Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Steve Bloom
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Pitch winners to keep losers?

I had to wonder why West kept that diamond seven. Cute way to recover.
Nov. 14
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Ask what the double shows. Ask regardless of your hand.

I don't see how you are revealing something about your hand by asking about such a double.
Nov. 12
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As to (b), I know that. Trumping low is giving up. Trumping high at least forces declarer to guess the cards.
Nov. 12
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Slam looks pretty normal (though not on this auction). Indeed, judging by the numbers posted, only 9 of 26 pairs stayed out of slam.

Playing ace-king of diamonds gains when the club finesse is off and the diamond queen is doubleton. Taking the club finesse early gains when the club queen is on, and the diamonds are 3-3, or the queen is doubleton. If everyone was in the slam, the early club finesse is clearly superior. Is it when only a third of the field is in slam? I don't know.

At IMPs, I would never try the early club finesse. Nor would I cash the diamond ace and king. I'd exit in hearts. In many variations, I'd still need to try diamond ace and king, and then club finesse, but, often, West will win the heart and lead a club. Then I can try the club finesse freely, with some slight squeeze chances if the finesse is off.
Nov. 12
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I had trouble figuring out who was who! East should ask for a heart. Assuming South was 6-2-2-3 or 6-3-3-1, a heart shift ensures a set. So, first candidate for worst play ever - diamond ten.

Playing a diamond next, by West, seemed pretty futile. Seems like West was hoping the diamond was a singleton, though wouldn't East be bidding with six hearts?

After the diamond shift, and the next diamond, the cards were all marked. South had to have AJxxxx (or AJ10xxx) Axx x J10x.

If East trumps low, declarer will surely overruff, and play spade ace, spade, ending the hand. The only hope, at that trick, was that partner held the spade ten. So East has to trump high, or not trump at all. Was trumping low the worst bridge play ever? No, hardly. But it wasn't good.

Then South exited a low spade, giving them a second chance. OK, maybe that was the worst play ever. Certainly it was the worst play on this hand. Should West now find the heart shift?

Maybe, but that is playing for this layout, where both partner and declarer made very bad plays.
Nov. 12
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Looks like it - you can't test both suits, and have to guess what to play for.
Nov. 10
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“If you have some reason to think that hearts are not 6-2, the heart play makes sense before clubs, lest you establish them a club to go with their four heart tricks.”

Not my choice in a matchpoint game. If clubs run, I have eleven tricks and chances for twelve. Testing clubs costs only when the five hearts has the club guard.
Nov. 9
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Bot East wins the third heart and plays a heart. You throw a club, test spades, and, finding out East had 8 major suit cards, cash the club ace, and run the diamond ten.

A club shift also breaks up the double squeeze, and, again, an early count makes the diamond finesse the percentage play.
Nov. 9
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Not particularly double dummy. Say the defense starts heart jack, queen, ace, heart back. Test clubs, ending in hand. When those don't behave, conceding a heart makes lots of sense.
Nov. 8
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So both doubles are support?

To me, South has simply bid spades, and North has denied a spade raise, very long hearts, and other typical hands. A call like 2 by South is simply competitive, not forcing. With a strong hand, South starts with a double or with 3. Double includes hands where South is happy if North converts to penalties. So double is not penalties, and it is not purely take-out. South would start with a double on most game forcing hands with 2+ clubs, and some game-forcing hands short in clubs.
Nov. 5
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What is their carding? What does the spade 5-3 play signify?

For the record, I start diamonds at trick two, where I expect East's first discard to be completely honest. Not so sure after I show them my tricks.
Nov. 5
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How would that work in the KO stage?
Nov. 5
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What problems? You kept us entertained for days.
Nov. 5
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Thanks, MR, for your input on the ethics here. I really wished we had called over the director at the table.

As to the level of error - hard for me to judge. Clearly, declarer is about to claim 11 tricks if the trump queen is not covered. Given that, I can't imagine failing to cover. The contract was going down two, on a diamond lead, or on a club lead, with this line. It would make on a heart lead. So I don't see how they were damaged by being lulled into a club lead, rather than a red suit lead.

Thanks also for your probability guess - the “legitimate” line works if clubs are 3-2 or if the heart finesse is on - excellent chances. Will the swindle work more than that? I like your estimate.
Nov. 2
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Well, if you read on two more pages, you'll find this was fictional - we weren't in six. Three world class declarers, on vu-graph, were in six spades on a club lead, and all three won in hand.

Maybe, if they had more complicated notes, they'd have thought more about trick one.
Nov. 1
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Sorry, the parenthesis meant “when West started with K10x or K10xx in trumps.” I'll clarify with an edit.
Nov. 1
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Good question. That is one of the reasons that we coded our Exclusion auctions. Well, it seemed like a good reason when we made our notes. Memory strain, however …
Nov. 1
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Yep. See page 11.

Will this get a misdefense often enough to give up on legitimate chances? I suspect so.
Nov. 1
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I am losing two clubs no matter what I do. I have a trump loser (barring stiff king on my left). So I need the heart finesse, I need trumps three-two, and I need four diamond tricks.

I am using one of my hand entries to lead a diamond to the nine. That pretty much rules out using hand entries to play a trump to the ten.

So, I start spade ace, and lead a spade. Nine looks like best guess.
Oct. 31
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All this is partnership agreement. With Betty, double of two clubs = clubs, so I double. With Jeff, double of two clubs = take-out, so I pass, and double two hearts.

Sitting West, I would probably defend two hearts doubled, and lead a trump. We'll see where it goes from there.
Oct. 30
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