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All comments by Steve Bloom
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OK, so you hold QJxx x AKx AKQxx. How do you get back to 3NT when partner refuses to bid 3NT with only one likely stopper and needing two diamond honors from partner?

The East hand passed the first round, passed the second round, and only bid three diamonds on the third push from partner. Yet partner still tried again. So, as East I am going to game. Which game? I don't see how to guess right.
9 hours ago
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Excellent analysis, Kit.

I still wonder about faking a sign-off in five spades, in case partner has actually cue-bid with zero key cards. That seems to lose two bidding steps on a hand that has now become a grand slam investigation.
May 21
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Of course, it also means, holding a hand like QJ10xxxx x KQJx x, when partner has shown a very strong hand for spades, I can't ask for key cards.

I am cynical here, but I would bet that most partnerships who claim to have this agreement, would also have the auctions

1 1
4 4NT

or

2NT 4
4 4NT


with this hand, and survive.

I still want to see, in notes, that a key card ask guarantees at least one key card. If that is not documented, then I won't rule in your favor in scenario 2 above, when partner tanks, and you bid on.
May 21
Steve Bloom edited this comment May 21
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I don't question that agreement. And it likely applies on the rare auctions where it isn't obvious whether the bidder has zero or three. This isn't one of those auctions.

You've cue-bid. You show 0/3. Partner tanks, and signs off. You don't get to bid on with extras, unless you can show, in your notes, that both players are completely and always barred from ever asking for aces with zero key cards.
May 20
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On the first board, the hand is still make-able if East started with Axx or Axxx in hearts. Simply cash the spades, discarding down to the heart K and Q10 in clubs. East has to keep J9 in clubs, and the heart ace. Exit in hearts.
May 20
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I strongly disagree. There is no hand, with zero key cards, that cue-bids over three spades. Any such hand would bid four spades, and hope not to go down.

That hand you gave is not a hand worth driving to the five level. But, if I did, and you showed three key cards, I would check on the trump queen. I would not sign off.

You don't ask for key cards, then sign off when you are missing only one key.

There is the strange notion that, having shown 0/3, you are always allowed to bid again with three. Nonsense. You are only bidding again with three if you could easily hold zero on this particular auction, and if partner has already shown enough life to guarantee at least one key card.

Frankly, I can't remember the last time, in an uncontested auction, when it wasn't obvious whether partner had 0 or 3 (or 1 or 4).
May 20
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Scenario one: I have made a slam-interested cue-bid, and so cannot conceivably have zero key cards. I show 0/3. Partner knows that I have three. Partner signs off.

Auction is done.

Scenario two: I have made a slam-interested cue-bid, and so cannot conceivably have zero key cards. I show 0/3. Partner knows that I have three. Partner signs off, BUT AFTER A LONG THOUGHT.

Now I know we are not off two key-cards, and I might want to bid again, but I am not allowed. So the auction is done.

Scenario three: I have made a slam-interested cue-bid, and so cannot conceivably have zero key cards. I show 0/3. Partner knows that I have three. Partner signs off. Then I realize that I have only two key cards.

Auction is done, and I am probably going down at the five-level.

Scenario four: I have made a slam-interested cue-bid, and so cannot conceivably have zero key cards. I show 0/3. Partner knows that I have three. Partner signs off, BUT AFTER A LONG THOUGHT. Then I realize that I have only two key cards.

Partner knows that I have at least one key card, but is clearly bothered by my showing three key cards. That is because partner has three key cards. So, I now know, from the huddle, that partner has three key cards.

This is the scenario that occurred at the table, although there are more complications, since Cheek says he did not realize his error until later in the auction.
May 20
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“ And I'm expecting to find my partner with some nice values and a nice fit for at least one of my suits.'

and ”there's a likelihood my RHO has psyched me out of a probable game."

It is vaguely possible that my partner, with some nice values, and a nice fit, remembered that I doubled one diamond, and would not pass over the raise.

