Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Mike Gill
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It's “safe” in the sense that your partner will pick the right strain knowing you have only 5 spades, but that doesn't make it safe in terms of getting you a reasonable score. South doesn't have to be stacked in hearts for double to be the winner. Sometimes people preempt in 3rd seat on some random hand with only 5 and raise to 4h anyway because they haven't discussed it well. Partner is sitting there with a 13 count and 2434 shape and everyone is just way too high. Getting the declare or defend decision right and not just giving the opponents a free top for overpreempting seems really important. If your HCP were a little less defensive with this shape (say, KQTxx - Axxx JTxx), or if you had 5053 I like 4s a lot better.
July 29, 2017
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I only didn't assign south 100% because north could have opened. While this would have led to 5HX probably that seems normal and is a better score. Passing this double seems totally crazy to me. Partner will have a void as often as not to be coming in here as a passed hand at the 4-level. Do we really want to be doubling the opponents who have half the deck, and 10-11 hearts with all the high ones?
July 29, 2017
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Meant to post this after the first win, happy to get another shot. I kibitzed these guys in the 6th session of LM pairs. After a less than stellar start, their third round opponent who was declaring a tight game contract led a club, clearly intending to ruff, but called for a diamond instead. After a solid second at least declarer realized the mistake, and John just let him take it back. Always comforting when champions practice great sportsmanship!
July 28, 2017
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A 4-4 fit doesn't rate to play very well unless the clubs are running, and even then it might be tough on a 4-1 break when I'm likely to be tapped at T2. If partner has 5+ hearts, I want to play in game even opposite a minimum, since my trumps figure to be a late entry even after taking a ruff. I really think a support double accomplishes what we want to on this type of hand, effectively getting partner to play clubs unless he has 5+ hearts.

Continuations:
* If partner signs off in 2, I will continue with 3. If he corrects that to 3 I can be confident he has 5 and I can kick it in to game.
* If partner bids any higher number of hearts (in competition or not) I can safely raise/compete in hearts/try for slam knowing he has 5
* If auction comes back to me at 3-4 I can continue with the cheapest heart bid. Partner's going to know I have short diamonds, a lot of shape (since I didn't X to offer defending), so likely 3-6 or 3-7 in hearts/clubs, and he'll go back to clubs with 4. And heck, if he decides to shoot out the 4-3 in game or something, bonus trump!
* If the auction comes back to me at 5, I'm in a tough spot, but it's not like if I had bid 2 or 3 partner would have any idea what I had. This is really only a loss if partner has a hand that could bid 5 over 5 opposite a 2/3 bid but not a support X, which seems like quite a parlay. Also, the opponents might be less likely to jack it up to 5 at equal given we haven't even shown a fit yet.
July 14, 2017
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1) Depends. We prefer to use 3 as asking for 5M over opener's max, but showing and invitational over 2NT.
2) We play this as puppet stayman, which is a fair bit better than 3 puppet. It doesn't allow an X, and it lets responder Xfer to his 4M over 3 and you get to set trumps at the 3-level on slam going hands.
3) 1N-3 is diamonds, weak or GF. If you have an invitation with diamonds, you bid 2, then 3NT or 3. We play 3-red as (31)(54) hands.
4) I think logically 1N-4N should be a solid invite looking for non-minimum, both so that you are only at 3NT opposite a bare min and since you can bid 4NT over 3 to ask for a true max.
July 13, 2017
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I really feel like RHO *should* be 4-7 in the blacks for this 5 to be labelled as “not insane”. If he doesn't have that then SURELY he's 4045 with the K. Problem is I can't find a way to make opposite either of those holdings. Sooo I guess I just try to ruff out the K since if RHO has 4135 he has to have the K.
July 12, 2017
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I don't get it either, to be honest. Unless you have an explicit agreement that this type of double means bid 3NT with a stopper in their last bid suit, I don't see the point. Playing in hearts can't be right since partner didn't X 2. Are we hoping that partner will pass with spade wastage? I try to view these types of non-penalty competitive doubles as “my hand is too good to pass but I can't bid any suit myself”. Here we know the suit. Arguably we're worth only an invitation in clubs but it's IMPs so suck it up and bid game.
July 5, 2017
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This depends greatly on what 2 would have meant over 1:

