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All comments by Rob Brady
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The problem with 3 is that we have extras. If the auction proceeds 3 - 3N - 4, partner with 15 or 16 will pass.

3 has the advantage that partner can make a variety of slam tries below 4 so we will know if it's safe to proceed.

2N has the advantage of getting hearts in the picture immediately and we are well placed to follow up with 3 over 3m, though if partner bids 3N we are again poorly placed to make a slam decision.

3 and 2N seem like the only two options but maybe I'm missing something about the 3 bid.
March 22, 2014
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You can't be forced to play in a contract that you know to be wrong from the earlier auction. 3 can't be natural or else partner would have shown a single suiter over 1N, but even if it were natural (on a hand that was too weak to bid directly over 1N) you don't have a fit and partner wouldn't risk this bid without a fit for your majors.

I think 3 is invitational in one major with diamond values. We have a reject because we are light for our initial action so just signoff at the 3-level.
March 19, 2014
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On your example hand Kit, if we return hearts (or clubs) and declarer wins, pulls the last trump and exits a diamond to partner, won't he return a heart? In that case declarer can count out the hand and make on a trump squeeze against partner no matter where the spade queen is. Yes, partner might get smart after our brilliant defense and also return a spade from QTx forcing declarer to guess the spades immediately, though this is making the assumption that we have not only divined the layout and want to set up this trap as well as partner having done the same.

When I said the spade shift was “clear” earlier I intended that to mean best on any double dummy basis and highly percentage on a single dummy basis. I didn't mean to suggest that a spade shift now will always work out at least as well as a heart although I have a hard time coming up with an example layout where that is the case.
March 18, 2014
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True, the spade return on that construction is right for a different reason because we need to cut communications before declarer leads a diamond to the queen. I didn't think about this originally though declarer may well have ducked the opening lead if that was the layout, playing for 3-2 diamonds and the club ace in your hand rather than a misdefense.
March 18, 2014
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The only sensible layout from the auction where our play seems to matter is where declarer is 2227 and we need to get in twice (once with our club and once with our heart) to lead spades and break up a pointed suit squeeze on partner. The spade switch is also necessary, though not immediately, if declarer has the impossible 3217 to break up a trump squeeze - impossible because partner would have played either the K or 3 at trick one - as well as if declarer is 1237 to cut communications for a pointed suit squeeze. If declarer is 1327 we will need to lead a spade at some point but additionally we will need partner to hold the stiff T, I assume declarer has the A because partner didn't double 4, or else we are getting endplayed.

If you make the reasonable assumption that declarer has the A and take the time to work out the possible distributions, a spade switch seems clear.
March 18, 2014
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This is alertable.
Feb. 27, 2014
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Oh, misread the auction. In that case playing on spades is surely best.
Feb. 24, 2014
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I think it's certainly possible that East has led from heart shortness on the auction. West didn't have a good opportunity to bid hearts and he didn't have the chance to double the cuebid. A club and diamond lead would look unattractive unless East has a sequence in diamonds and South showed 5+ spades on the auction so a spade doesn't look attractive either. I think East would almost always lead a heart on this auction. If hearts are 5-3 the wrong way we go down if we let East in at all and this gets more likely the more spades East has, which would indicate that the hearts may be foul. I do not suspect the hearts are blocked at this point because with KJx West may well have played the jack to trick one. I'm not saying hearts are certainly 5-3 the wrong way but it's possible.

This doesn't mean your line of play is bad but I think the odds of going down are much greater than 5-2 spades with nothing else good happening.
Feb. 24, 2014
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We need the whole hand. I assume declarer played the ace at trick one but it wasn't stated. If we are getting in twice immediately then playing the 9 has some merit, if partner is getting in first then there's little point in playing the 9 now because if we need to unblock it we can do it on the second round.

Kit mentioned in another recent post that you should always just give the full hand and all the facts without being judgmental about what is important. I agree. If you already knew the answer to the question you wouldn't be posting the problem in the first place, right?
Feb. 23, 2014
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I prefer pass, but you probably already knew that…
Feb. 21, 2014
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It would be nice to know the auction but playing the 8 could be a disaster. Partner may have AJ doubleton and declarer a doubleton diamond.

