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All comments by Steve Bloom
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And this feels like a committee ruling is looming. If, as Kit says, a club lead would have set the hand, and if a club lead was more attractive with one of the two screen-side explanations …
Sept. 5, 2012
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1 HCP wouldn't matter. How about 4 HCP? If a limit raise is around 12 HCP in one partnership and 8 HCP in another, that distinction is worth alerting. Likewise, is 1C - 1M shows 5, that is probably alertable. And 1C - 1D, which would then be artificial, denying a five card major must be alerted.

You don't have to alert every call, but calls that have some hidden message that the opponents can't guess should be alerted. It is routine for us to alert 1S - P - 4S, which, in a club system, could be a preempt, or a balanced 13 count with support. Mike Passell told me that a director penalized him for making that alert! Go figure.
Sept. 3, 2012
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Partner has either (1) a balanced 11-13, and would never double, or (2) an unbalanced hand with diamonds. The double says (2), so I lead partner's suit. Partner may be gambling with, say KQxxxx and two entries, but needs to double to get you to lead a diamond. Since you hold the diamond J10, this will be bloody.
Aug. 31, 2012
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Kovacs led a club after a Precision auction, 1C - 1H, where his partner stuck in a two club overcall on 10xxx x xx QJ98xx. The club lead was pretty automatic there.
Chambers led the club after a Schenken type auction - 2D (Strong) - 3C = ace of clubs. I found it very odd that Schermer did not double 3C on this auction, and even stranger that Neil would lead a club when his partner did not double a cue-bid.
Aug. 31, 2012
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I have a feeling that Schermer's 2H call was meant as intermediate, not weak.
Aug. 31, 2012
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Are you legally required to alert? Of course not, but that doesn't mean that you can't alert. Should you? That's trickier. My rule is simple - if I know something about partner's hand through discussion and agreement that the opponents do not know, I alert. Here is a simple example. We reverse the ordinary meaning of pass and double in our suit. Double means lead something else, and is clearly alertable. Pass has no meaning, it is the ordinary action chosen on most hands. So pass does not require an alert, but we alert. We know that some hands are now excluded, and the opponents should know that as well.
Aug. 31, 2012
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Absolutely! Anytime you have important information available not inherent in the auction you must alert. First, this may easily influence the defense. If the invitation is known to be very heavy, and opener rejects, then opener's hand type is very limited. Opener will almost certainly be 5-3-3-2 with a dead minimum. You know this. Shouldn't they? Likewise, if opener accepts, opener's minimum is much different than opposite standard methods. Again, the opponents are entitled to this information.

It is not enough to tell them after the auction. Suppose fourth hand is thinking of entering the fray. If the 3S bidder will usually deliver close to an opening bid in high cards, that is relevant. What if your typical limit raise is any 8-count with four trumps. Isn't that also relevant?

If you know something that the opponents can't possibly know or guess, then ALERT!
Aug. 30, 2012
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This particular thread was debated, and settled, to my mind, many years ago, with Garozzo v. McCallum. If you have forgotten the case, I'll remind you, as best as I can. My teammates, Karen McCallun and Cenk Tuncok had an uncontested auction against DuPont and Garozzo:
1NT 2H
2S 2NT
3H 3NT.
2H and 2NT were transfers, showing spades and clubs respectively (at least game invitational). 3H was natural, described in their notes as showing 4 or 5 hearts, with some worry about three notrump being the right game. But the call was explained as “natural, promising five hearts”. Karen, who held Kxxxx in hearts, and Axx in diamonds, with poor spot cards, corrected the explanation. This was clearly proper, since the 3H call had been made trying to avoid 3NT opposite short diamonds, not simply to show five hearts. Had she held, say, Kxxxx in hearts and KQ10 in diamonds, she would not have bid 3H.

Garozzo, holding J1098x in hearts and no other high card, led a heart, losing a tempo. A diamond lead would have set up DuPont's 13th diamond eventually. He protested, saying that Karen did in fact hold five hearts, and, had she not corrected the explanation, he would have led a diamond. The committee allowed the table result to stand, but Karen was vilified in several articles discussing the case. To almost every outsider, what she did was legal, but highly unethical. Like you, most thought that, if the explanation fits the actual hand, keep your mouth shut.

