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All comments by Steve Bloom
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Mostly my line: Basic plan. Try diamonds first. Take the club ruff, and then test spades. Home if diamonds are very friendly, or if West started with three or four spades.

The complicated positions: (1) West has only two spades. Now I will wish I had simply taken two diamond finesses. Starting with a diamond to the jack pretty much kills me, assuming competent defense, so I have to start diamonds by running the nine. If West turns out to be 2-4-4-3, I have no choice but to play for KQ tight offside in diamonds.

(2) West was 5-4-1-3, with no diamond honor. The play was easy, but I blew it when I took a diamond finesse. Too bad, I don't see any safe way to test spades first, and not go down on more ordinary distributions.

(3) West drops the spade jack on the second round. Have to judge your opponents, but this doesn't seem like a hard false-card to find, so, the options: Cash the spade ten and pay off to Jxx xxx in the side suits, or play a spade to hand, and pay off to Jx Hxxx. No answer to that one.
Nov. 21
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For us, accepting the second transfer shows a willingness to play there. But, for us, the second transfer promises only invitational values. We have found that particularly useful in a weak notrump setting. For lots of hands, game, in the major, will depend on fit. Describing some 5-3-4-1 ten count, and stopping in three spades, or three diamonds, if appropriate, works very well.
Nov. 20
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Clearly East had a mind-loss. The logic, in exiting in trumps, was to force South to lead from the Qx in hearts in the ending. Fine, I get that, but then, if South did start with three hearts, along with the two spades played, and the three clubs played, partner has a second trump and will ruff the heart anyway.

The cards were mostly marked: South had, either, AK xx AQJxxx xxx or AK Qxx AQxxx xxx, or AK xx AQxxx xxxx (Possibly, South could hold Qx in hearts, depending on carding agreements). Exiting in trumps could never gain, and could easily lose.

West should probably have played the diamond jack, and not the ten. The ten should show singleton ten or 109 doubleton. Again, though, that depends on carding agreements.

East was not bothering to count the hand, and made a silly blunder.

As South, I would overcall 1NT, but the bloodbath would still start there, so I can't really blame the overcall.
Nov. 20
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@Art: I think you are missing the point in these ATB questions. In some cases, a player makes a clear error, and those are easy. In most cases, a player takes a borderline hand one way, when the other was the winner. In ATB, that decision gets the vote. It doesn't mean that decision was a blunder.

Here, four hearts is automatic. All the arguments above are quite persuasive, and bidding anything but four hearts would be quite poor.

Moving with the East hand is borderline. The five level rates to be safe, but could fail if there is a club ruff. Slam will often be available, so, to me, East's hand is worth a move. But, if I moved with the East hand, and landed in five hearts, down one on club ace, club ruff, I'd take all the blame. Likewise, if I went low and passed with the East hand, missing the slam was my fault. Only East can move on this auction. East didn't. East gets full credit when ten tricks were the limit, and full blame when twelve tricks were easy.
Nov. 18
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“ Maybe it's wrong to ignore 1/3 of the people when you're in the 2/3 group.”

No, I prefer to think of this like so: I am on a jury, and have heard only from the defense, yet, so far, the vote is 2-to-1 to convict. What would the vote be when we hear from both sides?

You posted this, and you are arguing vehemently that the claim was valid, but the vote is still heavily against allowing the claim. The director heard from both sides, and did not allow the claim. Sounds like the director got it right. And we certainly have no basis to say otherwise. I won't overturn a director ruling without pretty clear evidence that the ruling was wrong, particularly when, as here, I can't question both sides.
Nov. 18
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When I have an easy hand to bid, Flannery makes life even easier - hide the four card spade suit, and bid to the normal contract. They have less information. Useful if partner is declaring, for the opening lead. Very useful if I am declaring.

Hard hands are hard hands, no matter the system. Picking up some minimal 4-1-5-3 hand, I will respond one spade, not a forcing 1NT, for I would have no clue what to do if partner bid two clubs. If partner bids two clubs over one spade, I know we have found a trump suit where we have more than they hold, and I can pass.

If I held a minimal 4-1-6-2 hand, I would bid 1NT, not one spade, and correct two clubs to two diamonds. But I would bid that way even if I wasn't playing Flannery.

In other words, plan your rebid, and anticipate likely developments. Just like any bidding.
Nov. 16
Steve Bloom edited this comment Nov. 16
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I might well simply put my hand on the table and claim, with no further elaboration. If they looked puzzled, I would then say, “I'll throw the two spades, give you two hearts, and trump the last heart.”

But that is much different than claiming, stating “I will pitch two losers.”
Nov. 16
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So, when West has two in the suit, A, K wins in 9 cases (Qx, 10x, Q10). Running the nine (or low to the jack) wins in 11 cases. Either play is better than cashing the A, K.
Nov. 16
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If we need five winners in the suit, only choice is low to the jack.

I'll assume we need four winners. We always succeed if the suit is 3-3, and our choice won't matter if West has four.

When East started with four of them, there are three choices:

(1) Ace and king. Loses if West has no honor - 6 cases.
(2) Lead to the jack. Loses if West has Qx - 4 cases.
(3) Run the eight or nine. Loses if West has 10x - 4 cases.

So (1) is out.

If East started with six in the suit, running the eight or nine gains. Likewise, if East started with five in the suit, running the eight loses to a singleton ten, but gains against stiff x. Low to the jack only works against singleton ten.