I would play the 2. I don't think it matters much if this is interpreted as SP for clubs because when I win my club honor I'll return diamonds. What I don't want to do is suggest that I have a heart card.

I agree that the diamond spot is far more important than our signal here but we could have played the 6 from 876, J76, etc, so partner doesn't know for sure that we hold a doubleton.

Either way I would expect partner to get this defense correct. If we wanted a heart shift we wouldn't have played the 2 on this trick.
Feb. 21, 2014
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I'm only doubling to protect against a possible game swing. I don't expect 4 to go down much if at all but we just might have been making 4 on a spade lead.
Feb. 20, 2014
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Well, for one thing I suggested 4 not 3 for a couple reasons. First I think it suggests longer trumps than the sequence 3 - 3 - 4. Second it forces us to game, whereas 3 could be made on a hand which is just a value-based invite or looking to play 3N.

Partner should have a pretty good idea as to what our side should do over 4 5. 4 really can't turn on a forcing pass with us being a passed hand but I wouldn't mind if it does. Whatever partner decides to do over 5 I would respect having showed my hand with 4. If he passes I pass. If he bids 5 that's fine and if he doubles that's okay too.

If you're asking whether or not I would later in the auction regret my decision to show my hand immediately with a 4 bid, the answer is no.
Feb. 19, 2014
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Even without the discussion I would bid 3 expecting partner to know what it meant. I haven't discussed 1 - 2 - 3 with most of my partners but I would expect them to know that it is a splinter.

Still, 2 denies 4 spades. With 4 spades you have multiple ways to show it to partner: 2, 3, 4, various splinter bids, so just pick one. Otherwise partner will think you have 3 later in the auction. South did okay, maybe his hand is good enough to try once more but North did everything he could to misdescribe his hand after opening 1. For this auction I would expect 3406 with an awful hand (because he can't have 4 spades). Something like xxx AQJx - AKQxxx needs 3-2 spades with the king onside for slam to make. It's true with the J in addition that slam is a great spot but the jump to 4 in a game forcing auction made it impossible to investigate slam safely.

100% North.
Feb. 18, 2014
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http://bridgewinners.com/article/view/bidding-problem-3736/

The comments in this thread have some good discussion (thought the problem is at IMPs). I've always believed it was correct to transfer at matchpoints because 110 and 140 are just better than 90 and 120 but now I'm convinced it's always right because of the value of superaccepts.
Feb. 18, 2014
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It would have helped to make a value-showing raise of spades on the last round (4 probably) so partner would be in the picture as to whose hand it is.
Feb. 17, 2014
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It seems inconsistent to show heart support at this point. 3N must be what you were angling for when you rebid 3 so bid it now. If you wanted to show hearts and look for a heart game or round suit slam you really should have bid 2 over 2.
Feb. 17, 2014
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Abstaining because I know the hand. This was from the collegiate team trials today.
Feb. 16, 2014
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3 was a very sensible bid. He has a known 9 card major fit. What's wrong with following the law?

Dean, I don't understand why you think South knows that his partner has an opening bid and that this would suggest he holds 3 spades from bridge logic. East could have a 1543 15 count and when all partner could do is bid 2, he gave up. North likewise knows his partner didn't make a takeout double of 1 so he wouldn't make a forward-going move with some opening hands that hold 4 spades because it's unlikely they have a game. North with a semblance of values would likely pick his longest suit over the takeout double for fear of going down in 2 when 3m was making so if he holds 3 spades he is likely to be 3433. I think from a bridge standpoint it is very much odds on from just hearing the auction and seeing the South hand and the dummy that North has 4 spades. That still doesn't mean it's right to fly the ace but like I said, it feels like something fishy is going on.
Feb. 14, 2014
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What was wrong with 3 immediately over 2?
Feb. 14, 2014
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