Finally a long piece appeared in the Bulletin supporting Karen and arguing, quite convincingly, that both the law and ethics require total disclosure. Trying to decide, on a case-by-case basis whether the incorrect or incomplete explanation might, this time, help the opponents more, was highly improper. The article was so persuasive that public opinion shifted to the other side. Recently, Ron Gerard wrote, “When faced with an accurate description of her hand but not her agreement against Garozzo in Miami, she corrected the explanation and has been almost unanimously upheld over the years.”

The author of that piece? I won't tell, but Debbie can probably guess!
Aug. 30, 2012
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Sorry, but I vehemently disagree with the Baze philosophy. Let's modify this slightly - the auction went 1D - 1H - 1NT - 4H. You don't correct the “failure to fully disclose” because you don't hold four spades. During the play, an opponent misdefends, worried that declarer might be 4-6 in the majors, when, under your methods, responder would usually check back for spades with such a hand. Your failure to disclose hurt them, and no one even noticed.

It is not your job to decide what explanation might or might not help the opponents. It is your job to fully disclose, always!
Aug. 29, 2012
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Not in my book - partner has shown invitational values with 5 spades. Opener says (1) I want to play spades and (2) I reject the invitation.
Aug. 28, 2012
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“Yes, but I suspect that like any good General, Ike tried to have two possibilities to win the battle. So after ruffing the heart and playing a spade to the 10, he played clubs first, ruffing the third club high. When the clubs broke he did not need the second heart ruff."

True, and if West was, say, 0-5-4-4, he could no longer get that second heart ruff - East discards the other heart.
Aug. 28, 2012
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The save was right because partner had a singleton heart and fit both minors, i.e., partner had a possible double of three hearts. If anyone gets in on this hand, it is South.
Aug. 27, 2012
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How would xyz help after the auction 1H - 1S - 2D??
Aug. 26, 2012
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B, Z, and Me was so popular I lent it out and it never came back. Sorry, but I still have about 50 copies of the Granovetter book, since it has a stupid article by someone I know …
Aug. 25, 2012
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Han, take a look at Michael Rosenberg's seminal article on bridge ethics (reprinted in For Experts Only). He gives an example where a world-class defender messed up a defense after his partner ducked an ace smoothly, even though there were two powerful clues that partner held the key ace.

Your partner wasn't trying to punish you, he just admitted to himself that he might have gotten the hand wrong without your inadvertent help, so chose a “logical” losing alternative.
Aug. 25, 2012
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Barry, if he cashes the last spade, he must commit, before cashing the club ace. Once rho threw a club, the squeeze had “operated”, so Hamman could cash the club ace and try to judge from tempo whether the club queen was doubleton or tripleton.

To Bobby, hearts hadn't been bid at Hamman's table, so the heart carding might have been honest, but, declarer would always establish a diamond winner with AKQxx Jxx – Axxx, so the count was pretty clear.
Aug. 25, 2012
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Thanks, I hadn't seen the bulletin write-ups. I still stand by my analysis - unless East has telegraphed the heart layout by playing the diamond jack at trick one, the best play is spade ace, spade jack, low heart. According to Horton, Peter Schaltz, for the Netherlands, played this way, and North ducked the heart(!), so he made the hand. No one else found this line.

After the diamond jack play, the squeeze becomes a real option, but requires AQxx or hearts on your right, with the long club, or reading the ending when hearts were 3-3. The more obvious line, spade ace, spade jack, diamond queen requires AQxx of hearts on your right with the long spade, or any more favorable heart lie. That looks better. Kudos to Hamman for reading the position so well, and anti-kudos to Hamman for changing his mind.
Aug. 24, 2012
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Partner should pass with Qxxx in clubs and Jx in hearts? Haven't you shown at least AQxxx AKxxxx, where four spades rates to make and five clubs is on a finesse?
Aug. 23, 2012
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Pass seems clear. Suppose you bid six clubs, and hit partner with AQxx in trumps. Great. East will know you've struck gold and take their 500 save. Likewise, East will work out what to do when you are off two aces. Be happy with your 600 or 620.
Aug. 23, 2012
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What bad can really come of it? How about partner, with some 5-3-3-2 hand competing to 3S over their 3C? When I double with 4-3-3-3 hands, my partner always overcompetes, and we lose a partscore swing.
Aug. 23, 2012
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