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All comments by Oren Kriegel
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“11 points”? You're counting points here? We could easily have the first fourteen tricks opposite a sound 3 bid:

Jx
AKxxxxx
Ax
Ax.

Obviously, partner doesn't need exactly that to make slam excellent or cold. A simple

xx
AKxxxxx
x
Axx

yields an excellent slam, and “no one” would jump to 3 on that collection.

I'm not saying it's absolutely correct to make a slam-try, but if you don't, it should be because you (a) think your partnership won't be able to accurately judge when to bid or avoid it and/or (b) you think the risk of going down is too great to risk trying for slam.

I chose the “honest” 5, although I think 4 has a lot of merit.
11 hours ago
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Pulling to 5 because you don't want to risk passing an undiscussed 5 is a reasonable position. Actually defining 5 over the double as a mere preference between the minors is not, in my opinion, a reasonable position.
Jan. 20
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Is it really a guess? I'm not going to introduce my ace-empty-fourth or put down dummy with a stiff trump and a solid 6-card side suit.
Jan. 20
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If partner wants me to pick a minor, he can redouble 4NT. That's not an offer to play, is it? 5 over the double is a strong statement.
Jan. 20
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Yeah, no kidding. I guess the theme of this problem is to pass now so partner can't false-preference you back into the 4-2, but did I seriously open 1?
Jan. 19
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Well, I unblocked the 8 under lefty's 10, so after I took the heart finesse I could unblock the top clubs, cross to my 7, and make when lefty began with QJx, as well as when righty has 2=3=6=2 distribution.
Jan. 18
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My first thought after reading this article was, “I bet Barry Rigal's seen it.”
Jan. 15
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I have no interest in being part of a comparison designed to put Max down. I don't know Max well, but I've met him and spoken to him on a few occasions, and I think his outlook on bridge is admirable and his thoughts are worth paying attention to.

I won my mini-McKenney category because I played a lot of bridge. It would have been trivial for most players to win had they been in the circumstances I was in.

Nat, your comments in this thread and on Max's first thread are utterly inappropriate and totally out of touch, as usual.
Jan. 14
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Yes, I'm aware, but that still doesn't mean you shouldn't take your “only” chance at your contract if you “know” that West “can't” have the K.
Jan. 13
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Well, if you think that West “can't” have the K after the spade lead, you might as well try to drop it singleton with East.
Jan. 13
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It's useful to play these new-suit 4m bids as optional keycard asks. For example:

2NT - 3 (regular Stayman, but it works for Puppet too)
3 - 4 (diamonds)
?

4 by opener says he dislikes his hand for diamonds. Now 4 by responder asks for keycards, while 4NT and 5 are signoffs.

4 or higher by opener says he likes his hand for diamonds and shows his number of keycards.

Some of the time, responder will have a hand that simply wants to bid Blackwood, and if opener might bid 4NT or 5m as a regressive move over a natural 4m, his plan could be ruined. Playing the cheapest step as the rejection allows responder to remain in control, which can be critical.

Ron Smith and I had a good hand for these methods in a knockout final in Monterey:

Responder:
AQx
AQxx
J
K109xx

Opener:
KJxx
K9
AQx
AQJx

We started

2NT - 3
3 - 4 (clubs, could be single-suited or 4 hearts, 5+ clubs)
5 (positive for clubs, two keycards with the Q)

and reaching grand was easy.

Obviously you don't need to play these methods exactly to reach grand on these cards, but the pair at the other table played in 6NT, so bidding seven wasn't necessarily trivial.
Jan. 10
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I agree with all the scorn you heap on Puppet over 2NT, but you can bid the exact same way over Puppet as over regular Stayman with a 4-card major and a longer minor:

2NT - 3
3NT (no major) - 4 (diamonds)

2NT - 3
3 - 3 (hearts)
3NT - 4 (diamonds)

2NT - 3
3 - 4 (diamonds)
Jan. 10
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That would be a good treatment for this hand. Not playing Drury is irrelevant to the question, though.
Jan. 9
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Do North-South play 2 as weak? If not, then a 2 response rates to reach 2. What game does North think he can make opposite a passed hand with long diamonds? Your example auction smacks of resulting, even if South can't hold a weak two in diamonds.
Jan. 8
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3 should show a 5-card suit. Without one, you can bid 3 (call it negative or waiting based on your personal preference).
Jan. 7
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The scoring is posted online and is available for roughly two months after each problem set. You could theoretically participate in the contest without reading any magazines, but I don't really see why you would, since the commentary is the best part.
Jan. 4
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Yes, I meant “East's.” Thanks, fixed now. First typo of the new year…
Jan. 2
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The opponent probably thought the auction was ending and since they were about to be on lead that they'd ask for an explanation right then. Sure, maybe not the most timely question, but not a “trap” either.
Jan. 1
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One quibble with your description of Mulberry: the original and most widely used version is that 4 forces 4 to make a slam try and direct bids starting with 4 are the keycard bids. The way you describe it is a modification advocated by some (including Kit I believe) and probably an improvement on the convention, but not “standard Mulberry.”
Dec. 30, 2016
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It was at rubber bridge, as I've heard the story told.
Dec. 29, 2016
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