(3) is best.

Finally, if we simply want to win the maximum number of tricks, then we should play low to the jack. (3) beats (2) in three of the five-one splits and one 6-0 split, but loses to (2) when East has Qxx or Q10x - 10 cases.
Nov. 16
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(1) The defense was not so outrageous. South should never shift to the spade nine, but had South tried the spade eight, the ambiguity would still be there. On the auction, North “knew” that South had only two spades, and would place South with 83 doubleton.

(2) Even if the defense was totally bonkers, that doesn't make the claim suddenly valid. Claim was wrong. Contract is down one. N-S should have collected 500. They get 200.
Nov. 15
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Yes. P (2) P (P) X (P) 3

is invitational, playing a Lebensohl structure. Weak, here, simply means not inviting a game facing a passed hand.
Nov. 15
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“How can you possibility tell me that your partner made a penalty double when you knew you held the ♣QJx?”

Still beating a dead horse here, but while the phrasing of the question was poor, the question itself, and the anger with it, completely justified.

“How can you possibility tell me that your partner made a trump-based penalty double when you had shown a balanced hand, and denied club shortness in the auction?” is the right question. Trouble is, N-S never disclosed that.
Nov. 14
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Alright, I play a big club, and if I held xxx xxx xx QJ1098, and heard this auction, I guarantee you that I would pass three clubs like a shot. Why?

(1) The auction tells me that partner has a club void, but
(2) Partner would never pass three clubs with a void, or even a singleton club. So
(3) They have had a screw-up. Likely two clubs was meant as some artificial bid, showing some two-suiter. West forgot, and East, ethically, passed.
(4) They have had a mix-up and have landed in the only thing I can set. I am quite content.

I am also certain that Steve M's partner would pass out three clubs. So, the new explanation is still very inadequate.

NORTH's PASS OVER THREE CLUBS IMPLIES SOME VERY SPECIFIC HAND TYPES. The opponents are entitled to know what those are. South certainly knows, and would never double three clubs with a bad hand and long clubs.
Nov. 14
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@Mike: I was being sarcastic. With a three-suiter, short in clubs, North would double three clubs. North's pass implied a strong notrump type hand (likely 17-19), and South will assume that North has such a hand. Obviously North might hold some other hand, but North also knows that pass implies such a hand, and, like in any auction, might decide that any other bid is more dangerous.

Paul implied that North could hold some 4-4-4-1 hand. That is wrong. North would double with that hand.

My objection, and that applies to the new and improved explanation offered by Steve M below, is that North's pass was never explained.
Nov. 14
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That analysis has nothing to do with the correct response on this hand, since:

(1) As far as I could tell, 1NT was not forcing, by a passed hand, and the two club rebid showed four or more clubs.

(2) If partner has opened light, in third chair, then, since the one spade call will usually deliver five spades, partner will almost certainly pass one spade. With my decent ten count, do I want to play in 1NT or in one spade on a seven (or even a six) card trump fit?

Flannery is a tool which gives you lots of discretion when responding with a four card spade suit. Just as you don't woodenly bypass every four card spade suit, you don't bid one spade every time you hold four spades.
Nov. 13
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“Could not North have a 4-4-4-1 hand?” Sure. Quite likely when North doubles three clubs.

Look - we have had auctions like this, and always explain that South's double was take-out/cards, and North converted. That was not done here, so the gripe has some validity. Still, declarer likely knew what was going on anyway, but the defenders should be more forth-coming.
Nov. 13
Steve Bloom edited this comment Nov. 13
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I disagree, at least a little.

Initial pass by South = 0-7, or 8+ with clubs.

Initial pass by North = balanced hand. Probably 17-19, but I don't know your ranges. Could include some unbalanced hands with club length.

After the raise, and your pass, South can no longer have a penalty double, and so

South's double = 6-7, no long suit.

To me, you failed to clarify the meaning of North's pass, and of South's double, in light of that pass.

Some of this depends on the actual auction. For instance,

1 (2) P (2) P (P) X = 6-7, no long suit, or 8+ with primary clubs.
Nov. 12
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To blame this on Flannery, or on the decision to respond 1NT, is truly ridiculous. The implication is that, if the majors were reversed, it would be perfectly normal to end up playing in two clubs.

Surely, if West is 2-4-3-4 with a ten count, and East is 5-2-2-4 with 19 highs, there should be a way to get slightly higher than two clubs.
Nov. 12
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I find that early third heart dangerous - I don't want West discarding a diamond when West was 2-2 in the reds.

Admittedly, on some of these hands, East could fly with the diamond ace and play that heart anyway (but our opponents don't always find the best defense), and I don't want to go down when West had a hand like QJ10xxx xx Ax xxx or QJ10xxxx xx xx xx.
Nov. 12
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Case 1 clearly warrants a warning, but nothing more, unless you strongly suspect the cards were picked up with the intent to conceal the revoke.

Case 2 sounds like director fault - options were explained, but it was not very obvious that choosing an option that could never be achieved without the infraction was not exactly kosher. So the player chose what appeared to be a viable option. You then explained that, if this turned out to be better than whatever normal result they might have achieved, you might adjust the score. Good. That's enough.

In both cases, a bridge penalty was assessed, and cost them points on both boards. Surely that is enough. Nothing more should be done unless you think there was intentional shenanigans, and then, you might consider barring them from the club.
Nov. 11
Steve Bloom edited this comment Nov. 11
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