW pair sitting at his table who did nothing to deserve this result other than sitting down against the right pair at the right time, gets a full board added to their score.”

I understand your concern about the windfall. But I think it's an integral part of the game - that you sometimes get windfalls.
For example, a pair plays 4H against you instead of 3N (where the whole field is), and they are now due for a top but they make a foolish misplay and instead you get a top. You get a full board windfall, even though you “did nothing to deserve this result other than sitting down against the right pair at the right time”. I presume you don't think there should be a split score in this instance.

HALF board windfalls are much more frequent - opponents giving you a top when you would have gotten an average. Again, I presume you don't think there should be a split score in those instances.

Now, what about the case where my partner alerts 3N, and I correctly (and winningly) interpret his 3N as to play. Now you get a zero. WHERE IS YOUR REDRESS? You obviously have none.

That's why, when my partner DOESN'T alert, we have a misunderstanding and you get a top, you “deserve” your windfall - at least as much as you do when your opponent makes a foolish error in cardplay.
Aug. 28, 2012
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Phil C.

I have thought about this issue before and yes, I think it's fair. As long as I don't pick and choose and behave in the same manner against all opponents, I don't think it is unfair.

If I took advantage of UI, I would hurt not only my opponents but also all those sitting in my direction - and I would help those sitting in my opponents' direction.

Whatever I do will help some and hurt others - I try to do what I think is proper.
Aug. 28, 2012
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Speaking for myself (and not for Debbie), here's how I think.

The Laws require you to do the following:

a) Make a subjective judgment as to what your peers might consider a logical alternative
b) Make a subjective judgment as to whether this consideration is “serious”
c) Make a subjective judgment as to how many of your peers might do this
d) Make a subjective judgment as to whether this proportion is “significant”

To me, that all seems too difficult. Instead, I think this way:

A) If I think an action is likely to be “winning” (based on UI) and there's any chance I wouldn't have done it, then I don't.

B) If I think an action is likely to be “losing” (based on UI) and there's any chance I would have done it, then I do.

Thus, my partners are loath (if they are smart) to give me UI - at least the type of UI that points in a particular direction.

I know this is not really in accordance with the laws, as written. I'm sorry, but I just don't know how else to do it.


Aug. 28, 2012
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Aviv:

I think what Mike Roberts is saying is that it is impossible that partner alerts and correctly explains 3H and then bids 3N - and that therefore the AI trumps the UI. I disagree with him in this case.

Other Mike R.

The “slope” you mention (usually called the “slippery slope”) is, for me, an invalid argument. Case 3 is a blatant example of UI, whereas Cases 1 and 2 are very subtle. Personally, I prefer disciplinary action to Procedural Penalties - at least until there is more agreement on what is “blatant”.

Maybe the “slippery slope” is created by saying we are getting onto a slippery slope - so that inertia takes over, and nothing ever gets done about resolving the game's flaws?
Aug. 27, 2012
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If possible, this attempt at an analogy is even more bizarre than your original suggestion.

I never said (or intended to suggest) that there could be no such animal as the psychic double of a cue bid.
What I did say was that it would be bizarre for the partner of an overcaller to make a psychic double a cue in a different suit, holding the ace of partner's overcalled suit, so that dummy, with Kx of the overcaller's suit, would not realize the ace is offside. Not to mention, how would overcaller now know to lead his own suit?

The whole idea is convoluted and bizarre, and your example is light years from being an analogy.
Aug. 25, 2012
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This is an excellent hand that provides a ton of opportunity for logical thought.
On Page 4, you say “A winning spade finesse will put you in great shape, but you won't necessarily be cold. You will still need another trick…” That is only true if you play opener for the spade queen. If you play the other hand for the spade queen and are correct, you have 7 top tricks.
I am NOT recommending that play - your heart king suggestion is clearly correct.

