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All comments by Mike Gill
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South absolutely should have trusted his partner and bid 6 (or 6NT) since he held a heart control and his partner basically demanded he bid a slam with a heart control. However, if South held say xx AKQx KQJx KQJ wouldn't the same logic apply and get you to a slam off two aces? You don't know what partner has, so I don't see how you can not bid slam with this even though you only have one keycard for your 21-22 points (maybe he has AKQxxxxx xx xxx - for instance).

I feel strongly that North should have just bid keycard over 4 and forced slam if not off two aces to avoid this mess. Even if you're off an AK, they still have to lead it on a blind auction, and if they're regularly cashing aces or underleading kings into the balanced 21-22 point hand on this type of auction, you're going to make a lot of other slams you don't deserve to make up for it.
April 10, 2017
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Even if you wouldn't do this normally (I'm not sure that I would), wouldn't you consider a preempt on this type of hand down 50 with 16 boards to go against a strong team? You never know how many reasonable opportunities you're going to get to stir the pot. Although to be honest I would pass 3NT with the above hand. I think you need to be really confident partner can't run your suit to make this kind of bid and here you have a possible side entry/stopper.
April 8, 2017
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I really don't understand everyone's visceral reaction to this auction (call me new-fashioned?). Partner has a very weak but offensive hand where he thought the highest EV action was to preempt in 1st seat, despite the colors. When you bid 3NT partner judged that you rated to get a better score in 4 than in 3NT - is he really supposed to just sit there and pass knowing that 3NT is very likely to be down multiple tricks red when 4 is making? You are way more likely to have a hand like this that's expecting to make a bunch of club tricks and stop the other suits than to have 3NT wrapped in your hand. I think it's totally reasonable to bid this way with, say, x x Qxx JTxxxxxx
April 7, 2017
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Setting aside the issue of whether or not this is strong enough to bid directly (I think it's close), it seems like this hand should make a responsive X, planning to correct 4 to 4 to show flexibility.
March 31, 2017
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I've always liked this idea, though I've never seen it implemented. I think it's particularly good for fields like this where you can see the top N reasonably well based on past performance, but the existence of teams without a past history makes the seeding a bit dodgy for the rest. Another way to implement this is to seed the top N teams out of T, then let them choose in the intuitive fashion who DOES end up in their bracket. So #1 seed gets to pick their 1st round matchup, then #2… up to N. If N < T/2 then more picking will be necessary, but teams are always picking who will be filling their part of the bracket. What I like about this is it has more of an immediate revenge aspect - if you rate me as being the worst of the remaining teams, then I get to play you and try to prove you wrong! This is true to some degree with the above method as well; if I pick team X over team Y to put in the other half of the bracket, then team Y may get to play me down the line, but they may not if they lose first or if the other raters rate them differently and I get to throw them out with a later pick.
March 22, 2017
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I am pretty much the worst amateur magician in the world. In fact the only thing I can do reliably is to shuffle a deck of cards casually while talking and keep a single card on the top or bottom of the deck. I make sure to always cut after shuffling because TBH it's easy for *anyone* (heck, probably easier for my LHO and RHO than for me) to have seen the bottom card while I'm shuffling and watch what pile it ends up in.

I suspect it's probably a big headache for directors, but given how competitive the round of 64 and 32 are becoming in these big national events and how much money is involved, I think it's worth it for the ACBL to provide separate boards for each match. I dunno about anyone else, but I would happily pay an extra few bucks to have hand records after a 60 board match to avoid saying “wait which of the 75 3NT contracts was this” afterwards.
March 22, 2017
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Right, not with 3 spades in dummy
March 18, 2017
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Well certainly first example was a bad one. 2nd one I was thinking 4162 but 4252 works as well. Your point about the hearts is well-taken, I missed that particular holding for declarer (I assume you meant Kxxx spades for declarer). I was thinking that pitching the T could cost if declarer overtook from AQ8 to dissuade a spade shift even holding the K since I get endplayed but I can't construct a hand for declarer where this is at all reasonable. Seems like the heart might still make it more clear for partner the urgency of a shift, but maybe that's not enough to balance declarer going wrong with one heart holding.
March 17, 2017
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9 seems like 100%. I would never pitch a heart from 4+ hearts and I would always pitch my highest heart from 3 or fewer to let partner know what's going on, so partner will be able to count exactly how many tricks declarer has in non-spade suits. If this number is 9+, he will shift to a spade as the only chance - declarer might have xxxx x Axxxxx AQ or xxxx Jx Kxxxxx AQ. Otherwise he'll just continue clubs and clearly we have enough tricks coming there.
March 17, 2017
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This also might get LHO to go up from AQJx or QJTx/QJ9x if RHO ducked from AHx.
March 6, 2017
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This was not a 2 bid. Bidding 2 deserves to be shoved into a no play game IMO.
March 6, 2017
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I bid 3NT because it could easily be making when 3 is down?
March 2, 2017
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This is right on the line. I think by pure evaluation it's worth an upgrade, but with 3-3 in the majors 1NT is much more attractive since we'll be playing 5-3 major suit fits from my side and in either 2 or 4.
Feb. 24, 2017
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Agree, I think our spade suit is about what partner should expect for 5. I feel like if our opinion is that spades are trump no matter what we shouldn't be introducing diamonds. There just isn't enough room in these auctions to sort out “my spades are solid and oh I also have diamonds” from “I have diamonds and extra spades but I'm not sure about the strain.”

5 could make opposite the worst possible hand partner could hold and it seems wrong to worry about partner having actually nothing when two of the jacks are worth a trick for us. I'm not sure if partner will be able to muster up a slam call with, say Jx xx in my suits and out, but at least we should find slam when he has something like Jx Txxxx xx Axxx or maybe 6 opposite x Jxxxx Jxx Axxx.
Feb. 15, 2017
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The sentences for most of the pairs convicted of cheating have included lifetime bans from playing with the partner at the time of the cheating. Shouldn't these bans also include partnering anyone who has ever been convicted of collusive cheating? Would anyone feel good about, say, Fisher-Nunes partnering together when/if they are allowed to play again?
Feb. 14, 2017
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Kit,
I was surprised at your conclusion WRT the T1 decision here. While I agree that ducking the sA is good practice in principle, it seems wrong to me here. Can't partner have, say, QT8x Kxxx Qx xxx? We need to get the hA out of the way immediately so when he wins his diamond trick he can play trumps. I can't think of anything I might need to do later that seems anywhere near this likely. Am I missing something?
Feb. 5, 2017
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Anyone who answers this poll without doing some sort of calculation based on a large number of results is VASTLY overestimating their own ability to accurately detect patterns in data.
Jan. 21, 2017
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We have been playing this for years and it seems clearly better than other agreements after a natural 4m. You can also use it over Puppet auctions after a 1NT opener:

1NT 2NT (puppet) 3 (no 5M) 4m (5m, optional keycard)

1NT 2NT 3 3 (4) 3NT 4m (4m, optional keycard)

The second auction assumes you would show 4M-5m slam tries through regular stayman (if not this would just show 5m).
Jan. 10, 2017
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I held my (I think) 4th 9-bagger on Saturday night. AKJ9xxxx - QT xx. Sadly, I was teaching mini bridge where the highest HCP hand gets to be declarer, hear dummy's shape and pick the contract. Defending 2 was not a success…
Jan. 9, 2017
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A point that I don't think has been made yet: this rule, despite its faults, is still a VAST improvement on what it used to be. So let's at least recognize that. Before we were all in this position with hands where today's experts would nearly universally say open 1NT and those hands are MUCH more common IMO.
Jan. 5, 2017
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