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All comments by Scott Needham
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@Dave: When you have nothing at all to deduct, if you don't accept this you're basically saying “I didn't have my last bid, partner”.

Thought about this too much, and just don't get it. I think you're saying “the try didn't get me into the accepting range.”
June 4, 2015
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My problem with this is the answer to the question: What hand accepts an invitation? A minimum (6-bad 7) that looks good after the try or the medium raise (good 7-8) that is improved by the try? I think the latter. I have constructed so many reasonable SSGTs that absolutely fail to make game opposite this (very nice) minimum….
June 3, 2015
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I took a class from Feynman once. One of the things he said that has stuck to my ribs for 45 years: “You only learn from problems at the boundaries.” (First thing to discount is the OP opening hand: I think most agree it is not a game try, and I probably should've constructed the post to allow for some degree of clarification on that.)

I get everything you are saying, but there is no doubt this hand is at the boundary. Let's try to lay out just how marginal it is.

The first question to answer is “What do you want out of your game try sequences?” Making games or good plays for game? My fundamental observation is that your hand above gives a good play for game, but only a good play: The layout is aggressive for game. OTOH, would you game try with AQJxx x KTxx AQx or any variation on this theme? Probably. Should R usually accept a game try with Txxx=Axxx=xxx=xx?

I think my conclusion is: Ignoring 3rd-hand auctions, we are talking (in “support point count” terms) about 6-bad 10; a good “7-7.5” should accept; since O usually holds 5.5-6 losers, a good “7-7.5” covers 2 of O's losers and translates to honor cards in the two side suits, or good honor cards in one, usually with a ruffing value. I have no doubt that, e.g., either of Txxx xxxx Axx Qx or even Kxx xxxx Ax xxxx would be a suitable acceptance.

That's my take and I'm sticking to it. :-) I'd like to see some good sims, if you find the initiative.
May 27, 2015
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My first thought in the post-mortem was that the purpose of a game inv is to find out whether partner has a suitable max or near max. This hand doesn't: There is nothing wasted, but as you say, it is a min raise and I thought that raising to game with it did violence to the concept of “game try acceptance.” As I said above, one can construct lots of hands that would make a SSGT that won't make game opposite this raise: Even Randy's is marginal. So my tendency is to think of the SSGT as “do you hold enough outside of the SS to make your raise a good one (not necessarily max)” or “does my SSGT indicate that some of your max or near-max values are not working,” not merely “does your hand improve after learning about my SS.” There should be improvement or, more accurately, non-degradation, to a good average raise or near max.

So I would still sign off in 3.

Weird, isn't it, to spend so much time on such minor issues.
May 27, 2015
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So, Randy,

My take away is that in your opinion it is worth considering a metric like “accept the SSGT with a solid ‘micro’ raise (probably involving a quick trick) outside the SS” and “make the SSGT with at least solid min extras outside the SS.” In loser count, it seems that the opener is likely to be in the 5.5-6 range, min.

Of course, there are layouts on both sides of these metrics that would fail in game opposite either of my hands, or your opening hand, above (I've been constructing them since the hand arose )-: ). I appreciate your consideration of the higher HCP, fewer tricks responding hands, since that has always been a problem opposite a HCP-oriented CHO. And I do think the opening hand I gave is a 4 rebid, not a SSGT. (NB: I didn't specify in the conditions, but this was actually a 3rd-hand auction, so the Bergen preempt option was discounted.)

Thanks for this.
May 25, 2015
Scott Needham edited this comment May 25, 2015
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Steve: Agree with what you say about what can go wrong – this partner likes to jump to 3N with his passed-hand positional Qs and a fit for the 6-cd minor – but as I said above, this is even an opener for Mr. Goren. I'm sure ATx=void=KT9x=KT9xxx would not be.
May 21, 2015
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The Leb treatment – usually called “Ingberman” – is most valuable when you play “light” reverses.

For instance, I have no qualms about reversing with xx AKxx AKJxxx x, i.e. 1D-1S/2H, because this is ~ a 4 1/2 loser hand, very powerful if partner fits. OTOH, partner might not fit, and may be weak, so it goes 1D-1S/2H-2N–>/3C: now responder can sign off with 3D (usual, and I have an agreement with my partners that a very weak responder may bid 3D with 1 card) or 3S.

If OTOH opener evaluates his/her hand to a solid, virtually GF reverse – say Ax AKxx AKJxxx x – s/he refuses the relay to 3C and makes the most natural rebid available (here probably 3D), but if the hand was Axx AKxx AKJxx x, probably 3S. It is a very versatile agreement.
May 18, 2015
Scott Needham edited this comment May 18, 2015
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Yuan, believe me, there was no room for misunderstanding.
May 18, 2015
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Incisive comment as usual. The only reason I hesitated to open was my knowledge of partner's (strongly held) beliefs. During the discussion that followed, I went over every sequence I could imagine in this context in an effort to convince him that very little could go wrong – to no avail. IMHO we will lose boards by not opening this kind of collection, but he's a fine player and we have spent many hours refining our stuff, so I rest my case at “if partner hates me opening this hand so much I won't do it.”
May 18, 2015
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You are correct, so I fixed it.
May 17, 2015
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I figured if you'd open it any time, you'd open it any colors.
May 17, 2015
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hmmm, and then there are the variable or occasional snappers….
May 14, 2015
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Got it – was thrown by the ‘6D = 1/4 keys’ part. Thx.
April 18, 2015
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Kit, what is the full answering structure to one of the control-asking calls, above?
April 18, 2015
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Yesterday an auction went 1-(1) to me. I held x=QJ75432= xxxx=x, so I preempted as high as I thought I wanted to: 5. This, to me, could never be “bid 6 with controlled” b/c we were not in a crowded/power auction, but two of the other three said it had to be. Pshaw.
March 29, 2015
ATB
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If They have a double fit (and it sure sounds like it)….

I've been seeing a much higher frequency of these lately. Must be the section of the universe through which we now travel.
March 26, 2015
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Tougher if R is Ax AKxx KQxxx xx. Personally, I'd force in initially (direct spl), but in the first sequence, with the stiff , cue then 4 over 3N, and 6 over 3 ? (In methods I like, 4 over 3N would be MW.)
March 9, 2015
Scott Needham edited this comment March 9, 2015
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I'm also unsure whether “odd” or “unusual” is the right language, except, perhaps, for the generally hand evaluation, “last train opposite last train” quantitative nature of the auction as it has been explained. (Curious, on the Israeli card is 4N just “last train/really like my hand” or some control-showing or good-trumps call?)

The responding hand knew there were running and a ruffing trick in either or ; he should trust that partner is not slamming with soft values and without controls, say, QJT KQx KQx KQxx or similar; and he has a GF+ hand considering the double fit. In a contract, opener's bare As in responder's short suits take his hand into the super-super max category IMHO. If opener held Kxx KQx AQJ Kxxx, a pretty good max, would he show the same enthusiasm on responder's auction? Unless the urge to swing a board was really strong, I'd guess he would not.

Seems to me that the Israelis were just watching their values expand as the auction progressed and took only a _somewhat_ aggressive view.
March 4, 2015
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No way I'm playing 3 sessions for more than 2 days without some nap time….I also need the snooze at 1 & 7 tournaments because I wake at 5 or 6 no matter when I get to sleep – three days of that and I'm toast. Anyone for a 7:30 am start time?
Feb. 25, 2015
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Predealt boards for all Swiss events!!!
Feb. 25, 2015
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