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All comments by Steve Zolotow
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This may be misguided, but I think when the auction begins 1S 2D 3D, I'd try to avoid a natural 3H bid which might confuse kickback auctions later. Likewise if the auction started 1S 2C 3C, I'd avoid a natural 3D because it will create confusion later.
I also have a question about current expert practice for openers rebid after 1S 2D:
rebids of 2H, 2S, 2N and 3C seem obvious
a rebid of 3D probably shows at least a little extra, but what about 4D
what about a jump to 3H or 4C
I guess 4H would be RKC.
March 23, 2011
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I don't play a forcing club, but the wk jump to 3S seems both to describe hand offensively and pre-empt defensively. I presume there must a reason why an experienced player didn't choice the call, but I can't figure it out. It might also be interesting to start a thread of various default agreements that top players and the rest of us have found useful. For example, I like to have an agreement on when invitations are accepted. For example: always accept unless one has a clear minimum. (The opposite agreement also works - invitations are only accpted with a clear maximum.) Having one of those agreements, makes it easier to know when to invite.
March 8, 2011
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Considering how the rest of the auction went, don't you think there is a reasonable chance that partner, who may well have worked out what you meant initially, got cold feet & worried that either he had misinterpreted the situation or that you had forgotten, and thus doubled?
March 6, 2011
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After spending days looking at the disaster that followed Greco's failure to give count in diamonds, when it may not have seemed necessary, a case like this where one player deliberately lies to his partner in the auction seems behind the pale. W is hoping that 1) his partner doesn't believe him and do something disasterous immediately, or 2) that his partner has a hand that clearly makes his bid impossible. Luckily this was case 2, but it still required that a) West figure out why partner had lied (he might just think E forgot the system or pulled the wrong card), b) that as the bidding proceeds East is confident that W has correctly diagnosed the situation, c) that W accepts that E knows he has figured out what going on, and then d) given all that, they manage to do the right thing. Isn't is simpler and more effective just to follow whatever agreements you have. (I know that 5H instead of X would have saved the day.) But effective lies in the auction are usually designed to fool the opponents. In fact, no matter what East said later, I would think he forgot the agreement, not trotted out some imaginative brilliancy.
March 6, 2011
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Say you win an Ace and now want to lead a card that partner can trump. The question really is which situation to you want to have an appropriate agreement for when you have only 2 cards to chose from:
a) High = hi and Low = low (no preference, either hi, lo or least likely to do harm)
b) High = hi and Low = low or ambiguous

Since you often have no preference, doesn't agreement b make more sense. Then when low card is returned the player ruffing the trick must decide if it is low or ambiguous, not blindly assume it shows a preference for the lower suit. I would hate to have agreement a, and return a low card when I had no preference, then when pard returns a disasterous club, have to explain why I signalled low.
March 5, 2011
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The ideal is obviously to give count when it helps partner, to play randomly when count would help declarer. The problem is that it is frequently difficult to know or guess who might benefit. Not to mention a long huddle while deciding what to play from 7642,consumes time & brain power & may lead to allegations of impropriety. In this case, while correct diamond count may be useful to pard, it seems easy to assume that the QC has already directed the defense, and that giving count in another suit is no longer necessary. (Another question of propiety revolves around the idea of usually giving count against weak players, but less frequently against strong ones.)

I certainly love partners who try to tell me what I need to know. In this case, the QC did that. Even we have the agreement states that we always give accurate count unless we can easily figure that it can only benefit declarer to do so, I'd feel very sure partner wanted a spade, but only somewhat sure that he felt obliged to give count in diamonds, if case I wanted to make an equally safe play.
March 4, 2011
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It seems to me that both this hand and the 6HX hand are typical of what I call premature relaxation. This is the type of mistake a lazy player like me frequently makes. In these cases, a player assumed his first play (Greco’s QC) or first bid (X of the diamond cue bid) made everything clear, therefore he could relax.

Another common occurrence is when a declarer wins a finesse, after which the contract is cold, unless he repeats the finesse and it turns out the defender was holding up. (There was a cute example of this type of premature relaxation in the March Bulletin by Mark Horton.)
March 1, 2011
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I think 1S should show Spades, & is at least invitational (Walsch or modified Walsch)
I think there are those who use 2S as 4th suit in this situation.

then I would use fast arrival - 3S stronger than 4

Even if spades weren't completely agreed in this auction by the 3S bid (and it seems a little weird to think we could still end in 3N, 4H, or 5 of a minor after this start) 5 spades must set spades. Once spades are set, 6C can only be a try for 7.

I must add that all of this complexity in a seemingly simple auction 1C 1D, 1H 1S, 3S makes me yearn for the old days when forcing NT and weak twos were state of the art innovations. Bob H would probably be happier to go back even further to 4 card majors.
Feb. 25, 2011
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Since 1S is invit plus
Then 3S should be not only forcing, but stronger than 4S (since it invites Q-bid)
Assuming the system insists that 4H is natural, as is 3N (xxxx Qx AKJxxx xx)
Then 4C and D should be slam tries in Sp, and 4N RKC
5S should ask about trumps
6C must show good trumps plus good clubs (probably 5) as a source of tricks
P with Jxx would be merely bad, but xx is horrendous

Feb. 24, 2011
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