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All comments by Ron Zucker
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Isn't this auction in standard 90+% a doubleton spade? With a 3 card limit raise, most (including us) jump after a jump shift. With a marginally constructive raise with 3, we raise immediately. The only hand with three spades on this auction is a hand that would not accept any game try, so goes through 1NT before preferencing at the two level in a normal auction. And even those are quite rare, as the tactical advantage of bidding 2 directly is often enough to risk the slight overbid as long as responder has a king-high suit somewhere.

Again, not disagreeing. Trying to learn. But, at least in my experience, this is a doubleton raise so frequently that I think we can just assume it is one. That's why I said it's the same guess. In either situation, opener expects a doubleton spade and a forcing NT opposite, and has to decide how to proceed. S/he is left with the conundrum of 4 being right if partner doesn't have club cards, and 3NT being right too often if s/he does.
June 30, 2017
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Mostly because we play a few times a year, and Jim was (correctly, I think) unwilling to whip out a jump shift to 3 on a stiff undiscussed. If you have that agreement, it would work well here. But how certain are you that the agreement is in force undiscussed?

The good news is that, on this lie of the cards, 6NT makes, too. The bad news is that, let's be honest, if I'm not on that same page, and I'm probably not without discussion, you're definitely ending up in 6NT by bidding it over my 6C.

The reason I phrased it as solid Flight A players (despite the fact that I think you'd disagree that I am, in your estimation, a solid Flight A player) is that, while I think you can assume some knowledge of standard, I'm curious if this hand is just too difficult to handle without any special agreements, or if it's going to come down to a guess. I note that, in your auction, you're on the same guess after 3 as we were, which suggests that this hand has some “and then a miracle has to happen” component to do anything with any surety.
June 30, 2017
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I commented last night that Gazilli would make this hand much easier. So, for that matter, would my Meckwell-lite influenced precision card with another partner. 1 1 1 2 2 2 2NT 3NT

1 - Strong forcing and artificial
1 - 8-11 HCP, game forcing
1, 2, 2 - natural
2 - honor doubleton (we support on the first round with 3 card support and temporize with xx)
2NT and 3NT are natural.

But, as you say, it's difficult in standard, and we're the least-regular regular partnership imaginable. The Unit Game (in DC, that's a 20 or so table A-x, a 20 or so table BCD and a 7-10 table non-LM game) is on Thursdays, and we play the fifth Thursday of the month if it exists, so 2-4 times per year.
June 30, 2017
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I don't much care for 3NT from north after 3. With three dead diamonds, we can easily end up down one in 3NT cold for 6C. (AKxxx AKQx x Kxx is certainly a 3 bid after the forcing NT.) And, at the very least, 4 will score more. Remember, I can't bid 3NT over 4, much as I'd like to, but until then, I don't know about the diamonds.

Similarly, can South bid 3NT over 3S with a stiff baby club? That seems too much like I'm looking at a wire, where North gets to know during the auction that South has diamond values and South gets to know during the auction that North has club cards.

I'm not saying this because I think you're wrong, but because I'm trying to figure out what's right. Thanks.
June 30, 2017
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Ah. Here's the nub of the matter. I would also bid 3 over 3 holding, say, xx xxx xxx AJTxx (or, if you'd pass 1S with that, make it AQTxx) How much better, with the Q and AQJxx of clubs, a potential source of tricks, and a secondary heart honor, is this hand? I think, given the concentration of values and the locations, it's MUCH better than that. But is that wrong?

As to the 6 bid, partner made what I thought were two slam tries. How much better can my hand be and still bid 1NT first? But if 4 is just a shape bid, you're clearly right. Thanks!
June 30, 2017
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ARRGH! Editing. N was NOT a passed hand. E was dealer.
June 30, 2017
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If it makes you feel less lonely, that's what my partner, whom I respect a great deal, chose. I was, at the time, underwhelmed, but on further review think it's closer than I gave it credit for. I tend to agree with Steve and think this hand has too much defense, so I would prefer a double so that partner doesn't oversave, but it occurs to me that I could be very wrong about that, which is why I posted it. Thanks for the input!
June 30, 2017
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Partner will understand. He is a capable player, just not world class, but a solid Flight A player. As I said, the question is if you would take action. So I'm mentally putting you down for 1NT.
June 30, 2017
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Yes, but part of this question is how much of a distinction we make between double and 1NT.
June 30, 2017
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While I don't think your assessment is wrong, at least let me make the argument. Partner's high cards, for the jump rebid, will help me more in hearts than my hearts will help him in diamonds. And 4 is simply a cheaper game than 5. My second choice is pass, not 4.
June 30, 2017
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It's easy to make fun of the bad conventions THEY play. Who here has the guts to acknowledge that our own personal pet conventions are bad. As anyone who's met me can attest, gut I got. Less guts than gut, but still, plenty of gut.