If North has passed a forcing bid, there is a likelihood that someone has missed a good game, but that someone is not on our team.
May 20
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@Petter: Win the second trump, diamond ace, diamond ruff, heart ruff, now club.
May 19
Steve Bloom edited this comment May 19
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East received the explanation from North. If that is the correct explanation, then it doesn't matter what East would have heard behind screens - East got the correct explanation. No harm.

If that is the wrong explanation, then it certainly matters.
May 19
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A TD is supposed to conduct a poll when there is potential UI, to determine possible alternatives.

A TD is not supposed to conduct a poll to find out if a pair is supposed to correctly explain their agreements.
May 19
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Good construction. Of course, that only works if East ducks the first club. Not going to happen. Still, nice construction.
May 19
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Why?

If 2 is strong, and forcing, then East might pass out two diamonds. East would never pass it out in two diamonds if this was a weak raise.

Let's say that most East's, in your poll, still double. So what? This East was entitled to a correct explanation before choosing between pass and a second double.
May 18
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Sorry, but you lost me. I can't find any lie of the cards where declarer fails by leading a club at trick three.

You lose two clubs and one trump trick, but keep control.
May 18
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I don't understand the several references to a 1NT rebid with a balanced 15 count.

Such a bid requires an alert, in ACBL-land, if a 1NT opening would be weak, and the rebid shows a strong notrump.

Such a bid does not require an alert, in ACBL-land, if an opening 1NT would be, say, 16-18, or 15+-18, or if, in the bidders judgement, the poor spot cards, or 4-3-3-3 nature called for a downgrade.
May 17
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Symmetric?

North bids aggressively, as a passed hand, white, because that is good bridge, and North is an expert.

South bids conservatively, in many scenarios, because South is a poor bridge player.

What, here, should be disclosed? Should the Pro say, before every round, “Please note: I am a good player, my partner is not so hot.”
May 17
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Wrong. The write-up quotes the conditions of contest for this event, which includes screens and trays. Those conditions state that if the tray is returned in under 15 seconds, there can never be UI. If longer, then a director can consider the possibility of UI.

BTW: That committee got this one wrong on several levels.

(1) They believed Cheek when he said that he did not notice that he had miscounted key-cards until the six spade call came back. OK: I show two key cards, my expert partner signs off at five spades, after some clear thought. I must assume that we are off two key cards. Bidding a slam is not allowed. If this was the reasoning, the contract had to be rolled back to five spades, not six.

(2) They asserted that a player who miscounts key-cards is unlikely to recognize the error, and, in this case, only did so when partner took so long to bid six spades.
That's a pretty shaky argument, but, given this hand, with solid clubs, the queen in partner's suit, and the trump queen, there is no hand where partner would ever Blackwood missing two key cards. Partner would not sign off missing only one (hence my observation regarding bidding over five spades). Conclusion: Partner has three key cards, and, naturally, assumed I held zero. The UI screams that partner holds three key cards. So does the AI.

If the six club call is legal (and I suspect not), then the 7NT call is allowed.
May 17
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Yes! The auction would have started with a 1 call by North.

North is a passed hand, and did not open at the one or three level in first seat. That already limits the hand.

There might be a case for recording this type of overcall if North were not a passed hand, but I can't fathom the problem in this setting.
May 15
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“I wouldn't call a cold game shaky!”

East holds KQ1098xx Kxx xx x, and leads the spade king. How are you making 11 tricks in diamonds?
May 14
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The problems started with South going past 3NT. That would often be the last making game, and, here, if clubs don't split, 3(or 4)NT may well be the last making game.

(1) You can't get back to 3NT if you don't bid it.
(2) Partner can still move with an excellent hand, so 3NT doesn't give up on slam. 4 gives up on no trump.
(3) The six diamond call was quite poor, and was the worst call in the auction. South gets all the blame for getting to a shaky game. North gets all the blame for getting to the poor slam. Both get all the credit if clubs split and West leads a spade.
May 14
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