Declarer made a common error. He started the hand with the idea that the heart ace was more likely to be on his right, and never changed.
A better way of thinking is this:

"I have a combined 21HCP, leaving the opponents with 19. Assuming opener is balanced, he will usually have 12-14 with his partner having 5-7. In other words, opener on average has 7 more HCP than his partner. (This exercise should be done on every hand you declare, where opponents open at the 1-level).
Since opener has shown up with 9 more HCP (diamond ace-king plus club king, versus club jack), you should now be thinking opener is LESS likely than his partner to hold HA.
Aug. 25, 2012
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Steve:

I found your post upsetting. Shouldn't you have said “reprinted in Bridge, Zia and Me”?
Aug. 25, 2012
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Kit asks “where do we draw the line?”.

I draw it at the point where there is NO hand partner can theoretically hold where it makes sense to take the action I know is “losing”.

So in the 1N-4H example, there is NO hand, notwithstanding Kit's examples. Partner must pass 4H. I do not factor in non-1N openers and/or missorted hands. So I am free to try to get the contract back to hearts.

In the Corey case, I CAN construct a hand where partner could open 1N and want to play 3N (even though I would only pass 3N behind screens if I REALLY trusted my partner). So I would pass 3N.

I would define the 3N bid in the Corey case as very unusual, while I would define the 4S bid after 1N-4H as “impossible”.
Aug. 24, 2012
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The standard for AI trumping UI should be it must be absolute. The classic example is 1N-4H (alerted as Transfer), 4S. The 4H bidder, who intended his bid as natural, can do as he pleases. The 4S bid tells him, with 100% certainty, that partner has misunderstood. He did not ‘need’ the alert to know.
It is NOT POSSIBLE that partner says “4H is natural - I'm bidding 4S” (though Phil Martin might disagree if the opening bidder was John Lowenthal!).
Similarly, in Danny's (1C)1N-2H, 3S example advancer can do as he pleases - despite Jonathan's interesting example (now THAT is carrying things too far!). You can't really have a slam try on this auction.

The two classic recurring cases in the last two decades are:

A) (1x)1N-(P)2N (intended as natural, but alerted as a transfer to D). Now overcaller bids 3D, and responder bids 3N.

B) 1N(X-some artificial bid)-2H (intended as natural, but alerted as a transfer). Now opener bids 2S and responder tries to get back to hearts.

While, behind screens, you would likely get these situations ‘right’, without screens I believe you should be fixed. It might be unlikely for partner to have a natural 3D bid on (A) or a natural 2S bid on (B), but it is NOT IMPOSSIBLE.
So it is incumbent upon you to pass in (A) and take the appropriate action in (B) - possibly even raising spades. You could reasonably remove with a stiff spade - which might get you in even more trouble!
Aug. 24, 2012
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I liked this comment so much, it almost made me weep with joy.
That a player should castigate himself for not bidding directly over 3D doubled, but then should ACTUALLY bid 5D!
This is the sort of disaster that I often say can only occur behind screens - because virtually nobody bids 5D when they KNOW it's going to be a disaster. I stand corrected!

Thanks, Chris - you made my day!

Aug. 24, 2012
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Jean-Jacques:

Suggesting that the pass of 3N is (on some ‘protect the field’ basis) “unethical” is, to me, way out of line. The combination of the failure to alert 3H and the 3N bid means partner has almost certainly made an error - a big one. When one makes a big error, one rates to get a bad score.
One might take the opposite view that NOT passing 3N is unethical - and if the opponents let you do it, they are as guilty as if they let you take back some error in cardplay.

I strongly agree with you about having more screens.
Aug. 24, 2012
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I like Aviv's comment. Another way of saying it is that partner NEVER has 6-card S when he alerts, but he MIGHT have 6-card spade when he doesn't. Clearly, 4S is a lot more attractive without the alert - you might ‘hit’ that 6-card S hand.
Aug. 24, 2012
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Debbie:

Who knows his bridge better than a troll?
Aug. 24, 2012
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