The worst that I personally play? Psycho-suction nv versus a big club. Bidding shows either that suit or the two above it. Nobody knows who has what. It is, without a doubt, ridiculous. It is also surprisingly effective. I've been doubled at the two level in my 6-4 fit, down only 1, and played undoubled in my 2-1 fit. It's especially useful after (1C)-P-(1D), where many people use a takeout double by opener. As a precision player myself, I find that even the best precision systems have holes that make it difficult to describe hands rationally when you're not sure about the overcaller's suit(s). But as long as you have a sense of humor about it, and can tolerate the occasional zero, psycho-suction seems to work out fine.

And I admit that I just love the name of the convention…
June 13, 2017
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It was late. I was tired and having a bad day. I misguessed a two way hook to go down in my game contract. Later in the session, I didn't notice that I was playing the same cards I'd played earlier, as I'd crossed over sections. (Yes, this story gets worse.) We bid to the same contract, and I took the same inference I took the first time to go down AGAIN…
June 12, 2017
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Former tournament chair here. Has your recorder been a part of this? Our recorder was the best ally I had in a couple of these issues. Admittedly, I was blessed with a wonderful recorder who was both a respected bridge player and the gentlest person I could have hoped for, who could raise some of these complaints without offending. Once that had happened, I simply filled out a recorder form WITH the complainer, and made sure it got submitted.

When people are complaining, they're not necessarily complaining about the result. Often, they're complaining that they feel like there's nobody listening. The best effect of the recorder was, IMHO, that everyone felt like they got a hearing, got to get it off their chests. Many felt, “Well, I don't want to look like a sore loser.” The anonymity of the recorder form helped a lot.
April 26, 2017
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OK, we've thrashed this out pretty thoroughly, and I appreciate all the feedback. I take the (relatively small, but definitely there) charge. Now I'm left with a few questions.

1) I mistranscribed the hand. East had Kx of D. I like 1NT even more now, since it's truly light for a reverse, but it does make the quantitative tries more shaky. Do you still agree?

2) For those advocating 4H-4S-5NT or the like, including 2-2-4NT (quantitative):

a) How certain are you, in a pickup partnership (we had played two sessions before this event), that 5NT will not be taken as GSF instead of Pick a Slam. I agree that it SHOULD be. When I have RKC available to find out about your trump, 5NT should be pick a slam. I'm asking, not criticising.

b) Even if partner is guaranteed to get it right, I still don't like it. It is completely plausible that we have 7 on a perfecto minimum. Give partner KQx AKxx Qxx Qxx (note that I gave him flat shape and a wasted DQ), and 7 is laydown on 3-1 spades. I know that I committed blackwood abuse with Qxx of hearts, but I thought this was the best way to find 7 if it exists. Even if partner has KQx AKxx QJx xxx, there are squeeze possibilities, or the ruffing finesse. This is why I chose to commit the blackwood abuse. If I was wrong, I would be very wrong, but it gave me the best chance of finding 7 relatively safely.

3) Most important, I think I would have played it as partner did. Thank you to those pointing out that it's a few percentage points better to play K on the first round. Both plays lose to QTxx in one hand, so that's a wash, but this picks up stiff Q with South. That was very educational.
Feb. 2, 2017
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4C is ace asking, but no trump involved. Since I wanted to know about spades, I chose that.
Feb. 2, 2017
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Yes, I commented on that above. I meant to say that SEVEN NT makes. Thanks.
Feb. 2, 2017
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Funny you should mention this. Mike Richey, Vince Wilmot, David Genne and I were discussing this before the unit game. Sadly, Jim, my partner for Saturday, wasn't there. :D
Feb. 2, 2017
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Yeah. I was West. And I took it as intended. I don't think I did anything unconscionable. I just hated the auction the whole way through. I admit that, if I'd gotten a 1 key response, I was going to just chuck it all and bid 6NT, because, I mean, that's a pretty prime 17 count. Perhaps I should have done that anyway.
Feb. 1, 2017
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Clearly 6NT should make. You just win the diamond lead and play A, K and another club. You have 4 clubs, 4 hearts 2 diamonds and 2 spades for a completely satisfying 12 tricks. Going down in 6NT by your opponents was… creative.

And again, my problem is that I (who was sitting west) never gave us a chance to find the cold 6NT. I'm certain that, aside from the blackwood abuse, which, y'know, just happens sometimes, there was no terrible bid, and the line of play is clear. The question is whether East was justified in choosing 1NT here versus 1 and whether West should have bid jacoby and then danced in clubs to give our side a chance to push it or lose one in 6NT.

I think that, at some point, it's the subtleties in thought process that matter. I know that I can bid competently and declare semi-demi-hemi competently. I'm a terrible defender, but, as Bob Hamman supposedly said, the best of us can't defend, and the rest are worse, so I'm actually an above average defender in my experience. But the best players think about things like this in choosing their auctions, and I'm trying to learn to emulate them.
Feb. 1, 2017
Ron Zucker edited this comment Feb. 1, 2017
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1 - 1NT (8-10 HCP)
2 - 2NT
3NT Alert

“We play penalty raises of stupid bids. Given that I can't possibly have my 2NT bid, he shows no extra values with his 3NT bid.”
Oct. 26, 2016
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