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All comments by Andy Hung
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That's a comment that has a bit of theory overload, Barbara! I'm not saying I like the cross-jump bid, but certainly it depends on the rest of the system and how much complexity one wishes to have.

Here are the considerations of what I'm talking about (I'm not referring to this hand, just the system bid 1-2 or 1-3 that shows 3-card limit):

- If both hands are balanced, you likely would have been better off responding 1NT as opener will pass, playing in 1NT instead of 3M. If opener is unbalanced and rebids, you can now go to 3M or 4M depending.

- They give the opponents a ‘free’ double of an artificial bid.

- What if responder is unbalanced? Now you likely prefer to show your 3-card limit straight away because opener may have a hand that would pass a 1NT response but bid game opposite a 3-card limit raise. True, you can play that opener only passes 1NT if he wasn't going to accept a limit raise, but then this would sort of force opener to rebid 2m (or just 2) on 2/3 card suits with 13/14 HCP, and that has its own consequence.

- If a partnership is playing something simple with some form of Bergen raises, then they would need to ‘plug a hole’ in their system to show the 3-card limit raise.

- It can be very helpful for competitive purposes. By responding 1NT, 4th seat might be able to overcall something (then their partner might raise), and now opener cannot judge as effectively had he known that responder has a fit. People tend to not weigh this point heavily enough because I agree it is hard to quantify, but I think it's a very important point as high level decisions is the bane of our bridge life!

- Sometimes the cross-jump can be very preemptive and 4th seat may be in an awkward position if they wanted to overcall in a minor suit (even if they did, they'd unlikely buy the contract anyway but at least their partner now knows what to lead), and even more awkward if they have both minors.

Now I'm not taking any sides, but I'm just saying that I would understand if one chooses to play the cross-jump. But you do have to note that there is a big difference between a balanced 3-card limit raise and an unbalanced one.

For my own system, I like 1-3 as natural and invitational (due to 1-2=GF) and so I've designed my 1M-3 as 7-9 w/4 or 10-12 w/3 (3 would ask). I also play 1-2 as 5/5+ both minors 7-10ish for the very reason that 4th hand will likely have spades if responder is 5/5 minors and wanted to pre-find a potential sacrifice. Whether that's a good idea or not, I don't know, but I do know that it requires more system memory if opener happens to be the one with the strong hand!
April 12
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I think the maths is probably a bit close? I don't know, there's a lot of factors at play.

Playing on clubs first seems like you just need the diamond finesse if clubs are 2-2 or 3-1 with stiff king. If someone has Kxx then they can duck A-J (or if you lead the J first). If we play A-J and overtake with Q, if West has Kxx and ducks, we'd need West to have Kx. If we lead J first and overtake Q (whether they take K or not), we can reassess our options. Quite often, table presence should tell us where the K is.

By playing on diamonds first, you will need the club finesse (and a bit of luck in diamonds). Say you play A and J, if they take the king (or East plays 10 so you overtake Q) and they're 3-2, you now have two entries to dummy to finesse in clubs and can now pick up Kxx onside (not K9xx). If they don't take the K on the second round, you can still play a third diamond to set up an entry to dummy allowing you to pick up Kx onside. When you play the J, if East has the K he may have a think, so if that's the case, if he ducks you might now overtake Q anyway.

There certainly seems like a lot of variations (some I didn't bother mentioning such as clubs 4-0 etc.) and it's giving me a bit of a headache. Maybe I'm missing something.

One thing to think about also:
By playing on clubs, say they take K on the second round (whether they're 2-2 or 3-1) and play a spade. You can now run off all of your club winners to come down to Kx AJx and watch your opponents discards. Sometimes they might tell you who has the A/K, and sometimes East might pitch a spade. For example, if East comes down to J9 Q Kx and you figured that the A was onside, then you can now play a heart instead of a diamond (opponents take one club, one heart, and two spades). It might seem silly, but it's a fact of life, defending can be hard.

Maybe playing on clubs is slightly better? I have no idea also.
April 11
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I'm a simple soul, I would've just raised to 2. If we do have game on, I think partner rates to make an invitational move. If we don't have a game on and the opponents balance, I no doubt plan to bid 3 as a potential resting place. To be honest, I'm not a big fan of hiding my major suit support as partner will often misjudge the auction later (in constructive or especially competitive auction).