* If 2 is inv+ and could be a hand with 4, then responder would never hold a strong hand with clubs with 4 spades. Now 3 might as well be forcing and descriptive in a hand with a spade fit, either a game try, choice of games, or slam try hand. I suppose you could make it natural and non-forcing if you wanted in this auction, but that seems like a small target with minimal gain, and it's not necessarily clear you'd prefer to be a level higher in a better fit
* If 2 is GF and could contain 4 then probably the best meaning for this bid is natural and invitational. This hand is very awkward to bid if you can't bid 3 now. If you have a spade fit, you have to either bid some number of spades or cue 3 then make a slam try if partner signs off.
* If 2 denies 4, now you're the most constrained. I think 3 has to be natural and game forcing and ostensibly denying 5 for now since a spade fit is not guaranteed. Sending all game forcing hands through 3 seems like a bit much. If you have an exactly invitational hand with 4-6 in the blacks, you lose out playing these methods and have to either go low with 2, invite with 2NT with a stopper, or suck it up and force game.
June 30, 2017
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Declarer might be hoping to catch something of value in dummy and he's catching nothing, or he might be cold on a 3-2 spade break which he's not getting. 4 just rates to go down when we tap declarer out in one/both minors. He needs at least two ruffs in dummy to establish spades and he has to worry about getting overruffed by partner all the while. Even if he has a mountain (say, AKTxxx AKQJx x x) and dummy turns up with trump spots, declarer just can't keep control opposite a normal dummy like xx T9x Qxxx xxxx when both his suits break 4-1. And if dummy doesn't have those spots he's probably going down at least 2.
June 27, 2017
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I think our opinion of LHO matters a lot here. Clearly we should pass if there's even a reasonable chance LHO is stepping out, went temporarily insane, or maybe just is aggressive or in a bad mood.

But c'mon the dude just bid 3
1) in a non-fit game-forcing auction
2) at unfavorable when 500 is a disaster
3) when his opponents have shown the majors so he isn't likely to outbid them below the 5-level
4) when he's not even really taking up any bidding room

Dude thinks he can make something. You sort of know the opponents have a secondary diamond fit here, so you do not figure to be cashing very many major suit tricks. I don't think passing is as clear as people are making it out to be if you believe your LHO has this bid. Aren't we expecting 4-7 or 3-8 in the minors at a minimum? Partner can't always have the pure nuts to be doubling here, either.
June 23, 2017
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I'm with Chris, I don't see how this is a breach of discipline at all if partner has the right hand. Is he/she really supposed to sit there and pass holding, say, AQ Axx KTxx Kxxx? This hand is happy to play 4m if you have either 6+ diamonds or both minors and he doesn't want to take the chance you pass out a borderline invitation
June 22, 2017
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Passing 3NT seems totally crazy to me. You could go down in 3NT with 6 making, and if 3NT is making then 4NT is almost certainly making. Strongly agree with those who have said this hand shouldn't have bid hearts, although at matchpoints I think you should check for a 5-4 fit if you can.
June 20, 2017
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Actually what's funny is normally it annoys me when someone posts a problem and someone says “I play bid X as this hand”. I only mentioned it here because I feel 3NT as a splinter should be the standard meaning, and it did not seem like anyone brought that to light. Most of the time people do this they're replacing some bid with a standard meaning (like playing non-leaping Michaels vs natural 4m overcalls), so this feels different to me.

I do not understand why I would want to cater to a situation where I evaluated my hand as not a GF, partner made a bid that increases the chances the deal is a misfit, and now I decide my hand is a GF. Especially when having a fistful of major suit cards increases the chances that partner opened light.

I also disagree that responder is unlikely to hold a splinter that's not short in spades, particularly if you send 3-card limit raises through 1NT like most people do playing 2/1. Responder could hold 35(14), 36(13), 35(05), or 25(15) without even counting hands where responder has extreme distribution.
June 19, 2017
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1. This hand is closer to a 2NT opener than a 1NT opener in value
2. I don't think bidding 3 over stayman is a thing
3. It's not clear that my rebid would be the same no matter what partner bids. Over 1, I might want to fake a reverse and see if partner rebids hearts, planning to force game if he does. Game is pretty good if partner has, say xxx AQxxx xxx xx.
June 16, 2017
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I would have thought it was standard that LHO's pass of 2HX shows hearts so 3 is just a general force.
June 15, 2017
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A 3NT bid in this auction really ought to be this hand. 3NT over a minor suit rebid is a hand that improved into a GF because partner has length there. Since you'd always raise hearts with that hand, it seems like 3N is not needed as a natural bid. Obviously I would never pull on partner without discussion.
June 14, 2017
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If 3 shows values I would bid 3 not 3N.
June 14, 2017
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I also passed like the majority, but I thought it was a very close decision. Today partner held Qxx Ax AKQxxx Kx so slam was very good and bid at the other table after a 1 opening from West.
June 8, 2017
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Thanks for the responses. At the table, partner broke tempo before 3. I thought this was a clear GF at red IMPs so I bid game anyway. Opponents thought this hand was nothing beyond a LR and called the director, but didn't pursue the issue when 4 went down. Partner had a hand where nobody would accept a LR and was just making sure he got the system right. I thought it would be good to check on my assertion that pass was not a LA with this hand at red IMPs.
June 7, 2017
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It's a tradeoff for sure. For our troubles we get a system that handles all of responder's 4-card LR+ hands, including singleton splinters, in a way that's symmetric, easy to remember, and always offers either player a step to make a last train try after partner shows shortness. That also means we can play 3M+1-4M-1 as 2-tier void splinters and we have an additional free bid at the 3-level compared to separating out the 4-card LRs. We think all that is worth it but certainly possible we're wrong.
June 6, 2017
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