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All comments by Steve Bloom
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One further comment. Ruffing a club early looks best, making the hand easily when East has a doubleton club and three or four diamonds, unless the spade queen really was singleton - then North can't get back in to draw trumps. I am quite certain that Zia believed the spade queen, and played accordingly. He read the table very well. We'd be saying something quite different if East held something like Q9x KQxx 10xxx xx.
May 9, 2012
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No, There is still a trump in dummy, so East won't get his heart trick if he splits, and ducks the jack.

I don't see why the queen has to be a true card - I make that play any time I hold the nine as well. Zia's play still seems reasonable, offering extra chances if the clubs don't run. Say East splits. South wins, and returns the heart jack, throwing the spade from dummy. If this holds, concede a club - losing the contract only when West has a small singleton (or void). If East wins and has five hearts, with no spade guard, the hand makes on a double squeeze. Otherwise, the hand makes if clubs run, or the long clubs are with five hearts or four+ spades.

When the heart jack held, South could discard the spade and play clubs, or try spades, with excellent squeeze chances if the eight loses to the nine. The spade play looks better.
May 9, 2012
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Actually, there is a relevant squeeze here. Suppose West had not split in spades. It is quite possible that East had false-carded in spades, a pretty standard play from Q9 or Q9x, but the contract is safe on a double squeeze even if the eight loses to the nine.
May 7, 2012
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Yep. Many years ago, in a National BAM, we were playing against Bruce Ferguson. At favorable, we had saved in 6H over their diamond slam. After lots of thought, Bruce decided to bid one more, and partner, looking at the ace of trumps doubled. Trouble was, Bruce had accidentally pulled 6D out of bid box, not 7D, as intended. He saw his error and said something, but his partner said, “too late, she condoned it”, and passed 6DX. I pulled to 6H and Bruce, saying, I won't win this way, bid 7D! The great ones, like Grant Baze or Bruce Ferguson, are more interested in the purity of the game than the rules.
May 7, 2012
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As declarer, I would have claimed down one before the accident happened. Why didn't your partner concede? Bridge rules are designed to restore equity to the table. Here, declarer wasted everyone's time by waiting until the setting trick was cashed, and hoping for a revoke or mechanical error. Declarer got this error and made the game. I find that disgusting. Sorry, but if a teammate of mine made a game that way, he'd be looking for new teammates.
May 7, 2012
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We use 3NT to ask for the minor, with game-invitational values. 4C is pass or correct, competitive only.
May 4, 2012
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Cool! Nicely played.
May 1, 2012
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We have no way to show the other suits. With a 2-3-4-4 11 count, I would double, showing 2NT values or better, and worry about a heart stopper later, but it would be nice to be playing negative doubles there.
Every now and then we pay for losing the negative double, but the losses are surprisingly rare. The largest losses come after 1m-1S, on partscore hands. We can lose our 4-4 heart fit when neither hand has extra values.
I like collecting penalties, so we still use 1grape - X - XX as business, and 1grape - 1NT - X as penalties. I would like to incorporate transfers into these auctions, but don't want to give up the penalty oriented double (or redouble).
April 30, 2012
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Yes, though we don't play them after a double. No reason not to, but redouble seems to have other useful meanings.
April 29, 2012
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Right you are, Victor, though, if the spade king holds, partner better discourage.
April 29, 2012
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We've played transfers in virtually all competitive auctions for over a decade, and love them. However, we don't transfer into our suit. Early on, we found that giving the opponents extra room on normal raise hands was too helpful, so transfers revolve around the other suits and notrump.

So, after 1C - 1H overcall - 2C:
X=diamonds.
2D=spades.
2H=normal.
2S=cards, usually balanced.
2NT=limit raise.
3C=strong raise.
Likewise, after 1C - 1H overcall - 1S:
X=cards.
1NT=clubs (or Q, your choice. We like to play the suspect minor as natural).
2C=diamonds.
2D=Q, limit raise.
2H=normal.
2S=strong raise.
We play identical methods when we open the bidding, so the above auctions apply after 1H - 2C overcall and 1H - 1S overcall. Unfortunately, we lose the negative double, but the gains outweigh the losses.
April 29, 2012
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Picture declarer with a hand like AJ Axx AKxxx Q9x. We beat the hand easily by ducking the club, but the hand is cold on club king (queen from South), spade king. In my view, it is always best to duck the club when declarer has two spades, and always right to win and shift when declarer has one spade. How you judge that is beyond me, but, at the table, most players bid 2NT out of tempo with off-shape hands, and that might be a clue.
April 28, 2012
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Everyone seems to assume that partner would always use some form of check-back with 5-3-3-2 hands. This is strange to me. (1) If partner checks back, and I show 3 spades, the quantitative 4NT bid is no longer available. (2) Notrump will often play better, even if there is a 5-3 fit. (3) If I reject, notrump will usually be the safer strain (and higher scoring, if matchpoints). Indeed, with 31-32 HCP, about the only way to go minus, when I reject, is to play in four spades and run into bad splits. (4) If I accept, I can always probe for a club or spade fit along the way. To me, 4NT in this sequence shows either a 5-3-3-2 hand, 4-4 in the blacks, or a very good 4-3-3-3 hand.
(5) 6 spades is the right contract opposite a hand like AK10x QJx xx(x) Axx(x).
April 28, 2012
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Partner would normally look for another fit, but didn't, so I expect partner to have spades only. Opposite most 5-3-2-3 slam tries, I have a great hand. Not so good opposite 4-3-3-3. It seems clear to bid 5S and let partner make the final decision.
April 27, 2012
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I agree with your deduction, but not your play. I would lead diamonds to dummy at tricks two and four. This lands the contract when spades are 3-2, diamonds 3-2, the spade ace onside, and no trump promotion (East holding three diamonds and two spades).
April 24, 2012
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My partner has sprung this type of auction on me before. She inevitably has a long broken suit with shortness in a dangerous suit - something like – Qx KJxxxxxx AJx.
Slam is not out of the picture, but the call suggests a hand where diamonds looks to play substantially better than notrump. We may still end up in 4NT, or in 6 diamonds, or even in 4 diamonds, but the call shows a hand where 5 diamonds rates to be the best game (from opener's vantage point).
April 23, 2012
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Larry,
Continuing Steve's question: What about an auction like 1S - 1NT -2C - 3H? In our methods, this is heart values with a club fit. In standard 2/1 this is natural, invitational. What is it in LC Standard?
April 23, 2012
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Bidding seems clear to me in IMPs. With your poor club holding, the opponents will usually make 3C, so bidding doesn't rate to turn a plus score into a minus score. Those are the big small swings in IMPs. On the positive side, we might reach and make a game. Why not try for +620 when -110 looks likely? The IMP odds are very much in favor of bidding. The downside - 3 or 4 hearts might get doubled. Add the nine of hearts to the hand and passing would be quite wrong.
Matchpoints makes this tougher, when we might easily trade -110 or -130 for -200.
April 23, 2012
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