One thing to note is that the club suit isn't “robust” enough to fear that (much) we would have missed game. Having AJT9-to seven means that we would need partner to have Hx(x) plus a potential finesse. Contrast it to a suit headed by AK or AQ where we don't need any club honours from partner and it could just be on a finesse.
April 11
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I think if you and your partner can diagnose the fit as well as both hands being relative balanced, then it would definitely be a good idea (and important) to offer 3NT.

The reason why I mentioned about favouring 4Major is that I've seen more double digit IMPs lost when playing in 3NT instead of 4Major in Australia. I've seen a lot of Australian players trying to “man up” and bids 3NT where it is down with 4Major cold.

Perhaps one of the errors is that when you have an 8-card fit, you should try to tell your partner about that first and then offer 3NT later, rather than trying to go solo with 3NT without telling partner about the fit.

Now I'm not saying these 3NT vs 4M hands should be leaned towards 4M - definitely no, what I mean is that you need both partners to evaluate their hands and make a suggestion of 3NT. We can certainly talk about those spectacular hands that were played in 3NT with a 9+major fit, but I try not to encourage players otherwise they might take it a bit too far.
April 11
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I'm a chicken, I would pass.
Basically I don't want to hang my partner for overcalling at favourable, and usually when the opponents bid 3 missing AJ98 they would tend to have something else to compensate for it. Besides, sometimes partner might be strong enough to act again (double).

With these partscore penalty doubles, I want to be doubling them for a guaranteed down one and likely down two. On this hand, I am ‘hoping’ that it is down one (hoping partner has 2 tricks for us) which means it's not guaranteed. Give partner an average hand of AQxxx KTxxx Qx x and now defending 3 would be pretty scary.
April 9
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I think the 2 opening is a very big underbid in 1st seat favourable. Otherwise, well done getting to a slam.
It's not clear to me whether to be saving with East's hand to 7 since it could be a phantom sacrifice if partner's ace was in clubs instead of hearts. I guess it's probably odds against for the ace to be in clubs so it's probably fine.
April 9
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Pele: That's right, the 2 would change the auction entirely. I would bid 3 as West (suppressing an ok 7-card club suit with opp's showing both majors doesn't seem like a good idea). But if West does pass and North bids 2, I would rebid 3 as East. Partner rates to have two diamonds very often, and sometimes may have three diamonds if partner doesn't want to make a support double with say a 4333.

Jodi: Ahok I understand now. I thought the weak/strong conventional bids only applied as a direct overcall over the opening bid, as opposed to this one in a live auction where we have more options available (2? 2NT?).
Anyway yes I'm a big believer in any strength as you can often survive by showing your strength on the next round, but with weak/strong, the intermediate hands would often lose the other suit as you'd have to guess whether to show your second suit at the 3-level.
April 8
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Good question Jodi. In general, I would say to not worry about it and tend to go for 4-Major unless (a) 8-card fit has been located (both partners know about the fit) and you can now make an offer (e.g. on this hand some people might play 3NT as Serious/Non-serious anyway), and (b) you have the right hand for it (rather than offer it for the sake of it).

If 3NT was an option here, then East's hand doesn't seem right for it because partner has bid 2 which often has strength, and so 4 would be 100% much safer than 3NT (imagine in 3NT we get a heart lead to our queen and the spade queen was offside).
April 8
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Thoughts about South's 1 overcall?
While I do completely understand it, but I've come to realise that the other 5-card major suit cannot be ignored so if system permits then I would overcall 2 (or 2) to show 5-5 majors.

I've seen this type of hand I think about 4 times (5-5 majors, one of them is very weak) where their RHO opens 1minor. All four times the hand overcalled in their good major suit. 3 out of 4 times there was a 8 or a 9-card fit in the other major but it was lost.
April 8
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Nice judgement Pele, singleton in partner's suit is always a warning sign.

I'd be curious about Stephen's thoughts on his Q lead which worked very well. For me it feels like 95% K 5%Q (i.e. partner may have ace-empty or king-empty where the Q lead could be costly).
April 8
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I feel like showing West's hand as a limit raise is a bit of an overbid (lots of jacks, no side entry to the club suit). I mean, I do understand that the conventional 2 can allow you to stop in 2 (1-2-2), but it feels like the repercussions if the auction gets contested may not be good. For example, if 4th seat opponent overcalls or preempts, partner is expecting us to have some values (limit raise or GF) and may make the wrong decision.

Sitting as North, with players showing some 9 counts as a limit raise, I think North's hand should definitely overcall 2. I was flirting around with double (which I think should be takeout of hearts) but I prefer to show my 5-card spade suit straight away. As it happens, it would be the wrong time to come into the auction, but I feel that the 2 bid is going to be 3-card limit raise more often, and I wouldn't want to be shut out of the auction. You might say, well, I can balance after 1-2-2-P, but there won't be any balancing if the auction was 1-2-4! where 4 may make or be a cheap sacrifice.
April 8
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Probably a style issue, but personally overcalling 1 or balancing with 2 wouldn't come across my mind with a balanced hand and four hearts.
April 8
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FWIW, my partner and I play after 1-(3):
4=Good heart raise
4=Clubs
4=To play
4=Diamonds
4NT= RKCB

It has some gains and losses, but I haven't had that come up yet to know whether it's good or not.
Nov. 7, 2019
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Hindsight always seems to make things easier! The 5 bid may have helped East bid 6, but I don't think it means North shouldn't bid it as this deal might just be a decision at the 5-level.
Nov. 7, 2019
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I'd feel slightly uneasy doubling. I guess if anyone is going to double, it would be with East's hand as it has the potential defensive tricks (West can only see one trick). The thing with East's hand is that you might be thinking 5S is probably down one only, and best case down two so not doubling ‘feels’ fine.

It'll probably have to depend on who my opponents were, and I'd need to be there for the table feel. When the deal is shapely and opps are favourable, sometimes they may have enough juice to make a “free redouble” - free in the sense that they think they'd be going down one at most, so -200 is not a disaster.
Nov. 7, 2019
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With dummy this strong, I'd certainly have little interest in this hand as well!

But I guess I was wondering whether you guys play any form of Smith Echo or Suit Preference vs. NT? Imagine a weaker dummy, and now it seems you need more important information rather than the count in spades.
Nov. 7, 2019
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It can matter because North needs to investigate a potential grand slam via some sort of RKC so you don't start jumping and hopping to guess.

But also, the jumpshift doesn't always guarantee the HCP. Could South have
xx
AKQT9x
AJTxx
-

and didn't want to rebid 2 as this may get passed out. But opposite this hand, you now you want to get to 6 which can be difficult after 1-1; 3-3 and South has to choose between 4 vs. 4.

I know that's just one hand, but you certainly have to try to search for a grand without jumping and guessing.
Nov. 7, 2019
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I'm not sure about the “has no play” part, or maybe I've missed something. Actually perfect defence would make that statement true!

At the point where declarer led the J, it looks like it's better to lead a low spade to the 9. North has to win and plays the 9 to declarer's Q. Now a spade towards the Q and it makes 9 tricks.

However, South can thwart that plan by playing ‘second hand highish’ with the 10! It goes queen and king, and now when declarer next plays a low spade towards the 9, South can now win A and exit a spade and declarer is stuck in their hand.
If declarer tries the J instead of a low one, South can duck, and this sets up an additional spade trick for the defence for one down.

Probably better to play a spade to the 9 at trick 5 though. This can open up to many different types of endings.
Nov. 7, 2019
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This hand seems difficult to bid in a natural system. After 1-1, does South rebid 2 or 3? Probably 3, but over this, North should bid what? South's 3 may be bid with 3631 planning to 3 later, so maybe North should bid 3? Or better 3 as it's a strong five-card suit. North can't jump to 6NT as that's premature, what about 4NT? South may pass with 18 points, and it also prevents South from further describing their shape and takes away RKCB.
Say North bids 3. South will then rebid 4 to show 5-5, and North now bids 4 to agree diamonds? Or could it be natural offer to play as North might have 62 and had rebid 3 first? This is hurting my head…

Nice work getting to 6NT by North. I'd be curious to see other people's auctions.
Nov. 7, 2019
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Think West should've played the J to signal that West has something in diamonds. On most layouts it won't really matter as partner should defend correctly, but at least it's good to tell partner some information and that sometimes you can collect more undertricks (like here).
Nov. 7, 2019
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